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Polish president sees 'no need' for 'personnel decisions' at top of army: officials

12.05.2023 21:00
Poland’s president believes there is "no need for now" for "personnel decisions among senior military staff” over the discovery of a “military object,” possibly a stray Russian missile, near the north-central city of Bydgoszcz last month.
Polish President Andrzej Duda.
Polish President Andrzej Duda. PAP/Paweł Supernak

President Andrzej Duda’s position was set out in a statement published by his National Security Bureau (BBN) on Friday, Polish state news agency PAP reported.

The BBN said: “The information currently held by the president does not justify making personnel decisions regarding the top commanders of the Polish Army, and moreover the president has not received any request to this effect.”

'Steps' being taken to explain discovery of ‘military object’

The statement added: “According to the president, action needs to be taken in a responsible way to avoid making premature decisions. The National Security Bureau is taking steps designed to determine the full circumstances of the incident.”

The BBN also said: “On April 26, 2023, at around 8:15 p.m., BBN chief Jacek Siewiera was notified by Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Mariusz Błaszczak that an unidentified military object has been found in a forest near Bydgoszcz, that it may be a Russian-made cruise missile, and that it bears the marks of long exposure to environmental factors at the site where it was found.”

The BBN added that the president, who is the commander-in-chief of the armed forces, “was notified of this fact immediately, at around 8:30 p.m. (2:30 a.m. local time in Mongolia, where the president was on a visit) in a direct conversation through special communications.”

It further stated: “In the meantime, the information was submitted to one of the security services for verification. The president called an urgent meeting at the BBN, which was held at 9 a.m. (on April 27, 2023) and was confidential.”

According to the BBN, the meeting “was designed to allow the agencies involved to pool their knowledge.”

Duda at the time "requested information from the relevant agencies and government ministries,” the BBN also said, as quoted by the PAP news agency.

‘Military object’ found in north-central Poland

In late April, Poland’s defence ministry said that “the remains of an unidentified military object have been found in the vicinity of the village of Zamość, some 15 kilometres from Bydgoszcz.” 

Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki instructed Defence Minister Mariusz Błaszczak “to personally oversee the investigation and all the work designed to find a definite explanation” for the discovery.

Private broadcaster RMF FM reported on Wednesday that the "military object" found in north-central Poland last month was a Russian CH-55 missile.

Defence minister says army failed to report ‘military object’ entering Poland

Announcing the results of a government inquiry, Błaszczak said on Thursday that the Polish Armed Forces’ Airborne Operations Command had been alerted by Ukrainian officials about a possible Russian missile heading towards Poland on December 16.   

The defence minister said that Poland in response raised combat readiness and Polish and American planes took off to monitor the situation, the IAR news agency reported. 

Moreover, "in line with procedures," the Airborne Operations Command notified the Polish Army’s Operational Commander, Gen. Tomasz Piotrowski, that “an unidentified object has entered Polish airspace,” according to Błaszczak.

But Błaszczak said the inquiry found Piotrowski "neglected to perform his duties by failing to inform" the government "about the object."

Błaszczak added that any “personnel decisions or disciplinary action will be taken after consulting the president, who has the ultimate authority over the armed forces.”

Action needed to ensure 'such situations do not occur in future’: gov't spokesman

Polish government spokesman Piotr Müller said on Friday that the results of a government inquiry into the discovery of the “military object” near Bydgoszcz would "now be presented to President Andrzej Duda and Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki.”

Speaking in an interview with state broadcaster TVP Info, Müller said: “All the conclusions from this report should be implemented immediately to ensure that such situations do not occur in the future.”

Earlier in the day, Gen. Piotrowski issued a statement in which he urged “sense” and called on Poles not to let themselves be divided as a society amid a government inquiry into the “military object” found last month.

Friday is day 443 of Russia’s war on Ukraine.


Source: PAP, BBN, wprost.pl