Poland builds razor wire fence along Russian border to stop possible migrant surge

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By Charlotte Lam  & Magdalena Chodownik
Polish soldiers begin laying a razor wire barrier along Poland’s border with the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad in Wisztyniec, Poland.
Polish soldiers begin laying a razor wire barrier along Poland’s border with the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad in Wisztyniec, Poland.   -   Copyright  AP Photo

Poland has reinforced its border with the Russian territory of Kaliningrad with razor wire over suspicions it could become another crossing point for people to cross into the European Union.

The move comes after reports that Moscow's aviation authority started to launch flights from the Middle East and North Africa to Kaliningrad, according to Poland’s Defence Minister Mariusz Blaszczak.

"Soldiers of the Polish Army began installing wire on this border, on the entire land section of the border with Russia,” said Konrad Szwed, a spokesperson for Poland’s border guard.

“We are also planning to build an electronic barrier on this border."

On Friday, the Polish border service also reported an increase in migrants trying to cross into the European Union at its border with Belarus.

"We are not seeing many migrants from the Kaliningrad oblast right now, but it may become similar to the flow of people from Belarus. So, we are also observing contacts between Russia and Turkey,” said Agnieszka Legucka from the Polish Institute of International Affairs.

“The reaction from the Polish authorities is a preventive policy. Russia does not have much time when it comes to the war in Ukraine, so it is trying to push many elements of blackmail towards the European Union, including migrants."

Aid organizations are concerned about the conditions migrants will face. 

"This is not a scenario we have thought about before. And actually, it is not surprising that such rumours, such movements in general, are starting to appear from the Russian side,” said Kalina Czwarnóg from the aid organisation Ocalenie Foundation.

“From my perspective…the way people who will cross this border can be treated is the most terrifying thing. Will they experience push-backs, just like people on the Belarusian border? It is unimaginable to me how we could push people back into the aggressor's country.

Poland is also preparing for a new wave of refugees from Ukraine, as people flee both the bombs and the cold.

Additional sources • AP