Poland in the Midst of the Russian-Ukrainian Conflict
The aftermath of a suspected Russian missile strike on Polish soil that killed two people on Nov. 15, 2022. (Twitter)

Poland in the Midst of the Russian-Ukrainian Conflict

Okaz, Saudi Arabia, November 19

In what seems like the most dangerous development in the Ukraine-Russia war to date, last week saw a troubling incident in which several missiles struck Polish territory close to the border with Ukraine. The Polish authorities, as of the time these lines are written, have not yet determined the source of these missiles or the party responsible for launching them. Yet the Polish media has been pointing fingers at Moscow, especially since the Polish side has always warned of the possibility of the targeting of its lands by Russian forces. Meanwhile, Russia announced officially through the Defense Ministry that it had nothing to do with these attacks and considered that referring to Moscow as responsible for the incident constitutes “a provocation.” On the Ukrainian side, senior government officials, including President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, directly accused Putin of the attack. Kyiv clearly wants to escalate the situation to garner more Western support. Therefore, the Ukrainian accusation against Moscow appears to be more of a political accusation than a technical and military one. The complex reality of the Ukrainian war and the tense and complex relations between Russia and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), makes all possibilities and scenarios improbable. Some experts believe that the G-20 meeting that excluded Russia and the withdrawal from Kherson, which was understood to be another defeat for Russia, required a clear, decisive, and cost-free reaction by President Putin in the form of a warning message to Poland. Another possibility is that Ukraine is responsible for the incident because it wants to drag NATO into the conflict in order to ensure the defense of Ukraine and to achieve victory over Russia. Amid this battle of accusations, perhaps the most important and decisive role will be played by the United States of America, whose stance, so far, remains conservative. Despite its emphasis on defending NATO territory, the White House refrained from accusing Russia of the attack. So far, signals coming from Washington indicate that the United States is not interested in an open military conflict with Moscow. Washington’s interpretation of what happened in Poland is the one that will give the rest of the world a clear sense of where things are headed. If the White House announces that no certain conclusion was reached about what happened, this would mean that the escalation will stop at this point. If Washington declares that Moscow is responsible for the attack, but by mistake, this will lead to some response from NATO that would fall short of a direct confrontation with Russia. But if Washington announces Moscow’s direct responsibility for the attack, things might get very dangerous very quickly. This might lead to the outbreak of a third world war. Regardless of these possibilities, the relationship between Russia and NATO has reached a dangerous point, in which all parties appear to be dancing on the edge of an abyss and recklessly putting international peace and security at stake. – Rami Al-Khalifa Al-Ali (translated by Asaf Zilberfarb)


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