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I UNDERSTAND
English Section

Polish gov't OKs plan to build wall on Belarus border: interior minister

13.10.2021 07:45
Poland’s government has adopted a bill to build a wall on the country's border with Belarus amid a growing surge of migrants, the interior minister in Warsaw has announced.
Audio
Mariusz Kamiński
Mariusz KamińskiTwitter/MSWiA_GOV_PL

Mariusz Kamiński told state news agency PAP that the Polish border service "has been dealing with increasing migrant pressures" on the border with Belarus for several months.

"Despite the deployment of additional personnel and assistance from soldiers and police, as well as the use of temporary installations, we have not seen a decrease in the number of attempts to cross the Polish-Belarusian border," he said.

"Therefore, urgent measures need to be taken to build a solid, high wall, equipped with a monitoring and movement detection system," he added.

"Such border security measures have worked for other countries and have proven to be an effective solution in the fight against illegal migration," Kamiński was quoted as saying.

His announcement came after Defence Minister Mariusz Błaszczak told public broadcaster Polish Radio on Tuesday morning that the government would submit such legislation to parliament once it is drawn up by the interior ministry.  

Błaszczak said in an interview with Polish Radio that Poland would draw on the experience of Hungary, which constructed a permanent wall on its border with Serbia during a migrant crisis in 2015.

He said the existing barbed-wire fence on Poland's border with Belarus, as well as the presence of 3,000 troops, were helping minimise the inflow of migrants, “who are being exploited by the Lukashenko regime ... in order to bring about a migrant crisis.”

Błaszczak added that, "depending on the situation," his defence ministry was ready to double the number of troops deployed to the border "without delay.”

He told Polish Radio he had decided to “increase the number of soldiers who are helping the Border Guard patrol the frontier” because “the migrant pressure remains very acute.”

Poland and the Baltic states have accused Belarus' strongman leader Alexander Lukashenko of organising a wave of illegal migrants seeking to enter the bloc as part of what officials have called a "hybrid war."

The EU Commissioner for Home Affairs, Ylva Johansson, visited Poland in late September, agreeing with Warsaw’s arguments that “firm steps” were needed against Belarus, according to officials.

Poland's Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said last Wednesday his country enjoyed full support within the European Union as it worked to defend itself against a migrant influx and a "hybrid war" being waged by Belarus.

Late last month, Polish lawmakers voted overwhelmingly to extend a state of emergency in parts of two regions along the country's eastern border with Belarus by two months amid a growing migrant surge.

The state of emergency gives authorities broader powers to monitor and control the movement of people on the Polish-Belarusian border, which is also the eastern border of the European Union.

(gs)

Source: IAR, PAP