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Polish PM: Warsaw to spend $2.5 billion to secure Russia, Belarus border

by Dinara Khalilova and The Kyiv Independent news desk May 18, 2024 5:27 PM 2 min read
Polish border guards near the new fence on the Polish-Belarusian border near the village of Nowdziel on June 30, 2022, in Podlaskie Voivodeship, Poland. Photo for illustrative purposes. (Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
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Poland plans to invest 10 billion zlotys ($2.55 billion) in strengthening its borders with Russia and Belarus to deter potential aggression, Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk said on May 18, according to Bloomberg.

Poland has been one of Ukraine's staunchest supporters since the beginning of Russia's all-out war in February 2022 and has served as a transit hub for weapon deliveries to Ukraine from its Western allies.

Following the full-scale invasion, Poland's relations with Russian ally Belarus have deteriorated. Warsaw has also for several years accused Belarus of deliberately pushing migrants into Poland in order to pressure the EU over sanctions, a charge Belarus has denied.

Tusk first announced his plans to fortify Poland's entire eastern border with Belarus due to a growing "hybrid war" and illegal migration on May 11.

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Poland's eastern border also includes Ukraine, Lithuania, and the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad.

The plan, which Tusk named "East Shield," involves the construction of new fortifications, fences, changes to the terrain, and special forest plantations along the 400-kilometer (249 miles) land border, Bloomberg reported.

"We want our border to be safe during peace and be impassable during war," Tusk said at a military event in Krakow, adding that the government has already begun working on the project.

The premier also reportedly said that next week he would announce the government's actions aimed at combating sabotage and diversion risk from Russia.

His statement comes after a Polish judge left Poland for Belarus and said he intended to apply for political asylum due to his "disagreement" with the Polish government's policies.

The event prompted Tusk to call an emergency meeting of the country's special services to discuss alleged Russian and Belarusian infiltration of the Polish state apparatus.

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