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Poland experts rule out Russian hand in Przewodów incident last year, say it was a Ukrainian missile that killed Polish citizens

Poland President Andrzej Duda remained cautious with his words and did not confirm the missile’s origin back in November 2022 when there was a collective push to peddle claims that it was Russian attack.

On 26th September, Polish investigators said the missile that fell in Przewodów, killing two farmers in November last year, was Ukrainian and not Russian as previously by many. A report published in Poland’s newspaper Rzeczpospolita daily cited sources suggesting Russia did not have the missile in the region that could have reached Poland resulting in the tragic incident.

Notably, Ukraine has not cooperated in the investigation. The Polish investigators have made their own findings about the incident that happened on 15th November last year. Reportedly, a missile fell on a former peat factory and killed two farmers. The investigators have concluded that Russian involvement in the missile launch is unlikely. However, Ukraine has not yet provided Poland with any investigation materials.

“We have indeed obtained an opinion, but due to its confidential nature, we do not disclose its content,” said Łukasz Łapczyński, spokesperson for the National Prosecutor’s Office, to “Rzeczpospolita.” He added, “At the current stage of the investigation, investigative activities in the country have been exhausted. We have sent a request for legal assistance to Ukraine and are awaiting a response”.

Sources indicate that the opinion was formed using various sources, including comprehensive and confidential findings from domestic agencies. Experts from the Military Institute of Armament Technology secured the explosion site in Przewodów and endorsed the findings.

Investigators found that the missile that landed on Przewodów was a Russian-made S-300 5-W-55 anti-aircraft missile. The Ukrainian prosecutor’s office has determined the specific location from which the missile was fired, though this location is heavily guarded. On 15th November, a significant amount of shelling took place in western Ukraine, including a coal power plant near Lviv. Anti-aircraft missiles were launched from Ukraine in pairs in response. One missile successfully hit the intended target, while the other missed the target.

“In such a situation, when the rocket is at a certain altitude, its mechanisms should cause it to self-destruct. This did not happen. Why, it is not known,” said experts familiar with the investigation’s findings.

Shortly after discovering the torn parts, the prosecutor’s office pointed to the S-300 missile. They said, “This missile ranges from 75 km to 90 km. At that time, the Russian positions were in a place where no Russian missile could have reached Przewodów. They ruled out that it was launched from Belarus. Even assuming that Russian missiles were located in Belarus, the straight-line distance from where they were to Przewodów is 150 km. Moreover, the Russians do not have such missiles in Belarus.”

Ukraine had tried to blame Russia for its own missile hitting Poland, in attempt to get direct NATO involvement

On 16th November last year, OpIndia published a report detailing the incident in which it was explained that the missile was most likely Ukrainian and not Russian. The United States and Western allies said in a statement that the matter is under investigation but could not confirm the missile’s origin. Notably, the Russian defense ministry had denied the allegations too. At that time, Poland had remained cautious about the origin of the missile.

Poland President Andrzej Duda remained cautious with his words and did not confirm the missile’s origin back in November 2022 when there was a collective push to peddle claims that it was a Russian attack. He said the Poland officials were not sure about the origin and manufacturer of the missile. He added that the missile was “most probably” Russian-made but was not verified. Calling it a difficult situation, Duda said, “We are acting with calm”.

It is notable here that the S-300 missile systems were developed by the former Soviet Union and the Ukrainian military has been using them in the war.

President Biden convened an emergency meeting of world leaders

Following the reports of the explosion in Poland, the President of the United States, Joe Biden, chaired an emergency meeting of NATO leaders. Following the meeting, Biden said in a statement that it was “unlikely” that the missile originated from Russia based on its trajectory.

It is notable here that Poland is a NATO country. A Russian missile hitting Poland and killing Polish citizens could have had grave ramifications in the war.

Associated Press had fired its journalist for falsely claiming it was a Russian missile

On November 15, the Associated Press published a story that Russian-fired missiles cross into Poland causing an explosion killing two people. However, the newswire was compelled to retract the story after it turned out that the explosion was caused due projectiles fired by Ukraine. Later, it was reported by Confider that AP had fired James LaPorta, its investigative journalist who reported the said story. 

AP’s correction retracting its earlier claim on the missile hitting Poland

Poland stopped sending arms to Ukraine

Poland’s Prime Minister, Mateusz Morawiecki, has recently announced that Poland will halt arms exports to Ukraine due to the ongoing trade dispute between the two countries and concerns about Russian aggression. Poland is now focusing on modernizing its military capabilities, although the government spokesman has clarified that previously agreed-upon ammunition and armaments will still be provided. Notably, elections are scheduled in Poland for 15th October, and the government is facing pressure from the far-right groups. The party claims that Poland is not receiving enough gratitude for supporting Ukraine and accepting Ukrainian refugees.

On Tuesday (19 September), Polish President Andrzej Duda compared Ukraine to a drowning man dragging others down while defending his government’s decision to impose a grain embargo on Ukrainian agricultural products. During a media briefing outside the UN headquarters in New York, he targeted Ukraine for going against them at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and challenging their decision to ban grain imports from Kyiv.

Poland, along with other countries, imposed a ban on importing Ukrainian grain. They have stated that it is necessary to safeguard their local farmers. However, this decision has caused tension and complaints at the World Trade Organization. While Polish and Ukrainian officials are working towards a solution, Ukraine has retracted its complaint against Slovakia as both sides strive to find a resolution. President Zelenskyy of Ukraine has suggested that countries opposing Ukraine on this issue may indirectly benefit Russia, leading to diplomatic tensions between Poland and Ukraine. However, Ukraine’s decision to sue Poland and Zelenskyy’s repeatedly offensive statements have created a backlash among Polish citizens and there is public anger over Ukraine’s behavior against Poland despite all the help they provide.

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staff
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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