Polish contractors have begun work on a new 353 million euro wall along the Belarus border aimed at deterring refugee crossings following a crisis in the area last year.
The 5.5-metre-high wall will run along 186km (115 miles) of the border – almost half the total length – and is to be completed in June.
The construction has raised human rights concerns over how refugees will be able to seek asylum as well as environmental worries about the effect on wildlife along the mostly forested border.
“Our intention is for the damage to be as small as possible,” border guard spokeswoman Anna Michalska told Poland’s PAP news agency on Tuesday.
“Tree felling will be limited to the minimum required. The wall itself will be built along the border road,” she said, adding that contractors will only make use of existing roads.