Poland to build barrier on border with Russia's Kaliningrad exclave

Marcin Obara/PAP

Poland's defence minister said on Wednesday he had taken the decision to construct a barrier on the country's eastern border with the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad with work set to commence on the same day.

Mariusz Blaszczak told a press conference the move had been prompted by the start of flights to Kaliningrad from the Middle East and Africa and the need to strengthen national security "by sealing the border."

"In connection with this, work will start today by Polish Army sappers on building a temporary barrier on the border with the Kaliningrad Oblast," Blaszczak said.

He said the Defence Ministry had been tasked with building the fence at a meeting of the Council of Ministers' Security and Defence Committee.

"The barrier will be made up of three rows of razor wire, such as is used by armies the world over," Blaszczak continued, adding that the barrier would be similar to one on the Polish-Belarusian border, which is 2.5 metres high and 3 metres wide.

"We are making use of experience gained last year," Blaszczak explained. "There is no doubt that that temporary barrier protected the Polish-Belarusian border, preventing a hybrid attack from Belarus or slowing that attack down significantly."

Last year, Poland experienced heightened migratory pressure at its border with Belarus. Warsaw blamed the crisis on the Belarusian government, saying it was flying in Middle Eastern and African migrants on the false promise of easy access to the EU.

Blaszczak said there would be fencing on the Polish side of the barrier to protect animals and that electronic surveillance equipment would also be installed.

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