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Polish president Andrzej Duda has said a missile that landed in his country, killing two people, was probably fired by Ukraine – not Russia.

Polish president Andrzej Duda has said a missile that landed in his country, killing two people, was probably fired by Ukraine – not Russia.

The Russian-made missile was likely to have been launched by the Ukrainian air defence, Duda said, causing a collective sigh of relief from other NATO nations.

“Absolutely nothing indicates that this was an intentional attack on Poland,” he said adding that it was an “unfortunate accident”.

If the rocket had been fired by Russian forces, Poland could have enacted Article 5 of the NATO treaty, potentially forcing members of the Western bloc to declare war on Moscow.

Warsaw is still mulling triggering Article 4 of the treaty, which calls for urgent talks if a member state feels their territory is under threat.

NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg agreed that the missiles were likely blamed by Ukraine but still blamed Russia for the disaster.

“Let me be clear, this is not Ukraine’s fault. Russia bears ultimate responsibility as it continues its illegal war against Ukraine,” he said.

“Russia bears responsibility for what happened in Poland yesterday, because this is a direct result of the ongoing war and the wave of attacks from Russia against Ukraine yesterday.”

He called on Russian President Vladimir Putin to “stop this senseless war” and said allies backed Ukraine’s right to self-defence.

Investigators work after two missiles struck a Polish village. Picture: Polish police

Investigators work after two missiles struck a Polish village.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky earlier blamed Moscow for the missile strike, calling it a “Russian missile attack on collective security”.

The Kremlin has denied responsibility and former Russian President and key Putin ally Dmitry Medvedev saying the world “moves closer to world war”.

US president Joe Biden earlier said there was “preliminary information that contests” the idea that the missile came from within the Russian border.

“I don’t want to say that until we completely investigate, but it’s unlikely in the minds of the trajectory that it was fired from Russia, but we’ll see,” he said.

Biden confirmed world leaders are assessing the following steps as investigations take place in Poland.

World leaders currently at the G20 summit in Bali gathered in a closed-door meeting earlier today to discuss the situation in Poland in what the White House called an “emergency roundtable”.

The response from NATO countries has so far been cautious to attribute any blame.

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and French President Emmanuel Macron all called for calm – as did China’s President Xi Jinping.

Biden confirmed earlier today he had expressed his condolences to President Duda.

“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,” he tweeted.

“We will remain in close touch to determine appropriate next steps as it proceeds.”

Poland’s president, however, confirmed a “Russian-made missile” was likely behind the explosion that killed two people in Przewodów village, eight kilometres from the Ukraine border.

The tragedy occurred as Russia bombarded Ukraine with over 100 rockets yesterday in a fresh attack.

US President Joe Biden greets Indonesia's President Joko Widodo. The US leader is still probing where the ‘Russian built’ Missile into Poland came from. Photo: Alex Brandon

US President Joe Biden greets Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo. The US leader is still probing where the ‘Russian built’ Missile into Poland came from.

Ukraine slams ‘conspiracy theories

Soon after news of the blast broke, theories began circulating that the missile could have actually been fired by Ukraine.

That claim was fuelled by Denis Pushilin, the leader of the Russian-backed administration in Ukraine’s occupied Donetsk region, who described the tragedy as a “provocation” by Ukraine designed to “draw additional forces into the conflict”.

But Kyiv’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba came out swinging on Twitter, dismissing the claim as “propaganda”.

“Russia now promotes a conspiracy theory that it was allegedly a missile of Ukrainian air defence that fell on the territory of Poland. Which is not true. No one should buy Russian propaganda or amplify its messages,” he posted.

A fragment of the missile which hit a Polish village. Picture: Twitter

A fragment of the missile which hit a Polish village.

How blast unfolded

The news was initially announced by an unnamed, senior US intelligence official, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to the volatility of the unfolding situation.

Polish government spokesman Piotr Muller later spoke to the media, and confirmed the nation was raising readiness for military combat units in response.

He said Poland was also looking into whether it will activate NATO article four, a consultation process where individual members can bring a certain issue before the organisation for discussion.

Security forces take measures in Przewodow village on the Ukrainian border after two people were killed in a suspected missile attack in Poland. Picture: Darek Puchala/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Security forces take measures in Przewodow village on the Ukrainian border after two people were killed in a suspected missile attack in Poland.

Press members report from Przewodow village on the Ukrainian border after two people were killed in a suspected missile attack in Poland. Picture: Darek Puchala/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Press members report from Przewodow village on the Ukrainian border after two people were killed in a suspected missile attack in Poland.

Poland has stopped short of blaming Russia. Picture: Darek Puchala/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Poland has stopped short of blaming Russia.

