The bombing of a NATO member in Poland, near the border with Ukraine, on Tuesday caused panic around the world, with fears of a direct confrontation between the alliance and Russia.
After the incident, Polish President Andrzej Duda said the bomb that killed two people in the eastern village of Przewodow “was made in Russia”.
But on Wednesday, he said it was “possible” that the missiles came from the air defense of Ukraine.
“There is nothing to show that this was a deliberate attack on Poland,” he said. “It was probably an anti-aircraft rocket, meaning it was used by the Ukrainian military.”
Washington and NATO have said the same thing, suggesting that the explosion was not intentional.
The investigation is ongoing.
Russia immediately denied that its missiles hit Poland while Ukraine was quick to blame Moscow.
Here’s what you need to know.
What do we know about the explosion?
The first report of the incident was reported by Polish Radio ZET, which said on Tuesday that two missiles had hit Przewodow, a village in eastern Poland about six kilometers (3.5 miles) from the border with Ukraine, killing two men.
Residents of the village, numbering in the hundreds, told local media that a missile had hit a grain drying plant, near the school.
The Polish Foreign Ministry later said a missile fell on Przewodow at 3:40pm (14:40 GMT).
President Duda said it was “probably a Russian-made missile” but said Warsaw had no evidence to confirm who fired it and that the incident was still under investigation.
He said the incident was an “isolated incident” and said there was “no indication” it would happen again.
A day later, he said that there was no evidence that the explosion was a deliberate attack, and, in agreement with NATO, he said that the missile must have been part of Ukraine’s self-defense aircraft.
What was happening in Ukraine at that time?
The explosion in Poland happened on the day of Russian shelling in Ukraine.
Moscow’s military fired 110 missiles and 10 Iranian-made drones across the country, Ukrainian military officials said, leaving millions of families without power.
Ukraine said more than 70 missiles were fired, but some hit the city of Lviv, near the border with Poland to the west.
Al Jazeera’s Jonah Hull, from Kyiv, said it was a “very successful” day.
“The explosion in Poland … only added to the problem,” Hull said.
The chaos began to “decline” on Wednesday, as information suggested that the explosion was the result of a Ukrainian attempt to shoot down a Russian missile.
“NATO member after NATO member is now standing up and urging caution and saying that they are waiting for the results of the investigation. [into the incident],” said Hull.
What happened to Ukraine and Russia?
Ukraine was quick to blame Russia for the missile blast.
President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said on Tuesday, without providing evidence, that Russian missiles hit Poland in a “significant escalation” of the conflict.
The longer Russia feels impunity, the more threats there will be to anyone who can launch Russian weapons. Launching missiles into NATO territory. This is a Russian missile attack on group defense. This is a great ride. We have to do something,” Zelenskyy said in his night address.
Russia said the blast was caused by Ukrainian anti-aircraft missiles.
“Photos published on the evening of November 15 in Poland of the wreckage found in the village of Przewodow were clearly identified by Russian defense experts as anti-aircraft weapons of the S-300 air defense system of Ukraine. power,” the Ministry of Defense in Russia said on Wednesday.
The ministry also said that Russia’s attack on Ukraine on Tuesday was 35 kilometers (22 miles) from the Polish border in the closest NATO country.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov accused several countries of making “baseless” claims about Russia’s actions “without knowing what happened”.
Praising Washington, he praised its “temporary” response after US President Joe Biden said there was “no doubt” that the weapon came from Russia.
As fears grew, Ukraine said it wanted to locate the site of the explosion and see the details that provided the basis for the allies’ statements.
What have the US and NATO said?
The US and its NATO allies were cautious in their initial responses.
When asked if it was too early to say that any missile was fired at Russia, Mr. Biden said that the incident showed that it was not.
“There is a lot that goes against this,” he told reporters at the G20 summit in Indonesia. “I don’t want to say this until we have a full investigation but it is not possible … that it was removed from Russia, but we will see.”
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that NATO members are “monitoring” the situation and “negotiating” each other.
“[It is] It is important that everything is confirmed,” he said on Tuesday.
On Wednesday, NATO said the blasts may have been caused by an airstrike in Ukraine but ultimately blamed Russia as a military force.
He spoke to President Duda @prezydentpl of eruption in #Poland. I offered my condolences on the loss of life. #NATO is closely monitoring the situation and the Allies are in close consultation. It is important that all points are established.
– Jens Stoltenberg (@jensstoltenberg) November 15, 2022
What was discussed at the G20?
Al Jazeera’s Rob McBride, reporting on the G20 summit in Indonesia, said the explosion in Poland “overshadowed” the final day of the summit – Wednesday – which is being attended by Sergey Lavrov, Russia’s foreign minister.
Western leaders called an emergency meeting in Bali after reports of the explosion on Tuesday.
“I think the point that will be made by the US and its allies, even if they confirm that it was a Ukrainian missile, is that it was fired because of the Russian invasion of Ukraine,” McBride said.
What will happen after that?
The explosion has raised concerns that NATO, which Poland joined in 1999, could become embroiled in a conflict between Russia and Ukraine.
Poland, which has put its military on high alert after the explosion, is protected by NATO’s commitment to collective security contained in Article 5 of its founding agreement.
If it is confirmed that Moscow was responsible for the explosion, which seems unlikely following NATO’s statement on Wednesday, it could trigger Article 5, starting discussions on how to respond militarily.
Although the situation was unclear, Warsaw is expected to request urgent talks under Article 4 of the NATO Treaty, which is invoked if any member considers its “integrity, political freedom or security” to be at risk.
Any response to the deal will be heavily influenced by whether the incident was accidental or intentional — and at this point, the former seems more likely.
Despite this, Ukraine still needs further investigation.