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War In Ukraine, Day 265: NATO Escalation Averted After Poland Confirms Missile Strike Was Accident

War In Ukraine, Day 265: NATO Escalation Averted After Poland Confirms Missile Strike Was Accident

Army servicemen stand near an anti-aircraft battery Patriot, a part of Vistula Defence System

Shaun Lavelle, Anna Akage and Emma Albright

Warsaw saysthat the missile that hit Poland was probably a Ukrainian air defense missile that went astray. The Russian-made missile fell on thePolish village of Przewodów, near the border with Ukraine, killing two people late Tuesday.

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Even though the missile was made in Russia,initial US assessments indicated that it had originated in Ukraine.

On Wednesday, Polish President Andrzej Duda said there is “no indication” that the missile strike was an intentional attack on the country. U.S. President Joe Bidenhad already commented that it was “unlikely” the missile was fired from Russia.

The Ukrainian Air Force has said it will “do everything” in order to facilitate the ongoing investigation into the strike.

“What happened was the Air Defense Force repelling the air attack,” Yurii Ihnat, spokesperson for Air Force Command Ukraine, said. “What happened next – whether it was a Russian missile, or this was the wreckage of both rockets falling – this has to be inspected at the site. And that is what is happening right now.”

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said, beyond the details of the investigation, Moscow is to blame for having invaded its neighbor. “Let me be clear, this is not Ukraine's fault," he added. "Russia bears ultimate responsibility, as it continues its illegal war against Ukraine."

The missile landing is the first time a NATO-member country has been hit directly since the beginning of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. It had raised fears that NATO would be drawn into a direct conflict with Moscow.

In Warsaw daily Gazeta Wyborcza, Paweł Wroński writes that the incident is a reminder of the dangers of the war spilling over into NATO territory, and the need for the alliance to deploy missile defense at the Polish border.

Would A Missile Strike In Poland Force NATO To Attack Russia?

Article 5 of NATO’s treaty states that an armed attackon one member is an attack on all. But it cannot be invoked by one member state alone, requiring NATO consensus. It is also not necessarily a requirement that NATO members respond militarily.

Article 5 was invoked for the first time after the September 11 terrorist attacks on the United States in 2001. Eight measures were enacted to support the United States, including intelligence sharing, providing aerial radar patrols over the US, and naval patrols in the Mediterranean.

With the latest missile that killed two in Poland, even if it had come from Russia, William Alberque, director of strategy, technology and arms control for International Institute for Strategic Studies,said that it probably would fall short of what is intended by Article 5. “‘Deliberate armed attack’ is a real thing. Two misfired cruise or ballistic missiles ain’t it.”

“Putin’s Rockets” Fall On Polish Front Page

The front page of Warsaw-based tabloid Super Express features a photo of Vladimir Putin overlayed on scenes of destruction after a missile landed in eastern Poland near the Ukrainian border, killing two.

New Russian Missile Barrage Is Biggest Since Feb. 24

Recent Russian Air Strikes on Mykolaiv, Ukraine

Daniel Ceng Shou-Yi/ZUMA

Russia’s massive attack on Ukraine’s infrastructure Tuesday, including 96 cruise missiles, aircraft missiles, Shahed attack drones, and others, was the worst assault since the first day of the war. Ukrainian air defenses say they shot down 75 missiles.

The strikes were carried out from the Caspian Sea, Volgodonsk (Rostov region), and the Black Sea. In the Black Sea near the coast of the temporarily occupied Crimea, 14 enemy ships and boats are maneuvering, according to the operational command "South."

At least 15 infrastructure facilities were hit, leaving more than seven million users of the Ukrainian power grid without electricity, water, and communication.

In Kyiv, rocket fragments hit residential buildings, killing one person. In Kharkiv and the region, as a result of missile strikes, there is virtually no electricity supply. Some 80% of Lviv is left without electricity, heat and hot water.

On Wednesday morning Russian continued its missile strikes, though at a slower pace; including targets in Zaporizhzhya and Kharkiv regions; and an air alert has been declared in most of Ukraine.

G20 Ends With “Most” Countries Condemning Russia, “All” Agree On Nuclear Warning

Chinese President Xi Jinping takes part in the closing session at the G20 Leaders Summit

Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press/Zuma

The G20 summit in Bali, Indonesia concluded Wednesday with a joint declaration saying “most member states strongly condemn” Russia’s war in Ukraine. The declaration’s limit of “most” countries likely means China and India continue to refuse to blame Russia explicitly for the war.

Still, China did join in stating the shared opposition to the prospect of nuclear weapons being used in conflict. The G20 leader’s 1,100 page document stated: “The use or threat of use of nuclear weapons is inadmissible. The peaceful resolution of conflicts, efforts to address crises, as well as diplomacy and dialogue, are vital. Today’s era must not be of war.”

G20 Urges Continuation Of Black Sea Grain Deal

World leaders at the G20 summit in Bali have called for the “full implementation” of the Black Sea Grain initiative emphasizing its importance in order to maintain global food security. Members said they "welcomed" the UN-brokered grain deal and its efforts to "ease tension and prevent global food insecurity and hunger in developing countries.”

Meanwhile, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Vershinin, told Russia state media RIA Novosti that Moscow’s decision on the continuation of the grain deal will be made taking into account the implementation of the Russia-UN document regarding the export of Russian fertilizers and agricultural products.

Northern Ireland School Sends Truck Full Of Christmas Presents To Ukraine

Truck is being loaded up with Christmas presents

Jerome Mullan

A school in the city of Londonderry in Northern Ireland has filled a truck full of toys to be sent to children in Ukraine for Christmas. The students from Lumen Christi College have donated more than 200 Christmas boxes in the last six weeks when the Christmas gift initiative was launched. The aid truck is the 18th one to be leaving Northern Ireland since the war began

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Major Russian Advance, Pakistan Mosque Toll Rising, Bear On Mars

Rescue teams are scrambling to extract people trapped in the rubble after a suicide bombing struck a mosque in the city of Peshawar in Pakistan. The death toll of the attack, one of Pakistan's bloodiest in years, has risen to 92

Emma Albright, Ginevra Falciani and Anne-Sophie Goninet

👋 Konta!*

Welcome to Tuesday, where Russian forces reportedly advance in southeastern Ukraine, the death toll in yesterday's mosque attack in Pakistan rises to 92 and NASA snaps a beary odd photo on the red planet. Meanwhile, Aytug Özçolak in independent online Turkish news site Diken looks at the economic evidence of the chumminess between Russia’s Putin and Turkey’s Erdogan.

[*Papiamento, Dutch Caribbean]

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