November 27, 2022

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War in Ukraine: What we know about the missiles that hit Poland

debt, Stowarzyszenie Moje Nowosiolki via REUTERS

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The news agency reported that the missiles hit the border area between Poland and Ukraine and billowed smoke.

Poland’s foreign ministry announced on Tuesday (15/11) that two people had died after being hit by a “Russian-made missile” in a Polish village near the border with Ukraine.

The statement did not say who fired the missile. Both sides in the conflict are using Russian-made ammunition.

The Polish government said it had summoned the Russian ambassador to provide detailed information about the incident in the village of Przewodów. The country has called an emergency meeting of its National Security Council.

In recent hours, images showing fragments of missiles at the site of the attack in Poland have circulated on social networks.

The BBC could not verify the authenticity of the photos, but three security experts were asked about the equipment found.

Mark Ganzian of the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) believes it is an S-300 system. This type of missile is commonly used in surface-to-air attacks and is used by both Russia and Ukraine.

“It’s still unclear who fired the missiles,” said J. Andres Cannon.

“We know that Russia uses the S-300 for ground attacks, although it is an air defense system, and Ukraine also uses an air defense system against cruise missiles.”

NATO’s Mutual Defense

Jens Stoltenberg, head of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), of which Poland is a member, said he had spoken with Polish President Andrzej Duda and was monitoring the situation.

“My condolences for the loss of life. NATO is monitoring the situation and allies are following closely. It is important that all the facts are established,” Stoltenberg said on Twitter.

Members of the organization are committed to protecting each other in the event of an armed attack against one another.

Americans have reacted cautiously to reports that Russian missiles have struck Polish territory.

The White House, Pentagon and State Department said they could not confirm what happened and were working with the Polish government to get more information.

The United States has reiterated its commitment to defend every part of the NATO region under attack, calling it a “sacred duty” that President Joe Biden has called.

But neither the US nor its NATO allies are interested in a direct confrontation with Russia.

The Russian government has said the reports of the missiles were a “deliberate provocation” and that it had not launched strikes along the Ukrainian-Polish border.

Ukraine, for its part, called reports of the missile launch by Ukrainian forces a “conspiracy theory” and part of “Russian propaganda”.

US President Joe Biden and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy contacted the Polish president by phone, but details of the talks have not yet been released.

Bombings in Kiev and other cities

Earlier, Russia launched a series of missiles against key Ukrainian cities days after Russian troops were pulled out of Kherson in southern Ukraine.

The war in Ukraine has been ongoing since February when Russia invaded. The Ukrainian counteroffensive, which began in September, has already retaken 3,000 square kilometers of territory initially occupied by the Russians, according to Kiev officials.

debt, Reuters

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Firefighters battle a fire at a residential building in Kiev, Ukraine.

Among the affected cities is the capital Kyiv. Mayor Vitaly Klitschko said residential buildings near the city center were damaged.

Attacks were reported in Mykolaiv, Chernihiv, Lviv and elsewhere.

The attacks came as world leaders were meeting at the G20 summit in Bali.

At the meeting, Vladimir Putin’s government faced harsh criticism over the war in Ukraine.

Power outage

Klitschko said at least one person died in the latest attacks in Kiev. The mayor of the Ukrainian capital said several Russian missiles had been shot down.

He warned that at least half of the city’s residents were without power due to the emergency outage — a “necessary measure to balance the power system,” the mayor said.

Air raid warnings sounded across Ukraine on Tuesday.

Video shared by the Ukrainian president’s office shows what appears to be an apartment block in flames, with fire pouring from windows.

Vitaly Kim, the mayor of Mykolaiv in the south, said Russia’s missiles were launched in three waves.

In Chernihiv, in the north, Governor Vyacheslav Chas urged residents to take shelter and said “missile attacks continue”.

In the western city of Lviv, Mayor Andriy Sadovy said there were also attacks, resulting in power outages.

Withdrawal of Gerson

Last week, Moscow withdrew its troops from the southern city of Kherson – a major setback for the Russian military.

At other times in the war, when Russia suffered defeats, it retaliated with airstrikes.

Andriy Yermak, an adviser to Ukraine’s president, said Tuesday’s attacks were Russia’s response to Zelensky’s “powerful speech” at the G20 summit.

debt, EPA

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Zelensky during a meeting with military leaders in Kherson

In a virtual speech, Zelensky addressed what he called the “G19” leaders – disdainful of Putin – and said he was “convinced that now is the moment to stop Russia’s destructive war”.

A draft summit declaration reported by news agencies said a “majority of countries” agreed that the war was exacerbating the weaknesses of the world economy.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the G20 declaration was “politicized” by Ukraine’s Western allies.