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Russian missile briefly enters Polish airspace during massive missile attack on Ukraine

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A Russian missile bound for Ukraine crossed through Polish airspace early Sunday, sending NATO F-16 fighter jets scrambling and sparking the Polish government to demand answers.

The Armed Forces Operational Command of Poland said a cruise missile crossed into its airspace at about 4:40 a.m. on Sunday near the village of Oserdów, on the Ukrainian border. The Polish military said it was over the country’s airspace for about 39 seconds before entering Ukraine.

Poland’s Defense Minister Władysław Kosiniak-Kamysz later said that the Russian missile would have been shot down had there been any indication that it was heading towards a target in Poland, The Associated Press reported.

The missile attack is the third in four days against Ukraine as Russia ramps up strikes across the country.

“As last night’s rocket attack on Ukraine was one of the most intense since the beginning of the Russian aggression, all the strategic procedures were launched on time and the object was monitored until it left the Polish air space,” Kosiniak-Kamysz said.

The Polish Foreign Ministry said in a statement that it would “demand explanations from the Russian Federation in connection with another violation of the country’s airspace.”

“Above all, we call on the Russian Federation to stop the terrorist air attacks on the inhabitants and territory of Ukraine, end the war, and address the country’s internal problems,” the ministry said.

Russian missiles have violated Polish airspace numerous times since the onset of the war in early 2022. Two Poles were killed in 2022 when a Ukrainian air defense missile went off-target and landed in the country, sparking criticism against Russia for making Ukraine act in self-defense.

The war has ground to a standstill over much of the front, with Ukrainian leaders continuing pushes for additional financial and military aid from Western allies, including Congress.

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