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Poland Erects Anti-tank Barriers On Its Border With Belarus & Russia As War Enters 2nd Yr

Poland's defence minister has said that Poland is ramping up its security measures on its border with Belarus and Russia's Kaliningrad.

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| Written By
sagar kar

Image: Twitter/@mblaszczak/AP

Polish Defence Minister has said that Poland is ramping up its security measures on its border with Belarus and Russia's Kaliningrad. Defence Minister Mariusz Blaszczak wrote on Twitter that "we have started a preventive expansion of security measures on the border with Russia and Belarus. This is part of our defense and deterrence strategy. The first fortifications are already being placed on the border with the Kaliningrad Oblast". 

Last year on 2nd November, Polish Deputy Prime Minister Błaszczak told a press briefing that "today, field engineers and soldiers from the Polish armed forces are beginning work to build a temporary fence on the Polish-Russian border," as per a report from TASS. "The fence will consist of three rows of barbed wire used by armies across the world. There will be three layers," the minister had said at that time. Poland has a border of 418 kms with Belarus and 210 kms with Russia's Kaliningrad. 

Does Poland really have a border with Russia?

If one looks at a map, it isn't obvious that Poland has a border with Russia, but, neither is it obvious that France has a border with Brazil. The devil is in the details, so to say. When one focuses on the Suwalki gap, one can notice an oblast near it, called Kaliningrad. This province of Russia is far away from the Russian mainland. So, why does Russia possess Kaliningrad?

Kaliningrad, the Russian exclave located on the Baltic Sea, was formerly part of East Prussia and was annexed by the Soviet Union following World War II. The region, which was originally known as Königsberg, had been part of Germany for centuries and was heavily damaged during the war. After the war, the Soviet Union claimed the region as part of its territory under the Potsdam Agreement, a post-war agreement between the Allied Powers.

The annexation of Kaliningrad was part of a broader effort by the Soviet Union to establish a buffer zone between itself and Western Europe, and to secure its western borders from potential attacks. By controlling Kaliningrad, the Soviet Union was able to establish a military presence in the region and project its power into the Baltic Sea.

Today, Kaliningrad remains an important strategic location for Russia, as it provides a key access point to the Baltic Sea and serves as a base for the Russian Baltic Fleet. It is also an important transit point for Russian natural gas pipelines that run through the region.

While the annexation of Kaliningrad has been a source of tension between Russia and its neighbors, particularly Poland and Lithuania, which also border the region, the Russian government has maintained control of the territory and has continued to invest in its infrastructure and military capabilities. Despite some calls for the return of Kaliningrad to Germany or for increased autonomy for the region, it remains a part of the Russian Federation and is unlikely to be ceded to another country in the near future.

A look at the relationship between Poland and Russia

As Poland bolsters its borders, it might be useful to look back at the past to understand the relationship between Poland and Russia. The relationship between Russia and Poland has been complex and tumultuous throughout history, with a legacy of conflict and mistrust dating back centuries. Several factors have contributed to shaping this relationship, including territorial disputes, ideological differences, and historical grievances.

One of the most significant factors shaping the relationship between Russia and Poland has been territorial disputes. Historically, Poland and Russia have fought numerous wars over land, with each side seeking to expand its territory and influence. This has resulted in a legacy of border disputes and conflicting territorial claims, which have continued to fuel tensions and mistrust.

Another factor that has shaped the relationship between Russia and Poland has been ideological differences. During the Cold War, Poland was a key ally of the Soviet Union, and as such, the country was governed by a Communist government that was closely aligned with Moscow. After the fall of the Soviet Union, Poland underwent a political transformation and embraced a democratic, pro-Western stance, which has put it at odds with Russia's authoritarian government and its efforts to assert its influence in the region.

Historical grievances have also played a significant role in shaping the relationship between Russia and Poland. Poland has a long history of being invaded and partitioned by neighboring powers, including Russia, and has often been seen as a victim of aggression and expansionism. This has fueled a sense of nationalism and mistrust towards Russia, which is seen by many Poles as a historical enemy.

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