KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Poland says a Russian-made missile landed in the east of the country early Wednesday, killing two people. country.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky condemned the strike as a “very important escalation” of the war.
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said the government was investigating and raising military preparedness.
The statement of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Poland stated that the missile was manufactured in Russia. But President Andrzej Duda was more circumspect about its origins, saying officials did not know for sure who did it or where. He said it was likely made in Russia, but was still under investigation.
“We are working calmly,” said Duda. “It’s a difficult situation.”
At the same time, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg announced an urgent meeting of the alliance’s envoys in the evening to discuss the events taking place near the Ukrainian border in Poland.
The UN Security Council is also scheduled to meet on Wednesday for a previously scheduled briefing on the situation in Ukraine. Strikes are sure to increase in Poland.
Poland and NATO used language in their statements that they did not consider the missile attack to be a Russian attack.
The Polish statement did not address the circumstances of the strike, such as whether it may have been an error in targeting or whether the missile could have been derailed by Ukrainian defenses. A NATO statement called it a “tragedy”.
If Russia were to deliberately target Poland, it would risk bringing the 30-nation coalition into conflict as it struggles against Ukrainian military forces.
Polish media reported that the strike took place in the village of Przewodow, on the border with Ukraine, where grain was being dried.
Russia’s Defense Ministry denied “any strikes on targets near the Ukrainian-Polish border” and said the photos of the alleged damage had nothing to do with Russian weapons.
Polish Foreign Minister Zbigniew Rau summoned the Russian ambassador and “demanded an immediate detailed explanation,” the government said.
The strike was revealed on Tuesday when Russia hit Ukraine’s energy facilities with missiles that hit targets across the country and caused widespread power outages.
The bubble also affected neighboring Moldova. An official said there was a major power outage after the strike knocked out a main power line supplying the small country.
The missile strike plunged much of Ukraine into darkness, and Zelensky shook his fist and declared, “We will get through everything.”
In his nightly speech, the Ukrainian leader said the strike in Poland was proof that “terrorism is not limited to our country’s borders.”
“We need to put the terrorist in his place. “The longer Russia goes unpunished, the more dangerous it will be to everyone in the hands of Russian missiles,” Zelensky said.
Russia fired at least 85 missiles, most of them aimed at the country’s energy facilities, blackening many cities, he said.
Ukraine’s energy minister said the attack was the “biggest” bombing of energy facilities in nearly nine months of attacks on power generation and transmission systems.
Minister Herman Halushchenko accused Russia of “trying to cause maximum damage to our energy system just before winter.”
Last week’s recapture of the southern city of Kherson was one of the biggest military successes in Ukraine after an air strike that killed at least one person on an apartment building in the capital, Kiev, after days of jubilation in Ukraine.
The power grid has already been devastated by previous attacks that destroyed about 40 percent of the country’s power infrastructure.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has not commented on the withdrawal from Kherson since withdrawing troops from the Ukrainian offensive. But the dramatic scale of Tuesday’s strike spoke volumes for the Kremlin’s fury.
Afternoon or late afternoon often hit repeatedly, the Russian military forced rescuers to work in the dark, giving repair crews little time to assess the damage in daylight.
More than 10 regions reported that air defense forces attempted or fired missiles at Lviv in the west, Kharkiv in the northeast, and other regions. Power outages hit at least a dozen regions, affecting cities with millions of people. Almost half of Kyiv region is without power, authorities said.
“Most of the hit songs were recorded in the central and northern parts of the country. The situation in the capital is very difficult,” said senior official Kyrylo Tymoshenko.
He claimed a total of 15 energy targets were damaged and 70 missiles were fired. A representative of the Ukrainian Air Force said that the Russians used Kh-101 and Kh-555 cruise missiles.
Tymoshenko urged Ukrainians to “be there” as the attacks continued in city after city.
As losses on the battlefield mount, Russia appears to be targeting Ukraine’s power grid, hoping to weaponize the approach of winter by leaving people in the cold and dark.
Dutch Foreign Minister Wopke Hoekstra visited a bomb shelter in Kiev after meeting with Ukraine’s foreign minister and described the bombing from his safe haven as a huge motivation to stand with Ukraine.
The strike comes as authorities scramble to get Kherson back on its feet and begin an investigation into possible Russian abuses there and in surrounding areas.
The southern city is without power and water, and Matilda Bogner, head of the UN Human Rights Office’s monitoring mission in Ukraine, described the “distressing humanitarian situation” there.
Speaking from Kyiv, Bogner said his team was going to Kherson to investigate information on nearly 80 cases of enforced disappearances and arbitrary arrests.
The head of Ukraine’s National Police, Igor Klymenko, said authorities were to begin investigating reports from Kherson residents that Russian armed forces had set up at least three torture sites in the now-liberated part of Kherson region.
The recapture of Kherson was another blow to the Kremlin. Zelensky likened it to the Allied landings in France during World War II, saying both were milestones on the road to victory.
But large parts of eastern and southern Ukraine remain under Russian control, and fighting continues.
In other developments, the leaders of most of the world’s major economies came close to adopting a declaration strongly condemning Russian aggression..
On Tuesday, US President Joe Biden and Zelensky urged G20 leaders to strongly condemn Russia’s nuclear threat and food embargo at a summit in Indonesia. Further discussion and voting will take place on Wednesday.
Associated Press writer Joanna Kozlowska in London; Jamie Kiten in Geneva; Mike Corder in The Hague, Netherlands; Hanna Arkhirova, Kherson, Ukraine; Juras Karmanau in Tallinn, Estonia; Vanessa Gera and Monika Skislowska in Warsaw, Poland; Raf Kasert and Lorne Cook in Brussels; and Booksellers in New York contributed to this report.
Follow AP’s coverage of the war in Ukraine: https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine