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Poland and its NATO allies are probing into whether a missile that landed in the country Tuesday and killed two people came from Russia, a strike that risks widening the conflict outside of Ukrainian borders, USA Today reported.
The strike came as Moscow launched its largest missile attack to date on Ukrainian soil, causing widespread blackouts in Ukraine and also spilling into Moldova, cutting off much of its electricity, CNBC reported.
At least 85 missiles were fired at Ukraine’s power facilities, according to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who stood defiant against the attack and declared “we will survive everything.”
Polish media reported that two people died when a projectile hit Przewodów, a Polish village near the border with Ukraine.
Polish officials identified the missile as being made in Russia, but Polish President Andrzej Duda later said it “most probably” was Russian and that authorities are still looking into its origin or who fired it.
US President Joe Biden suggested that the missile was unlikely to have been fired from Russia, but offered to assist Polish authorities with the investigation. US officials, meanwhile, acknowledged that the circumstances are complex, adding that the deadly missile – or parts of it – may have come from a Ukrainian intercept missile that was attempting to halt an incoming Russian strike.
Russia denied involvement in any strikes near the Ukrainian-Polish border, saying photographs of alleged damage “have nothing to do” with Russian weapons.
The strike could further escalate the ongoing war in Ukraine and risk triggering NATO’s Article 5, the mutual defense clause between the organization’s members.
The clause states that if a NATO ally is the victim of an armed attack, every other member of the alliance will regard the act of violence as an armed attack on all members and will take whatever actions are necessary to support the attacked ally.
Still, Article 5 is not automatically invoked, analysts noted, adding that an attack on Poland was always possible due to its proximity to Ukraine.