FACTBOX-What we know about the missile blast in Poland

FACTBOX-What we know about the missile blast in Poland

Updated: 2 months, 12 days, 13 hours, 50 minutes, 40 seconds ago

A missile explosion in NATO-member Poland that Ukraine blamed on Russia raised fears of a deeper confrontation between the U.S.-led military alliance and Russia amid the deadliest war in Europe since World War Two. However, the missile was probably a stray fired by Ukraine's air defences and not a Russian strike, Poland and NATO said on Wednesday, allaying global concern that the war in Ukraine could spill across the border. Many NATO allies called for thorough investigations and the alliance convened an emergency meeting.

What do we know - and what do we not know? THE MISSILE

First news of the incident was reported by Polish Radio ZET, which said on Tuesday that two stray missiles hit Przewodow, a village in eastern Poland about 6 km (3.5 miles) from the border with Ukraine. According to the Polish foreign ministry, a Russian-made missile fell in an area of the village at 3:40 p.m. local time (1440 GMT) after a day of heavy Russian missile strikes on Ukraine. Two men who were killed were near the weighing section of a grain facility in Przewodow.

NATO's secretary-general, Poland's president and prime minister said the blast was probably caused by a Ukrainian air defence missile. Polish President Andrzej Duda said it was an S-300 rocket that was manufactured in the Soviet Union in the 1970s, adding that the blast might have been a secondary effect related to the missile hitting the ground and fuel igniting.

WHAT DID RUSSIA SAY? Russia denied its missiles struck Poland.

It said Tuesday's blast had been caused by a Ukrainian air defence missile, and that Russian strikes in Ukraine had been no closer than 35 km (22 miles) from the Polish border. Moscow said on Wednesday it had nothing to do with the blast. The Kremlin accused some Western countries, especially Poland, of reacting "hysterically" to the incident, but said the United States and President Joe Biden had shown restraint.

Images of the wreckage have been identified by Russian defence industry specialists as elements of an anti-aircraft guided missile of the S-300 air defence system of the Ukrainian air force, the Russian defence ministry said in a statement. It was unclear whether Moscow had used a Cold War hotline - installed after the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis - to speak to Washington to calm the situation. President Vladimir Putin has yet to comment on the incident.

WHAT IS THE U.S. POSITION? The United States and its NATO allies are investigating the blast in Przewodow, but early information suggested it might not have been caused by a missile launched from Russia, U.S. President Joe Biden said overnight.

Asked whether it was too early to say that any missile was fired from Russia, Biden said the trajectory suggested otherwise. "There is preliminary information that contests that," he told reporters. "I don't want to say that until we completely investigate it but it is unlikely ... that it was fired from Russia, but we'll see." U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said on Wednesday the United States would work with Poland to gather more information on the explosion, but he did not assign blame.

UKRAINE'S POSITION Ukraine wants access to the site of the explosion in Poland, a senior Kyiv defence official said on Wednesday, a day after the government blamed Russia.

Oleksiy Danilov, Secretary of the National Security and Defence Council of Ukraine, said Kyiv wanted a joint study of Tuesday's incident with its partners and to see the information that provided the basis for its allies' conclusions. President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Tuesday, without producing evidence, that Russian missiles had hit Poland, a NATO country, in what he called a "significant escalation" of the conflict triggered by Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Danilov also said Ukraine has evidence of a "Russian trace" in the Przewodow incident and echoed Zelenskiy in blaming Russia's "missile terror". Danilov provided no details of what evidence he was citing. NATO

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said on Wednesday Warsaw might not need to activate Article 4 of the NATO treaty, which calls for consultations when a member country considers its security under threat. After an emergency meeting of NATO ambassadors in Brussels, alliance Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said that an investigation into the incident was ongoing.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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