Poland’s Border Security: An Escalating Crisis Amid Geopolitical Tensions
Illegal Border Crossings: A Growing Concern
On a recent Friday, the Border Guard reported that 31 individuals attempted to unlawfully cross the border from Belarus into Poland. Out of these individuals, 26 reached the newly constructed border barrier but reverted on spotting Polish patrols. The Border Guard further mentioned that their patrol officers were attacked with stones and burning branches in the Białowieża and Dubicze Cerkiewne regions after they successfully thwarted three groups’ efforts to invade Poland.
Since the start of the current year, as per Border Guard statistics, there have been 21,000 attempts to illegally cross the Polish-Belarusian border. The number of attempts per month has fluctuated, with roughly 2.5 thousand attempts in March and April, around 3 thousand in May, just under 3 thousand in June, 4 thousand in July, and nearly 2.8 thousand in August. As of early September, the Podlasie Branch of the Border Guard has recorded approximately 450 attempts.
Border Security Enhancements
To combat the surge in illegal migration, a 5.5m high steel barrier was erected along the 186km border with Belarus in 2022. This barrier is enhanced by a network of cameras and sensors, already covering 206km of the border and fully utilized by Polish border services. A similar electronic barrier is set to be constructed along the Bug River in Lubelskie, as well as Świsłocz and Istoczanka in Podlaskie, with construction scheduled to commence in 2024. The companies responsible for the barrier’s construction are expected to be selected by the end of 2023, with the investment funded from EU funds. The movement sensors and cameras will be installed along the riverbanks and within the border road belt.
The Role of Geopolitical Tensions
The unlawful attempts to cross the border have been occurring amidst ongoing geopolitical tensions between Belarus and the European Union (EU), with Poland being one of the EU countries sharing a border with Belarus. The issue of border security and management of migrant flows has thus become a significant concern for Poland and the EU. The individuals detained this year have originated from 52 different countries, demonstrating the global reach of this escalating crisis.
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