Although the missile is not Russian, NATO holds Russia responsible for its attacks on Ukraine. Turkey asks not to escalate the conflict.
The missile that hit Poland yesterday causing the death of two civilians was not Russian, but was launched by Ukraine’s anti-aircraft defense, US President Joe Biden confirmed this Wednesday to his allies during the G-20 meeting in Indonesia.
Hours earlier, Biden himself had suggested that the missile was unlikely to have been fired by Russia due to its trajectory. Russia had denied being the author of the attack, accusing several Western countries of seeking “provocation” and escalating the conflict, and alleging that it had not launched attacks near the Polish border, although several of the missiles launched yesterday by the Russian army against Ukraine fell on targets located in the nearby Volyn region.
The missile – initially information mentioned two missiles, but Warsaw has only confirmed one impact – has been identified by various sources as an S-300, a surface-to-air missile for anti-aircraft defense that is indeed part of the Ukrainian arsenal; however the S-300 is a Russian-made missile, and in fact Russia has been using them as surface-to-surface missiles to bomb Ukraine due to its serious problems to replenis its weapons stocks.
Poland summoned the Russian ambassador yesterday to demand “immediate explanations” of what happened after the impact of the missile, which occurred at 15:40 (14:40 CET) on a farm on the outskirts of the town of Przewodów. The meeting, however, lasted only a few minutes, according to Polish press. Polish President Andrzej Duda was scheduled to meet today with his National Security Council, the country’s highest advisory body that includes all political forces.
NATO blames Russia for attacks on Ukraine
NATO ambassadors were also summoned today to an emergency meeting to discuss the situation. However, Poland announced today that it was withdrawing its request to invoke Article 4 of the Atlantic Alliance – consultative meetings between NATO leaders in the event of a threat – after confirming that the investigation indicates that it was an Ukrainian missile that fell by mistake into the other side of the border.
“There is information that contradicts that the missile was launched by Russia. I do not want to say anything until we have fully investigated it, but it is unlikely due to the trajectory that it was launched by Russia, although we will see,” Biden explained when asked about a possible war escalation in the event that a NATO country like Poland had been attacked by Russia.
In this sense, the Pentagon reiterated yesterday after the incident that the United States “will defend every inch of NATO territory”, repeating words previously pronounced by Biden. In fact, the Secretary General of the Alliance Jens Stoltenberg and other NATO leaders held today Russia responsible for what happened, even though it was not ultimately the material author of the attack. “The fact that the missile exploded in Poland is an almost direct result of the Russian attack on Ukraine. Russia must stop this war,” Stoltenberg said.
Turkey stands in solidarity with Poland
Turkey, for its part, expressed its full solidarity with Poland after the incident on Wednesday, and conveyed its condolences for the two deceased victims. “We convey our sincere condolences to our ally Poland and our Polish friends. Our thoughts are with the victims and their loved ones,” said a statement released today by the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, via Twitter.
The message also insisted that “the incident must be clarified through a thorough investigation.” Turkish President Tayyip Erdoğan, also present at the G-20 summit in Bali, nevertheless called for restraint so as not to escalate the war, precisely when Ankara is trying to bring Russia and Ukraine to the negotiating table. “There is no need to look for a third party involved in this war,” he said in reference to Poland.
Asked about the incident in Poland, Erdoğan recalled that Moscow had denied responsibility for the attack. “It is my duty to respect what Russia has said. For us, it is important that Russia has said that this has nothing to do with it,” said the Turkish president, recalling that Biden himself had also spoken in this regard.
Erdoğan, who met the US president in Indonesia and discussed the missile strike in Poland with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, said both agreed to investigate before coming to any conclusion, reiterating that “insisting on that ‘Russia is behind this’ only serves to provoke”. “Peace will come through dialogue. We want to bring peace to the world in this way. That is why I am going to continue my telephone diplomacy with Mr. Putin as soon as he returns to Turkey,” the Turkish president announced.
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As a history lover, Pablo was captivated by Turkey from the first day he visited it in 2006: he got married there, has a house there… and has since become an expert on Turkey’s current affairs. With a long experience in media, he has been at the helm of hispanatolia.com since 2011, and now also of anatoliatoday.com