Poland’s top military official, Gen Wieslaw Kukula, asserts that a Russian missile penetrated Polish airspace for nearly three minutes before retracing its path into Ukrainian territory.
The missile’s trajectory covered approximately 40km (25 miles) within Polish airspace in the early hours of Friday, coinciding with what Ukraine termed as Russia’s most extensive day of air strikes since the onset of the war.
Responding to the radar detection, President Andrzej Duda promptly convened an emergency security meeting. Around 07:00 (06:00 GMT) on Friday, Polish and Allied aircraft were swiftly deployed, scrambling in reaction to the incident. Despite the heightened alert, there have been no reports of an explosion.
Operational Command spokesman Lt Col Jacek Goryszewski disclosed that an unidentified object breached Poland’s borders from Ukraine near the town of Zamosc, situated in the Lublin region of southeastern Poland. The event’s connection to Russia’s missile and drone assault on major Ukrainian cities is under consideration.
The Polish military initiated a comprehensive search in the vicinity of the object’s detection to ensure it did not land on Polish soil. Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg affirmed the alliance’s solidarity with Poland and maintained a vigilant stance.
An unverified report indicated ongoing searches near the town of Hrubieszow. Polish military expert Cmdr Maksymilian Dura cautioned against prematurely concluding the object as a Russian missile, emphasizing the need for confirmation before leaving Polish airspace assumptions.
Krzysztof Komorski, president of the Lublin Voivodship, urged calm and patience on social media, assuring citizens that services were actively addressing the situation.
This incident marks the third occurrence of missiles entering Poland since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. In November 2022, two Polish farmers lost their lives to a missile in Przewodow, near the Ukrainian border. The missile was presumed to be from Ukrainian air defense forces countering a Russian attack.
In December of the previous year, an unarmed Russian Kh-55 cruise missile, fired from Belarus, traversed 500km of Polish territory before landing harmlessly in a forest. The object’s discovery in April near Bydgoszcz highlighted the gap between detection and recovery.
Poland’s political landscape exploited the incident for leverage. Defense Minister Wladyslaw Kosiniak-Kamysz emphasized the immediate action of security forces, while his predecessor, Mariusz Blaszczak, questioned the state’s efficacy, citing uncertainty regarding the incident in Tomaszow Lubelski.