According to an AP story, “a senior U.S. intelligence official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the situation” claims that two Russian missiles landed in the town of Przewodów in South Eastern Poland and just over 5 miles from the border with Ukraine, resulting in two deaths. The official Pentagon response has been to say that missiles did indeed land in Poland while disclaiming that they are parts or fragments of a missile. The Pentagon has not confirmed if the missiles were indeed fired by Russia as part of the larger attack on Ukraine.
National Security Council spokesperson Adrienne Watson issued the following statement on her official Twitter account, “We’ve seen these reports out of Poland and are working with the Polish government to gather more information. We cannot confirm the reports or any of the details at this time. We will determine what happened and what the appropriate next steps would be.”
So far, the Polish Foreign Ministry has not confirmed how many missiles landed in their territory or their point of origin. The alert status of some Polish military units has been increased.
In the last 24 hours, Russia fired some 85 cruise missiles into Ukraine, targeting civilian infrastructure mostly targeting its power grid. Parts of Kyiv, Kharkiv, and Kviv are currently without power. Moldova also experienced blackouts as one of the Russian missiles striking Ukraine included power lines supplying Moldovia with electricity.
According to the AP, Ukranian President Zelensky stated that 70 of the 85 missiles fired into his country were shot down while the remaining 15 hit energy infrastructure targets inside his country.
Zelensky also called for action over this latest attack, “Russian missile strikes on NATO territory are ‘a significant escalation, action is needed.”
Such an attack if verified would leave Russia with only a couple of options, claim that the attack was accidental and due to a malfunctioning missile or deny all responsibility for the attack and blame Ukraine.
For its part, the Russian Defence Ministry issued a statement denying any missiles struck Poland, “No strikes on targets near the Ukraine-Poland state border were undertaken with Russian weaponry.”
A map of the area hit in Poland shows it landed between 5 and 15 miles from the border with Ukraine inside Polish territory
Poland, NATO, and the US will not immediately react to the impact of these missiles until the exact number of missiles is determined, along with their make and launch origin which NATO may have been able to track with radar or satellites in space.
It should be noted that Ukraine claims it did shoot down 75 of these missiles, which were probably intercepted by Ukraine’s own S-300 surface-to-air missile systems. These missiles have a range in excess of 90 miles. It is entirely possible one(or more) of them missed a Russian cruise missile and ended up in Poland. They are supposed to self-destruct to prevent coming back down to earth but they could have malfunctioned.
The damage disclosed so far was to a grain processing plant where the impact left a large crater tearing up a light rail line and a tractor with its trailer.
A deliberate attack on NATO would invoke Article 5 of the NATO Charter that could result in a host of actions, most likely, in this case, would be NATO air defense assets rushed to the borders of Poland and Hungary to shoot down any Russian cruise missiles within their range heading toward a NATO country while still over Ukraine.
It could also result in NATO aircraft overflying Western Ukraine to give early warning of impending missile attacks, but a full-scale military intervention by NATO in Ukraine is unlikely at this point.