Polish Army Moved Into Czech Republic

NEW YORK -
Structure in Pelhřimovy where Polish troops were stationed. (Ralf Lotys)

Polish troops guarding the loose border which separates it from the Czech Republic took up a position near a chapel in the village of Pelhrimovy, a local village on the Czech side of the border, CNN reported on Friday, June 12. Apparently the Polish troops stayed for several days, although neither side gave a specific amount of days when questioned by reporters..

When a construction engineer overseeing repairs at the chapel, which is 30 meters within Czech territory, wanted to take photographs of the plaster, the Polish soldiers who had set up a road block and were armed with machine guns prevented him from accessing the site. Czech authorities intervened by contacting Warsaw, which explained that the incursion was a mistake and was not a deliberate act. “It was corrected immediately and the case was resolved – also by the Czech side,” the Polish Ministry of Defense told CNN.

The incident took place in north-eastern Moravia near Pielgrzymow, a small border village in southern Poland that sits opposite a sparsely populated stretch of Czech countryside, in the area known historically as Silesia. The border in that location is formed by a quiet country road and a small stream. With the advent of the coronavirus, the Polish troops took up positions on the Polish bank of the stream to prevent crossings of the normally open border, but for unknown reasons had decided to make a brief incursion into Czech territory.

The movement’s local coordinator, Ivo Dokoupil, attempted to explain to the Poles that his group planned a brief visit to the chapel to take photographs. He was unceremoniously rebuffed.

“A soldier dressed in the uniform of a foreign state and carrying a sub-machine gun started giving me orders. It was a terrifying experience,” Mr Dokoupil told the paper.

“They wouldn’t let me get closer than 10 meters.”

At this point, it appears, the local Czech police force was contacted and the troops were ordered to leave.

A Czech Foreign Ministry spokesperson told CNN that they are still expecting a formal statement from Poland explaining why the incursion happened.