Day 266 of the Invasion of Ukraine: The War spills into a NATO country after Missiles hit Poland
Here are the highlights of events related to the war in Ukraine over the past 24 hours:
USA: According to initial data, the missile that fell in Poland was fired by Ukrainian forces
Initial analyzes show that the missile that exploded on Polish territory and killed two people was fired by Ukrainian forces against an approaching Russian missile, the AP reported, citing US officials who spoke on condition of anonymity.
According to them, this happened against the background of yesterday's massive missile salvo against Ukraine's electricity infrastructure.
Earlier, the US President Joe Biden defined it as "unlikely" that the missile was launched by Russia.
And the Polish head of state, Andrzej Duda, said that there is no definitive evidence of who fired the rocket that exploded in the village of Przewodow near the border with Ukraine. The missile "is most likely Russian-made."
Ukraine still has weapons from the former USSR and Russia, including the S-300 air defense system, AP notes.
Polish media: Two people died after Russian missiles hit Polish territory
Poland's Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki called an emergency meeting of the national security council after Polish media reported that two people had been killed by Russian missiles in Przewodow, a village near the border with Ukraine.
The Associated Press agency cited a senior US intelligence source who confirmed the information on condition of anonymity.
However, the Pentagon refused official confirmation for the time being, as did the Polish government.
Latvia's Deputy Prime Minister Artis Pabriks was quick to blame the "criminal Russian regime" for launching missiles that were aimed not only at Ukrainian civilians but also at NATO territory in Poland.
Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda announced that his country expressed strong solidarity with Poland and said: "Every centimeter of NATO territory must be protected."
Slovak Prime Minister Eduard Heger expressed great concern about the explosions in Poland and said his country would consult with allies about the situation.
Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala said that if Poland confirmed that missiles had hit its territory, it would be a further escalation by Russia.
The Russian Ministry of Defense issued a statement that the reports of missile hits on Polish territory were a pure provocation.
Yesterday, Russia launched massive missile strikes on Ukraine, including in the Lviv region bordering Poland.
The attacks cut power to millions of Ukrainian households. Parts of neighboring Moldova also remained without electricity.
The Ministry of Defense of Russia called the statements of the Polish media and officials about the alleged fall of Russian missiles near Przewodov a provocation, since there were no strikes by Russian weapons near the Ukrainian-Polish border, TASS reported.
"The statements of the Polish media and officials about the alleged fall of ‘Russian’ missiles near the village of Przewodow are a deliberate provocation to escalate the situation. Russian weapons did not hit a single target near the Ukrainian-Polish state border," the ministry said.
The Russian Ministry of Defense emphasized that the photos of the wreckage from the accident site published by the Polish media had nothing to do with Russian weapons.
NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg said this evening that it was important to establish all the facts about what caused the deadly "explosion" in Poland after holding talks with President Andrzej Duda, AFP reported.
"I spoke with President Duda about the explosion in Poland. I expressed my condolences for the loss of human life. NATO is monitoring the situation and allies are conducting careful consultations. It is important that all the facts are established," Stoltenberg wrote on Twitter.
EU President Charles Michel said he was "shocked" by reports that a missile or other weapon had killed people in Poland, a member of the bloc, AFP reported.
"I am shocked by the news of a rocket or other munitions killing people on Polish territory. My condolences to the families," wrote Charles Michel on Twitter.
"We support Poland. I am in contact with the Polish authorities, members of the European Council and other allies," he added.
German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock wrote on Twitter: "We are closely monitoring the situation and are in contact with our Polish friends and NATO allies."
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte also posted a message on Twitter: "It is now important to find out exactly what happened."
French President Emmanuel Macron also said he was in contact with Poland and planned to discuss the incident before the G20 meeting tomorrow.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has accused Russia of deliberately attacking NATO member Poland, Reuters reports.
"This is a Russian missile attack against collective security," he said. "This is a very significant escalation. We need to act."
