Poland will double number of soldiers on Belarusian border

Poland will double the number of troops guarding its border with Belarus and will put up a 2.5-metre-high fence along the frontier, the Polish defence minister said on Monday.

Mariusz Błaszczak told a press conference that the tighter border control measures were necessary to seal the border against illegal crossings. He added that the matter was discussed at security talks chaired by the president on Sunday.

In recent months, increasing numbers of migrants from Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and other countries have been trying to cross from Belarus into Poland and Lithuania. Belarus has been accused of organising the transfers as part of a "hybrid war" against Poland and Lithuania in retaliation for the two countries' support of EU sanctions on the regime of Alexander Lukashenko.

"For the border to be tight, for this system to work... it is necessary to raise the number of soldiers... here on the border. Therefore, we will soon double the number of soldiers on the Polish-Belarusian frontier," Błaszczak said.

Błaszczak added that after the enlargement, the military force on the border with Belarus will number 2,000 soldiers.