Friday, June 14, 2024
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Poland starts building wall on border with Belarus

KUZNICA, POLAND (AP) – Poland has started building a USD394 million high wall on its eastern border intended to block migrants pushed by Belarus in what the European Union (EU) calls a “hybrid attack” from crossing illegally into EU territory.

Reporters were allowed to see the work in the guarded area yesterday.

Pressure from thousands of migrants from the Middle East and Africa on Poland’s and Lithuania’s wooded border with Belarus began in the summer, leading to clashes with Poland’s border guards. Poland has sealed its border with Belarus using razor wire and increased the number of guards.

The EU said the migrants are being used by Belarus’ authoritarian leader to destabilise the 27-member bloc in retaliation for the West’s sanctions on Minsk following an election internationally consider as rigged, and a clampdown on opposition.

Poland’s 5.5-metre-high metal wall is to run more than 180 kilometres along the land part of the border with Belarus, which also includes the Bug River as a frontier. It is to be completed in June, at the cost of some PLN1.6 billion (USD394 million.)

Critics and environmentalists said it will fail to stop migrants, but will do harm to one of Europe’s last pristine woodlands, the Bialowieza forest.