Construction has begun on a major border barrier separating Poland and Belarus amid an ongoing migration crisis in the region.
Polish contractors broke ground on the project on Tuesday.
The permanent wall is set to stand 5.5 meters (~18 feet) high span 186 kilometers (115 miles) and will be equipped with motion sensors and cameras.
The venture is estimated to cost 353 million euros (~$400 million) and is scheduled to be completed within six months.
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“As planned, the construction sites were turned over to the contractors on Tuesday,” Polish Border Guard spokeswoman Krystyna Jakimik-Jarosz told AFP.
Jakimik-Jarosz declined to reveal where construction is taking place.
“Belarusian services are only waiting for this to send groups of migrants there, so for security reasons, we do not indicate the specific locations,” she said.
In October, the Polish parliament approved funding for the high-tech physical barrier and also passed laws allowing border agents to quickly eject illegal aliens, even if they attempt to claim asylum.
Tens of thousands of migrants hailing mostly from the Middle East and Africa traveled to Belarus last year, hoping to continue onward through Poland into wealthier European countries, such as Germany and the U.K.
Although the crisis has calmed from its peak in late 2021, Polish authorities continue to repel migrant incursions on a daily basis while also mitigating provocations by Belarusian officers.
Wczoraj tj.25.01 gr.🇵🇱🇧🇾próbowało nielegalnie przekroczyć 12 os.-to ob.Libanu,Iraku i Syrii.Osoby zostały zatrzymane na odcinku #PSGNarewka.— Straż Graniczna (@Straz_Graniczna) January 26, 2022
W nocy na odcinku #PSGCzeremcha żołnierze białoruscy kilkukrotnie na widok polskich patroli strzelali z długiej broni. #NaStraży pic.twitter.com/W8l1FnpxGG
“During the night, in section PSG Czeremcha, Belarusian soldiers fired long weapons at the sight of Polish patrols,” Polish border forces reported on Wednesday.
The substantial uptick in migrant traffic came after Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko threatened to allow aliens and drugs to flood Europe amid fraying diplomatic ties with the E.U. earlier this year.