Russia violates Poland’s airspace while Ukraine hits two large warships in Crimea

The cruise missile entered the Polish airspace for as long as 39 seconds

Holly Evans
Sunday 24 March 2024 20:40 GMT
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Poland has demanded an explanation from Moscow after a Russian cruise missile violated its airspace as it launched an attack on western Ukraine, the Polish armed forces said.

Missiles targeting the Lviv region during the early hours of Sunday morning passed close to the Polish border, with one entering its airspace for as long as 39 seconds.

The violation led to the Polish air force placing their F-16 fighter jets on high alert, with a warning that increased noise levels were expected in the southeastern part of the country.

“On 24 March at 4.23am (3.23am GMT), there was a violation of Polish airspace by one of the cruise missiles launched overnight by long-range aviation of the Russian Federation,” the Polish armed forces said in a post on X/Twitter.

File photo: Poland’s air force placed F-16’s on high alert
File photo: Poland’s air force placed F-16’s on high alert (AFP via Getty)

“The object entered Polish space near the town of Oserdow (Lublin Voivodeship) and stayed there for 39 seconds. During the entire flight, it was observed by military radar systems,” it said, adding that all necessary procedures were launched to ensure the safety of Polish airspace.

“Polish and allied aircraft have been activated, which may result in increased noise levels, especially in the southeastern part of the country.”

Poland’s defence minister Wladyslaw Kosiniak-Kamysz said the missile would have been shot down if there was an indication it was heading towards a target.

The foreign ministry has also said it will demand an explanation from Russia.

The ministry spokesperson said Poland has called on Russia “to stop terrorist air attacks on the inhabitants and territory of Ukraine, end the war and address the country’s internal problems”.

Russia’s missile attack on Ukraine was their third in the past four days, and the second to target the capital, Kyiv.

Police officers inspect a part of a Russian Kh-55 cruise missile, intercepted during a missile strike
Police officers inspect a part of a Russian Kh-55 cruise missile, intercepted during a missile strike (Reuters)

The governor of the Lviv region, Maksym Kozytskyi, said on the Telegram platform that critical infrastructure was hit, while no deaths or injuries were reported. Later, authorities said that rescuers had just put out a fire at a critical infrastructure facility in the Lviv region, which had been attacked with missiles and drones at night and in the morning.

An air raid siren in the capital lasted for over two hours as rockets entered in groups from the north.

Shortly afterwards, the Ukrainian military said that two Russian warships had been hit in attacks on the annexed Crimean peninsula.

“The defence forces of Ukraine successfully hit the Azov and Yamal large landing ships, a communications centre and also several infrastructure facilities of the Russian Black Sea Fleet in temporarily occupied Crimea,” the armed forces said.

Moscow said air defences had shot down more than 10 missiles over the port of Sevastopol during the incident in the early hours.

Putin has tried to pin the blame of Moscow’s terror attack on Ukraine
Putin has tried to pin the blame of Moscow’s terror attack on Ukraine (AP)

Mikhail Razvozhayev, the Russian-installed governor of Sevastopol, said on the Telegram messaging app that a 65-year-old man was killed when three homes were hit by shrapnel.

Meanwhile, the Kremlin continued to peddle claims throughout the weekend that Ukraine had been involved in the Moscow terror attack, which saw 137 innocent civilians killed at a concert venue on Friday evening.

Appearing on TV on Saturday, Putin alleged a link between the gunmen and Ukraine, saying the assailants planned to flee there. He made no mention of the Islamic State group, which claimed responsibility, or of Kyiv’s denial of involvement.

In a video statement, Volodymyr Zelensky angrily rejected the claims, stating: “Instead of taking care of his Russian citizens and addressing them, this duffer Putin remained silent for a day, thinking about how to link this to Ukraine.

“Those hundreds of thousands of Russians who are now killing on Ukrainian soil would certainly be enough to deter any terrorists.”

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