Who struck Poland and the clues they left behind

Archbishop Jerome Lloyd OSJVPosted by

New intelligence comes as US President Joe Biden says it’s ‘unlikely’ the missile that hit Przewodów came from Moscow

Who struck Poland and the clues they left behind
Two people were killed in Poland on Wednesday after a missile struck the village of Przewodów
Two people were killed in Poland on Tuesday after a missile struck the village of Przewodów

The missile that killed two people in Poland was launched from a system used by both Russia and Ukraine, early analysis showed.

Western intelligence has suggested the rocket that struck Przewodów – a village some four miles from Poland’s eastern border – was most likely fired by Kyiv’s forces in an attempt to intercept incoming Russian missiles.

Images shared online suggest it was fired by a Soviet-era S-300 air defence system, while experts said the fragments found at the scene of the impact resembled motor sections of 5V55-series missiles used by the system.

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Fragments found at blast site point to S-300 missile

5V55 series missile

Two notches

Bolt pattern

5V55 series missile

Two notches

Bolt pattern

5V55 series missile

Two notches

Bolt pattern

5V55 series missile

Two notches

Bolt pattern

The missile, which has a range of around 95 miles, is used by both Russian and Ukrainian forces.

Moscow’s military is known to have used S-300 surface-to-air launchers to hit ground targets because of its dwindling supply of long-range precision weapons.

But the location of the strike in Poland would suggest that the missile responsible was fired from inside Ukraine, given the weapon’s top range.

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Polish village and Capital city of Lviv hit

50 miles

BELARUS

POLAND

ŁÓDŹ

LUBLIN

LUTSK

RIVNE

Przewodów

95 miles

RZESZÓW

UKRAINE

LVIV

KATOWICE

Przemyśl

TERNOPIL

Supply route

UZHHOROD

ŽILINA

CHERNIVTSI

50 miles

BELARUS

WARSAW

PINSK

POLAND

LUBLIN

LUTSK

RIVNE

Przewodów

95 miles

UKRAINE

RZESZÓW

LVIV

Przemyśl

TERNOPIL

PREŠOV

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KOŠICE

UZHHOROD

CHERNIVTSI

50 miles

BELARUS

WARSAW

PINSK

POLAND

LUBLIN

KIELCE

LUTSK

RIVNE

Przewodów

95 miles

UKRAINE

KRAKOW

RZESZÓW

LVIV

Przemyśl

TERNOPIL

KHMELNYTSKYI

KHMELNYTSKYI

PREŠOV

SLOVAKIA

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KAMIANETS-PODILSKYI

KOŠICE

UZHHOROD

CHERNIVTSI

MISKOLC

50 miles

BELARUS

WARSAW

PINSK

ŁÓDŹ

POLAND

LUBLIN

KIELCE

LUTSK

RIVNE

Przewodów

95 miles

KATOWICE

KRAKOW

UKRAINE

RZESZÓW

LVIV

Przemyśl

TERNOPIL

KHMELNYTSKYI

ŽILINA

PREŠOV

Supply Route

SLOVAKIA

KAMIANETS-PODILSKYI

KOŠICE

UZHHOROD

CHERNIVTSI

MISKOLC

Early claims that it could have been a Russian cruise missile now look doubtful.

However, fragments of a destroyed Russian rocket could have crossed the border into Poland after it was intercepted in Ukraine.

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US President Joe Biden said on Wednesday that it was “unlikely” the missile that hit Poland was fired from Russian territory.

“It is unlikely in the lines of the trajectory that it was fired from Russia but we’ll see,” he told reporters, after findings from the initial investigation were discussed at a meeting on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Bali.

Dr Justin Bronk, a specialist at defence and security think tank Rusi, said: “The fragments look consistent with a 5V55 series air-defence missile fired by Ukrainian S-300PS/PT and Russian S-300PMU-1/2 SAM surface to air missile systems.

“It could have been fired either defensively by the Ukrainians trying to intercept incoming Russian cruise and ballistic missiles or offensively as a crude ballistic missile as Russia has been doing a lot in recent months. Either way, it would appear accidental.”

Moscow launched almost 100 missiles at Ukraine in its single-largest onslaught since the beginning of the war.

Lviv, Ukraine’s most western city, was targeted as part of the strike, leaving the city without power.

Russian forces largely targeted critical electrical infrastructure in a bid to plunge Ukraine into darkness.

The Dobrotvir power plant, which supplies Lviv with much of its energy, is just 25 miles from Przewodow, where the missile struck Poland.

Zelensky blames Russia for strike

Neither Russia or Ukraine has claimed responsibility for the strike on Polish territory, which killed two farm workers.

But Volodymyr Zelensky, Ukraine’s president, blamed Moscow for the strike.

“Russian missiles hit Poland,” he said in a nightly video address on Tuesday.

Andrzej Duda, Poland’s President, said: “There is no conclusive evidence about who fired the rocket.”

He described the missile strike, which was the first incident to kill someone on Nato’s territory since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, as a “one-off”.

Poland has since dropped its bid to invoke Article 4 of the Nato treaty, which demands that allies “will consult together whenever, in the opinion of any of them, the territorial integrity, political independence or security” of another member is threatened.

A meeting of Nato’s North Atlantic Council, the political decision making body of the military alliance, was chaired by general-secretary Jens Stoltenberg on Wednesday.

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