"Terror is not limited to our national borders," he said, adding that it was "only a matter of time before Russian aggression goes further."
Biden: The missile that fell in Poland may not have been launched by Russia
There is preliminary information that contradicts the claim that the rocket that fell yesterday on the territory of Poland and caused the death of two people was launched by Russia. This was announced by US President Joe Biden, quoted by Reuters and France Press. "It is unlikely ... that it was launched by Russia," Biden told reporters, referring to the missile's trajectory.
The United States and its NATO allies will investigate the incident very thoroughly before taking any action, the American president said.
He was speaking after an emergency meeting of world leaders attending the G20 forum in Bali.
The White House previously announced that the meeting was called by Biden, and among its participants were the leaders of the European Union and all the G-7 countries - Great Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States.
The White House website described the meeting as an "emergency roundtable." It was held behind closed doors after journalists were asked to leave.
Meanwhile, Poland has announced that it is considering whether to request consultations under Art. 4 of the North Atlantic Treaty. This could happen at the NATO meeting scheduled for later today. Polish authorities also summoned the Russian ambassador to Warsaw for an explanation after Moscow denied responsibility for the incident.
Stoltenberg: NATO is monitoring the situation in Poland in constant consultation with allies
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said the Alliance was monitoring the situation in Poland in constant consultation with allies. "It is important to establish all the facts," he wrote on Twitter, where he added that he had a conversation with Polish President Andrzej Duda.
"Shocked by the news of rockets and other munitions that killed people on Polish territory. My condolences to the families. We stand by Poland. I am in contact with the country's authorities, MEPs and other allies," European Council President Charles wrote on Twitter. Michel is currently in Bali for the G20 meeting.
"We are all part of the NATO family, united more than ever and equipped to protect us all," Belgian Prime Minister Alexandre de Croix also wrote on Twitter. "Belgium strongly condemns the incident and sends its deepest condolences to the families of the victims and to the Polish people. Belgium stands by Poland," he added.
The European institutions refuse to comment on the case and add that they are in close contact with the authorities in Poland to clarify the situation.
Moscow has denied that Russian missiles fell in Przewodov
The Ministry of Defense of Russia categorically denied the information in the Polish media that Russian missiles fell in the village of Przewodov near the border with Ukraine.
In an official announcement of the military department, it is written that the statements of the Polish media and officials about the fall of Russian missiles in the area of the settlement of Przewodows are a "deliberate provocation with the aim of escalating the situation". The announcement emphasized that Russian strike assets did not carry out any strikes on targets near the Ukrainian-Polish state border.
"The debris published by the Polish media on hot tracks from the accident site in the village of Przewodow has nothing to do with the Russian means of striking," assures the Russian Ministry of Defense.
Warsaw triggers NATO Article 4
NATO countries are meeting later today, at Poland's request to trigger Article 4, under which the allies meet for consultation. Here is a summary of what is known so far.
Shortly before 5:00 p.m., a rocket hit the area of the Polish village of Przewdow in eastern Poland, near the border with Ukraine. According to local media, there is a possibility that the strike was carried out by Russian missiles.
Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki convened an emergency meeting of the government commission for national security and defense. Warsaw has announced that it is strengthening the security of its airspace.
President Andrzej Duda called for calm:
"We all know that Russia has been firing missiles at Ukraine throughout the day, but we don't have any concrete evidence at this point to tell us who fired the missile. I'm sure the investigation will give us more clarity. It's probably a Russian-made missile ".
Poland has requested the triggering of Article 4 of the NATO treaty, which means holding consultations with allies.
The strike comes amid the ongoing G20 meeting in Indonesia. World leaders gathered in an emergency meeting chaired by US President Joe Biden.
Poland puts its troops on high alert
After an explosion that killed two people in a village near the border with Ukraine, Poland has put part of its armed forces on high alert, a government spokesman said Tuesday evening in Warsaw, DPA reported.
The spokesman said the order applies to some military combat units and the combat readiness of uniformed service units, but gave no further details.
