War in Ukraine: long walls of barbed wire for war refugees

The war in Ukraine is leading to another “Iron Curtain” in Europe: several countries are building a kilometer-long wall of barbed wire.


the essentials in a nutshell

  • Russia and Belarus are trying to weaken the EU with a migration wave.
  • In response, countries near the border are strengthening their border security.
  • They are building walls of barbed wire – the media is talking about a new “iron curtain”.

Long before the war in Ukraine, Russia strategically unleashed waves of refugees to weaken its adversaries. The Kremlin is applying this strategy even now: millions of people have fled Ukraine and Russia since the start of the war.

During the refugee crisis of 2015 and 2016, Poland built kilometers of walls and barbed wire fences as defenses.

Now, as the situation worsens again, countries are building new fences — for example, along the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad. By 2025, the new barrier should reach a length of 3,390 kilometers.

Barriers are to be built expressly to stop refugees. Neither missiles nor tanks can stop them.

Finland and the Baltic states have fortified their borders in the war in Ukraine

According to Polish security official Stanislaw Zaryn, the border wall cannot stop everyone from crossing the border illegally.

But: “It allows our armed forces to act quickly and more effectively.” In addition, fewer employees are needed.

Other countries are now planning similar measures: Finland, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia also want to capture the wave of refugees with walls and barbed wire.

Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin plans to fortify parts of the roughly 1,340-kilometer border with Russia.

According to her, this increased border security is to protect the country from a migration wave organized by the Kremlin. Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia want to follow Marin’s example.

Expert warns against walls in the war in Ukraine

The British “Daily Mail” talks about a new “iron curtain” as in the last century during the Cold War. At the time, Soviet soldiers in East Berlin built a barbed wire wall right across the city.

London geopolitics professor Klaus Dodds told the paper: “Unfortunately, a ‘barbed wire curtain’ is now becoming a reality for much of Europe.”

Are walls a good solution to contain refugee waves?

The expert sees the development critically. While he understands plans to build walls, he warns that they rarely work as intended.

Moreover, they would often force migrants to take even more dangerous journeys. Building walls and fences like this “removes empathy and compassion from our society,” Dodds says.

More on the topic:

Refugee crisis Kremlin Ukraine War war

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