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Ukraine conflict: Russian missile crosses Poland hours after Polish government lowers threat level

Hours after the Polish Ministry of National Defence reduced the heightened air defence of its eastern border by its own (including the F-16 pictured) and allied combat aircraft, a Russian cruise missile violated the country's airspace en route to striking western Ukraine. (Polish MND)

A Russian cruise missile launched against a target in Ukraine briefly violated Polish airspace, hours after the NATO country reported a reduction in the threat level on its eastern border.

The Polish Ministry of National Defence (MND) confirmed the incident in which one of an undisclosed number of Russian cruise missiles fired in the early hours of 24 March crossed into Polish airspace where it flew for less than a minute before striking western Ukraine. This happened less than 48 hours after the ministry declared that it was standing down the increased Polish and allied aerial operations across the eastern border region “due to a reduced level of threat”.

“On 24 March at 0423 h [local time], there was a violation of Polish airspace by one of the cruise missiles launched by the Long-Range Aviation [LRA] of the Russian Federation. The targets of the strikes were towns in western Ukraine. The object entered Polish [air]space near the town of Oserdów (Lublin Voivodeship) and stayed there for 39 seconds. During the entire flight, he was observed by military radar systems. All necessary procedures to ensure the safety of Polish airspace were launched. Among other things, Polish and allied aviation was activated,” the MND said.

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