Poland Says Deadly Missile Attack Was Likely Unintentional

(Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images)

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Micaela Burrow Investigative Reporter, Defense
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Polish President Andrzej Duda said Tuesday the missile that struck Poland and killed two was likely the result of a Ukrainian air defense strike targeting incoming Russian fire and accidentally crossing into NATO territory.

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) called an emergency meeting Wednesday after an apparent Russian-made missile struck a farming area in Poland three miles from the Ukrainian border, raising fears of an intentional Russian attack. The allies corroborated Poland’s earlier preliminary indications that the blast came from a Ukrainian air defense missile, and there was no evidence of a deliberate strike on NATO soil.

“We do not have any conclusive evidence at the moment as to who launched this missile … it was most likely a Russian-made missile, but this is all still under investigation at the moment,” Duda said, according to Reuters. He suggested that Poland could request the allies activate Article 4 of the NATO charter, which would call for consultations in response to an imminent security threat. (RELATED: White House Denies Having Talks With Poland To Host US Nukes Amid Escalating Tensions With Russia)

NATO Secretary Jens Stoltenberg said after the NATO meeting Wednesday morning that the allies moved against invoking Article 4, allaying fears a potential Russian strike on territory protected by NATO’s mutual defense treaty could lead to direct confrontation between Russia and the West, the BBC reported.

Poland will put some military units on alert and emphasize airspace monitoring in response to the strike, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said, according to Reuters.

However, blame for the strike lay on Russia, NATO ambassadors emphasized.

Let me be clear, this is not Ukraine’s fault,” Stoltenberg said.

“Russia bears responsibility for what happened in Poland yesterday, because this is a direct result of the ongoing war and a wave of attacks from Russia against Ukraine yesterday.”

NATO will redouble efforts to increase air defenses near NATO’s eastern border, which touches Ukraine, Stoltenberg said, according to the BCC. The allies are prepared to respond to such incidents in a “calm” and “resolute” manner, he added.

President Joe Biden held an emergency meeting with world leaders on the sidelines of an ongoing G20 summit in Bali, Indonesia, after initial reports of the blast.

Biden condemned the widespread Russian aerial attacks. However, he said that “preliminary information” contests original reports that the missile that landed in Poland was among the volley of more than 100 missiles that allegedly struck Ukraine.

“I don’t want to say that until we completely investigate it. But it is unlikely…that it was fired from Russia,” Biden said.

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