The impact of two missiles in the Polish town of Przewodow, a few kilometres from the Ukrainian border, has disrupted the G20 meeting that is taking place in Bali. US President Joe Biden convened an emergency meeting with several world leaders, including representatives of Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, Italy, France, the United Kingdom and Japan.
The US leader said it was "unlikely" that the missiles were launched from Russia, although an investigation is still underway. "We're going to find out exactly what happened," Biden said in Indonesia, according to AP. Warsaw, for its part, has indicated that the missiles - which have caused the deaths of two people - are of Russian manufacture, and has therefore summoned the Russian ambassador and raised the military alert level. However, as CNN recalls, both Russian and Ukrainian forces have used "Russian-made munitions" during the conflict. Kiev has also used Russian-made missiles as part of its air defence system.
Following an emergency meeting, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki announced increased military training, 'with special emphasis on airspace monitoring'. President Andrzej Duda held a telephone conversation with Biden and his Ukrainian counterpart, Volodimir Zelensky. After extensive investigations, Duda said the incident was "probably an unfortunate accident". "There are no indications that it was an intentional attack against Poland. Most likely it was a Russian-made S-300 rocket," the Polish presidency wrote on Twitter. Duda also stressed that, at this stage, there is no evidence that the missile "was fired by the Russian side". "There are many indications that it was an air defence missile that unfortunately fell on Polish territory," he added.
Prezydent @AndrzejDuda: Nic nie wskazuje na to, że był to intencjonalny atak na Polskę. Najprawdopodobniej była to rakieta produkcji rosyjskiej typu S-300. Nie mamy w tej chwili dowód na to, że była to rakieta wystrzelona przez stronę rosyjską. [1/2]— Kancelaria Prezydenta (@prezydentpl) November 16, 2022
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has also ruled out Russia planning an attack on NATO. "There are no indications that this was the result of a deliberate attack," Stoltenberg said during a press conference in Brussels. However, the NATO Secretary General stressed that "it is not Ukraine's fault" and that the "ultimate responsibility lies with Russia".
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg says an investigation into a missile incident in Poland is "ongoing", but there's "no indication that this was the result of a deliberate attack".https://t.co/ZlmcjFdTYz— Sky News (@SkyNews) November 16, 2022
📺 Sky 501, Virgin 602, Freeview 233 and YouTube pic.twitter.com/oLx41LUxdc
This is the first time a NATO member country has suffered such an incident almost nine months after the war in Ukraine began. The attack on a NATO member has been one of the main red lines NATO has presented to Moscow. However, Russia denies that its missiles have reached Polish territory. The Defence Ministry has dismissed accusations of Russian involvement in the incident as "deliberate provocation". The ministry led by Sergei Shoigu has also accused NATO of "escalating tension". Former Russian president and current deputy chairman of the Security Council, Dmitry Medvedev, took to Twitter in a similar vein, warning that "the West is approaching a world war".
Footage from the Ukrainian MOD showing a recent engagement of a Russian cruise missile by an S-300. pic.twitter.com/mG3jOUASZF— OSINTtechnical (@Osinttechnical) November 15, 2022
The incident follows several Russian attacks on parts of Ukraine just days after Ukrainian forces recaptured Kherson, the first city to fall into Russian hands at the start of the invasion. The recent brutal Russian offensive against Ukraine has significantly hit the country's energy system, causing blackouts in several regions. "Russia launched at least 85 missiles, most of them aimed at the country's electrical installations," Zelensky denounced. The Ukrainian president also reported that the number of citizens without electricity has risen from two million to 10 million after the latest attacks.
85 cruise missiles in the last few hours have been targeted in Ukraine. Explosions in 16 regions. Massive energy cut off throughout the country and even in Moldova due to damages of the energy infrastructure. Russians just can't stand humiliation of Kherson counteroffensive. pic.twitter.com/EaZkAceEKI— Mykhailo Fedorov (@FedorovMykhailo) November 15, 2022
Regarding the missile strike against Poland, the Ukrainian leader described the event as "an attack on collective security" that represents "a really significant escalation". Foreign Minister Dmitro Kuleba has accused Russia of promoting "a conspiracy theory" that the missile is from Ukrainian air defence. "No one should believe Russian propaganda or amplify its messages," he wrote on Twitter.
Kyiv, as well as other Ukrainian regions, experience daily long-term power outages.— The Kyiv Independent (@KyivIndependent) November 7, 2022
The outages became regular after Russia increased its attacks on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure. According to President Zelensky, Russia damaged about 40% of Ukraine’s energy infrastructure. pic.twitter.com/RzL3yMey3v
Amid the escalating tension, China has again called for "calm" and "restraint" from the sides. "Under the current circumstances, restraint should be exercised to avoid escalation of the situation," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning insisted. President Xi Jinping has again reaffirmed Beijing's position on the conflict, urging the sides to engage in dialogue and negotiations to resolve it "peacefully".