Poland says a Russian missile participating in this morning’s massive air strike on Ukraine spent three minutes in Polish, and hence NATO, airspace.
A missile entered NATO airspace on Friday morning at around 0700 (0000 EST), the Polish military says. While initially said to have been a missile of unknown origin and a search for a downed aircraft was launched, Poland now says it has confirmed with its own observations and data from allied militaries that the object was, in fact, a Russian missile.
Polsat reports the remarks of General Wiesław Kukuła who said Ukraine had suffered “a difficult night” of a saturation attack by Russian forces against its air defences, attempting to overwhelm them with drones before pressing on with a missile followup. Polish air defences tracked these attacks over Ukraine, he said, and “One of these rockets crossed the Polish border and then left it.”
Pictures: Russia Launches Biggest Air Raid of the Year With 122 Missiles and 36 Drones, Says Ukraine https://t.co/kBB0FSj0bH
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Combat aircraft were scrambled to protect Polish airspace, he said, and Major General Maciej Klisz further remarked that Poland’s operational command had experienced “a busy nice… a busy night for all elements of Poland’s air defence.”
Poland says the missile crossed into its territory east of Zamosc, near Lublin, and spent three minutes in Polish airspace, crossing 40 kilometres (25 miles), an indicated airspeed of 500 miles per hour. It is possible a missile launched from Belarus around the ancient city of Brest towards Lviv in Ukraine (Lwów) would pass through Poland in the area described, for the distance described as the Polish border continues slightly further east in this area.
Polish armed forces’ Lieutenant Colonel Jacek Goryszewski said “to ensure the safety of our airspace… the combat readiness of our air defence assets, as well as the [on-duty] pair of jet fighters have been increased”, it was reported.
The intrusion of a Russian missile into NATO airspace has caused concern in Poland, which is already well aware of its proximity to the conflict. Other missiles from the conflict have already landed in Poland, apparently by mistake, including a Russian missile and a lost Ukrainian anti-air missile.
Romania, which also borders Ukraine and a NATO member, has also experienced overspill from Russia’s strikes, with Romanian soldiers stationed on the Vistula river so close to Russian raids they were able to record falling bombs exploding hundreds of yards away on their cell phones. There have been several incidents of debris from drones falling on Romanian territory, and several border villages have had bomb shelters installed by the Romanian military this year to protect residents in case of further intrusions.