Missile hits Poland, 2 dead: why the new escalation in Russia-Ukraine war is sending shock waves around the world

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This is the first confirmed instance of the war in Ukraine having caused casualties directly in another country.

Two Polish citizens have been killed after a missile landed in eastern Poland about 15 miles from the country’s border with media are reporting. This is the first confirmed instance of the war in Ukraine having caused casualties directly in another country.

So is Russia attacking Poland now?

The circumstances of the explosion are not clear. It is also not known who fired the missile, and from where.

Later, however, The Associated Press, quoting US officials, reported that the missile was fired by Ukrainian forces at an incoming Russian missile.

Wait, so it was a Ukraine missile?

President Joe Biden, who is in Bali for the G20 summit, has said early information suggests the blast may not have been caused by a missile fired from Russia

“There is preliminary information that contests that (the missile was fired from Russia),” Biden was quoted as saying by AP. “It is unlikely in the lines of the trajectory that it was fired from Russia, but we’ll see.”

Biden, however, has promised “full US support for and assistance with Poland’s investigation,” and “reaffirmed the United States’ ironclad commitment to NATO”, the AP report added. He also convened an emergency meeting of the Group of Seven and NATO leaders in Indonesia for consultations on the situation in Poland.

Biden also said Jens Stoltenberg, Secretary General of NATO, is meeting the envoys of the NATO countries in Brussels.

Also Read |NATO’s crucial question: Was Poland missile strike deliberate?

What has Russia said on the missile in Poland?

Russia has denied it fired the missile. Its defence ministry called reports “a deliberate provocation aimed at escalating the situation”, reported Reuters. Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov, meanwhile, said he had no information on an

Why is a Russian attack on Poland —if it was indeed, Russia — a big deal?

It is a massive and dangerous escalation. This is because Poland is a member of NATO, and under the terms of the treaty, an attack on one NATO member is considered an attack on all. NATO can then intervene against the aggressor, militarily if needed.

Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelenskyy described it as “a very significant escalation” of the war.

So what will happen now?

The New York Times is reporting that President Duda has said it is “highly probable” that he would ask for the activation of NATO’s Article 4, under which members of the treaty discuss their response when one of them is threatened.

The official handle of the Polish president tweeted a message that reads, according to a Google translation: “President @AndrzejDuda: I informed @jensstoltenberg, @POTUS, @RishiSunak and @OlafScholz that our ambassador will participate in the North Atlantic Council and that it is highly probable that he will request the activation of Article 4, i.e. allied consultations.”

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