Poland activates aircraft after Russian missile incursion during wave of attacks on Ukraine

A Russian long-range cruise missile heading for western Ukraine briefly entered Polish territory overnight, prompting the country’s armed forces to launch “all necessary procedures” to protect its airspace, including activating Polish and allied aviation.

The incident came as Russia launched a punishing wave of missile and drone strikes on Ukraine. On Friday, Russia attacked power facilities throughout Ukraine, triggering outages and killing at least three people.

The missile, moving at a speed of almost 500 miles per hour, was in Polish airspace for 39 seconds at 4:23 a.m. (11:23 p.m. ET Saturday), going about a mile into the country, the country’s military said.

Even a mistaken Russian missile incursion into the airspace of NATO-member Poland runs the risk of escalating and widening the war next door.

On Sunday, Poland’s Foreign Affairs Ministry promised it would “demand explanations from Russia in connection with another violation of the country’s airspace.”

“Above all, we call on the Russian Federation to stop terrorist air attacks on the inhabitants and territory of Ukraine,” the ministry said in a statement on X.

The last time something like this happened, in December 2023, Poland summoned the Russian charge d’affaires, demanding an explanation.

Earlier, Ukrainian news outlets reported on Telegram that during a major attack on Lviv, Russian missiles were flying close to the border with Poland.

“Polish and allied aircraft have been activated, which may result in increased noise levels, especially in the south-eastern part of the country,” Poland’s armed forces said on X.

Ukrainian servicemen drive to a combat duty in the Kyiv region on Thursday. GENYA SAVILOV / AFP – Getty Images

Russia has been pounding Ukraine for days in attacks portrayed by Moscow as revenge for Ukrainian attacks during its recent presidential election.

“For the third pre-dawn morning this week, all of Ukraine is under an air alert and has been advised to seek shelter,” U.S. Ambassador Bridget Brink posted on X early Sunday. “Russia continues to indiscriminately launch drones and missiles with no regard for millions of civilians, violating international law.”

Ukrainian armed forces said 29 cruise missiles and 28 Iranian “Shahed” drones were involved in the attacks overnight. Of those, Ukraine downed 18 cruise missiles and 25 drones, according to the Ukrainian Air Force.

Russian officials did not immediately comment on the events overnight.

Lviv Mayor Andriy Sadovyi said on Telegram there were no attacks on the city but some 20 missiles and seven attack drones had been launched against the broader Lviv region, targeting “critical infrastructure.”

Several blasts were heard in Kyiv after its defense systems repelled strikes, according to Vitali Klitschko, the city’s mayor.

Ukraine air defense forces destroyed about a dozen of Russia-launched missiles over Kyiv and in the vicinity of the capital, Serhiy Popko, head of Kyiv’s military administration, said on the Telegram.

Preliminary information showed no casualties or major damage as a result of the attacks, he said.

Separately, the Ukrainian military said it had hit two Russian landing ships during strikes on the annexed Crimean peninsula.