Everything indicates that a Russian missile entered the Polish airspace, said a Polish general after an emergency security meeting with the president and defence minister, confirming earlier reports. The information still needs to be verified, the general underlined.
The missile flew for around 40 kilometres and probably left Polish airspace without touching the ground. The event took place in south-eastern Poland, near the Ukrainian border, not far away from the place where a missile exploded last year, killing two people.
“Everything points to the fact that a Russian missile invaded Polish airspace…It was tracked by our radars. It has left the [Polish] air space,” said the Polish Army’s chief of staff, general Wiesław Kukuła.
– Wszystko wskazuje na to, że rakieta rosyjska wtargnęła w polską przestrzeń powietrzną – potwierdził w piątek po pilnej naradzie w Biurze Bezpieczeństwa Narodowego Szefem Sztabu Generalnego Wojska Polskiego gen. Wiesław Kukułahttps://t.co/Pv66ydRSNq
— Gazeta.pl (@gazetapl_news) December 29, 2023
“On the other hand, it is just a technology that we approach with a certain level of scepticism. We decided to verify it on the ground. We directed groups to verify the flight path,” said Kukuła, adding that last night was “a difficult night” for Ukrainians fighting against Russia.
When the missile appeared over Polish territory, aircraft were directed to intercept it. However, it managed to leave Polish airspace before they could do that, said Polish authorities. The missile stayed in the Polish airspace for approximately 3 minutes and flew for 40 kilometres across the Lublin province.
Several dozen of soldiers are conducting now ground searches in the village of Sosnowa-Dębowa, reported Lieutenant Colonel Jacek Goryszewski, head of the press department of the Armed Forces Operational Command, in an interview with TVN24.
Polish President Andrzej Duda briefed NATO chief, Jens Stoltenberg, about the missile incident in a phone call this afternoon.
“NATO stands in solidarity with our valued Ally, is monitoring the situation & we will remain in contact as the facts are established. NATO remains vigilant,” said Stoltenberg on social media following the phone call.
Poland’s president has just spoken to NATO secretary general about a “violation of Polish air space”. Earlier the chief of the general staff of the Polish army said a Russian rocket had entered Polish air space and then left it in the early hours of the morning.
— Stanley Bill (@StanleySBill) December 29, 2023
The defence minister, Władysław Kosiniak-Kamysz, who also attended the emergency security meeting with the president, assured that the coordination and cooperation between the government, military and allied forces was “good”.
“All the actions that were taken were taken in accordance with the procedure for such situations. Both Polish and allied systems worked. We are in constant contact with allies,” he said.
Before the meeting, President Duda had noted that “we are living in dangerous times” and that the security situation had “not improved” over the past year since the missile explosion in Przewodów near the Ukrainian border that killed two people.
The news that an “unidentified aerial object” had flown into Polish territory was first reported before 11 a.m. on social media by the operational command of the Polish army.
Anonymous US and Polish officials say that a Russian missile – or parts of a shot-down missile – crossed into Poland over the border from Ukraine, causing an explosion that killed two people
There has been no official confirmation and we will post updates https://t.co/BedMvHqtQj
— Notes from Poland 🇵🇱 (@notesfrompoland) November 15, 2022
Alicja Ptak is senior editor at Notes from Poland and a multimedia journalist. She previously worked for Reuters.