Ukrainian and Polish authorities claim a Russian-made missile struck a Polish town near the Ukrainian border, AP reports. The explosion occurred on Tuesday afternoon, November 15th, killing two men. In response, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki convened the Security Council.
The explosion came in the wake of a wave of Russian missiles targeting Ukrainian energy infrastructure, attacks that Kyiv claims have been the heaviest in the entire war.
According to the report, a grain facility in the border town of Przewodów had been hit.
A senior U.S. intelligence official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the situation, confirmed the news to AP, which Polish government spokesman Piotr Mueller was not willing to immediately confirm. He did say that top brass were holding an emergency meeting due to a “crisis situation.”
Soon after, Polish President Andrzej Duda told reporters that it was “most likely a Russian-made missile,” but there was no concrete evidence of who fired it.
Polish officials in Warsaw said that their government was likely to request a NATO meeting under Article 4, as well as raise the issue at a UN Security Council meeting Wednesday, November 16th.
As a member of the NATO military alliance, Poland (which historically harbors strong anti-Russian convictions) is within its rights to invoke Article 5, under the stipulations of which other NATO members would be called upon to aid in its defense.
Poland has put some of its military on high alert, increasing the readiness of some military units, while calling on its citizens to remain calm.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky labeled the hit a “significant escalation” of the conflict. He, however, did not provide evidence of Russia being involved.
“All of Europe and the world must be fully protected from terrorist Russia,” he said in a tweet after having called Poland’s President Duda.
Russia’s defense ministry denied that it hit Polish territory; it deemed such reports to be “a deliberate provocation aimed at escalating the situation.”
The ministry also denied that the wreckage left at the scene was of Russian make. “No strikes on targets near the Ukrainian-Polish state border were made by Russian means of destruction,” it said.
Speaking to CNN, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said he had no information on the explosion in Poland.
Upon hearing the news, the U.S. and other NATO allies started their own investigation. The trajectory of the missile however suggests its origin was not Russian, U.S. President Joe Biden said after he had held an emergency meeting on Wednesday at the G20 meeting. Before any action would be taken, the matter would be fully investigated, he added.
NATO ambassadors are expected to meet later on Wednesday for further discussion.