Polish authorities are celebrating the rapid completion of the physical fence along its border with Belarus, which was built to halt Belarus’ attempts to push illegal immigrants into Poland.
The “physical barrier on Polish-Belarusian border is due to be finished on Thursday,” spokeswoman for the Polish Border Guard Lt. Anna Michalska stated. She said that steel panels have been placed on over 160 kilometers and the wall was accepted by the Polish Border Guard. The only tasks that remains is to finish the electronic components of the wall.
“Now, the construction of an electronic barrier has started,” Lt. Michalska said.
The electronic barrier will operate on all parts of the physical barrier, as well as part of transboundary waters. This element of the barrier will feature advanced electronic prevention methods, such as motion sensors and cameras.
The construction of the barrier, located on a 187-kilometer-long stretch of the Polish-Belarusian border, began on Jan. 25, 2022 and has been finished according to plan by the end of June. Until that time, non-residents were banned from staying in 183 towns and villages in the Podlaskie and Lubelskie regions in Eastern Poland.
The barrier is a 5-meter-high steel fence topped with concertina wire. Fifty thousand tons of steel and 40,000 steel fencing panels were used in its construction. The Polish Border Guard reported that the physical and electronic barrier will cost around €335 million (1.565 billion Polish złoty).
“There are 24 passages for large-size animals and 140,000 openings for small-size animals and culverts on watercourses,” stated the Polish Border Guard on Twitter.
Construction of the barrier on the border with Belarus was initiated after Alexander Lukashenko’s government began actively trafficking citizens of many countries through the EU border starting in the summer of 2021, with the support of Belarusian intelligence services. At the time, the number of attempts to illegally cross the Polish-Belarusian border increased daily, leading to chaos at the border.
Most attempts were recorded in August of that year: a total of 17,447. For all of 2021, Polish Border Guard officers recorded close to 40,000 attempts and detained 2,744 persons, mostly from Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria, but also from Russia, Somalia, Iran, Turkey, and Tajikistan.