Poland recently admitted to a strange “misunderstanding” involving its army “invading” the Czech Republic in May. Speaking to CNN, the Czech foreign ministry explained that the neighboring country accidentally occupied a small portion of Czech land while guarding the border in an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19 between nations.
The soldiers in question reportedly entered Czech land unknowingly and became to set up base on foreign soil. The crossing occurred near Pielgrzymow, a small town near the southern border of Poland. At one point, they began turning away Czech people that were attempting to reach a church within their own country.
Eventually, the Czech embassy in the Polish capital of Warsaw reached out to the government and informed them of what was happening. The soldiers were withdrawn and the Polish government apologized, assuring its neighbors that the incident was merely an accident and not indicative of any military plans.
Czech officials have, however, noted that they have yet to receive a formal explanation of what caused the misunderstanding. Without such a statement, it remains unclear how long the Polish troops were operating in the Czech Republic.
“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 Foreign Ministry spokesperson explained. “The Polish soldiers are no longer present and our citizens can again visit the site freely.”
“The placement of the border post was a result of misunderstanding, not a deliberate act,” Poland’s Ministry of Defense told CNN, also declining to comment on how long the soldiers were there. “It was corrected immediately and the case was resolved – also by the Czech side.”
Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Poland has been preventing people from crossing its borders since March.
Poland and the Czech Republic engaged in a brief war in 1919. Later in 1938, Poland annexed a portion of Czech land.