An important Russian politician made false claims on Twitter that Poland did not permit the transit of Russian planes carrying aid for Italy, prompting a furious response from the Polish government.
“Poland did not permit the flight of Russian plains with assistance for Italy through its airspace,” said Russian senator Aleksey Pushkov on Twitter.
The politician added that Poland’s supposed actions were “wickedness on the level of public policy” due to the help “going to an allied EU and NATO member.”
He urged that “Russia should not meet any Polish inquiries from now on. Any of them.”
The news was heavily discussed in Russian media and the Kremlin press agency Sputnik translated it into several languages and distributed it throughout the world. Polish authorities say the information is entirely false.
The Polish Foreign Ministry also referred to the situation, strongly denying the claims of the Russian side.
The Polish deputy finance minister, Marcin Przydacz, posted “Fake news alert” on Twitter.
‼️#fakenews alert ‼️
Increased tension over the #coronavirus pandemic is used to spread disinformation and shatter European and transatlantic unity.
➡️No aircraft to Italy has been blocked. Polish airspace for transit stays open. Be careful.
— Marcin Przydacz (@marcin_przydacz) March 24, 2020
The Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs also took to Twitter to warn about the Russian news story.
❌Russia did not request entry into Polish airspace.
❌The news of Poland’s alleged refusal is baseless and untrue. pic.twitter.com/8bL6eSBjj8
— Ministry of Foreign Affairs ?? (@PolandMFA) March 24, 2020
The spokesman of the Polish Air Navigation Services Agency (PANSA), Paweł Łukaszewicz, stressed that Poland’s airspace is open and that the claims from the Russian side that Poland did not want to let planes pass was “a lie.”
According to information gathered by portal Onet.pl, no Russian flight plans were sent to PANSA, which are the basic element of applying for permission for a transit flight.
Title image: In this photo taken on Sunday, March 22, 2020, and distributed by Russian Defense Ministry Press Service, a military truck loads humanitarian aid for Italy on board of an Il-76 cargo plane in Chkalovsky military airport outside Moscow, Russia, AP.