Russian missiles land in NATO member Poland killing two
Two people have been killed in Poland after two stray Russian rockets landed near the border with Ukraine. The rockets landed in the NATO state following Russia’s mass bombardment of Ukrainian cities earlier today, which saw over 100 rockets launched.
According to the AP news agency, a senior US intelligence official said that the missiles were of Russian origin. Poland’s Prime Minister, Mateusz Morawiecki, has convened the Committee of the Council of Ministers for National Security and Defense Affairs “as a matter of urgency”, government spokesman Piotr Müller confirmed, with local news sites claiming this is likely the result of the explosions. A spokesperson for the Polish government said the readiness of their military units is being raised.
Russia has denied not only the missiles hitting Poland, but any rocket strikes near the border at all – despite mass explosions hitting cities near the border just hours earlier.
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The rockets fell in the town of Przewodów, hitting grain dryers. The police, prosecutor’s office and the army are reportedly already on the site.
The attack could prompt Poland to trigger NATO’s Article 5 provisions, calling on all of the treaty’s members to attack Russia. According to Article 5, an attack against one NATO Ally is considered an attack against all Allies.
However, Warsaw is understood to be considering invoking Article 4, which calls for Allies to consult together when “in the opinion of any one of them, the territorial integrity, political independence or security of any of the parties is threatened”.
Russian state media agency TASS reported that, according to a source in Brussels, NATO’s response to the attack will depend on Warsaw’s statements about the “ownership” of the missiles.
However, Russia’s Ministry of Defence were quick to deny the missile strike, instead claiming that the reports were a “deliberate provocation”. They went on to claim the “no strikes were made against targets near the Ukrainian-Polish state border by Russian weapons” – despite the multiple missile strikes hitting Lviv, a Ukrainian city about 62 miles south of Przewodów and only 50 miles from the Ukrainian border, just hours earlier today.
The aftermath of the explosion
The aftermath of one of the strikes, which left two dead
“The most important people in the country” are attending Poland’s emergency meeting, according to local news outlet Radio Zet. The station also reported that military planes were scrambled in response.
Poland has consistently condemned the war and accepted millions of Ukrainian refugees during it. The former head of Poland’s National Security Bureau said: “We have to wait for a detailed explanation of this situation. I assume that this is an incident, some mistake, resulting from the fact that Russia uses increasingly older types of missiles that are less precise”.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said the incident was a “very significant escalation and we must act”.
The price of oil has already reacted to the incident, climbing 2.3 percent to $87.82 according to the West Texas Intermediate benchmark.
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A huge crater is visible where the missile struck
“The most important people in the country” are attending the emergency meeting
Latvia’s Minister of Defence, Artis Pabriks, said: “My condolences to our Polish brothers in arms. Criminal Russian regime fired missiles which target not only Ukrainian civilians but also landed on NATO territory in Poland. Latvia fully stands with Polish friends and condemns this crime.”
The Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has also reportedly convened his defense council.
The Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, meanwhile, has declared its “full solidarity” with Poland, saying it is “convening closely with Poland and other Allies.” The ministry added: “Estonia is ready to defend every inch of NATO territory.”
The UK Foreign Office told Express.co.uk it was urgently seeking clarity on the incident.
The Czech Minister of Defence, Jana Cernochová, said she considered the fact that the strike came from Russia to be “confirmed”, adding: “We will soon find out whether it was a mistake or an act of consent and provocation. All parties are now trying to quickly investigate this, including finding out exactly what type of missiles were involved.”
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A piece of debris from the strike, believed to be part of the missile
She added that she considers it an “escalation of the situation, even if it was a mistake”. Ms Cernochová went on to say: “even if it was a provocation or approval, we will all perceive it as an escalation of the conflict.”
Moldova, another neighbouring country of Ukraine, was also impacted by Russia’s massive missile attack today after it caused a major electricity outage. The country’s foreign minister, Nicu Popescu, called on Russia to “stop the destruction now”, highlighting that “every bomb falling on Ukraine is also affecting Moldova and our people”.
Russia’s strikes on Ukraine today left much of Kyiv and other cities without electricity as civilian infrastructure was ravaged by the attacks, leaving seven million households without power.
At least one person is confirmed to have died in Ukraine as a result of the strikes, although there may be more casualties.