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The Polish government approves a buffer zone on the border with Belarus

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Poland has decided to establish a buffer zone in the border area with Belarus.

At a meeting in Białystok in the east of the country on Monday, Prime Minister Donald Tusk’s office instructed the Interior Ministry to begin the process of constructing the buffer zone.

The aim is to make the illegal smuggling of migrants across the Polish-Belarusian border more difficult, and to improve working conditions for border guards, the army and police.

The restricted area will be largely 200 meters wide, but in some places it will be much wider, up to 2 kilometers. European Union and NATO member Poland has a border with Belarus that is approximately 400 kilometers long.

The measure is a response to the recent fatal knife attack on a Polish soldier at the border fence. The military says the soldier was attacked from the Belarusian side of the border fence in late May. He was seriously injured and later died.

Polish President Andrzej Duda said on Monday that every effort would be made to catch and punish the alleged perpetrator. The PAP news agency reported that Tusk had also announced a relaxation of legal rules on the use of firearms by security forces.

Poland and the EU accuse Belarusian ruler Alexander Lukashenko of bringing migrants from crisis-hit regions to the EU’s external border in an organized manner to put pressure on the West.

In the summer of 2022, Poland secured its border with Belarus with a 5.5-meter-high fence and an electronic surveillance system.

Despite the construction of border fortifications, migrants continue to attempt to cross the EU’s external border irregularly every day.

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