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Polish government approves buffer zone on border with Belarus

In World
June 10, 2024

Poland has decided to set up a buffer zone in the border area with Belarus.

At a meeting in Białystok in the east of the country on Monday, Prime Minister Donald Tusk’s Cabinet instructed the Ministry of the Interior to begin the process of constructing the buffer zone.

The aim is to make the illegal smuggling of migrants across the Polish-Belarusian frontier more difficult, and to improve the working conditions for border guards, the army and the police.

The restricted area will mostly be 200 metres wide, but in a few places it will be much wider, up to 2 kilometres. European Union and NATO member Poland has a border with Belarus that is around 400 kilometres long.

The measure is a reaction to the recent fatal knife attack on a Polish soldier at the border fence. The army says the soldier was attacked from the Belarusian side of the border fence at the end of May. He was seriously injured and later died.

Polish President Andrzej Duda said on Monday that every effort would be made to catch and punish the alleged perpetrator. The PAP news agency reported that Tusk had also announced a relaxation of the legal rules on the use of firearms by the security forces.

Poland and the EU accuse Belarusian ruler Alexander Lukashenko of bringing migrants from crisis-hit regions to the EU’s external border in an organized manner in order to exert pressure on the West.

In the summer of 2022, Poland secured the border with Belarus with a 5.5-metre-high fence and an electronic surveillance system.

Despite the construction of the border fortifications, migrants continue to attempt to cross the EU’s external border irregularly on a daily basis.

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