- By Adam Easton
- BBC News, Warsaw
The head of the Polish Armed Forces believes that a Russian missile entered Poland for almost three minutes and then returned to Ukrainian airspace.
Gen. Wieslaw Kukula said the missile traveled about 40 km (25 miles) through Polish airspace early Friday.
The alert coincided with what Ukraine called the biggest day of Russian airstrikes since its war began.
President Andrzej Duda called an emergency security meeting after the object was detected by radar.
Around 200 police officers searched the area where the object was detected, in case the missile landed on Polish territory.
Poland is a member of the NATO alliance, and Polish and allied planes took off in response to the incident around 7 a.m. (0600 GMT) on Friday. No explosions were reported.
Spokesman for the operational command, Lieutenant Colonel Jacek Goryszewski, said that an unidentified object entered Poland from Ukraine near the town of Zamosc in the Lublin region, southeast of the Poland, not far from the border.
He told private TV channel TVN24 that the event could be linked to Russian missile and drone attacks on some of Ukraine’s biggest cities.
At least 18 people were killed in the attacks that targeted Lviv, the closest Ukrainian city to the Lublin region, as well as Dnipro, kyiv and other towns.
Unconfirmed information indicates that a search was underway near the town of Hrubieszow.
Polish military expert Cmdr Maksymilian Dura told TVN24 that it was premature to conclude that it was a Russian missile because it had not been found and that simply because the contact had been lost, he could not be certain that he had left Polish airspace.
Krzysztof Komorski, president of the Lublin voivodeship (the equivalent of a province or region) wrote on social media: “Please be calm and patient, services are working.”
Since the Russian invasion and the war against Ukraine, three missiles have entered Poland.
In November 2022, two Polish farmers were killed by a missile that fell in the village of Przewodow, near the Ukrainian border. It was reportedly fired by Ukrainian air defense forces to repel a Russian missile attack.
In a harmless but more embarrassing incident in December last year, an object suspected to be an unarmed Russian Kh-55 cruise missile was fired from Belarus and crossed around 500 km of Polish territory before to land in a forest.
The object, which was detected at the time by Polish air defense, was only found in April this year by a passerby not far from the city of Bydgoszcz in central Poland.
Another unidentified object entering Polish airspace this year from Belarus was likely an observation balloon. Radar contact with it was lost near Rypin, central Poland.
Both sides of the Polish political scene took advantage of the latest event to score points.
Poland’s new Defense Minister, Wladyslaw Kosiniak-Kamysz, stressed in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter, that security forces “acted immediately” following the latest incident, reassuring Poles: ” State acts! “.
His predecessor, Mariusz Blaszczak, of the right-wing Law and Justice-led government that lost power in October’s elections and was defense minister during the two previous events, responded: “We don’t know what’s going on.” has moved into the field of Defense. Tomaszow Lubelski. We don’t know if anyone was injured. We don’t know why the air defense systems didn’t work. Is the State acting?”
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