An aircraft of the Polish Border Guard, engaged in a Frontex mission over the Black Sea, was approached three times by a Russian jet fighter which performed aggressive and dangerous manoeuvres, reported Border Guard spokeswoman Lieutenant Anna Michalska, as quoted by the Polish Press Agency.
During the incident on Friday, May 5, the Polish crew temporarily lost control of the aircraft, which lowered its altitude.
“During a patrol flight of a Turbolet L-410 aircraft of the Polish Border Guard, at a Frontex operation under the command of Romania, in the operational area designated by Romania, a twin-engine Russian SU 35 fighter flew into the operational area designated by Romania without any radio contact and then performed aggressive manoeuvres. There were three approaches to the Polish aircraft without safe separation. As a result, there was a lot of turbulence for the Polish Border Guard aircraft”. – explained the spokesperson.
She added that “the Russian fighter also made a flyby right in front of the very nose of the Polish plane, crossing its flight path at a dangerous distance. According to the crew’s assessment, it was about 5 metres. Upon the third approach, the Russian fighter moved away. The crew, especially the two pilots (Border Guard officers), demonstrated excellent skills and great composure, thanks to which they managed to land safely.”
The Border Guard Turbolet L 410 aircraft crew consisted of two pilots and three flight system operators, officers of the 1st Aviation Department of the Border Guard Aviation Office in Gdansk.
They have participated in the Frontex mission – JO MMO Black Sea 2023 – since 19 April 2023. This year is the second operation in which Polish Border Guard officers participate. The first took place earlier this year in Italy.
According to the procedure, the Border Guard spokeswoman added that the State Air Accident Investigation Commission was immediately informed of the incident.
Polish government spokesman Piotr Müller told Polsat News on Sunday, 7 May, that it was probably a “planned provocation by Russia”. He pointed out that the Polish crew had taken “appropriate action”, so nothing happened. “We can see that Russia aims to focus international attention on provocations of this kind”. – Müller added.
According to the Government Plenipotentiary for the Information Space Security of the Republic of Poland, Stanisław Żaryn, ‘Russia is cynically and deliberately escalating tensions and trying to intimidate Poland’. In his opinion, this is a serious violation, and, once again, Moscow’s actions show that it is Russia that is an aggressive and hostile country towards Poland.
Żaryn tweeted on Sunday that the Russian jet fighter “tried to ram the Border Guard patrol plane”, which constitutes “another aggressive operation against Poland. This is a serious violation – an action against Polish officers and the Polish state”.
“The Russians have been escalating the situation for several days now with aggressive information operations against Poland. Earlier, a Russian propaganda programme formulated threats against the Polish ambassador to Russia, now, there has been an attempt to ram the Polish plane, and Poland has also been repeatedly threatened with retaliation and even destruction of the country due to its involvement with Ukraine,” – Żaryn pointed out.