November 18, 2022
TOKYO – Russia’s attacks on Ukraine are fraught with the imminent danger of escalating into a large-scale war with the United States and Europe. The latest incident can be described as a clear indicator of such a risk.
As the best way to avoid a catastrophe, Russia must stop its unreasonable invasion.
Two civilians were killed on Tuesday when a missile hit a Polish village near the border with Ukraine. The Polish government said it was a Russian-made missile.
This is the first time since Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine in February that damage has been confirmed in the territory of a North Atlantic Treaty Organization member country.
There are many unknowns about who fired the missile and from where. U.S. President Joe Biden said it is unlikely that the missile was fired from Russia. There is a possibility that the missile might have come from a Russian-built interceptor system that the Ukrainian military owns and landed in the Polish village in error.
First of all, the missile launch must be thoroughly investigated to determine what happened.
On Tuesday, Ukraine was trying to intercept missiles and other weapons while under countrywide Russian bombardment.
Russia denies any involvement in the missile landing in Poland. Even if this is true, it cannot escape responsibility for causing a crisis. Moscow should also reflect on the fact that it has repeatedly made false claims about its invasion of Ukraine.
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and leaders of NATO countries held an emergency meeting and confirmed their unity on the sidelines of a Group of 20 summit they were attending in Indonesia.
NATO has a collective defense system, under which it will launch a counterattack if one of its members is attacked, because this is considered to be an attack against all members of the alliance.
Should Russia be deemed to have attacked Poland or any other NATO member, the group would intervene militarily on all fronts.
To what extent is Russian President Vladimir Putin aware that his invasion of Ukraine has always entailed such risks?
Russian forces continue to suffer setbacks in southern Ukraine, including having the strategic city of Kherson recaptured from them. Kherson is the capital of one of the four regions that Russia unilaterally annexed in late September. Putin has completely failed to make the establishment of Russian control over Ukraine a fait accompli.
The United States estimates that the Russian forces’ casualties have exceeded 100,000. The military is also said to be suffering a shortage of missiles. The facts that Russia has used Iranian-made drones in its attacks against Ukraine and has reportedly procured artillery shells from North Korea appear to reflect its predicament.
Putin should squarely face the reality and make up his mind to withdraw Russian troops from Ukraine.