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Poland considers setting up ‘fortifications’ on border with Russian exclave, official says

Location of the Russian territory of Kaliningrad.

Poland is considering building “fortifications” along its border with the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad, Krzysztof Sobolewski, general secretary of Poland’s ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party, said during a radio interview on Tuesday.

“We will have to reinforce our forces in this section of the border [con Kaliningrado]. In addition, we will think about the possibility of building more border fortifications similar to those that currently exist on the Polish-Belarusian section of the border,” Sobolewski told the Polskie Radio public broadcaster, when asked about the possibility of Russia sending “refugees from Asia and Africa” ​​to Poland via Kaliningrad.

Located between Poland and Lithuania, Kaliningrad is a Russian exclave that was captured by Soviet troops from Nazi Germany in 1945 and became Soviet territory as a result of the Potsdam Agreement.

It is the westernmost territory of Russia and the only part of the country surrounded by EU states.

In September, the Russian state media outlet TASS reported that Kaliningrad was adopting an “open skies” policy, to “expand the region’s flight geography and attract new airlines” from the Middle East and Asia, leading to PiS politicians to return to nationalist arguments about the possibility of Moscow using immigrants as a tool for “hybrid warfare”.

Poland’s previous migration crises: in 2021, Warsaw declared a state of emergency after tens of thousands of migrants tried to use the Bruzgi-Kuznica border crossing to travel from Belarus.

The migrants — most of them from the Middle East and Asia — were stranded on the Belarusian side of the border for weeks, enduring bitter weather and a lack of food and medical care.

Western leaders accused President Alexander Lukashenko’s regime of fabricating the migrant crisis on the EU’s eastern border in retaliation for sanctions imposed over human rights violations.

Minsk has repeatedly denied the claims, blaming the West for the crossings and accusing it of mistreatment of migrants. Russia —which is Belarus’s largest political and economic partner— at the time defended President Lukashenko’s management of the border crisis, although he also denied his involvement.

Laura Smith Spark, Antonia Mortensen, and Anna Chernova contributed reporting.

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