Poland scrambles jets to secure airspace from Russian attacks on Ukraine

Poland scrambles jets to secure airspace from Russian attacks on Ukraine

Poland’s air force has scrambled jets to protect the country's airspace from Russian missiles targeting western Ukraine.

Airforce patrols were conducted on Saturday in southeast Poland, which borders war-torn Ukraine.

Poland was left unscathed, but a Russian strike on a large DIY store in the northern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv killed 12 people and wounded 43.

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy called the airstrike a "manifestation of Russian madness".

Poland's Operational Command announced the defensive operation had ended on Sunday, but said its forces remained vigilant.

"Due to the end of long-range missile strikes of the Russian Federation on targets in the western part of Ukraine, the operation of military aviation in Polish airspace has been ended and the deployed forces and resources have returned to standard operational activities," it wrote on X.

"The #PolishArmy monitors the situation on the territory of Ukraine on an ongoing basis and remains constantly ready to ensure the safety of Polish airspace."

In a statement on Saturday, Poland's military said locals could notice increased noise from Polish and allied aircraft.

The statement said the army had taken all necessary measures to secure Poland's airspace.

Separately on Saturday, Poland's foreign minister Radoslaw Sikorski warned Russia wanted to destabilise Europe.

He claimed Moscow was trying to influence the outcome of upcoming European parliamentary elections in June.

Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine has sent security concerns skyrocketing in the region, with eastern European countries fearing a revisionist Kremlin.

Warsaw put its forces on alert in March when a Russian missile entered Polish airspace before striking Ukraine’s western Lviv region.

Poland has also ramped up its military presence on its western border with Belarus, a staunch ally of Moscow.