Poland searches for suspected Belarussian observational balloon

An unidentified object that entered the Polish airspace – believed to be a Belarussian observational balloon – was first spotted on Friday and last seen on Saturday before disappearing, according to the Polish armed forces, Euractiv reports.

The object was spotted on Friday around 8.30 pm, and radar monitoring was carried out, but the object ceased to be visible at around 12.30 am on Saturday near Rypin, a town in central Poland around 180 miles from the border with Belarus, the armed forces said.

The object “that flew in from the direction of Belarus (…) was probably an observation balloon,” the Polish Defence Ministry tweeted on Saturday. The volunteer Territorial Defence Force was engaged in the search, it added.

The joint search by professional and volunteer army continued over the whole Sunday and did not bring results despite the use of military helicopters and drones. Meanwhile, a resident of Kipichy village in Central Poland claimed that the object in question may have fallen into the forest nearby.

He told Polsat News private broadcaster that he heard from his neighbour, who sat at the bus station nearby on late Friday evening, about a falling burning balloon that resembled a meteorite at first glance.

It also comes after two other invasions of Poland’s airspace since Russia invaded Ukraine.

In November last year, two Polish men died when a missile landed in Przewodów in eastern Poland. According to early investigations, the Soviet-era S-300 rocket came from Ukrainian air defence, and falling on Polish territory was unintentional.

Another object landed on Polish territory in December but was only discovered by chance last month by a woman riding a horse in a nearby forest. Polish media reported that the object was a Russian KH-55 missile, which sparked criticism against the Polish armed forces, as there was no immediate reaction to the object’s incursion into Polish airspace.