A Russian Kh-55 cruise missile was reportedly found near Bydgoszcz, northern Poland, 500 kilometers from the border with Ukraine.
In late April 2023, a civilian reported the presence of a rocket stuck in the ground of a forest in Zamość, close to the city of Bydgoszcz. An investigation was launched by the Polish Air Force Institute of Technology to identify the debris.
According to the local media channel RMF FM, a preliminary inspection found the rocket to be a Kh-55 cruise missile. Citing military sources, the radio station reported that the cruise missile was fired during an air raid on Ukraine carried out in December 2022 by Russian aircraft based in Belarus.
“During these events, an object that flew into Poland from Belarus appeared on the radars of our services,” RMF FM said on May 10, 2023, adding that radar contact was lost near Bydgoszcz. “Searches were carried out right after the December incident, but after failures, they were abandoned, among others, due to difficult weather conditions.”
4/n— Jarosław Wolski (@wolski_jaros) April 29, 2023
W tym tygodniu pod Bydgoszczą znaleziono szczątki rakiety. Niestety wskazują one na cruise rodziny Ch-55/555. Wymaga to jeszcze potwierdzenia ale wygląda na to że jedna ze stareńkich Ch-555 przerabianych pod atak na Kijów (spod Smoleńska) “wybrała wolność” wówczas pic.twitter.com/hTaCAHDxKz
The Kh-55 cruise missile is a long-range, air-launched weapon developed in the 1980s by the Soviet Union intended for use on strategic bombers such as the Tupolev Tu-95 and Tu-160. In its modern variant, known as the Kh-101, it boasts a maximum range of 2,800 kilometers (1,700 miles) and carries a warhead of 450 kilograms (nearly 1000 pounds).
Polish airspace under pressure
It is not the first time that a missile fired during the invasion of Ukraine by Russia crossed into Polish airspace. On the evening of November 15, 2022, a missile fell onto a grain silo in the village of Przewodow in Poland, 7 kilometers (4 miles) from Ukraine’s border. The explosion killed two people.
It was eventually found to have been an S-300 air defense missile most likely fired by Ukraine to intercept an incoming Russian weapon during one of the most intense bombing campaigns since the beginning of the war.
“This is not Ukraine’s fault,” NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg stated at the time. “Russia bears the ultimate responsibility as it continues its war against Ukraine.”