Meeting with the prime minister, ministers and commanders
Statement by the President of the Republic of Poland following his meeting with the prime minister, ministers and commanders
Ladies and Gentlemen!
We are currently after the meeting with representatives of the General Staff, the Chief of Police, the Chief of the Border Guard, heads of the Services and key politicians responsible for the security of the Republic of Poland. We are now going together with the Prime Minister – in a minute or so – to the previously announced National Security Council. There we will provide all the Council participants with detailed information on the developments of the last twenty–four hours, according to the best of our knowledge for the time being. We will also acquaint them with those findings which have already made – both by our investigators and our services, as well as by our allies.
Ladies and Gentlemen! Yesterday we observed a massive Russian attack of unprecedented magnitude on Ukraine. The Russian side launched at least some hundred missiles on Ukraine, various types of missiles. Virtually the whole territory of Ukraine was shelled, and in particular the border areas, namely the Lviv region and the Volhynian region, also came under fire. Cities in this part of Ukraine – practically all major urban centres – were rained down by Russian missiles yesterday.
Ukraine defended itself – obviously and understandably – by also launching missiles aimed at shooting down the Russian ones. Thus, we witnessed a very serious clash caused by the Russian side, as was the whole conflict.
As a matter of fact, the blame for the whole clash yesterday certainly lies with the Russian side.
We know that yesterday, six kilometres from our border with Ukraine, there was an explosion in which two of our citizens were killed. At the moment, on the ground there, investigations are underway.
Yesterday, we held meetings with the Prime Minister, not least here, focused on Poland’s security. We have taken specific measures to strengthen our security, but we have also talked to our allies. What can be said about it?
First of all, Ladies and Gentlemen, there is none, absolutely no indication that this was an intentional attack on Poland. The incident at hand – that is, that a missile fell on our territory – was not an intentional act. It was not a missile that was targeted, aimed at Poland. Therefore, in essence, it was not an attack on Poland.
The fundamental question was „What kind of missile was it?” In all likelihood, it was a Russian–made S–300 type missile, probably manufactured in the 1970s. Another fundamental question was who was responsible for launching this missile. We have no evidence at the moment that this missile was launched by the Russian side. On the other hand, there are many indications, there is a high probability, that it was a missile that was simply employed for missile defence, that is, that it was used by the Ukrainian defence forces.
Russian shelling was going on, missiles were flying – they were cruise missiles that were actually approaching from different directions. It is probable that some of them started approaching Polish territory and then turned back eastwards. The Ukrainian anti–aircraft defence was launching their missiles in different directions, and it is highly probable that one of these missiles unfortunately fell on Poland’s territory. The examinations at the scene – the preliminary ones – already indicate that there was no classic explosion of the missile's explosive charge. It was probably simply the impact of hitting the ground, perhaps combined with the explosion of the fuel that remained in that missile. It was not a classic large–scale missile explosion.
These are the preliminary conclusions based on observations at the moment. However, our investigators are working there at the moment, and also the investigators from the American side – because yesterday, in a conversation with me, President Joe Biden declared his support for this investigation. I have accepted the offer. So, in fact, it can be said that this is a joint investigation carried out by us and the American side, or better tell us and the North Atlantic Alliance.
We are all the time in direct contact with our NATO allies, we are all the time in contact and in consultation with our counterparts – the Prime Minister [Mateusz Morawiecki] with prime ministers, me with presidents. Only last night, I also spoke with the British Prime Minister, with the German Chancellor.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I want to reiterate: we have absolutely no indication or circumstantial evidence leading us to believe that it was an attack on Poland, that this missile was intentionally directed to engage targets in Polish territory.
In all likelihood, it was, unfortunately, an accident. Ladies and Gentlemen, in this connection, we would also like to emphasise together with the Prime Minister that the residents of the eastern part of Poland should not be alarmed by the increased activity of the air force, the police, the Border Guard and the army in the easternmost parts of Poland, particularly in the border region. This is our intentional action taken precisely to strengthen security.
When you see soldiers, when you see increased police forces, when you see increased movement of military aircraft in the sky, please do not be alarmed, because this shows that we are operating and through this Poland’s security is enhanced.
Our allies are cooperating with us in this respect, and so in the near future aircraft of the United States Air Force will be flying over Poland's skies, as they already do.
Please approach the situation with calm. This is our and NATO's response to the developments. Yesterday, immediately after the incident, we applied to have the air defence capabilities of the Air Force strengthened, and this is happening at the moment. These are planned actions, enhancing Poland's security, so all people who see this happening can rest assured that these are our operations to make things safer.