Incidents with Russian missiles in Polish airspace threaten wider war – President Duda

Friday, 26 April 2024

Polish President Andrzej Duda has said that incidents involving Russian missiles flying in the airspace of NATO member states threaten to spark a wider war.

The most recent incident involving a Russian missile flying over Polish territory occurred on 24 March, when a Russian cruise missile aimed at Ukraine’s west entered Polish airspace for 39 seconds.

"We have no doubt whatsoever that these are Russian provocations, and we have no doubts that it is a Russian provocation when there is a missile entering our airspace, then it turns around and it goes into Ukraine," Duda said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal.

Although NATO forces have not yet attempted to intercept Russian missiles, Duda expressed concern that such actions could lead to a strike on Polish territory, infrastructure damage or human casualties.


"That is the most dangerous situation that we could imagine today, because that is a situation in which we could say that Russia has started a war [against Poland]," Duda noted.

He said that shooting down a missile over Polish airspace could result in casualties from the debris, but that NATO members are also wary of shooting down Russian missiles over Ukraine, which they believe would mean direct intervention in a conflict that allies avoid.

Duda declined to say how Poland would react if a Russian missile did cause casualties in Poland, or whether he would try to invoke NATO's collective defence agreement.

"I believe that we should try to avoid a situation in which Russia could say that it was provoked by NATO. So far it is Russia which has been provoking and everybody can see that," he stressed.

At 04:23 on the morning of 24 March, a Russian missile violated Polish airspace during a Russian missile attack on Ukraine. The missile reportedly entered Polish airspace near the village of Osierdów in the Lublin Voivodeship. It was there for 39 seconds.

Poland informed its NATO allies of the incident and stated that it would demand explanations from Russia.

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