At 3:40 p.m. Central European Time on Nov. 15, one or multiple missiles struck a grain farm in Przewodów, Poland about six miles from the Ukrainian border. As of today, there have been two fatalities and no injuries.
According to NPR, the missile exploded during a wave of rocket strikes from Russia into Ukrainian cities, believed to be the largest attack since the initial bombardment of the Russian invasion on Feb. 22. Joel Rubin, a Deputy Assistant Secretary of State under Obama, told NPR that the strike, even if an accident, could be a test for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization as to how it handles spillover from neighboring conflicts.
“That creates a dynamic now where the decision makers go into NATO consultations and decide what type of collective punishment they may or may not want to do. The good news here is that we’re getting more information quickly. That – this means that this will help to shape the decision in a clear way, as opposed to an ongoing debate back and forth about what really happened,” Rubin said on NPR.
While fragments of the missile were recovered and identified as Soviet manufactured weapons, investigations did not provide an immediate answer as to whether the missile belonged to Russia or Ukraine’s arsenal. Polish President Andrzej Duda ordered the country’s defenses on high alert, unsure if further strikes would follow.
According to The Guardian, by noon of Nov. 16, U.S. President Joe Biden, the Secretary General of NATO Jens Stoltenberg and Duda separately announced that early analysis suggested the missile was a stray anti-air rocket launched by Ukraine to intercept one of the many Russian missiles launched that day.
“‘Let me be clear: this is not Ukraine’s fault,’ Jens Stoltenberg said after an emergency meeting of alliance ambassadors in Brussels. ‘Russia bears the ultimate responsibility as it continues its illegal war against Ukraine,’” according to The Guardian.
“‘Let me be clear: this is not Ukraine’s fault,’ Jens Stoltenberg said after an emergency meeting of alliance ambassadors in Brussels. ‘Russia bears the ultimate responsibility as it continues its illegal war against Ukraine,’”The Guardian
Residents of Przewodów, a village of less than 1000 people, are still grieving the loss of the two dead, whom many residents knew personally. While close to Ukraine, nearly all of the inhabitants said they believed the war would never impact their town so harshly.
On Nov. 17 NBC reported that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy stated the missile is undoubtedly from Russia’s missile strikes in western Ukraine and requested Ukraine send its own investigators to the site.
“Oleksiy Danilov, head of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council, tweeted that Kyiv wanted to see the evidence held by its allies that suggested it was involved. Danilov said on Twitter that Ukraine was ‘ready to hand over the evidence of the Russian trail that we have’ but Kyiv was still awaiting ‘information from our partners, on the basis of which a conclusion was made that it is a Ukrainian air defense missile,’” NBC said.
The BBC stated the increased missile attacks by Russia has two purposes, both to target Ukrainian energy and water infrastructure as winter grows closer, and as vengeance after Ukrainian forces liberated the key city of Kherson on Nov. 11, after Russia declared the region formally annexed following an illegal referendum in September.