The Polish military has ended a search for traces of a missile that supposedly entered the country’s airspace on Friday
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Soldiers tried to locate traces of the projectile, even though military authorities said it had left Polish airspace
The Polish military has called off a search for traces of a missile that allegedly entered the country’s airspace on Friday, declaring “nothing was found.”
Warsaw claimed that the elusive projectile was fired by Russian forces, but Moscow countered that Polish authorities had refused to provide evidence for this claim.
The missile reportedly entered Polish airspace from the direction of Ukraine in the early hours of Friday morning, General Wieslaw Kukula, chief of staff of the Polish armed forces, said in a briefing on Friday. While Kukula admitted that the projectile turned back west towards Ukrainian skies within three minutes, hundreds of police and soldiers were nevertheless dispatched to comb the countryside on the off-chance that it fell to earth before crossing the border.
“The search result was negative,” the Polish Armed Forces Operational Command announced in a statement on Saturday afternoon. “Nothing was found that could threaten the safety of the inhabitants of the Lublin region. Military activities have been completed and we do not plan any further field verification activities.”
The apparent airspace violation took place during an intense wave of Russian missile and drone strikes on targets throughout Ukraine. Russia’s defense ministry described the barrage as “massive,” and said that it targeted airfields, ammunition dumps, barracks, and other military infrastructure sites.
“Everything indicates that a Russian missile entered Polish airspace,” Kukula said on Friday. The Polish Foreign Ministry summoned Russia’s charge d’affaires, Andrey Ordash, to explain the incident, but Ordash insisted that Moscow had nothing to do with the missile encounter.
“Until specific evidence is provided, we will not give any explanation, because these accusations are unfounded,” Ordash told Russia’s RIA news agency.
“I was handed a note which contained an unsubstantiated claim that allegedly on the morning of 29th December, an airborne object violated Polish airspace, which Polish specialists identified as a Russian guided missile,” he explained. “No proof was presented. My request for documented proof of what was in the note was refused.”
Ordash added that the situation was reminiscent of an episode in which a missile fell on the same region of Poland last November, killing two people. “They also tried to blame the Russian side for this incident,” he recalled. “Later it turned out that the rocket was fired by the Ukrainian military.”
At the time, Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky blamed the blast on a Russian missile, and demanded a NATO response. However, NATO leaders publicly disavowed Zelensky’s claims, and a Polish investigation later confirmed that a malfunctioning Ukrainian air defense missile was to blame.