At approximately 1305 EST, reports began emerging that at least two projectiles fell on Polish civilians near a grain facility Przewodow, Poland, which is about 5km from the Ukrainian border. The impact killed two people. However, neither the United States or the Polish government have confirmed that the impact was caused by Russian missiles, with several leading theories being that fragments from a possible interception landed inside of Poland. However, the close proximity of large fragments so far from Ukrainian airspace casts doubts on those claims, as well as the crater size.
Several military bloggers have expressed their opinions that the blast was caused by Russian S-300 Surface-to-air missiles which have been used by the thousands in surface to surface mode in Ukraine. The crater size is consistent with a S-300 fragmentation warhead based on the width and depth. However, more analysis will have to be conducted by Polish authorities to confirm.
International condemnation has been flowing in from the Baltic States, Czechoslovakia, and surprisingly Belarus, while the Polish Prime Minister is convening an emergency meeting of the Council of Minister’s Committee for National Security and Defense.
Belarusian opposition leader Tsikhanouskaya condemned the strike and had no qualms blaming the Russian Federation.
Alarmed by the latest news of 2 people being killed in Poland as a result of the Russian aggression in Ukraine. My thoughts are with the families of the victims. Europe is sitting on a powder keg while having two criminal dictators – Putin & Lukashenka – as neighbors. pic.twitter.com/hhZqpOiW52
— Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya (@Tsihanouskaya) November 15, 2022
Ukrainian President Zelensky has already told Ukrainian press that Poland was struck by Russian missiles, in a move that would serve his war effort well by ratcheting up tensions between NATO and Russia. However, no unclassified findings have been published.
Meanwhile, Commander of the Latvian National Armed Forces (NBS) Leonids Kalni?š and Defense Minister Artis Pabriks (AP) told their press that the likelihood of Article V being invoked is extremely low, but that Article IV would be much more appropriate and the Baltics States would lead the deliberation with Poland. The Baltic States are specially seeking a deliberation due to their shared security risk with such a large land border with Belarus and the Russian Federation.
Article IV outlines the deliberation process on convening member states, from NATO:
- Consultation is a key part of NATO’s decision-making process since all decisions are made by consensus.
- It takes place on all subjects of interest to the Alliance, including NATO’s day-to-day business, its core objectives and fundamental role.
- Consultation reinforces NATO’s political dimension by giving members the opportunity to voice opinions and official positions. It also gives NATO an active role in preventive diplomacy by providing the means to help avoid military conflict.
- In Article 4 of NATO’s founding treaty, members can bring any issue of concern, especially related to the security of a member country, to the table for discussion within the North Atlantic Council.
- Since the Alliance’s creation in 1949, Article 4 has been invoked several times, for instance by Türkiye.
The Latvian Defense Minister said :”the possibilities would be for NATO members and Poland to agree on providing additional anti-aircraft protection, including in part of the territory of Ukraine Regardless of whether such a situation was deliberate or not, such a situation cannot be tolerated. The softest response would be to ensure by technical means that it does not happen again, partially guaranteeing Ukraine’s security,”
The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Latvia Edgars Rink?vi?s (JV) also expressed: “Latvia expresses complete solidarity with our ally Poland and will support any action that Poland deems appropriate. Russia will have to take full responsibility for the consequences.”
As U.S. and Polish authorities deliberate the authenticity of open source claims, the Russian Federation has already rejected claims that their missiles caused the deaths. However, the Russian Federation has been firing salvos of air-launched cruise missiles and Kalibr cruise missiles into Ukraine since about 0800 EST this morning in the largest single display of long range fires since February 24th. While the Russian Federation does not gain strategic advantage by deliberately making such a provocation, the accuracy and reliability of S-300 and S-400 in surface to surface mode has been erratic. Earlier in the war an S-300 missile struck a Ukrainian shopping mall in Eastern Ukraine, apparently missing its target by 1.5km, says Russian military bloggers.