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Warsaw — Defence alliance Nato states investigated reports that Russian missiles struck a village in eastern Poland on Tuesday, near the border with Ukraine, killing at least two people.

The Associated Press earlier cited a senior US intelligence official as saying blasts in Przewodow village were due to Russian missiles crossing into Poland. But the Pentagon said it could not confirm that account, but the department of defense was “taking them seriously and looking into them”.

The White House also said it could not confirm reports coming out of Poland and was working with the Polish government to gather more information.

Russia’s defence ministry denied reports that Russian missiles had hit Polish territory, describing them as “a deliberate provocation aimed at escalating the situation”.

It added in a statement: “No strikes on targets near the Ukrainian-Polish state border were made by Russian means of destruction.”

The Kremlin did not immediately respond to requests for comments.

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki called an urgent meeting of a government committee for national security and defence affairs, government spokesperson Piotr Muller said on Twitter.

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky blamed Russia and said it was a “significant escalation” of the conflict. He did not provide evidence of the strikes.

“The longer Russia feels impunity, the more threats there will be to anyone within reach of Russian missiles. To fire missiles at Nato territory. This is a Russian missile attack on collective security. This is a very significant escalation. We must act,” he said.

Latvian deputy prime minister Artis Pabriks said on Twitter that Russia “fired missiles which target not only Ukrainian civilians but also landed on Nato territory in Poland”.

Officials from Norway, Lithuania and Estonia — members of the Nato defence alliance — said they were trying to find out more information. “This is a very serious incident but much remains unclear,” Norwegian foreign minister Anniken Huitfeldt said.

Nato member states are committed to collective defence, and the possibility that the Polish explosion resulted from an intentional or accidental Russian strike raised alarm.

“Every inch of  Nato territory must be defended,” Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda said on Twitter.

Estonian foreign minister Urmas Reinsalu said, according to BNS newswire: “We are discussing with our allies how to respond to what happened jointly and decisively.”

European Council president Charles Michel said the EU supported Poland. “I am in contact with Polish authorities, members of the European Council and other allies”, he said in a tweet.

Polish Radio ZET reported earlier that two stray missiles hit Przewodow, killing two people, without giving any more details.

“Firefighters are on the spot, it’s not clear what has happened,” said Lukasz Kucy, an officer on duty at a firefighters' post near the Polish village.

Russia was pounding cities across Ukraine with missiles on Tuesday, in attacks that Kyiv said were the heaviest wave of missile strikes in nearly nine months of war. Some hit Lviv, which is less than 80km from the border with Poland.

State-run news agency PAP reported that the Polish government would hold a meeting at 2000 GMT.

Muller told reporters later on Tuesday that the committee was convened due to the “crisis situation”, adding that relevant information will be presented to the public later. He called on media not to publish “unverified information” in the meantime.


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