According to a statement from the Polish Armed Forces Operational Command, Poland scrambled F-16 fighter jets early Tuesday morning to “ensure the security of Polish airspace” amid “intense long-range air activity by the Russian Federation connected with carrying out strikes on the territory of Ukraine.”
At least four people were killed and 92 injured in the attack that targeted Ukraine’s largest cities, Kyiv and Kharkiv as Ukraine awaits its first F-16 fighter jets that the USA greenlighted after much adieu.
The 2 January attack came on the heels of a similar strike four days earlier, where a Russian missile entered Polish airspace to hit the Ukrainian city of Lviv. Polish officials confirmed that Russian missiles were indeed detected in their sky; however, they decided not to escalate.
The statement said that around 5:45 AM local time, “a pair of fighter jets stationed at the Lask base took off, and around 6:15 AM a pair from the Krzesiny base took off.” Additionally, an allied refueling tanker was activated.
The Polish Armed Forces Operational Command warned that “the activity of Polish and allied aviation in our airspace may be associated with an increased level of noise, especially in the eastern part of the country.”
This latest Polish fighter jet scramble comes as Russia carried out another major wave of missile and drone strikes across Ukraine on Tuesday morning, striking critical infrastructure in Kyiv and other cities. The intensity of Russia’s latest air offensive seemingly triggered Poland’s move to boost air defenses along its border.