30.06.2022, Polen, Warschau: Polnische Grenzschützer patrouillieren im Bereich eines neu errichteten Grenzzauns zwischen Polen und Belarus. Polen hat den Bau des 187 Kilometer langen Zauns an seiner Grenze zu Belarus abgeschlossen. Die Barriere sei nötig, um die polnische Grenze sicher zu schützen, sagte Regierungschef Morawiecki am Grenzübergang Kuznica. Foto: Michal Dyjuk/AP/dpa +++ dpa-Bildfunk +++

Poland has completed construction of the 187-kilometer fence on its border with Belarus. The barrier is necessary to protect the border securely, said Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki on Thursday at the Kuznica border crossing.

The Polish-Belarusian border is 418 kilometers long, of which 187 kilometers are overland, the rest through lakes and rivers. The situation there escalated in late summer and autumn last year: thousands of people tried to enter the EU illegally.

The European Union accuses the Belarusian ruler Alexander Lukashenko of having brought migrants from crisis regions to the EU’s external border in an organized manner in order to put pressure on the West.

In his speech, Morawiecki referred to the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine. “The first chord of this war was Lukashenko’s attack on the Polish border with Belarus.” Lukashenko and his client, Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin, decided at the time to test the Polish border and thus the eastern border of the EU.

At the end of last summer, Polish soldiers erected a temporary fence on the land sections of the border. This is now being replaced by a 5.5 meter high fence equipped with motion detectors and cameras. A budget of the equivalent of 366 million euros has been earmarked for the project.

On July 1, the restrictions that previously applied to a three-kilometer strip along the border are to be lifted. Interior Minister Mariusz Kaminski had declared the area a no-go zone, foreigners and helpers were not allowed in. With the completion of the border fence, there is no longer any need for the restrictions, the Ministry of the Interior recently announced. (dpa)