Poland plans to call meeting of NATO ministers after missile strike | Poland
Polish President Andrzej Duda said he expected his country to call an emergency meeting of NATO members on Wednesday after ‘Russian-made’ missiles strayed into the country, killing two people .
The incident is the first time the territory of a NATO country has been struck during Ukraine’s nearly nine-month war, and follows an intense 100-missile attack by Russia on the Ukraine, which has seen millions of people lose electricity and supply to neighboring countries Moldova also disturbed.
The Polish president said he had spoken to Joe Biden, the US president, Rishi Sunak, the British prime minister, and Germany’s Olof Scholz and told them it was “very likely” that Poland the NATO Special Consultative Meeting would require.
It is unclear who launched the missile which landed in the village of Przewodów a few miles from the Ukrainian border on Tuesday afternoon, Duda added, but he and other officials said it was likely “made Russian”.
This could mean that it was a Russian munition that may have veered off course, but it could also be a missile from the Ukrainian S-300 air defense system, weapons which, according to experts, were originally made in Russia.
The Polish government said it had summoned the Moscow ambassador for an explanation, but the Russian Defense Ministry denied that its missiles entered Poland, calling the reports a “deliberate provocation” in a statement.
“No strikes on targets near the Ukrainian-Polish state border were carried out by Russian rockets. The wreckage published by Polish media from the scene in the village of Przewodów has nothing to do with Russian weapons,” the Russian Defense Ministry added.
Two farmers were killed and a tractor destroyed after a large explosion at 3.40pm in the eastern village left Polish and NATO officials scrambling to confirm what had happened and coordinate a response.
The special NATO meeting is to be convened under Article 4 of the NATO treaty, which allows all allies to be brought together for talks when “territorial integrity, political independence or security” of a member was threatened.
The White House said Biden offered “full support” of Poland’s investigation to Duda during their call. The American president also “reaffirmed the unwavering commitment of the United States to NATO” and called on the two countries to remain in close contact.
Earlier, Mateusz Morawiecki, Poland’s prime minister, had urgently convened the country’s council of national security and defense ministers, in response to the blast, to assess the situation and coordinate a response.
After the meeting, Polish officials said the country was also placing some of its military units on heightened alert and would step up surveillance of its airspace.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said the incident was a “significant escalation” in the conflict. “Russian missiles hit Poland,” Zelenskiy said. He did not provide any evidence.
Some analysts said they believed photographs of missile debris at the scene showed a Ukrainian S-300 air defense system that was allegedly engaged in shooting down a Russian missile, but it was not possible to corroborate this information.
A deliberate attack on a NATO member could in theory lead to the invocation of Article 5 of the alliance, which states that an attack on one member of the military alliance is considered an attack on all. But the NATO treaty is highly unlikely to be triggered by an accidental attack.
Article 4 of the treaty is a lesser step that allows NATO members to meet without necessarily triggering consequent action. World leaders were also due to meet at the G20 in Indonesia on Wednesday to discuss the incident.
Late Tuesday evening, Zelenskiy said the power had been restored to 8 million of the 10 million Ukrainians who had gone offline after what he called Russia’s “terrorist attack” across the country.
Ukraine has warned its energy situation is ‘critical’ following Russian strikes, which hit 15 energy sites as well as residential buildings, with reports that half of Kyiv, 80% of Lviv and many others regions were without electricity.
Water, heating and internet traffic were also disrupted – while air raid sirens could no longer work due to loss of electricity – in the most intense missile attack ever seen since the start. of Russia’s fall bombing campaign.
Earlier, Ukraine’s president, addressing the G20 via video link, called on leaders to support Ukraine to end the war on its terms – the main one being that Russian troops leave all of Ukraine, including the areas it occupied in 2014.
Zelenskiy, who previously addressed world leaders in Bali with his peace proposals, posted a short video message acknowledging the scale of the attack. “We are working, we will restore everything, we will survive,” he added.
Russia began targeting Ukraine’s power grid last month, and waves of strikes have destroyed more than 40% of the country’s energy infrastructure, as the country heads into a winter where temperatures can drop to -10C, even -20°C.
The attacks appeared deliberately timed for the middle of the two-day G20 summit – a deliberate attempt by Russia’s Vladimir Putin to defy the majority of the international community, which planned to issue a statement condemning his country’s assault on its neighbour.
The draft declaration included language noting that “most members strongly condemned the war in Ukraine” and stressed that “it is causing immense human suffering and exacerbating existing fragilities in the global economy” – although states United continued to press for stronger reviews.
Putin is not present at the G20 but his veteran foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, complained about what he called the “politicization” of the meeting, and blamed the West for triggering ” hybrid war” in Ukraine before fleeing from the meeting.
Andriy Yermak, Zelenskiy’s chief of staff, said the missile strikes were a direct response to the president’s speech. “Does anyone seriously think the Kremlin really wants peace? He wants obedience. But in the end, the terrorists always lose,” he added.
Zelenskiy also called for the creation of a special war crimes tribunal and compensation for all damage caused by the invasion.
According to the mayor of the city, Vitaliy Klitschko, three residential buildings in Kyiv were affected. He said the buildings were in Kyiv’s Pechersk district, a residential area just north of the presidential administration. Klitschko said medics and rescue workers were on their way to the scene – and a body was found in one of the buildings.
Moldova’s infrastructure minister said the country suffered a “massive power outage” for some time on Tuesday after one of its main power lines was automatically disconnected as a safety measure following the bombing in Ukraine. “Russian aggression against Ukraine directly affects our country,” said Andrei Spinu.