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Russian envoy refuses to attend Polish Foreign Ministry after missile breaches Polish airspace

Despite being summoned, the Russian ambassador to Poland refused to attend a meeting at the Polish Foreign Ministry on March 25, amid demands for explanations following a missile breaching Polish airspace during Russia’s major attack on Ukraine.
Cruise missiles Russian Ukraine
A downed Russian Kh-101 missile. Illustrative photo by Ukraine’s air force
Russian envoy refuses to attend Polish Foreign Ministry after missile breaches Polish airspace

Despite being summoned, Russia’s ambassador to Poland failed to attend the Polish Foreign Ministry in Warsaw on 25 March, as Poland demanded Moscow’s explanation following a missile breaching Polish airspace during Russia’s major missile attack on Ukraine on 24 March.

Early on 24 March, the Polish military tracked a Russian missile that breached the Polish airspace for 39 seconds, but no action was taken:military radar systems tracked it without taking action as it headed back towards Ukraine, according to the military. Poland’s Foreign Ministry summoned the Russian ambassador for explanation.

On 25 March, Russian ambassador to Poland Sergei Andreev did not attend a meeting at the Polish Foreign Ministry, where he was to be handed a note of protest over the violation of Polish airspace by a Russian missile, according to RMF24.

Russia’s state-run RIA Novosti news agency quoted the diplomat as saying that Andreev “considered it pointless to talk on this topic without presenting a proof base, and I refused from the visit to the Polish Foreign Ministry,” he said.

A diplomatic note will be sent by another means, the Polish Foreign Ministry said, as per RMF24.

On 24 March, Poland’s Army Command reported that at 4:23 AM on that day, a maneuvering missile launched by Russia’s long-range aviation breached Polish airspace near the Oserdów locality in the Lubin region, remaining within it for 39 seconds, traveling at nearly 800 km/h and flying at an altitude of 400 meters, according to RMF24. The breach occurred during a massive Russian missile attack against Ukraine.

The Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that it planned to demand explanations from Russia.

The head of Poland’s National Security Bureau, Jacek Siewiera, said he had discussed the violation of Polish airspace after 5 a.m. with Minister of National Defense Wladyslaw Kosiniak-Kamysz.

The allies were also briefed on the course of another incident of violation of the NATO border by combat assets of the Russian Federation,” he said, adding: “All air force systems have been activated.”

Lt-Col Jacek Goryszewski, spokesperson for the Operational Command, stated that radar systems continuously tracked the object, confirming it posed no further threat after briefly breaching Polish airspace.

Defense Minister Kosiniak-Kamysz stated the systems were activated due to the monitoring of Russian missiles flying into Ukrainian territory. The monitoring included more than a dozen rockets heading towards Lviv Oblast. This monitoring also consisted of exchanging information with the Ukrainian side, he elaborated, as per RMF24.

“If there had been any indication that this object was heading toward any target located on the Polish territory, of course, it would have been shot down,” the Defense Ministry chief stressed.

Possibly intentional breach

On 25 March, the Chief of the General Staff of the Polish Army, General Wiesław Kukuła, said that the missile is programmed, and due to the relatively low accuracy of Russian rockets, various scenarios are feasible. He suggested that the Kh-101 missile may have deviated unintentionally from its programmed trajectory.

On the other hand, it should be remembered that these types of targets at the junction of two countries are always a very difficult dilemma to destroy, because the effects of destruction on our side may cause unintended effects on the other side. And the same can happen when Ukraine fires such a missile. Such a missile can fall on Polish territory and cause certain effects. That’s why we, first of all, here today, approach it in such a way that we believe that it was largely an intentional action,” assessed Gen. Kukuła.

Diplomatic steps

Poland intended to demand an explanation from Russia for violating its airspace, announced Foreign Ministry spokesman Pavel Vronsky on 24 March, urging Russia to halt air attacks on Ukraine. Vronsky reiterated Poland’s condemnation of terrorism and territorial revisionism.

As RMF FM’s reporter uncovered, in response to the incident, Poland was going to summon the Russian ambassador and submit a protest note, with Minister Sikorski to consider additional diplomatic steps, affirmed deputy Foreign Ministry spokesman Andrzej Szejna to RMF FM on 24 March.

Not the first Russian missile to violate Polish airspace

The previous breach of Polish airspace by a Russian missile, directed toward Ukraine, occurred on 29 December 2023, also in the Lublin region.

Polish military: Russian missile likely entered Polish airspace

Back then, General Maciej Klisz, the Operational Commander of the Polish Armed Forces, reported that the object spent less than three minutes within Polish airspace and exited promptly. He mentioned an airspace violation of approximately 40 kilometers and confirmed continuous tracking of the missile throughout its trajectory. He clarified that no decision was made regarding the object’s maneuvers and departure from Polish airspace, according to RMF24.

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