Polish contractors have commenced work on the construction of a 186 kilometer wall on its eastern border with Belarus, the Poland Border Guard has announced.
The country’s border force posted a video on social media on Tuesday of construction underway at the border, revealing that it will become “the largest construction investment in the history of the Border Guard,” costing around 1.6 billion Polish złotys (€349 million).
The wall will reportedly be 5.5 meters high, and span almost half the length of the Polish-Belarusian border. It is expected to be completed by the end of June.
Close to 41,000 steel span units and 41,000 steel pillars will be used in the construction of the over 186-kilometer-long barrier. Twenty-two gates will be built throughout the barrier as well, and a total of 50 tons of steel will be used to construct the wall.
“Our intention is for the damage to be as small as possible,” border guard spokeswoman Anna Michalska told Poland’s PAP news agency on Tuesday, in response to concerns over environmental welfare.
“Tree felling will be limited to the minimum required. The wall itself will be built along the border road,” she added.
The Border Force revealed on Saturday that more than 800 migrants had already attempted to cross the border illegally into Poland since the start of the year, with Frontex figures revealing a 1,069 percent increase in irregular border crossings via the EU’s eastern land border in 2021 on the previous year.
Polish authorities announced on Tuesday that another 17 migrants attempted to cross into Polish territory from Belarus on Monday, including 11 Iranians, two Lebanese, three Ghanians and a Syrian national, all of whom were detained.
The border wall constructed by the Poles will become the latest in a number of restrictions erected by EU member states at the bloc’s external border in a bid to curtail the flow of illegal immigration into Europe. Last year, Greek authorities completed the construction of a 40-kilometer barrier system on its border with Turkey in an effort to stop illegal immigration from the Middle East.
“We cannot passively wait for a possible impact. Our borders will remain intact,” Greek Minister for the Protection of Citizens Michalis Chrysochoidis said at the time.