Daily Mail

Ukraine tensions grow as Russian rockets kill two after landing on Nato soil

- By Mark Nicol and James Franey

Russian missiles landed inside nato territory yesterday – reviving fears fighting in ukraine could spiral into the worst conflict in Europe since the second World War.

The weapons exploded on a grain farm inside Poland after apparently being intercepte­d by ukrainian air defence systems, triggering a diplomatic crisis and a military response.

Two people were killed in the blast in the rural village of Przewodow, five miles away from the country’s border with ukraine.

Polish fighter jets were scrambled and troops were brought in to surround the scene. as a nato member, Poland can call upon members of the defence alliance to come to its aid after an armed attack.

This protection is enshrined as part of article 5 of nato’s founding doctrine – the Washington Treaty.

The explosions triggered an emergency meeting of Poland’s security council, including its prime minister and defence minister. Footage released on social media

‘Ready to defend every inch of territory’

last night showed a huge crater along with overturned and damaged farm-vehicles.

UK government sources said they were investigat­ing the circumstan­ces while Poland’s neighbours expressed their deep concern. The dramatic developmen­t came on another day of bloodshed and destructio­n in ukraine, with more than 100 Russian missiles landing in major population centres, killing three and cutting the power supply to millions.

But these attacks were overshadow­ed last night by local reports, which were eventually confirmed by Western security officials, of Russian rockets striking Poland.

While the missiles were most likely intended to land inside ukraine, the incident will undoubtedl­y further raise tensions between nato officials and their Kremlin adversarie­s.

Russia’s president Vladimir Putin and his foreign minister sergei Lavrov, who is currently attending the G20 summit in Bali, came under pressure last night to apologise for their error and the loss of life it caused.

The fresh bombardmen­t of ukraine, and the likely inadverten­t attack on Poland, followed days of celebratio­ns in the wartorn country after the withdrawal of 20,000 Russian troops from the Kherson region. Their withdrawal prompted ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky to talk of the ‘beginning of the end of the war’.

However, Western officials offered a more sobering assessment yesterday indicating their belief the conflict could ‘ grind on’ through 2023. They consider the war to have reached a stalemate, with each side cancelling out the other and suffering the same problems such as heavy casualties, munitions shortages and fatigue. The rockets which landed in Poland were likely intended to hit Lviv, a major city in western ukraine, which also came under shelling yesterday. However, should nato members conclude the rockets were intended to hit Poland – perhaps in an attempt to halt the supply of military aid – the situation could get more complicate­d.

Last night, political leaders in nato states expressed their concern at Russia’s latest actions. Latvian deputy prime minister artis Pabriks tweeted: ‘My condolence­s to our Polish brothers in arms. Criminal Russian regime fired missiles which target not only ukrainian civilians but also landed on nato territory. Latvia fully stands with Polish friends and condemns this crime.’

Estonia’s Ministry for Foreign affairs added: ‘Latest news from Poland is most concerning. We are consulting closely with Poland Estonia is ready to defend every inch of nato territory.’

Last night, uK defence commentato­r Rear admiral Chris Parry said it was ‘ time to station advanced nato anti-air systems

on nato’s borders and intercept anything that looks like it would cross those borders’.

us state Department spokesman Vedant Patel said yesterday evening: ‘We will get to the bottom of what happened and determine appropriat­e next steps.’

He said the us was not in a position last night to confirm reports that two had been killed but said ‘we are ready to stand with our nato allies and partners but we do not want to get ahead of hypothetic­als’.

Pro-Russian accounts on Twitter suggested the damage was done by ukrainian s- 300 air defence missiles rather than the Russian rockets. But us sources suggested their analysts were confident the explosions were caused by Russian missiles.

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 ?? ?? Blast: Tractor-trailer lies overturned next to crater left by strike at a grain-drying plant just five miles from the Ukraine border
Blast: Tractor-trailer lies overturned next to crater left by strike at a grain-drying plant just five miles from the Ukraine border

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