Live Updates: Russia’s War in Ukraine

Poland plans to build « fortifications » along its border with the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad, Krzysztof Sobolewski, general secretary of the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party, said in a radio interview on Tuesday.

“We will have to reinforce our forces on this section of the border [with Kaliningrad]. Also, we may consider building additional border fortifications similar to those currently in place along the Polish-Belarusian section of the border,” Sobolewski told state broadcaster Polskie Radio when asked about the possibility that Russia sends “refugees from Asia and Africa” to Poland via Kaliningrad.

Sandwiched between Poland and Lithuania, Kaliningrad is a Russian enclave that was captured by Soviet troops from Nazi Germany in 1945 and became Soviet territory following the Potsdam Agreement.

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

In September, Russian state media TASS reported that Kaliningrad was adopting an « open skies » policy, to « expand the geography of flights from the region and attract new air carriers » from the Middle East and Asia. , prompting PiS politicians to return to nationalist discourse. points out that Moscow is potentially using migrants as a tool for “hybrid warfare”.

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

The migrants – most of whom came from the Middle East and Asia – were stranded on the Belarusian side of the border for weeks, where they endured freezing weather and a lack of food and medical care.

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

Minsk has repeatedly denied the claims, instead blaming the West for the crossings and accusing it of mistreating migrants. Russia – which is Belarus’ biggest political and economic partner – has defended President Lukashenko’s handling of the border crisis at the time, while denying any involvement.

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

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