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Russia’s Poland envoy ignores summons over missile incursion

Russian ambassador in Poland ignores summons over missile incursion
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Poland’s foreign ministry on Monday said that the Russian ambassador in Warsaw failed to show up for a diplomatic summons issued after a Russian missile breached Polish airspace over the weekend.

The ambassador, Sergey Andreyev, told Russia’s RIA Novosti news agency that he was waiting for proof and that “it made no sense to discuss this topic without” it.

Poland on Sunday said that a Russian cruise missile fired at towns in western Ukraine breached Polish airspace overnight for 39 seconds.

The missile, which was travelling at almost 800 kilometres per hour (500 mph) around 400 metres (1,300 feet) above the ground, had crossed about two kilometres over the border into Poland, the army said.

Defence Minister Wladyslaw Kosiniak-Kamysz said Poland activated all air defence systems, and the missile would have been shot down “had there been any indication it was heading for a target on Polish territory”.

In response, the foreign ministry on Sunday said Russia’s envoy would be summoned for “explanations”, urging Russia “to end its terrorist airstrikes against the population and territory of Ukraine, to end the war and to focus on the country’s own internal problems”.

But ministry spokesman Pawel Wronski told reporters that the “ambassador… did not appear at the foreign ministry today in order to explain the incident with the Russian cruise missile”.

He added that the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations clearly specifies the duties of an ambassador in a host country.

“We are wondering whether the ambassador is carrying out the instructions of the foreign ministry in Moscow and if he is able to properly represent Russia’s interests in Warsaw,” he said.

“A diplomatic note from the Polish foreign ministry demanding an explanation of the breach of Polish airspace will be transmitted another way to the Russian foreign ministry.”

Poland later said that Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski had spoken to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg about the missile incursion.

Sikorski emphasised that this was further evidence that Russia, “which is continuing its unjustified and brutal aggression against Ukraine, also threatens the security of NATO member states”, the foreign ministry said in a statement.

Andreyev said that he chose to ignore the summons.

“I asked in response whether the Polish side intended to provide us with any evidence of these allegations,” he told RIA Novosti.

“I did not receive a clear answer,” he said.

Andreyev also claimed that Russia was still waiting for evidence that in December another Russian cruise missile had similarly penetrated Polish airspace before returning to Ukraine.

“We have not yet received any evidence of these claims,” he said.

“I felt that it made no sense to discuss this topic without any provision of proof, and I refused to visit the Polish foreign ministry.”

Asked about Andreyev’s remarks, Warsaw said it had nothing to add.

“Please note that the announcement referred to the Vienna Convention and the ambassador’s duties, and not what he recognises or does not recognise,” Wronski told the Polish news agency PAP.

Warsaw has been a staunch supporter of Ukraine since Russia invaded its neighbour in February 2022, urging other Western allies to provide Kyiv with ammunition and equipment to fend off the attacks.

Poland is also among neighbours most directly exposed to the conflict: In November 2022, two people were killed when a Ukrainian air-defence missile fell on the Polish village of Przewodow, close to the Ukrainian border.

Before the missile was identified as Ukrainian, the incident prompted alarm that NATO — of which Poland is a member — could be dragged into a broader confrontation with Moscow.

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Agence France-Presse (AFP) is a French international news agency headquartered in Paris, France. Founded in 1835 as Havas, it is the world's oldest news agency.

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