Poland, experiencing a surge of migrants at their external border with Belarus, has begun taking measures to combat the problem and aid any in need that are stuck at the border, according to reports.
Among the measures that Poland is taking is building a border fence along their shared border with Belarus.
The wall will be 2.5 meters in height, with construction beginning on the week of August 31st. In addition, the Polish Ministry of Defense has announced that more soldiers will be deployed to the area, in an effort to secure their external border.
Polish officials see the situation as an attempt to destabilize the country and spark a crisis.
“We are dealing with an attack on Poland, it is an attempt to trigger a migration crisis,” said Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak at a news conference.
At the same time, the Prime Ministers of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland have all urged the United Nations to take action against Belarus, and specifically, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko.
“Using immigrants to destabilize neighboring countries constitutes a clear breach of international law,” the four Member States announced in a joint statement.
Lukashenko’s regime has been accused of waging a “hybrid war” against their neighbors in the EU in many ways, however, a new set of crises have been launched with the regime’s announcement that they will no longer be stopping migrants from entering the EU’s external borders.
Speaking on Belarus’s weaponization of migrants, refugees, and people in need, EU officials have denounced the deplorable actions of Lukashenko and have vowed to combat the problem.
“What we see from Lukashenko is an extreme act of aggression towards the European Union,” said Ylva Johansson, the European Union Commissioner for Home Affairs.
“He’s using human beings in an instrumentalized way. This is totally unacceptable,” Johansson said. She continued, “This is really, really, a dangerous way to act. So, I think it’s important that we stand together against Lukashenko and what he’s doing.”
Meanwhile, other Member States that share borders with Belarus are experiencing similar problems and exploring similar situations.
So far in 2021, Lithuania has experience more than 4,100 migrants crossing the border from Belarus, compared to just 74 total in 2020, according to the latest FRONTEX data.
In response, Lithuania has also begun their project of building a fence stretching over 550 km on their border with Belarus.
“What I see from Lithuania, for example, is they need to protect their external borders and they are also obliged to protect their external borders from unauthorized entry. And if they assess that they need a fence towards an aggressive neighbor like Lukashenko, I can understand that,” Johannson said.
It is likely that other Member States will follow suit if the situation continues, as it is left to them to decide how to best secure their external borders.
“Member states are in a position to decide how they protect their external borders and they are the best ones to assess how to do that,” Johansson said.