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Poland to build watchtowers in Kaliningrad

April 7, 2015

Poland's border police have announced plans to build six watchtowers along its border with Kaliningrad. The move comes after Moscow said it will position state-of-the-art Iskander missiles in the Russian enclave.

Russian Iskander missile
Image: Getty Images/AFP

According to Poland's border police spokeswoman, Miroslawa Aleksandrowicz, the six 50-meter-high (164 feet) towers will be used for round-the-clock surveillance of the 200-kilometer (125-mile) border between Poland and Kaliningrad which lies on the Baltic Sea.

EU funds are set to finance 75 percent of the building costs of the watchtowers, which are estimated at more than 14 million zloty (3.7 million euros).

Heightened unrest

The decision to build the towers comes amid growing tensions between Russia and the West over the ongoing conflict in eastern Ukraine, with many fearing further Russian expansion into Baltic states which, up until just a quarter of a century ago, laid behind the Iron Curtain.

President of neighboring Lithuania, Dalia Grybauskaite, said last month that Russia had sent nuclear-capable Iskander missiles (pictured above) into Kaliningrad, which could "reach even Berlin."

In February, Lithuania also announced that it was considering reintroducing limited conscription amid concerns over Russia's increased military exercises near to NATO Baltic states.

Ukraine conflict

Eastern Ukraine has been locked in a civil war since Russia annexed Crimea following a referendum on March 16, 2014. Fighting between government troops and separatists has killed more than 6,000 people since last April.

Speaking on Russian state TV last month, Russian President VladimirPutin admitted he had considered putting nuclear forces on alert to ensure the annexation.

ksb/jil (AFP, AP)