South African President Cyril Ramaphosa’s security service men, who were to accompany him on his mission to Ukraine today, have been detained in Poland, causing diplomatic incident between the two countries.

Ramaphosa’s security chief, General Wally Rudd, accused Polish authorities of “racism” and that “endanger” the president’s life after his men were blocked upon arrival at Chopin Airport in Warsaw.

The Polish government responded today by calling Rudd’s remarks “absurd” and explaining that some of the people on board the plane from South Africa did not have a gun permit and were therefore not allowed to disembark.

“Hazardous materials were on the plane and the South Africans did not have permission to carry them” the foreign ministry said in a statement. “Furthermore, there were persons on the plane whose presence the Polish authorities had not been informed about in advance”he added.

Earlier, a government official, Stanislav Zarin, said that some people were not allowed to get off the plane with their weapons.

The charter flight departed Pretoria early Thursday morning, carrying a total of 120 people. Among them were members of the president’s security and journalists who would accompany him on his trip to Kiev, as part of his mediation, peacekeeping mission.

Ramaphosa arrived in Warsaw on Thursday in the Inkwazi presidential plane and today took a train to Kiev.

The incident at the airport angered General Rudd who held an emergency press conference on the plane. “They are delaying us, putting the president’s life at risk. They say we don’t have licenses, we have licenses” he said, admitting however that some members of his team did not have the necessary copies of the documents. “Look how racist they are”he added.

President Ramaphosa’s spokesman, Vincent Maguenia, described the incident as “regrettable” but maintained that the South African president’s safety was not at risk. “The mission is unfolding as planned. The president arrived in Kyiv safely,” he said.

South African officials began talks with their Polish counterparts to end the impasse and allow the bodyguards and journalists – who also remained on the plane – to continue their journey. This afternoon some journalists were allowed to disembark after being blocked for more than 24 hours.

After Kiev, the delegation of African leaders will go to Saint Petersburg to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday. Maguenia said he hoped the team of South Africans remaining in Warsaw would be allowed to accompany Ramaphosa and the rest of the delegation to Russia.