The rocket - Russian production. Warsaw summoned Moscow's ambassador after midnight for detailed explanations
The ambassador of the Russian Federation to Poland will be summoned at any moment to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for an explanation regarding the missile that fell on the territory of Poland, the Prime Minister of Poland, Mateusz Morawiecki, announced in a statement minutes after midnight on Wednesday. Morawiecki appeared before the television cameras only 10 hours after the incident that claimed the lives of two Polish citizens in Przewodów, kilometers from the Polish-Ukrainian border.
The information pool of the White House, which is traveling with US President Joe Biden to Indonesia for the G-20 meeting, announced at 3 a.m. Bulgarian time that Biden will hold an extraordinary round table of the world leaders participating in the summit in Indonesia. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the leaders of Germany, France, Great Britain, Italy, the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, and the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, are present at the Grand Hyatt Hotel, where the US President is staying. After the photos at the beginning of the meeting, a reporter managed to ask a question: "Can you tell us what you know so far about the explosion in Poland, sir?" The American president answered with a monosyllabic "No."
Biden’s meeting with likeminded leaders on Ukraine and Poland has begun. pic.twitter.com/BKOdLQGqs7— Josh Wingrove (@josh_wingrove) November 16, 2022
The Polish Prime Minister was extremely selective and laconic in mentioning Russia and pointing out Russian guilt for the incident. However, before that, in a statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Warsaw announced that the missile was Russian-made.
"On November 15, 2022, a multi-hour massive shelling of the entire territory of Ukraine and its critical infrastructure, carried out by the armed forces of the Russian Federation, was registered. At 3:40 p.m., a Russian-made rocket fell on the territory of the village of Przewodów in the Hrubeszów neighborhood of the Lublin Voivodeship, as a result of which two citizens of the Republic of Poland were killed. In connection with this incident, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Prof. Zbigniew Rau, is calling the Ambassador of the Russian Federation to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs with a request for an immediate presentation of detailed explanations," the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Poland announced on its website.
Poleciłem Prokuratorowi Krajowemu objęcie osobistym nadzorem śledztwa w sprawie eksplozji rakiety i śmierci dwóch polskich obywateli. Na miejscu od kilku godzin pracuje zespół prokuratorów wraz z nadzorowanymi przez nich służbami i biegłymi.— Zbigniew Ziobro | SP (@ZiobroPL) November 15, 2022
The Minister of Justice, Zbigniew Ziobro, who is constitutionally also the Prosecutor General, announced that a pre-trial proceeding had begun into the death of the two Polish citizens as a result of the explosion in Przewodów.
"I have instructed the national prosecutor to personally oversee the investigation into the rocket explosion and the death of two Polish citizens. A team of prosecutors has been working on the spot for several hours, together with the services and experts monitored by them," Ziobro wrote on his Twitter account.
"We have declared increased combat readiness in all Polish services," Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki announced after the end of the government meeting, which ended minutes after midnight. The prime minister announced that Warsaw had invited international experts to join the investigation into the explosion in Przewodów. "We are holding talks with our allies to activate Art. 4 of the Washington Treaty.
I call on all Poles to remain calm regarding this tragedy. Let's be careful. Let us not be manipulated. We must be guided by restraint and prudence," said Morawiecki.
"We have to be ready for any fake news. This is a weapon that Moscow has used for many years, especially in recent years. Let us listen to the messages of the government and our allies," urged the Prime Minister.
Half an hour after Moraveski, President Andrzej Duda also made a statement on the television stations, which continued their extraordinary blocks until late at night. Duda confirmed that, according to initial information, the rocket that caused the explosion in eastern Poland and the death of two people was produced in Russia, but stressed that at the moment there is not enough definitive evidence as to who launched it
Before appearing in front of the journalists, Duda held talks with US President Joe Biden, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, French President Emmanuel Macron, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelensky. First on the diplomatic shuttle was Biden, who had to spoil his sleep in Bali – it was just after 5:30 a.m. in Indonesia. Biden promised Andrzej Duda that American experts would be involved in the investigation of the missile incident, and according to the Polish media, Washington's experts are already on the ground.
