The Polish government responded to the ongoing migrant crisis in the region by ordering the construction of a border barrier.
Contractors on Tuesday broke ground on Poland's permanent wall at the Belarus border which is set to stand 5.5 meters (18 feet) high and span 186 kilometers (115 miles). The barrier will be equipped with motion sensors and cameras.
The wall is estimated to cost 353 million euros ($400 million) and is scheduled to be completed within six months.
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In October, the Polish parliament approved funding for the barrier and also passed laws allowing border agents to quickly remove illegal immigrants, even if they attempt to claim asylum.
Tens of thousands of migrants, most from the Middle East and Africa, traveled to Belarus last year and attempted to move through Poland into wealthier European countries, such as Germany and the UK. Polish authorities report that they continue to repel migrant incursions on a daily basis while also mitigating provocations by Belarusian officers.
“As planned, the construction sites were turned over to the contractors on Tuesday,” Polish Border Guard spokeswoman Krystyna Jakimik-Jarosz told AFP. "Belarusian services are only waiting for this to send groups of migrants there, so for security reasons, we do not indicate the specific locations."
Today marks the start of construction of the permanent border wall between Poland & Belarus.The wall will be 5.5m tall, stretch over 186km of the border and fitted with electronic surveillance. It's the largest investment of the Polish Border Guards, at almost €350m. pic.twitter.com/7zHHNBv99p — Fortress Evropa 🇵🇱 (@FortressEvropa) January 25, 2022