Russian ambassador ignores Polish summons over missile incident

Russia’s ambassador to Warsaw, Sergei Andreyev, has ignored a summons by Poland’s foreign ministry to explain an incident on Sunday in which a Russian missile entered Polish airspace from Ukraine.

“The ambassador of the Russian Federation in Poland, Sergei Andreyev, did not come to the foreign ministry today to explain the incident with the Russian cruise missile that violated Polish airspace on 24 March,” announced the ministry’s spokesman, Paweł Wroński, on Monday afternoon.

“The Vienna Convention clearly describes the duties of an ambassador in the receiving country,” he added. “We are wondering whether the ambassador follows the instructions of the foreign ministry in Moscow and whether he is able to properly represent the interests of the Russian Federation in Warsaw.”

#PILNE | Rzecznik MSZ: ambasador Rosji nie przybył, by wyjaśnić incydent z pociskiem.


— tvn24 (@tvn24) March 25, 2024

Andreyev himself confirmed he had not visited the ministry, saying that Poland had not provided any evidence of the missile violating Polish airspace, reports Reuters, citing Russian state news agency Novosti.

Wroński noted that the ministry would send a diplomatic note to Russia formally requesting clarification regarding the incident, which happened on Sunday morning amid the Russian bombardment of western Ukraine.

Operational command of Poland’s armed forces has confirmed that the missile entered Polish airspace near the village of Oserdów, which sits on the border with Ukraine, at 4:23 a.m. local time. It remained above Polish territory for 39 seconds before crossing the border back into Ukraine.

The spokesman for operational command, Lieutenant Colonel Jacek Goryszewski, noted that they had tracked the missile “the whole time” but chose not to attempt to shoot it down as that “would involve greater risk”.

Defence minister Władysław Kosiniak-Kamysz clarified that, “if there was any indication that this object was heading towards any target located on the territory of Poland, it would of course be shot down”.

In December, another missile entered and then left Polish airspace during Russian attacks on Ukraine. Earlier in the year, a grounded Russian missile was found on Polish territory, having lain there undiscovered for over four months.

In November 2022, a missile crossed the border from Ukraine and landed in Poland, causing the deaths of two people. Initially thought to be a Russian missile, it was later discovered to have been fired by Ukrainian air defence in response to a Russian attack.

A Russian missile entered Polish airspace this morning before going back over the border into Ukraine.

Poland’s government has condemned Russia’s „terrorist air attacks” on Ukraine and demanded an explanation for the violation of Polish airspace

— Notes from Poland 🇵🇱 (@notesfrompoland) March 24, 2024

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Main image credit: Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation/Wikimedia Commons (under CC BY 4.0)

Daniel Tilles is editor-in-chief of Notes from Poland. He has written on Polish affairs for a wide range of publications, including Foreign PolicyPOLITICO EuropeEUobserver and Dziennik Gazeta Prawna.

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