Last Updated on November 16, 2022
The rocket that killed two in the Polish village of Przewodów was likely the result of an accidental misfire from Ukrainian air defenses, leaders from both Poland and the United States said Tuesday. Poland and other NATO members initially pinned the launch on Russia, which could have pushed the alliance close to triggering the mutual defense pact in Article V.
Two people were killed when the rocket fell next to a grain silo not far from the Ukrainian border on Tuesday. The incident marked the first time that a NATO country has been affected by a spillover from the war in Ukraine.
As part of Russia’s continued targeting of Ukrainian infrastructure, upwards of 90 missiles were launched at targets all across the country, Ukrainian defense officials reported. Zelensky claimed that more than 70 of the missiles were shot down by air defenses, but added that a number of key infrastructure sites, as well as residential buildings, were hit in the latest bombardment.
As news of the rocket strike in Poland spread, the Russian defense ministry denied any responsibility. “Statements by various Ukrainian sources and foreign officials about allegedly ‘Russian missiles’ falling in the village of Przewodów are a deliberate provocation with the aim of escalating the situation,” the ministry said in a statement.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called the death of two people in Poland a “really significant escalation” of the war between Kyiv and Moscow.”
“Hitting NATO territory with missiles. … This is a Russian missile attack on collective security! This is a really significant escalation. Action is needed,” Zelensky said in a video address Tuesday. He added that Russia will only continue to expand the war beyond Ukraine’s borders, saying it’s “only a matter of time before Russian terror goes further.”
In response to the strike, NATO leaders held an emergency meeting on Wednesday while Poland explored the idea of enacting article IV. According to article IV of the alliance’s founding treaty, members can raise any issue of concern, especially related to the security of a member country.
But on Tuesday evening, Poland’s president Andrzej Duda said the missile that landed in his country and killed two people appears to be an “unfortunate accident.”
Polish defense officials believe that the rocket was the result of an accidental misfire from Ukrainian air defenses. There was no reason to believe that the missile incident was an intentional attack, Duda said, or that the rocket was launched by the Russian side.
Duda added that given the preliminary findings of the inquiry into the explosion, the nation is not expected to enact NATO’s article IV.
Speaking at the G20 summit in Bali, U.S. President Joe Biden stated that the missile was unlikely to have been fired by Russia due to its trajectory. Biden’s statement came after conducting an emergency meeting on the situation with world leaders.
The president added that an investigation is ongoing, but reiterated that it was “unlikely” that the rocket was fired from the Russian side.
NOW – Biden says "preliminary" information suggests it is "unlikely" missile that killed two in Poland was fired from Russia. pic.twitter.com/YthF2PLBXY
— Disclose.tv (@disclosetv) November 16, 2022