Russia denies that its own missiles hit Poland: “Ukrainian provocation”

© VIA REUTERS

The reports of Russian missile strikes on Polish territory are a deliberate provocation to further increase tensions. That says the Russian Ministry of Defense. They deny any involvement in the incident. Meanwhile, US President Joe Biden also said that there are indications that it is an anti-aircraft missile from Ukraine.

Who fired the rockets that landed on Polish territory on Tuesday evening, killing at least two people? That is still unclear for now. Russia staged a large-scale missile attack on Ukraine on Tuesday, so the finger was immediately pointed when the missiles hit Poland. Polish media reported on Tuesday that they may have been debris from a Russian missile hit by Ukrainian forces. Not much later it was confirmed that it was a “missile of Russian manufacture”.

Russia denied that they had anything to do with the missiles that landed in Poland. Russian state media hinted that it was in fact stray Ukrainian missiles that killed two in Poland. Ria Novosti news agency quotes a Russian “military expert” as claiming that Russian cruise missiles cannot reach Polish territory. “But Ukrainian S-300 missiles (anti-aircraft system, ed.) that function abnormally can.” The Defense Ministry described the incident as “a deliberate provocation aimed at escalating the situation”.

Rocket from Ukraine?

Mykhailo Podolyak, adviser to Ukrainian President Zelensky, calls the incident an “accident in disguise” by Russia. “The attacks on Polish territory were not an accident,” he writes on Twitter. “This is what happens when evil goes unpunished.” Ukrainian President Volodimir Zelensky calls it a “major escalation”. “We have been warning for some time that Russian actions are not limited to Ukraine.” He urged the West for a no-fly zone. According to the Ministry of Defense, this is necessary to be able to shoot down uncontrolled missiles and to protect EU and NATO states. But the West is hesitant about such a measure because it would have to be enforced with steel fighters, which would put NATO in direct conflict with Russia.

The incident caused quite a stir in Europe and the rest of the world. Poland is a member of NATO, so emergency meetings were organized with the G7 and the alliance. The activation of the well-known Article 5 was cited here and there. The Baltic states in particular have expressed their willingness to defend the alliance. Security or defense councils were also convened in several countries.

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki eventually called for calm. “Let’s be thoughtful and not let ourselves be manipulated. We must strive for restraint and caution.” Other heads of government have also adopted this attitude.

On Wednesday morning (Belgian time), US President Biden said at a meeting with other heads of state and government from NATO and the G7 countries in Bali that there were indications that the projectile was an anti-aircraft missile from Ukraine.

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