Soldados británicos darán más apoyo a Polonia en medio de la crisis fronteriza de Bielorrusia

A hundred British military engineers are to provide practical support to help Poland tighten up its eastern border with Belarus, where thousands of migrants had been attempting to cross in often freezing temperatures.

The plan was confirmed by the defence secretary, Ben Wallace, on a visit to Warsaw, in which he said Belarus was making a “conscious attempt” to destabilise Poland and all of Europe by encouraging migrants to the border.

“The best way to respond is to work together hand in hand, not only within Nato, but simply as good friends and partners,” Wallace said, and accused Belarus’s president, Alexander Lukashenko, of a “disgusting attempt to use people as a weapon”.

A small team of British soldiers completed a study visit on Thursday and are working up detailed plans to strengthen the border fence, which has been repeatedly breached by migrants from the Middle East, desperate to reach the EU. Once the plans are finalised, work is expected to start later this month, Polonia dicho.

The minister was speaking at a press conference with his counterpart Mariusz Błaszczak, who said “the support of British soldiers” would help ensure that “no one who tries to cross the border illegally will be able to do it”.

Belarus appeared to be trying to ease political tensions by removing its hastily constructed migrant camps at the border, although that could prompt people previously located there to disperse without shelter. Thirteen people have already died during the crisis, mostly from exposure, including a one-year-old Syrian boy whose family had made it across to Poland.

Aid agencies have criticised the UK for focusing on border security rather than providing humanitarian assistance, in an agreement that also cements ties between two countries who have been involved in their own disputes with the EU.

Poland has also refused to accept help from Frontex, the EU’s own border agency, preferring to declare a state of emergency and reach a wider military agreement aimed at better securing itself against its eastern neighbours.

Warsaw said it was intending to buy British-made missiles and jointly develop air defence system intended to counter Russia. The deal is likely to be worth around £3bn to manufacturers based in the UK, including missile maker MBDA.

It is the second arms deal that the UK has discussed in a week. On Tuesday it was confirmed that the UK would provide £1.7bn in loans to Ukraine so Kyiv can boost its naval capability in the Black Sea by buying two minesweepers from British supplier Babcock, and jointly build a frigate and eight other missile-bearing ships.

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