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Polish military official: Russian missile likely entered Polish airspace during mass attack on Ukraine

by Dinara Khalilova and The Kyiv Independent news desk December 29, 2023 5:15 PM 3 min read
Polish President Andrzej Duda convenes an emergency meeting of the National Security Council on Dec. 29, 2023. (Kancelaria Prezydenta / X)
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The aerial object that entered Polish airspace amid Russia's mass attack against Ukraine in the early morning of Dec. 29 was likely a Russian missile, Wieslaw Kukula, chief of the general staff of the Polish armed forces, said at a press conference.

"Everything indicates that a Russian missile has entered Polish airspace," Kukula told reporters, as cited by the Polish media outlet RMF24. "We have national and allied radar confirmation of this."

"On the other hand, it is only a technique, we approach it with some distance, so we decided to (verify) it also on the ground. We have sent groups to verify the confirmed missile flight path to see if there was any technical error," Kukula added.

According to General Maciej Klisz, operational commander of the Polish military, the missile likely spent less than three minutes in the country's airspace and then went back over Ukraine.

"The entire flight path over Polish territory was being monitored," Klisz said at the press conference, as cited by Reuters. "At the moment, the scenario that I am recommending is that the missile left Poland's airspace."

Russia carried out a mass attack on Ukraine early on Dec. 29, launching 158 attack drones and missiles at cities across the country, according to the Ukrainian military.

Russia launches 158 drones, missiles at Ukraine, deaths reported in Kyiv, Lviv, Dnipro, Kharkiv, Odesa
Local authorities have reported civilian casualties in Kyiv, Lviv, Dnipro, Kharkiv, and Odesa after Russia unleashed a barrage of attack drones and missiles overnight, targeting regions across Ukraine on Dec. 29.

During the attack, the Polish army's Operational Command recorded an unidentified object entering Poland's airspace. The incident prompted Polish President Andrzej Duda to convene an emergency meeting of the National Security Council.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said he's discussed the incident with Duda.

"NATO stands in solidarity with our valued Ally, is monitoring the situation and we will remain in contact as the facts are established. NATO remains vigilant," Stoltenberg wrote on X (formerly Twitter).

According to RMF24, witnesses saw the object "moving at great speed" above the village of Dolhobyczow in Lublin Voivodeship, which is less than 5 kilometers from the Ukrainian border.

Dolhobyczow lies 12 kilometers north of the village of Przewodow, where two people were killed in November 2022 when a stray Ukrainian anti-air missile hit a grain storage facility.

Polish investigators concluded in September 2023 that Ukrainian air defense launched two S-300 missiles with a range of 75-90 kilometers in an effort to intercept a massive Russian missile strike.

US ambassador: Ukraine urgently needs funding after massive Russian attack
“Ukraine needs funding now to continue to fight for freedom,” U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Bridget Brink said in a social media post on Dec. 29, following a massive wave of Russian strikes on Ukrainian cities.
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