Poland blast killing two caused by missile fired by Ukraine at Russia: Report
Three U.S. officials said preliminary assessments suggested the missile was fired by Ukrainian forces at an incoming Russian missile.
Published: 16th November 2022 05:18 AM | Last Updated: 16th November 2022 06:19 PM | A+A A-
WARSAW: Two missiles landed in the territory of Poland on Tuesday, Sputnik news agency reported citing Polish media.
Initially, it was speculated that Russia fired the missiles. Later, three U.S. officials said preliminary assessments suggested the missile was fired by Ukrainian forces at an incoming Russian missile amid a crushing salvo against Ukraine's electrical infrastructure Tuesday.
The Russian news agency said two rockets fell in the populated area of Przewodow in the Lublin Voivodeship on the border with Ukraine. Two people were killed in the incident, the police and the army are working on the scene of the incident, it added.
Warsaw said it did not have conclusive evidence of who fired it, adding that Moscow's ambassador has been summoned to provide "immediate detailed explanations".
President Joe Biden said it was "unlikely" that a missile that killed two in NATO-ally Poland was fired from Russia, but he pledged support for Poland's investigation into what it had called a "Russian-made" missile.
Biden spoke after he convened an "emergency" meeting of the Group of Seven and NATO leaders in Indonesia Wednesday morning for consultations on the explosion that killed two people in the eastern part of Poland near the Ukraine border.
"There is preliminary information that contests that," Biden told reporters when asked if the missile had been fired from Russia. "It is unlikely in the lines of the trajectory that it was fired from Russia, but we'll see."
Poland put its military on heightened alert after an emergency national security council meeting.
"There has been a decision to raise the state of readiness of some combat units and other uniformed services," spokesman Piotr Muller told reporters after the meeting in Warsaw, adding that "our services are on the ground at the moment working out what happened.
Poland's prime minister Mateusz Morawiecki convened a meeting of the Security Council Committee of the Council of Ministers after reports of missiles falling on the territory of the country.
"The Prime Minister @MorawieckiM called as a matter of urgency the Committee of the Council of Ministers for National Security and Defense Affairs," government spokesperson Piotr Muller tweeted.
In a statement, Polish foreign ministry spokesperson Lukasz Jasina has it has demanded "immediate detailed explanations" on the incident.
"On 15 November 2022, another hours-long, massive shelling took place of the entire territory of Ukraine and its critical infrastructure by the armed forces of the Russian Federation. At 3:40 pm, a Russia-made missile dropped on the village of Przewodow, district Hrubieszow, Lubelskie province, and resulted in death of two citizens of the Republic of Poland," the ministry statement said.
READ HERE | Strikes put Ukraine in darkness; missiles cross into Poland
Poland is a signatory of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) military alliance.
Article 5 of the treaty says that if an armed attack occurs against one of the member states, it shall be considered an attack against all members.
Polish President Andrzej Duda spoke with both US President Joe Biden and British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, following the explosion that took place in the eastern part of the country near the Ukraine border.
Biden offered full US support for and assistance with Poland's investigation and reaffirmed the US' ironclad commitment to NATO.
In a Twitter post, British PM Sunak said he reiterated the UK's solidarity with Poland and expressed condolences for the victims. He also added that the UK will remain in close contact and coordinate with its NATO allies.
Besides US and UK, NATO has said it is probing reports that Russian missiles hit Poland.
Extending condolences to Polish President Andrzej Duda, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that the alliance is "monitoring the situation".
I have just spoken to Polish President @AndrzejDuda following reports of a missile strike in Poland.— Rishi Sunak (@RishiSunak) November 15, 2022
I reiterated the UK’s solidarity with Poland and expressed condolences for the victims.
We will remain in close contact and continue to coordinate with our NATO allies.
Multiple media reports said the NATO chief will chair an "emergency meeting" of the alliance's 30 member states on Wednesday in Brussels.
Following the explosion near the Ukrainian border, Poland will increase the combat readiness of some troops and is considering activating Article 4 of the NATO military alliance treaty, CNN reported citing officials. As per article 4 of the military alliance, the NATO members "consult together whenever, in the opinion of any of them, the territorial integrity, political independence or security of any of the Parties is threatened."
'A very significant escalation'
The explosion came after Russian missiles hit cities across Ukraine on Tuesday, including Lviv, near the border with Poland.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky described the missile attack as "a very significant escalation. He said the strikes cut power to some 10 million people, though it was later restored to eight million of them, and also triggered automatic shutdowns at two nuclear power plants.
He said Russia had fired 85 missiles at energy facilities across the country, condemning the strikes as an "act of genocide" and a "cynical slap in the face" of the G20.
Moldova, which also borders Ukraine, reported power cuts because of the missiles fired at its neighbour and called on Moscow to "stop the destruction now".
'Now is the time'
Zelensky told the G20 summit in Bali on Tuesday that "now is the time" to end the war, while Washington said the Russian strikes in Ukraine would "deepen the concerns among the G20 about the destabilising impact of Putin's war".
White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said Russia was again trying to destroy Ukrainian critical infrastructure.
Since September, Ukraine forces have been pushing deeper into the south. Russia last week announced a full withdrawal from the regional capital of the southern Kherson region, allowing Ukraine's forces to re-enter the city.
Tuesday's missile strikes came after Russia-appointed officials in Nova Kakhovka said they were leaving the important southern city, blaming artillery fire from Kyiv's forces.
They also claimed "thousands of residents" had followed their recommendation to leave to "save themselves", saying Kyiv's forces would seek "revenge on collaborators".
(With inputs from AP, AFP, ANI)