Poland says it will demand Russian explanation over airspace breach

Poland said Sunday that it would demand an explanation from Moscow after a Russian cruise missile fired at towns in western Ukraine breached Polish airspace overnight.

Poland said the missile was part of a Russian bombardment of targets in Ukraine as Moscow steps up its attacks on its western neighbor.

“Above all, we ask the Russian Federation to end its terrorist airstrikes against the population and territory of Ukraine, to end the war and to focus on the country’s own internal problems,” foreign ministry spokesman Pawel Wronski said in a statement.

Following a “massive attack” on Ukraine by Russia, Poland activated “all air defense systems, all air force systems”, the country’s Defense Minister Wladyslaw Kosiniak-Kamysz said.

He said that the missile would have been shot down “had there been any indication it was heading for a target on Polish territory”.

The army said the missile, which was travelling at almost 800 kilometers per hour (500 mph) around 400 meters (1,300 feet) above the ground, had crossed about two kilometers over the border into Poland.

“Polish airspace was breached by one of the cruise missiles fired in the night by the air forces… of the Russian Federation,” the army wrote on X.

“The object flew through Polish airspace above the village of Oserdow (Lublin province) and stayed for 39 seconds,” the statement said, adding that it was tracked by military radar throughout its flight.

“The Polish army is constantly monitoring the situation on Ukrainian territory and remains on permanent alert to ensure the security of Polish airspace,” the army said.

A similar incident occurred on December 29, 2023, when a Russian missile penetrated Polish airspace for several minutes before returning to Ukraine.

In November 2022, two people were killed when a Ukrainian air-defense missile fell on the Polish village of Przewodow, close to the Ukrainian border.

Before the missile was identified as Ukrainian, fears were raised that NATO — of which Poland is a member — would be dragged into an escalation of the conflict with Russia if its collective defense provisions were triggered

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