I spoke with President Andrzej Duda of Poland to express my deep condolences for the loss of life in Eastern Poland and offer our full support for Poland's investigation of the explosion.— President Biden (@POTUS) November 16, 2022
We will remain in close touch to determine appropriate next steps as it proceeds. pic.twitter.com/m6OSwcHKtD
The Polish president announced that at 10 a.m. on Wednesday at the NATO headquarters, the Polish ambassador to the alliance's headquarters is expected to request the activation of Art. 4 of the Agreement – the initiation of consultations
The military did not allow Polish media into Przewodów, and TVN24 had to put CNN's correspondent on Polish air from the center of the village to report in English what people were saying.
Polish authorities imposed an unprecedented information blockade and outraged media and social media subscribers over the 10-hour delay in the statements. The two largest news TV channels TVN24 and Polsat NEWS could not reach the site of the explosion. Police and army teams had cordoned off the entire area and were stopping Polish reporters 800 meters from the village of Przewodów. It reached an absurdity where at midnight TVN24 included a CNN correspondent live from the scene of the explosion, who explained in English on Polish air what the people in the epicenter of the news were saying and what exactly was happening there.
Kuleba: We want to defend NATO. Give us F-15 and F-16
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleva announced that the "collective response" after the fall of Russian missiles in Poland should include Ukraine's F-15 and F-16 fighter jets, as well as air defense systems, "so that we can intercept any Russian missiles ".
"Ukraine reaffirms its full solidarity with Poland and is ready to provide any necessary support. The collective response to Russian actions must be firm and principled. Among the immediate actions: a NATO summit with Ukraine to develop further joint actions to force Russia to reverse its course of escalation by providing Ukraine with advanced aircraft such as the F-15 and F-16 as well as air defense systems so that we can intercept any Russian missiles. Today Ukraine's sky defense means defending NATO."
Kuleba added that Ukraine is ready to defend NATO, "even though we are not yet members of the Alliance."
"Ukraine is willing to further contribute to the collective Euro-Atlantic security and protect NATO's eastern flank - even though we are not yet members of the Alliance. With all the necessary equipment, we will be able to protect both Ukrainian skies and the skies of our neighbors."
Ukraine reaffirms its full solidarity with Poland and stands ready to provide any necessary support. Collective response to Russian actions must be tough and principled. Among immediate actions: a NATO summit with Ukraine’s participation to craft further joint actions... 1/2— Dmytro Kuleba (@DmytroKuleba) November 15, 2022
Finally, the foreign minister refuted the claim spread by Moscow that a missile of the Ukrainian air defense systems fell in Poland.
"Now Russia is pushing a conspiracy theory that a Ukrainian Air Defense missile allegedly fell on the Polish theory. Which is not true. No one should buy Russian propaganda or amplify its messages. This lesson should have been learned long after #MH17 was shot down." (the passenger plane destroyed by Russia in 2014, traveling from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, in which crash nearly 300 people died).
Russia now promotes a conspiracy theory that it was allegedly a missile of Ukrainian air defense that fell on the Polish theory. Which is not true. No one should buy Russian propaganda or amplify its messages. This lesson should have been long learnt since the downing of #MH17.— Dmytro Kuleba (@DmytroKuleba) November 15, 2022
Kyiv: The energy system is in a critical state after the new Russian strikes
Russia subjected Ukraine to the most massive missile attack since the start of the war. About 100 rockets were fired at Kyiv and the country's largest cities. Energy facilities were mainly targeted, but two residential buildings were also hit in the capital. At least one person died.
Ukraine's energy system is in critical condition following the missile strikes that Russia carried out in the last few hours on Kyiv and other major cities, the administration of President Volodymyr Zelensky announced.
