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Russian missile strikes Poland

The aftermath of an explosion that reportedly killed two people in Przewodów, Poland, a village near the Ukrainian border, on November 15, 2022. (Photo: Wolski o Wojnie/Facebook)

'This Isn't Good': Explosion in Poland Near Ukraine Border Sparks Fears of War Escalation

"This is exactly the scenario pro-diplomacy and anti-war voices have since the start been warning gets increasingly likely the longer the war goes on," said one observer.

Brett WilkinsJake Johnson

Update (Tues. 11/22):

The Associated Press has fired one of the journalists who filed the AP story referenced below on Nov. 15. That reporting cited an unnamed U.S. official who claimed the missile in question had been fired by Russian forces. In addition to firing investigative reporter James LaPorta on Monday, the following correction has been posted to the story:

In earlier versions of a story published November 15, 2022, The Associated Press reported erroneously, based on information from a senior American intelligence official who spoke on condition of anonymity, that Russian missiles had crossed into Poland and killed two people. Subsequent reporting showed that the missiles were Russian-made and most likely fired by Ukraine in defense against a Russian attack.

Update:

The latest assessments from Western officials indicate that the missile that killed two people in Poland on Tuesday "was from a Ukrainian air-defense system," the Wall Street Journal reported early Wednesday.

"The initial findings will be discussed Wednesday at an emergency meeting at the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, where ambassadors from the alliance's 30 members are set to review intelligence and consider their options," the newspaper added.

The Associated Press similarly reported that "three U.S. officials said preliminary assessments suggested the missile was fired by Ukrainian forces at an incoming Russian one amid the crushing salvo against Ukraine's electrical infrastructure Tuesday."

U.S. President Joe Biden told reporters Wednesday that "it is unlikely in the lines of the trajectory that it was fired from Russia, but we'll see."

Earlier:

Two people are reportedly dead after a Tuesday afternoon explosion at a Polish grain processing facility near the Ukrainian border that an unnamed U.S. intelligence official and Polish media attributed to a Russian missile strike, sparking fears of an escalation of the Ukraine war.

The cause of the explosion in Przewodów, a village in eastern Poland about four miles from the Ukrainian border, could not be immediately confirmed. Polish government spokesperson Piotr Mueller told reporters that Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki and President Andrzej Duda convened an emergency session of the country's National Security Council to address the "crisis situation."

Mueller cautioned international media against publishing "unverified information."

Peace advocates and foreign policy experts have warned since the outset of the war that an errant missile strike on a NATO country or a military miscalculation by either side could dangerously escalate the conflict.

The unnamed U.S. official, who spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the situation, said multiple Russian missiles struck the grain center.

Reuters reports that the White House—which said it cannot confirm reports of a Russian missile strike—is working with the Polish government to gather more information about the incident. U.S. President Joe Biden has previously vowed to "defend every inch of NATO territory."

Pentagon spokesperson Gen. Pat Ryder, meanwhile, told reporters that "we don't have any information at this time to corroborate those reports and are looking into this further."

Under Article 5 of the NATO treaty, an attack on any member of the alliance is considered an attack on all. Poland joined NATO in 1999. When asked, Ryder did not say if the incident would trigger Article 5.

An Article 4 response could also be triggered by such an incident, which would include NATO members coming together to consult over a perceived security threat if any member demands such a meeting.

The Russian defense ministry issued a statement denying responsibility for the attack, calling media reports a "deliberate provocation."

According to The New York Times, Russian forces launched around 100 missiles targeting Ukraine's energy infrastructure on Tuesday in what Ukrainian Energy Minister Herman Halushchenko called the largest coordinated attack on the country's power grid since the start of Russia's invasion.


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