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Poland Accidentally ‘Invades’ Czech Republic and Annexes Part of Territory in Big 'Misunderstanding’

Image used for representation 
(Photo: Reuters)

Image used for representation (Photo: Reuters)

In the incident, soldiers patrolling parts of the now shut Polish-Czech border amid the coronavirus pandemic began asking Czech churchgoers, who were trying to visit a church in the area, to go back.

Poland accidentally invaded the Czech Republic in late May and briefly occupied its neighbour's territory, the Polish military admitted, while terming the incident a "mistake."

The Czech foreign ministry told CNN that the Polish soldiers had accidentally crossed the country' s border with the Czech Republic last month.

In the incident, soldiers patrolling parts of the now shut Polish-Czech border amid the coronavirus pandemic began asking Czech churchgoers, who were trying to visit a church in the area, to go back.

This resulted in the Czech embassy in Warsaw taking "immediate action" and informing the Polish embassy about the situation, an official from the Czech government was quoted as saying by CNN.

The official, however, added that Poland was yet to issue a formal explanation about the incident.

The incident took place near Pielgrzymow, a tiny village in southern Poland that is situated opposite to a scantily populated area of the Czech countryside. A quaint road in the area acts as the boundary point between the two European countries.

A foreign ministry spokesperson told CNN that their Polish counterparts had, through unofficial channels, affirmed that the incident was simply a misunderstanding which was created by the Polish military with no "hostile intention."

The spokesperson said that they are still expecting a formal statement from the Polish side, but added that the Polish soldiers had retreated and Czechs could "freely" visit the spot again.

On Friday, Poland's Ministry of Defense also admitted to the short annexation and said that the incident was a misunderstanding and not a deliberate act.

"It was corrected immediately and the case was resolved — also by the Czech side," it told CNN in a statement.

Within the "Schengen" area, borders are invisible under normal circumstances between 26 EU and other European countries. However, due to the coronavirus pandemic, many European nations have closed off the borders, preventing the entry of foreigners in order to check the spread of the Covid-19.