From Jamie Peipon: This morning, russia launched about 100 missiles into Ukraine. Most of them appear to have been targeting energy infrastructure. Residential buildings were also hit. The scale of the attack was larger than the massive attack on October 10th that was launched in response to the Crimean Bridge strike. Ukraine’s air defenses were hard at work and reportedly shot down 73 of those missiles, but significant damage was done.
Half of Kyiv was without power today. L’viv’s mayor reported that 80% of the city was without power and that heat and hot water infrastructure was also damaged. That is all shocking and miserable news… but it ended up only being part of the biggest story of the day.
In the picture below, you’re seeing the remains of a grain-drying facility… in Poland. Polish witnesses initially reported hearing two explosions. Pictures of the site and even of the apparent remains of the missile have also appeared online. Two Polish citizens died in the explosion. This, of course, is a huge deal because Poland is a member of the NATO alliance. If they’ve been intentionally attacked by russia, the whole alliance can be pulled into the war.
Questions still abound and there are several possible scenarios that could have happened. We have seen often that russia’s equipment is often in bad shape, so it is not inconceivable that they could fire at and actually miss the largest country in Europe with their “precision” weapons. It could also have been a Ukrainian air defense missile that landed in Poland. Or it could be a russian missile that was struck and sent off course by Ukrainian air defense and landed in Poland. There isn’t enough information yet to know for sure. President Biden is in Indonesia (where it is already morning) for the G20 conference and he came out of a meeting saying according to preliminary information, it appears that the missile(s) was not fired from russia. Even that statement begs as many questions as it answers… was it fired from over Belarus? Was it fired from Crimea? Or did he mean that it didn’t appear to be fired by russian forces at all? There’s no way to know until more official reports are released. Regardless, it is a clear reminder that this war isn’t happening in a hermetically sealed environment that we can all observe from afar. It is happening right on Europe’s door step.
No matter whose missile that is, or where it was fired from, the bottom line is that it happened because of russia’s aggression. Even if it turns out to be a Ukrainian air defense missile, the only reason it was being fired is because of russia’s reckless aggression. The death of two Polish citizens is a tragedy. NATO certainly can respond to this in some way. They could give Ukraine even more advanced air defense systems so that they could create a buffer inside Ukrainian territory. They could also use this as a reason to send other more advanced weapons. If it turns out russia intentionally targeted Poland, they could go as far as putting boots on the ground. At the moment, any of those options are possibilities. However, it is possible that absolutely nothing happens. After all, 8 years ago, at the actual beginning of this war, russia shot down a passenger jet over Ukraine with 298 civilians on board, killed all of them, and the west basically looked the other way. We’ll hope that this latest incident doesn’t end in the same way.
In related news, Slovakia’s defense minister said that “russia’s recklessness is getting out of hand.” Poland is raising the military readiness of some specific units. The Polish president is convening their National Security Council at noon tomorrow. And NATO ambassadors will have a meeting tomorrow at Poland’s request as well.
Also, in what would have probably been the lead story on most other days, President Biden has asked the congress to provide an additional $37.7 billion to support Ukraine.
“All day long they injure my cause;
all their thoughts are against me for evil.
They stir up strife, they lurk;
they watch my steps,
as they have waited for my life.
For their crime will they escape?
In wrath cast down the peoples, O God!”