Poland restores a buffer zone on its border with Belarus

Polish Interior Minister Tomasz Siemoniak has signed a regulation reintroducing a buffer zone along the Belarus border to control migrant inflows. 

Recent increases in migration pressure from Belarus, coupled with the fatal stabbing of a Polish soldier by a migrant, have prompted the government to reinstate the buffer zone and expand conditions for military use of weapons.

The buffer zone will span a 44-kilometre stretch, extending 200 metres from the border, and a 16-kilometre stretch, extending two kilometres into nature reserves, as announced by the Interior Ministry on Wednesday. The regulation comes into effect on Thursday.

The area subject to restrictions generally excludes tourist towns and routes to minimise impact on residents, tourists, and businesses,” the ministry stated.

The regulation aims to enhance safety for civilians and security personnel, as well as disrupt smuggling networks facilitating illegal migration. The buffer zone will be enforced for 90 days.

This measure revives a similar restriction initially imposed in 2021 in response to Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko’s tactic of directing migrants towards the EU’s eastern borders as a response to EU sanctions. This strategy involved enticing thousands of migrants from the Middle East and Africa with false promises of easy entry into the EU through Poland and Lithuania.

 

Image: X (@StrazGraniczna)

Author: Sébastien Meuwissen

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