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Rocket hit in Poland: what follows the relief that it was not a targeted attack?

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In existential danger, the true nature of people is revealed. The stereotypical narratives of what “the others” are like often turn out to be prejudices.

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The rocket hit in Poland and the reactions to it had such an educational effect. Poles have a Russia trauma and demand a hard edge against Moscow? Germans are shaped by the policy of detente and are the majority pacifists?

When parts of a rocket fell in the eastern Polish village of Przewodów near the border with Ukraine, killing two people, Poles and Germans reacted very similarly. They were shocked by the first victims who died on NATO territory as a direct result of the war. They felt the fear of being drawn into the war; some even feared that a world war would follow.

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And both companies reacted with relief when it became apparent that this was not a targeted Russian attack on Poland. The government in Warsaw avoided harsh tones and acted as level-headed as the Germans are familiar with from Angela Merkel and Olaf Scholz.

What needs to change? Everything for Poles, nothing for Germans

However, unanimity soon broke out again – on the question of what will follow from the incision. Germans tend to answer: nothing. If a Ukrainian anti-missile was the trigger, that’s no reason to change the way we approach the war.

Kyiv is already receiving anti-aircraft and other weapons. Nothing more should be done to avoid driving Vladimir Putin to dangerous actions.

Many Poles see it differently. It was only a matter of time before a projectile would eventually hit NATO territory. That is the risk when Russian President Putin does not limit military action to the combat zones, but instead fires rockets at all of Ukraine – some of which are not very accurate – in order to destroy power plants and other vital infrastructure and to terrorize the civilian population.

Many Russian targets are close to NATO territory

This “destroyed earth strategy” is a war crime and makes it almost inevitable that warheads aimed at major Ukrainian cities near NATO territory such as Uzhgorod, Chernivtsi or Lviv will strike “over there”: in Romania, Hungary, Slovakia or Poland . From this perspective, it makes little difference whether it is a Ukrainian defense missile or a Russian attack missile.

The danger that a NATO country will sooner or later be drawn into the war arises from Russian warfare. So the West needs to do more to stop the barrage of missiles on all of Ukraine, right up to the NATO borders. After all, who can guarantee that next time there will only be two dead and the relief that it wasn’t a targeted Russian attack?

The different answers to the question of what lessons to learn have little to do with the stereotypes that Poles and Germans tell about each other. They arise from tangible differences.

Poland has its first dead as a result of the fighting. The Poles live in close proximity to the danger, Germans much further away.

If both want the war not to spread, Germany must also find convincing answers to the legitimate question: What else can Ukraine and the West do to ensure that Russia limits the missile war to the combat area? Otherwise the fear that NATO will be dragged into the war will soon return.

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Source: Tagesspiegel

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