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Media: Polish investigation concludes Ukrainian air defense missile fell on Polish soil last year

by Martin Fornusek September 26, 2023 1:34 PM 3 min read
Police look for pieces of the missile near the explosion site in Przewodow, Poland, on Nov. 17, 2022. (Photo credit: Karolina Jonderko/For the Washington Post)
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Polish experts had concluded that the projectile that caused the death of two people in Poland's Przewodow last year was a stray Ukrainian anti-air missile launched to intercept a Russian strike, the Rzeczpospolita newspaper reported on Sept. 26, citing its sources.

On Nov. 15, 2022, an explosion killed two civilians in a Polish grain facility near Ukraine's border. On that day, Russian forces carried out a massive attack against Ukraine, launching around 100 missiles against the country's energy infrastructure.

Suspicions that a Russian missile hit a Polish territory fuelled fears that the war in Ukraine could spiral into a wider conflict between NATO and Moscow.

According to Rzeczpospolita's sources, Polish experts of the country's Prosecutor's Office have "categorically" denied the possibility that Russia launched the missile. They have allegedly identified the projectile as an S-300 5-W-55 anti-air missile launched from Ukraine's territory.

As Russia was attempting to strike a thermal plant near Lviv, Ukraine was said to have fired two missiles with a range of 75-90 kilometers to intercept the attack. According to the report, one of them hit the Russian missile, while the other accidentally flew into Poland's territory.

The investigators pointed out that a safety mechanism of these missiles should make them self-destruct at a certain height. However, this did not happen for an unknown reason, Rzeczpospolita said.

The experts concluded that even if Russia had placed its missile batteries in Belarus, they would be no closer than 150 kilometers from Przewodow and, therefore, out of range.

Prosecutor's Office's spokesperson Lukasz Lapczynski confirmed in a comment to Rzeczpospolita that the experts have indeed provided their conclusions on the incident, but they remain confidential.

He added that Poland sent an application for legal assistance to Ukraine and is awaiting a response.

In November 2022, Polish President Andrzej Duda announced that according to the ongoing investigation, the projectile was identified as a Ukrainian air defense missile. However, he stressed that Russia was ultimately to blame for the tragedy.

Kyiv denied that the incident was caused by a Ukrainian missile but confirmed that its forces attempted to intercept a Russian projectile near and during the timeframe of the missile strike in Poland.

Although Ukraine's National Security and Defense Council Secretary Oleksii Danilov urged a joint examination of the explosion, Rzeczpospolita's sources claimed that Ukraine had "not yet made any materials available to Poland."

White House: Russia bears ultimate responsibility regardless of whose missile fell on Poland
The White House said on Nov. 16 that it sees “nothing” that contradicts the Polish claim that the missile blast in eastern Poland, killing two, was likely the result of a Ukrainian air defense missile that accidentally fell on its NATO neighbor. But regardless of the origins of the missile, the Whit…
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