“The Parties will consult together whenever, in the opinion of any of them, the territorial integrity, political independence or security of any of the Parties is threatened,” article four states.

However, Mr Muller stopped short of claiming Russia was behind the incident, saying only that it was a “serious” situation and that “there was an explosion in eastern Poland”, which killed two people.

NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg also issued a cautious response.

“I offered my condolences for the loss of life. NATO is monitoring the situation and Allies are closely consulting. Important that all facts are established,” he said on Twitter.

The stray missiles killed two people in a Polish village. Picture: Ihor Tkachov/AFP

The stray missiles killed two people in a Polish village.

It comes as experts have come forward to claim it was too early to say who fired the missiles, given both Russia and Ukraine could have been to blame.

“Who fired the missile is unclear,” the BBC quoted J Andrés Gannon, a security expert at the US Council on Foreign Relations, as saying.

He added that the missile may have been from an S-300 system.

“We know Russia has been using the S-300 for ground attacks even though it’s an air defence system, but Ukraine also uses them for air defence against cruise missiles.”

Grain dryers were hit by the missiles earlier this morning Australian time, with emergency services immediately racing to the scene and leaving Polish Armed Forces on “high alert”, with military planes hastily assembled in response.

Polish government spokesman Piotr Müller earlier confirmed Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki had gathered the Committee of the Council of Ministers for National Security and Defence Affairs “as a matter of urgency” in the wake of the attack.

Another Polish government spokesperson also told CNN the top-level meeting had been called over the “emergency situation”, but declined to provide further details as an investigation gets underway. AP also reported a Polish government spokesman as saying the nation was in the midst of a “crisis situation”.

The situation has caused widespread panic and speculation regarding possible retaliation, given Poland is a member of NATO.

According to NATO’s article five provisions, an attack against one NATO member is considered an attack against all allies, and can trigger a co-ordinated response from all states.

It is also understood that nearby Moldova was also impacted by the barrage of Russian missiles, with huge power outages hitting the nation after a major power line was destroyed.

Vladimir Putin’s Ukraine invasion has been raging since February. Picture: Mikhail Metzel/Sputnik/AFP

Vladimir Putin’s Ukraine invasion has been raging since February.

Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has also spoken out in the aftermath of the Russian bombardment, revealing most rockets had targeted the country’s “energy infrastructure”.

“We’re working, will restore everything. We will survive everything,” he said.

So far, global reactions to the strike have been limited, although CNN reports that US Defence Department Press Secretary brigadier general Pat Ryder said the US was “aware of the press reports alleging that two Russian missiles have struck a location inside Poland near the Ukraine border”, while the Department insisted the US “will defend every inch of NATO territory”.

Nearby Estonia, which was formerly part of the Soviet Union and which has a strained relationship with Russia, has publicly expressed support for Poland.

“Latest news from Poland is most concerning. We are consulting closely with Poland and other Allies. Estonia is ready to defend every inch of NATO territory,” the Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs tweeted.

“We’re in full solidarity with our close ally Poland.”

Other Baltic nations have also shared similar sentiments, with Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda tweeting that “Lithuania stands in strong solidarity with Poland” and that “every inch of NATO territory must be defended!”

War now ‘an extreme possibility’

Alexander Vindman, a retired US Army lieutenant colonel who was the Director for European Affairs for the United States National Security and who has spoken extensively about the Ukraine invasion, also weighed into the “terrible development”.

He said the strike against Poland revealed a great deal about the “trajectory of Russia’s war”. “For those that have heard me speak on it, Russian strikes on NATO were an inevitability, in a long war scenario,” he tweeted.

“This incident may be an accidental strike. However, it is just as likely that Russia is signalling the West that the war can spillover to NATO, thus the US should limit military support to Ukraine and coerce Ukraine to negotiate. This incident is important from another perspective.

“There is a logic to escalation. Analysts considering the possibilities of war, WMD use, etc. (still many months from this point) would mark this incident as key I & W (indication and warning) that the West is headed towards a military confrontation with Russia.

“Recommendation: help Ukraine achieve military victories & compel Russia to negotiate, soonest, before this conflict hits more milestones & locks NATO & Russia into war. War remains an extreme possibility, but we continue to march in that direction the longer the war continues.”

Russia denies attack

However, Russia’s Defence Ministry has so far denied that the rockets were Russian in origin.

“Information provided in the Polish media and by officials about the alleged fall of ‘Russian’ missiles in the area of ​​Przewodów is a deliberate provocation aimed at escalating the situation,” the Russian Defence Ministry said on its Telegram channel.

“No strikes on targets near the Ukrainian-Polish state border were made by Russian means of destruction,” the defence ministry also said in a statement, adding that debris at the scene “has nothing to do with Russian weapons”.

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