Poland/Belarus – Driven by the migration crisis orchestrated by the authorities in Minsk at the Polish-Belarusian border in response to European sanctions, the project to build a 5.5-metre high border fence between Poland and Belarus is taking shape, with work having just begun.
A 186 km fence
Since Tuesday, January 25, Polish companies have been working on the site where the fence is to be erected over a length of 186 km (half the border between the two countries, the rest having a natural barrier in the form of the Bug River) by June 2022 – a project that should cost about 1.6 billion zlotys (some 353 million euros). As their official Twitter account points out this is the biggest construction investment in the history of the [Polish] border guards.”
Minimum possible environmental impact
As the future barrier will run across several forests, the border guards’ spokeswoman, Anna Michalska, was keen to point out that the environmental impact would be kept as minimal as possible:
“Our intention is to limit the damage as much as possible. (…) Tree removal will be kept to the minimum required. The barrier itself will be built along the border road.
The migration crisis continues …
While waiting for the barrier to become more effective in preventing migrants from coming to Poland, the Polish border guards arrested 17 people (a group of 11 Iranians, two Syrians, and one Lebanese, as well as three Ghanaians) on Tuesday alone for illegally crossing the border in two places. In both instances, the illegals had cut through the barbed wire fence.
… and should intensify again in the spring
In an interview quoted on Wednesday by wPolityce, the spokesman for the minister in charge of coordinating special services, Stanisław Żaryn, expressed his belief that “the Belarusian side will be interested in maintaining the ’creeping’ form of this conflict, and
when the weather improves, they will try to intensify the migration pressure again.
(…) There are already signs of preparations: an increase in activity in those Internet groups used to search for people who want to make their way to the European Union in order to organise their passage through Belarus. They are already encouraging migration, with the aim of increasing migration to Belarus during the spring months (…)
The winter months and bad weather generally lead to a weakening of migratory flows. In a few months’ time, the Belarusian services could again carry out their action against Poland in a massive way.
(…) There are some signals that with the arrival of spring, the pressure at the border with Poland could increase exponentially. (…)
The construction of a new protective barrier will make it possible to better protect Poland against these activities that are being organised by the Belarusian services. This is an extremely important moment, as this investment is of strategic importance to us today.