More than 7 million households remained without electricity. Half of Kyiv and 80 percent of Lviv are in the dark, where the heating and water supply have stopped.
The governor of the border Russian Belgorod region reported two victims in Ukrainian shelling of the town of Shebekino. The Russian occupation administration announced that it was leaving Nova Kakhovka - the second most important city in the Kherson region.
Russian troops began withdrawing from the left bank of the Dnieper just days after retreating from Kherson.
"Is there anyone else who thinks the Kremlin actually wants peace," asked President Zelensky's chief of staff Andriy Yermak rhetorically on Twitter minutes after the new missile strikes on Kyiv.
Several missiles were shot down by air defenses, but two residential buildings in the center of the Ukrainian capital were hit, Mayor Vitaly Klitschko said.
In the late afternoon, explosions also rang out in Lviv, Rivne, Zhytomyr, Kryvyi Rih, Odesa, Poltava, Kharkiv. In the immediate aftermath of the bombing, several areas in northern and central Ukraine were left without electricity. It stopped the electricity in Lviv, Kharkiv and in half of three million Kyiv. At least one person died in the capital, a 5-story residential building was set on fire.
A little earlier, the occupation administration in Nova Kakhovka (Kherson Oblast) announced that the city was subjected to "reckless" shelling by Ukrainian artillery from the opposite bank of the Dnieper, and was therefore withdrawing its employees.
A spokeswoman for Ukraine's Southern Command said Russian troops were also retreating 15-20 kilometers from the river, but the city of Kherson, liberated by the Ukrainians only a few days ago, was still within range of Russian artillery.
On the Donbas front, the Russians have captured Pavlovka, if the Russian Ministry of Defense is to be believed, which only a few days ago had to deny the reports of hundreds of casualties in the battle for this village.
Events in Ukraine have divided G20 leaders, who gathered on the Indonesian island of Bali to discuss common measures against the world's economic challenges. Not all leaders responded to the West's call to brand Russia as an aggressor. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi praised his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov for the "rational" and "responsible" position that a nuclear war should not be reached.
The head of the CIA visited Kyiv on the day of the massive Russian missile strikes
CIA Director Williams Burns met in Kyiv with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and senior intelligence officials to brief them on the warning to Russia not to use nuclear weapons, AFP reported, citing a US official.
Burns traveled to Kyiv on Tuesday, a day after his talks in Ankara with his Russian counterpart Sergei Naryshkin about the war and Moscow's threats to use tactical nuclear weapons to defend its interests.
It was the highest-level face-to-face meeting between US and Russian officials since the start of the war, with Burns clearly warning Naryshkin "about the consequences of Russia using nuclear weapons and the risks of escalation to strategic stability," the White House said in statement on Monday.
Burns then went to Ukraine to brief Zelensky and his Ukrainian counterparts on the talks with Naryshkin and to emphasize US support for Kyiv's war effort, the US representative told AFP.
Monday's statement emphasized that Burns "did not conduct negotiations of any kind" in the talks with Naryshkin, who heads Russia's Foreign Intelligence Service.
"He has not discussed a solution to the war in Ukraine," the statement said.
Burns' visit to Kyiv came on a day when Russian forces carried out multiple missile strikes on targets across Ukraine, including in Kyiv.
According to the AFP source, Burns was safe at the US embassy and had already left the capital of Ukraine.
The supply of Russian oil through Ukraine to Hungary has been suspended
The supply of Russian oil through Ukraine to Hungary has been suspended, reports RIA Novosti.
The Ukrainian side has notified the Russian company "Transneft" that the suspension of the supply along the southern branch of the Druzhba oil pipeline is due to a drop in pressure.
The suspension of Druzhba, as well as the news of a missile strike in neighboring Poland, caused Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán to convene an emergency meeting of the defense council, Orbán's spokesman Zoltan Kovacs announced.
Hungary relies mainly on Russian oil, and Druzhba is the main route through which it receives it. According to the media in Budapest, the country has 3 months' worth of supplies.
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