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Poland mulls barrier on Kaliningrad border, says top official

Poland might have to put a barrier at its border with Kaliningrad in Russia, a top Polish official said on Tuesday (25 October). Warsaw suspects Russia will help African and Asian migrants to cross the border in the next week.

Poland accuses Russia, and its ally Belarus, of using migrants in a campaign of “hybrid war” to destabilize Europe. Tensions are high in Ukraine due to war. Poland fears that there will be a repeat of 2021’s crisis, when thousands of migrants from Africa and the Middle East tried to cross the Belarus border.

Minsk, who was at the time denying engineering the situation by flying people in to enter the European Union to assist them, blamed Warsaw and Brussels instead for the humanitarian crisis that resulted in the deaths of many migrants living in forests near the border.

Krzysztof SObolewski (general secretary of the ruling Law and Justice party) stated to public broadcaster Polskie Radio 1 Poland was looking at building a border wall with Russia’s Kaliningrad. This would be similar to the one it built on the Belarus border.

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He said “we will need to strengthen our forces along this section of border and also think about… building similar border fortifications as those we have on the Polish-Belarusian portion”.

Russian media reported that Kaliningrad opened its skies to flights coming from Asia and the Middle East in an effort to attract more tourists and airlines.

Poland constructed a steel barrier measuring 5.5 metres (18 feet) high, which was equipped with motion sensors, cameras, and stretches for approximately 187 km (116 mi) along the Belarus border.

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Poland previously stated that the Kaliningrad border guard received funds to construct an “electronic border” with sensors and cameras.

A spokesperson for the Polish Border Guard said on Tuesday that it would select a company to build the electronic barrier before the end of November. The system would then be constructed over the next three quarters along two hundred kilometres border.

Sobolewski said that more Kaliningrad migrants could attempt to cross into Poland in the “coming weeks”.

According to the Polish Border Guard, 7.26 million Ukrainians entered Poland since February 24, according to statistics.

Dmitry Peskov, a Kremlin spokesperson, told reporters during a briefing that Russia will not interfere in any decision about barriers.

He said: “History shows the stupidity in decisions to build walls every single time because over the years and decades, all wall fall.”

Sobolewski said that there are signs of larger numbers of migrants arriving at the Belarus border.

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