Poland: What is known about the alleged rocket hit

Security Council meets
Explosion in eastern Poland: NATO and Pentagon are investigating the incident – but much is still open

Poland's Defense Minister Mariusz Błaszczak after reports of a missile hit from Russia

Poland’s Defense Minister Mariusz Błaszczak at the headquarters of the National Security Bureau. Previously there had been reports of an alleged impact by Russian missiles in the east of the country.

© Radek Pietruszka / PAP / DPA

The Security Council met in Poland – for reasons that have not yet been officially stated. The temporal connection with a suspected rocket impact in the east of the NATO country is striking. The situation at a glance.

The incident – should it have happened – fuels fears that Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine could escalate. Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki called on Tuesday evening Security Council for an emergency meeting in the capital city of Warsaw. Two Russian rockets are said to have hit a village in eastern Poland beforehand, according to the local fire department, two people died. The incident has not yet been confirmed in this form.

The situation at a glance (Status: November 15, 10:10 p.m., the article is continuously updated):

What happened in eastern Poland?

The Polish government has not yet made any official statements. According to the DPA news agency, government spokesman Piotr Müller warned against the dissemination of untested information. Polish media previously reported that in the locality Przewodów two rockets hit a farm in the east of the country. Photos from the scene showed a crater next to an overturned tractor trailer. It is still unclear whether Russian missiles are actually responsible for the alleged detonation, as the media reports, or whether, for example, the Ukrainian air defenses or there is a completely different cause. The Polish government has not yet commented on this. The Pentagon in Washington said on Tuesday evening that it still had no information. “If we can provide an update, we will,” said a spokesman.

The village of Przewodów is only seven and a half kilometers from the border with Ukraine. According to Ukrainian sources, the Russian army attacked targets across Ukraine with dozens of rockets and cruise missiles on Tuesday, including in the west of the country. According to the fire department, two people died in the incident in Przewidów.

What does Russia say about the incident?

Through the state-controlled news agencies Ria Novosti and TASS, the Russian Defense Ministry denied any responsibility for the incident. Corresponding reports are a “provocation with the aim of further escalation,” it said. It doesn’t have any attacks of Russia given to targets near the Polish-Ukrainian border.

How is NATO reacting?

Federal Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said the federal government is following the reports on the incident. “My thoughts are with Poland, our close ally and neighbor,” wrote the Green politician in English on Twitter. But she too held back with hasty blame.

Apart from the brief statements from Warsaw and Washington, as well as declarations of solidarity from other countries, the members of the western defense alliance are initially reluctant to make any statements. “We are reviewing these reports and are in close consultation with our allies Poland from,” said an official of the DPA. In the past, NATO had repeatedly emphasized that it did not want to take part in the war in Ukraine with its own soldiers, which has been going on for nine months. Should it now turn out that the NATO country Poland actually hit by Russian missiles, this position could be reconsidered.

However: Even with an intentional – and far from proven – shelling of the Nato-territory would not automatically result in an alliance. The North Atlantic Council – made up of representatives of all member states – would first have to determine the attack on NATO territory, only then would mutual support take hold. In Germany, the Bundestag would also have to decide whether the Bundeswehr should participate in the defense of the alliance.

In any case, the clarification of the incident in Przewodów has to be carried out first – and that is only just beginning.

Sources: News agencies DPA, AFP, AP, Ria Novosti, Tass

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