On February 24th of this year, Russia invaded Ukraine. The invasion and war that followed have been at the center of the international stage for almost a year. Earlier this month, a major event in the war occurred.
On November 15th, a missile hit the Polish village Przewodów along the border of Ukraine. The missile strike resulted in the death of two Polish citizens. It was originally believed that a Russian missile intended for Ukraine had strayed off course and hit Poland by mistake. This belief caused Poland, a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), to invoke article six of the constitution. After article six was invoked, the leaders of the member nation of NATO met in order to discuss the situation. This meeting was intended to decide whether NATO would pursue Article five. Article five states that an attack against one member is an attack against all members. If invoked, a war between NATO and Russia could likely occur.
However, it was determined after much investigation that the missile that hit Poland was not Russian but instead Ukrainian. The Anti Air missile had been intended for a batch of Russian missiles heading towards Ukraine but had strayed off course and hit Poland. The Ukrainian government denies that the missile was theirs, but nobody holds Ukraine responsible for the action. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and Polish President Andrzej Duda blamed Russia for the missile strike even if the missiles themselves were not Russian. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky continued to insist the stray missile was not from Ukrainian forces. “I have no doubt that it was not our missile or our missile strike.” An American intelligence report on the incident confirmed that the missiles were from a Ukrainian surface-to-air missile system. The report stated that the system used was old and from the soviet era causing it to be more prone to mistakes. The Estonian prime minister states that the incident showed the aggression of Russia and how its consequences go beyond Ukraine and affect the whole continent.
Missile strikes have been a major piece of the Russian invasion since the very beginning. Russia has been striking both military and civilian targets using its vast number of long-range missiles. Recently Russia has been using missiles to strike Ukrainian power facilities across the nation. Strikes like these are what lead to Ukraine shooting down the Russian missiles and furthermore leading to the stray missiles hitting Poland and killing two civilians at a grain factory.
This event could be a major turning point in the war, however. Although the missiles might not have been from Russia, this is the first time in the war that citizens of a NATO country have died in the conflict within the borders of a NATO country. Although a war between Russia and NATO seems unlikely, it seems more and more probable with incidents like this.