Polish soldiers accidentally crossed the country’s border with the Czech Republic in late May before settling there, the Czech Foreign Ministry told CNN.
The snafu prompted the Czech embassy in Warsaw to take “immediate action” and inform its Polish counterpart, the Czech government told CNN, adding that Poland had not yet officially explained why it had mistakenly annexed its neighbor.
“Our Polish counterparts have unofficially confirmed that this incident was merely a misunderstanding caused by the Polish army without hostile intent, however, we are still awaiting an official statement,” a State Department spokesman told CNN.
“Polish soldiers are no longer present and our citizens can visit the site again freely,” the spokesman added.
“We are still waiting for the official Polish statement,” they reiterated when asked how long Polish troops had been in the country.
The Polish Ministry of Defense also recognized the brief occupation on Friday.
“The deployment of the border post was the result of a misunderstanding, not an intentional act. It was rectified immediately and the case was resolved – also from the Czech side,” he told CNN.
The incident happened near Pielgrzymow, a small border village in southern Poland located opposite a sparsely populated part of the Czech province. A quiet road there serves as a border point between the two nations.
“Polish Army soldiers support the Border Guard in protecting state borders after its closure due to the coronation pandemic,” the Polish Defense Ministry explained. “The operation is led by the Operational Command of the Armed Forces, which is in direct contact with the Border Guard.”
The Polish government has not confirmed how long its troops have been in the Czech Republic.
Borders between European Union countries are barely visible as citizens enjoy free movement throughout the bloc.
Poland was involved in a handful of more serious border clashes with the former Czechoslovakia in the 20th century. The two countries fought a seven-day ground war in the Silesian region in 1919, and Poland annexed an area around the town of Bohumin in 1938.