On the evening of November 15, the territory of Poland was subjected to a missile attack. Two local residents were killed as a result of the fall of two missiles in the Polish province bordering Ukraine. Warsaw and Kyiv quickly blamed Russia for the attack. Later, the version was later refuted, however. Poland was fired from the territory of Ukraine with missiles of the old Soviet air defence system S-300.
It appears this was an attempt to escalate tensions, further involving NATO in the conflict and disrupting US-Russian dialogue on strategic issues, including Ukraine.
As a result of Washington's slapdown, Kyiv and Warsaw had to somewhat "playback", acknowledging Moscow's non-involvement. It was still Russia's responsibility, however.
At the same time, an unauthorized attempt to provoke a direct military clash between Russia on the one hand and the US and NATO on the other, potentially a nuclear conflict, will be perceived very negatively by major responsible players. As a result, the "missile adventure" can end sadly – with division and taking them under the protectorate by major powers to avoid the "premature" start of a large regional or even world war.
Missiles landed in the village of Przewodov in the Lubelskie province of Poland, bordering Ukraine, on the evening of November 15, killing two farmers and damaging a granary and a tractor. Throughout the day, the Russian armed forces carried out massive attacks on almost the entire territory of Ukraine.
In fact, immediately after the fall of missiles in Poland, Warsaw accused Moscow of the attack. The Security Council was urgently convened in the Polish capital, and consultations with NATO were announced on the issue of invoking Articles 4 and 5 of its Charter.
The possibility of a military escalation with poorly predictable consequences appeared to be on the horizon for several hours. Poland's aggressive attitude was actively and emotionally supported by both official Kyiv and many European capitals. "We must put the terrorist in his place! The longer Russia feels impunity, the more threats there will be to everyone who Russian missiles can reach. Hitting NATO territory with missiles... This is a Russian missile attack on collective security! This is a really significant escalation. Action is needed," President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky said. He was echoed by the Minister of Defense of Slovakia, Yaroslav Nagy. "Russia's reckless actions are out of control," he said.
The site where the Ukrainian missile fell.
By the morning of November 16, the Poles had to play back a little and somewhat cool their jets. "There is no indication that this was an intentional attack on Poland. There is a high probability that this is a missile that was simply used by Ukrainian missile defence. We have no evidence at the moment that it was a rocket launched by Russian forces," said Polish President Andrzej Duda.
Indeed, photos of the wreckage of missiles that fell in Poland that got into the media were easily identified by experts as parts of an anti-aircraft missile of the S-300 air defence system.
A quick, sharp word from Washington was what really influenced the Poles. Some public channels reported immediately that the missiles that fell in Poland had nothing to do with Russia and were not an attack on NATO.
Biden formally ended the discussion at a summit on the Indonesian island of Bali, telling the leaders of the G20 countries that the issue was closed:"it is unlikely that missiles towards Poland were launched from Russia", and the blast "was the result of Ukrainian air defence."
In the mainstream Western media, it was particularly highlighted that the incident was by no means an attack on NATO.
However, Kyiv did not accept the West's version quickly. "Ukraine does not agree with the conclusions of Western countries about the Ukrainian origin of the rocket that fell in Poland and asks to allow its representatives to the scene," Oleksiy Danilov, Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine, commented on November 16.
Joe Biden's colleagues in Poland and Ukraine appear to be disappointed.
The version with the work of air defence was sounded to create at least some kind of alibi for Kyiv. There were no Russian missile strikes in this area on November 15, so the shelling of Poland is a deliberate Ukrainian (or joint Ukrainian-Polish) provocation of the blackest dye.
Apparently, the purpose of the provocation is to disrupt the Russian-American strategic dialogue, including with regard to Ukraine. Over the past weeks, almost daily reports have appeared that the United States and EU countries strongly urge Kyiv to engage in realistic dialogue and reconciliation with Moscow.
CIA chief William Burns and his Russian counterpart Sergei Naryshkin met in Istanbul on Monday, November 14. The details of the negotiations between the heads of American and Russian intelligence remain confidential. In fact, Burns met with Ukrainian President Zelensky on November 15, and he is believed to have reported the results of that meeting to him.
NATO allies articulated the official public position on the incident on Wednesday evening, November 16. A position expressed earlier in the day by the European Union was supported by the United States.
"Germany doesn't care whose rocket fell in Poland. In any case, Russia is to blame because it attacked Ukraine," said German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg made a similar statement.
"Our preliminary analysis suggests that the incident was likely caused by the Ukrainian air defence missile fired to defend Ukrainian territory against Russian cruise missile attacks. But let me be clear, this is not Ukraine's fault. Russia bears ultimate responsibility as it continues its illegal war against Ukraine," he said.
Washington made the final point on this issue.
"Whatever the conclusions may be, it is clear that the party ultimately responsible for this tragic incident is Russia," the White House said, adding that "Ukraine has every right to defend itself".
However, regardless of what the "official public position" is of the powers concerned, the major players in the "Polish-Ukrainian" field, the United States, Germany, and Russia, cannot help but draw conclusions for themselves.