So far, Kiev has erected 3km of heavy concrete fencing
Kiev has begun fortifying its border with Belarus, President Vladimir Zelensky’s deputy chief of staff, Kirill Timoshenko, announced on Friday. The reinforced concrete barrier, earthworks, and other sections are currently being erected in the western regions of Volin, Rovno, and Zhitomir.
“About 3km of the border has already been arranged, the work is ongoing. This is not all, but we will not reveal the details,” Timoshenko wrote on his Telegram channel.
Since the border between the two countries stretches for over 1000km, the barrier covers only a tiny fraction of it. A vast part of the border runs over rough terrain, such as bogs and rivers, and building a wall along the entire distance is likely not necessary.
Plans for construction began circulating in Ukraine last year, with officials in Kiev citing illegal migration and the presence of Russian troops in the neighboring country. Kiev has repeatedly accused Minsk of being a party to the conflict with Moscow, as it provided logistical support to Russia and hosted its troops. Belarus has rejected the accusations.
Last December, the chairman of the Ukrainian parliament, Ruslan Stefanchuk, said the cost of the wall was estimated at about 17 billion hryvnia (over $622 million at the time).
The endeavor echoes an attempt by Ukraine to reinforce its border with Russia, which began in 2015 and effectively ended with the start of the ongoing conflict. The project, commonly known as the ‘Yatseniuk Wall’ after then-PM Arseny Yatseniuk, was plagued by allegations of widespread corruption in the media.