Thu. Nov 24th, 2022

The federal government is “very closely” following reports that Russian missiles have crossed into NATO member Poland, according to National Defense Minister Anita Anand.

The apparent strike was in Przewodow, a Polish village near the border with Ukraine, a senior US intelligence official told The Associated Press on Tuesday. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the situation.

Firefighters who arrived at the scene said two people had died, but it was not clear what had happened, Reuters reports. During the day, Russia targeted Ukrainian energy facilities with its largest ever barrage of missiles, hitting targets from east to west and causing widespread power outages.

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The Russian Defense Ministry denied the reports, describing them as a deliberate provocation.

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“I am aware of the reports. It would be imprudent for me to comment on them at this time. I am in close contact with our Polish allies and we are monitoring the situation very carefully,” Anand told reporters in Ottawa.

“As I said, we are monitoring the situation. I am receiving updates regarding this report and am currently in close contact with our Polish allies. It would be imprudent for me to comment further.”

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Polish government spokesman Piotr Mueller did not immediately confirm the information, but said top leaders were holding an emergency meeting because of a “crisis situation,” the Associated Press reported. Polish radio ZET reported that two stray missiles hit Przewodow, killing two people, without giving further details.

The Pentagon said it could not confirm those reports Tuesday afternoon.

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“We are aware of media reports stating that two Russian missiles hit a location inside Poland near the Ukrainian border. I can tell you that at this time we do not have any information to confirm those reports and that we are investigating this further,” Pentagon spokesman Brig. Gene. Patrick Ryder said at a press conference.

In a tweet, Estonia’s foreign ministry called the news “disturbing.” Estonia borders Russia.

“Estonia is ready to defend every inch of NATO territory. We are fully in solidarity with our close ally Poland,” the ministry said.

Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala said the incident would be an escalation by Russia if the reports are true. Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda tweeted his support for Poland and that “every inch of NATO territory must be defended!”

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More to come.

– with files from The Associated Press and Reuters

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