Poland set to build wall along border with Russia to keep out migrants

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Poland is considering building a barrier along its border with Russia to stop the entry of African and Asian migrants who Warsaw suspects might be used in a “hybrid warfare” campaign.

With tensions running high over the war in Ukraine, Poland fears a repeat of the 2021 crisis, when thousands of African and Middle Eastern migrants tried to cross the border with Belarus.

At that time, Minsk denied engineering the situation by flying in people seeking to enter the European Union, instead blaming Warsaw and Brussels for a humanitarian crisis that led to the deaths of several people in forests along the border.

Image:
Migrants queue to receive food near the Belarusian-Polish border in the Grodno region last November

A senior Polish official, Krzysztof Sobolewski, who is general secretary of the ruling Law and Justice party, said they were considering building a barrier on the frontier with the eastern Russian province of Kaliningrad, similar to the one it has constructed on the Belarus border.

“We will have to strengthen our forces on this section of the border and also consider … building similar border
fortifications to those we now have on the Polish-Belarusian section,” he told Polskie Radio 1, the public broadcaster.

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‘All walls fall’

Kaliningrad has opened its skies to flights from the Middle East and Asia in an attempt to attract more airlines and tourists, according to Russian media.

Dmitry Peskov, a spokesman for the Kremlin, described the building of barriers as “stupidity”.

He said at a briefing in Moscow: “History proves the stupidity of decisions to build walls every time, because over the years or decades, all walls fall.”

Poland built a 5.5m (18ft) steel barrier, equipped with motion sensors and cameras, stretching for about 116 miles (187km) on the Belarus border.

Read more:
What caused the migrant crisis at the Belarus-Poland border?

The Polish Border Guard said it would choose a firm to build the Kaliningrad barrier by the end of November.

The system would be built over the first three quarters of next year and cover around 125 miles (200km) of border, according to PAP, a state-run news agency.

Mr Sobolewski said more migrants from Kaliningrad were expected to try to cross into Poland “in the coming
weeks”.

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