In the correction, the AP stated, "In earlier versions of a story published November 15, 2022, The Associated Press reported erroneously, based on information from a senior American intelligence official who spoke on condition of anonymity, that Russian missiles had crossed into Poland and killed two people. Subsequent reporting showed that the missiles were Russian-made and most likely fired by Ukraine in defense against a Russian attack.”
The Associated Press on Tuesday had attempted to update its erroneous reporting citing “three US officials” that spoke on condition of anonymity “because they were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly” who said that preliminary assessments suggested that the missile was fired by Ukrainian forces at an incoming Russian missile to defend against an attack on Ukraine’s electrical infrastructure.
The correction comes after multiple outlets had based their reporting on the AP article.
Multiple US officials on Wednesday, including Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, said that the blast "was most likely the result of a Ukrainian air defense missile that, unfortunately, landed in Poland."
Even though reports now indicate that the missile now appears to have come from Ukraine, after the impact, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called the blast “a very significant escalation,” adding, “we need to put the terrorist in its place. The longer Russia feels impunity, the more threats there will be for everyone within the reach of Russian missiles.”
In response to the original report and Zalenskyy’s comments, US President Joe Biden, who was awakened overnight by staff with the news of the explosion, called an emergency meeting of G-7 and NATO leaders at the Group of 20 Summit in Indonesia as a deliberate attack on a NATO member could have triggered a military response by the 30-nation alliance.
The Polish government also raised its level of military preparedness and launched an investigation, which the White House promised to support.
Polish Foreign Minister Zbigniew Rau “demanded immediate detailed explanations,” from the Russian ambassador even though Russia denied the allegations.
On Wednesday, Poland’s President Andrzej Duda said that the missile which landed in Poland was likely an "air defense missile," adding, that there is no indication that this was an intentional attack on Poland, and "There are many indications that it was an air defense missile that unfortunately fell on Polish territory."
Duda speculated that the missile was likely a Russian-made S-300 rocket, stating that there's "no proof at the moment that it was a missile fired by the Russian side.
According to the Jerusalem Post, the S-300 and other missile defense systems use “a combination of radar and vehicles with missiles to engage targets” and has a battery of missiles that can be deployed against targets.
“S-300s and other types of air defense missiles can fly off course or they can be seeking out a target and the target may be neutralized by another air defense system and the missile may continue on its path," The Post reported.
According to the outlet, Ukraine has many types of air defense systems and as a result, “many countries bordering Ukraine are within range of errant missiles.”
“In March 2017, a Syrian surface-to-air missile was intercepted by Israel’s Arrow air defense after it apparently strayed off course and was heading toward Israel. Debris from the incident fell in Jordan, according to the BBC report at the time. In July 2019, a Syrian S-200 missile struck Cyprus, some 225 km from Syria. An S-200 also fell in Turkey in July 2018. In September 2018, Syrian air defenders shot down a Russian military plane by mistake. In April 2021 a more serious incident occurred when a Syrian air defense missile strayed into the Negev in Israel.”
The Post noted that the US abandoned a decision to put in place a missile defense system in Europe in 2009 during the Obama administration because the White House was trying to work with Russia.