Poland watchtowers Kaliningrad Russia military Nato
Poland is to build watchtowers along its border with the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad Reuters

Poland is to erect watchtowers along its border with the highly militarised Russian enclave of Kaliningrad amid heightening regional tensions, it has been reported.

Six observation turrets as high 50m (164ft) high will be built along the 200km (125 mile) border, Polish border guards spokeswoman Miroslawa Aleksandrowicz told local news agency PAP.

Aleksandrowicz said the project will cost about 14m zlotys (£2.5m $3.8m), with the EU contributing 75% of the funds. The towers are expected to be fully operational by June, she said.

A small territory squeezed between Lithuania and Poland, Kaliningrad is home to the Russian Baltic fleet. Warsaw's move comes amid reports of a Russian military build-up in the region, with Poland and the Baltic States lamenting an increase in Russian provocations.

The four states, which are all EU and Nato members and home to Russian ethnic minorities, fear they will be the next target of destabilising actions like those the Kremlin used in Crimea and eastern Ukraine.

Last week, Lithuania's foreign minister said Russia has been pouring "all sorts of weapons" into Kaliningrad in recent weeks, citing in particular the deployment of aviation weaponry and short-range Iskander ballistic missiles.

In an interview with IBTimes UK, Linas Linkevičius said his government was "quite concerned about this concentration of armaments" at a time when it was already facing an information war with Moscow and witnessing the first signs of a possible cyber-conflict.

Linkevičius also said that Russian war planes flying from Kaliningrad to St Petersburg have been increasingly shifting their routes from the sea towards Lithuania's overland airspace, triggering a record number of intercepted flights.

"We have had to activate our air policing capabilities, using Alpha Scrambles up to eight times a week, which has never happened before," Linkevičius said, adding that Russian sea troops had also engaged in "intense" activities adding to the existing tensions.

The minister spoke after it was revealed that the Kremlin warned the US it is ready to use nuclear weapons to enforce its claims on Crimea and Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia.