The rocket explosion in Przewodowo could have turned into a serious international conflict – an associate of the Polish president revealed unofficially in an interview with Wirtualna Polska. The first information suggested that it was a Russian missile.
On November 15, 2022, around 3:40 p.m., rocket debris fell on the village of Przewodniów in the Hrubieszów district. Two 60-year-olds who were at the local grain store at the time died: an employee and a farmer. This happened on the day of a major bombing of Ukraine by Russia, so the main suspicions were directed towards the Kremlin.
Rocket in Przewodowo and the reaction of the Polish authorities
Shortly after the first reports from the Polish-Ukrainian border, a meeting was held at the National Security Bureau. It was attended by President Andrzej Duda, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, head of the National Security Bureau Jacek Siewiera, as well as heads of services and military commanders. In the following hours, representatives of NATO and the USA were also in contact with the Polish authorities. Attempts were made to find out the circumstances in which two Polish citizens died.
Only in the following days it turned out that a Ukrainian missile from the S-300 anti-missile system had fallen on the Polish town. An associate of President Duda described the earlier exclusion of various possibilities as a “walk on razor’s edge.” – After the incident, we had to assume the worst-case scenario, that a Russian missile fell in Przewodowo. We did not assume the relatively optimistic option that we were dealing with an accident – he recalled.
As he said, it took about 3 hours for a special services officer from the branch in Lublin to arrive at the scene. Only he confirmed that it was the remains of a rocket. Then its origin was determined. In order to accelerate actions, the White House and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg were contacted. Andrzej Duda also talked to US President Joe Biden.
– The Americans also did not know at the beginning whether it was a Russian or Ukrainian missile. And what will our answer be? To confirm the mapping from our radar stations, we had to compare it with information, among others: from an AWACS (flying precision radar) aircraft – said the Polish Army informant.
Poland was close to activating Art. 4 of the NATO Treaty
On November 15, after a meeting at the National Security Bureau, it was decided that it should be checked whether there are grounds for initiating the procedure of Art. 4 of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, i.e. consultations when a NATO member is in danger. As it was emphasized, around 10 p.m. everything pointed to a Ukrainian missile, and the National Security Bureau had full knowledge the next day at 8 a.m. Therefore, there was no recommendation regarding the activation of Art. 4, although the application was already prepared by the Polish ambassador to NATO.
– A missile attack is responded to with a retaliatory strike. And this scenario was on the table. After the incident, it was said that the public had to wait a long time for any information. It had to, because we had a situation that could escalate to the outbreak of World War III. Confirming each version was like walking on razor’s edge – emphasized the Wirtualna Polska interlocutor.
The investigation into the explosion in Przewodów is still being conducted by the National Prosecutor’s Office. The PK press office announced on Wednesday, November 15, that it had exhausted evidentiary activities in the country and was waiting for a response regarding legal assistance from the Ukrainian side.