The ‘guilty one’

Sergey Andreev

NATO countries are discussing what to do after the explosions in Poland. And they argue whose missiles – Russian or Ukrainian – fell in the Lublin Voivodeship, killing two local residents. Although Warsaw blames Moscow for everything, its allies are in no hurry to draw clear conclusions.
“Ready for War”
A few photos and two short videos are what Polish TV channels have been showing for almost a day. First of all, they discuss the consequences: as soon as the local media reported two explosions in Pszewoduv, numerous experts and politicians have already found the “guilty one”. And they proposed to activate the fifth paragraph of the NATO charter.
And according to it, all countries of the alliance consider an attack on one of the allies as a common threat. Simply put, in Poland it was proposed to declare war on Russia. Neighbors were quick to make accusations. So, the Minister of Defense of Latvia, Artis Pabriks, was immediately clear. “My condolences to our Polish brothers in arms. The criminal Russian regime fired rockets that target not only the civilian population of Ukraine, but also fell on NATO territory in Poland. Latvia fully supports Polish friends and condemns this crime,” he wrote on social networks.
Estonia stressed that they are ready to “defend every inch of NATO territory.” And the speaker of the Lithuanian Seimas, Victoria Cmilyte-Nielsen, called the incident “Russian missile terror.” True, she made a reservation: “We are waiting for the reaction of officials.”
The expectation game
Everyone was looking towards Washington. The Americans carefully follow what is happening in Ukraine and often supported their conclusions about this or that event there with satellite images. Waiting for them now. As usual, the public’s interest was fueled by “insiders”: the Associated Press, citing a “high-ranking sou-rce in intelligence,” annou-nced Russian missiles.
The public was also irritated by ex-president Donald Trump, who said that Russia “sent missiles 50 miles (80 kilometers. – Approx. ed.) deep into Poland.” By the way, the village of Przevoduv is located five kilometers from the Ukrainian border.
And now it’s the Pentagon ‘s turn. The military tempered their passions: so far there is no evidence that this is Moscow. And Joe Biden was completely surprised.
“I don’t want to confirm this until the full completion of the investigation, but it is unlikely, if we talk about the trajectory that was launched from Russia,” he told reporters.
Far more verbose was Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. According to him, the rocket is not Ru-ssian. And this, he stressed, is recognized by six other NATO countries. But he didn’t specify which ones.
The rest of the alliance urged to wait for the examination. As a result, the Polish establishment – especially President Andrzej Duda – began to speak out more cautiously.
“The position of the United States speaks volumes”
Leaving aside the political context, the explosions in the Polish countryside raise many questions. First of all, because there is very little open data. There is a 3 second video. There is a photo of the destroyed elevator, as well as a picture of the funnel. The fragment was also captured.
It is around this frame that they are now hotly arguing. Polish media, for example, claim that this is the Kh-101 cruise missile, which Russian troops use to hit infrastructure facilities in Ukraine, including on November 15. Independent Western experts doubt this version. The design features, according to them, point to the S-300 air defense system, which is available both in the Russian Armed Forces and in the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Depending on the modification, the missiles of this complex are capable of hitting targets at a distance of up to 200 kilometers. Most likely, it was a Ukrainian missile launched to intercept the Russian one.
It is quite possible that the air defense systems worked abnormally, military expert Alexei Leonkov admits. “We have seen this before, including the destr-uction of Ukrainian own re-sidential buildings by anti-aircraft missiles,” he adds.
The same was stated in the Russian Ministry of Defense. They stressed that the strikes were carried out only on targets on the territory of Ukraine – “at a distance of no closer than 35 kilometers from the Ukrainian-Polish border.” And Poland’s accusations were called “a deliberate provocation with the aim of escalating the situation.”
Warsaw requested an emergency meeting of NATO. As a result, new details are expected. So far, it is known that President Biden adheres to the version of Ukrainian air defense – Reuters reports.
“The tolerant position of the American president says a lot. Both the US and the EU are not interested in escalation,” says Alexander Gusev, director of the Institute for Strategic Planning. And all because, he believes, that politicians understand how far the situation has gone: “any wrong move” can lead to a global catastrophe.