MOD chief: operational command failed to inform govt about an "approaching object"
Poland's Defence Minister Mariusz Błaszczak said on Thursday that the army was aware of a possible missile heading towards the country in December but failed to inform the government.
Poland has been on alert for possible spillover of weaponry from the war in neighbouring Ukraine, especially since two people were killed near the border last November by what Warsaw concluded was a misfired Ukrainian air defence missile.
Polish media have reported in recent days that a military object found in a forest in northern Poland in April was a Russian KH-55 missile, and that Polish services had seen an object entering the country's airspace in December but then lost track of it.
Defence Minister Mariusz Błaszczak said an inspection he requested after the object was found showed that Armed Forces Operational Command had received information from Ukraine about a possible missile heading towards Poland, but failed to take appropriate action.
"It was established that on December 16, the air operations centre subordinate to the operational commander received information from the Ukrainian side about an object approaching Polish space, which may be a missile," Błaszczak said.
"According to the findings of the inspection, the operational commander failed to perform his duties of informing me ... and other services provided for in the procedures about the object that appeared in Polish airspace."
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki reiterated on Thursday that he heard about the existence of the military object found in a Polish forest for the first time in April.
Błaszczak also said the inspection showed failures in how the search for the object was conducted.
"Only a police patrol was dispatched to the site and a helicopter search was not carried out until December 19. Soldiers of territorial defence forces on duty were not included in the search. After December 19, the search was completely abandoned."
He added that response mechanisms worked properly, with planes scrambled in the air after reports of a possible missile, but the operational commander did not fulfil his duties properly.
"The greatest deficiencies were found in the reporting of the incident and undertaking search activities... Any personnel or disciplinary decisions will be made after consultation with the president of the Republic of Poland who is the head of armed forces."
Źródło: TVN24 News in English, Reuters