Warsaw, Poland — Poland’s defense minister said on Wednesday he had ordered the construction of a barrier along the border with the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad.
The move comes amid suspicions that Russia plans to facilitate illegal border crossings by Asian and African migrants.
Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak said the border needed to be sealed for Poland to feel safe. He said he had authorized the construction of a temporary barrier along the 210 kilometer (130 mile) border.
Work began on Wednesday with Polish soldiers specializing in demining carrying out preparatory work. It is expected to be completed by the end of 2023.
Blaszczak said a recent decision by Russia’s aviation authority to launch flights from the Middle East and North Africa to Kaliningrad prompted him to take steps that would increase security “by sealing that border “.
A spokesman for the Border Guard agency, Konrad Szwed, told The Associated Press that the barrier would consist of an electric fence. There are currently no barriers along the border, but there are frequent border guard patrols, he said.
Poland’s border with Belarus became the scene of a major migration crisis last year, with large numbers of people crossing illegally. Poland erected a steel wall on the border with Belarus which was completed in June.
Polish leaders and other EU leaders have accused the Belarusian government – which is allied with Russian President Vladimir Putin – of orchestrating the migration in order to create chaos and division within the European Union.
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