Poland invades Czech Republic in ‘misunderstanding’
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Moving the Pole posts

Poland invades Czech Republic in ‘misunderstanding’

Polish soldiers at border closed due to pandemic accidentally took up their post last month at the wrong spot, leading to diplomatic tiff

Polish policemen talk to a driver at the closed border crossing near Hradek nad Nisou, Czech Republic, March 15, 2020. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
Polish policemen talk to a driver at the closed border crossing near Hradek nad Nisou, Czech Republic, March 15, 2020. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)

Poland accidentally invaded the Czech Republic in late May, in what Warsaw has described as a “misunderstanding,” according to various reports over the weekend.

Polish soldiers stationed at the border in northeastern Moravia to prevent the spread of the coronavirus into the country took up their post at the wrong spot, the reports said.

The incident occurred in the Czech village of Pelhřimovy, and near the Polish village of Pielgrzymów.

For several days — it isn’t clear exactly how long — they prevented Czech visitors from visiting a church that is situated in their own country.

Czech sources said Prague immediately notified the Polish government of the mistaken annexation, leading to the mistake being fixed.

“Our Polish counterparts unofficially assured us that this incident was merely a misunderstanding caused by the Polish military with no hostile intention, however, we are still expecting a formal statement,” a Czech foreign ministry official was quoted as saying by CNN.

“The Polish soldiers are no longer present and our citizens can again visit the site freely,” the official added.

Poland’s ministry of defense has not issued a formal statement. However, it told CNN that “the placement of the border post was a result of misunderstanding, not a deliberate act. It was corrected immediately and the case was resolved — also by the Czech side.”

Polish sources said the issue was resolved not between the governments, but between border control officials.

While borders between European Union states are normally open — and often barely visible — Poland closed its border earlier this year to curb the coronavirus. It opened its border on Saturday.

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