Poland switches on electronic surveillance at border fence with Belarus

Artur Reszko/PAP

Poland has activated the first section of its 206-kilometre long border fence with Belarus that is fitted with electronic surveillance equipment.

The equipment will be installed along the entire length of the fence by the end of the year, Mariusz Kaminski, the interior minister, said on Friday at a provincial headquarters of the Border Guard in eastern Poland.

"We're starting the first section today," Kaminski said.

"Further sections will be completed within the coming weeks," he also said.

Work on the 5.5-metre-tall fence was finished some time ago, but the government decided the barrier also needs electronic surveillance.

Kaminski reiterated Poland's view that the migration crisis on the Polish-Belarusian border in the second half of 2021 was inspired by Moscow and was a prelude to Russia's war on Ukraine.

He went on to say that the crisis had been contained "thanks to the gigantic effort of the Polish state and the Border Guard."

In the autumn of 2021, Poland struggled to cope with a huge wave of migrants, mainly from the Middle East and Africa, who had been invited by the government of Alexander Lukashenko under the false promise of easy access to the EU.

The number of illegal crossings has fallen rapidly since Poland installed the fence.

Kaminski also said that a company had been chosen to add a similar electronic barrier or fence being built along Poland’s border with the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad.