Highlights

  • Poland missile crisis highlights dangers of continuing conflict
  • Ukraine blamed Russia even as NATO alliance pacified situation
  • NATO has avoided getting into direct confrontation with Russia

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Is Ukraine trying to cover up a deadly accident, or has Russia started attacking other countries now and Western countries are attempting a cover-up to avoid a nuclear World War?

Ukraine and America are arguing and contradicting each other. Vladimir Putin's government is publicly praising Joe Biden. The anti-Russia NATO alliance is giving a clean chit to Moscow.

In a war involving thousands upon thousands of missiles, bombs, bullets, and drones, has just one missile blast changed the dynamics of the Russia-Ukraine conflict?

Is Ukraine trying to cover up a deadly accident, or has Russia started attacking other countries now and Western countries are attempting a cover-up to avoid a nuclear World War?

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THE MISSILE BLAST

The missile blast in question took place in Poland, which borders Ukraine and Russia. On 15 November, a missile crashed in a village in eastern Poland. Two farm workers died in the blast which occurred near the Poland-Ukraine border. The missile crash took place amid fierce Russian airstrikes and Ukrainian counter-attacks. Russian forces were reportedly attacking Ukraine's energy infrastructure.

The incident led to much confusion, and a flurry of dissonant reactions.


THE REACTIONS

Ukraine claimed that the missile which crashed was Russian. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called the missile blast a "very significant escalation" of the war by Russia. Kyiv said that there was no doubt that the missile did not belong to its arsenal. Zelenskyy also pressed that Ukrainian officials be given access to the blast site to carry out investigations. He claimed that military reports suggested that the missile was Russian.

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However, NATO said that there was no indication that the blast was "the result of a deliberate attack" on Poland. Poland said that a Ukrainian defensive missile probably fell on its land. US President Joe Biden said that it was unlikely that Moscow had fired the missile, but Washington did blame Russia for creating the situation. Germany said that all this would not have happened without Russia starting the war. UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak also took the middle path, criticising the "cruel, unrelenting reality of Putin's war", but not directly blaming Moscow for the missile incident.

Meanwhile, Russia countered Ukraine, saying that its forces did not fire the explosive. Putin's government welcomed Biden's comments, calling it a "restrained" and "professional reaction". Russia specified that its strikes were targeted at least 35 km away from the Poland border. Moscow said that blaming it was a "hysterical, frenzied, and Russo-phobic reaction". Russia added that the West was responsible for the war because it fuelled Kyiv's "feverish fantasies".


THE RISK

NATO's cool reaction means that the conflict will not escalate into a bigger war involving nuclear superpowers. But observers fear that even with a slight miscalculation, a wider conflict might erupt in similar situations.

Here's how NATO might end up entering the Ukraine war.

NATO right now is avoiding direct confrontation with Russia. The military alliance has not sent its troops to fight in Ukraine. Since the start of the war, NATO has rejected Ukraine's demands which might put the coalition in direct confrontation with Russia, like by imposing a no-fly zone. Currently, some NATO members are sending weapons to Ukraine in their individual capacity. Some NATO members have also imposed economic sanctions on Russia. The alliance has boosted its defences in member-countries located near Russia.

But NATO may become more actively involved if one or more members of the alliance feel threatened. These members could call emergency consultations under Article IV of NATO's founding pact, the Washington Treaty. In case of an attack on a NATO member-country, Article V may be invoked which says that an attack on one ally is seen as an attack on all members. Subsequently, NATO members will decide if a collective response is needed against the enemy. Even if NATO enters the war, military action by all members is not necessary. Some allies may choose to send weapons or other aid instead of fighting.

Thankfully, cool heads prevailed this time, and a mishap did not turn into something much worse. But many believe that this is the reason why the war must not be allowed to drag on, otherwise a similar event may put the entire world at risk.

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