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The Global Brief with Bianca Nobilo
Reports: Rockets Or Missiles Hit Poland Near Ukrainian Border; Poland Says It Will Invoke Article 4 Of NATO Treaty After Blast In East; Polish Officials: Two People Killed In Explosion; More Kherson Residents Coming Out As Situation Eases; U.S. Intel Suggests Russia Delayed Kherson Exit Announcement. Aired 5-6p ET
Aired November 15, 2022 - 17:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRISTINA MACFARLANE, CNN HOST: Hello, you've been watching "THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER". I'm Christina Macfarlane in London, where we will be
continuing our breaking news coverage.
As Jake just mentioned, we are following reports that two rockets or missiles have struck Poland, an E.U. and NATO member country.
The incident happened on a farm very near the border with Ukraine. Polish officials confirmed that there was an explosion in the area, killing two
people. It's still unclear exactly what happened. But the incident happened at roughly the same time Russia launched dozens of missiles on Ukrainian
Polish officials are investigating Ukraine's president is blaming Russian missiles, which Moscow strongly denies.
Let's break all of this down for you now. Let's get straight out to our Sam Kiley, who's in Kryvyi Rih Ukraine, and CNN military analyst, Colonel
Cedric Leighton is in Washington.
Sam, let's just begin with you there in, Kryvyi Rih, where we know missile attacks have been happening today. The question right now, Sam, is whether
or not this was a result of incompetence or intent. What are you hearing?
Especially on the Ukrainian side. We've heard from President Zelenskyy this evening and his evening address. What response has Ukraine been having to
SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, President Zelenskyy has said very emphatically and very boldly that these were
Ukrainian missiles. Part of what he says -- sorry, correct that, that Russian missiles. The Ukrainian president said that these were Russian
missiles, as a consequence of what he said was terrorism, his word, of Russia, that it was long anticipated, that it could spill over into Poland,
the Baltic nations. He also pointed out Moldova has also been affected by a wave, upon wave of airstrikes and missile attacks that have occurred here
in Ukraine today that have attacked the mostly electrical infrastructure here. That has had an effect to power cuts also a neighboring Moldova.
So, as far as President Zelenskyy is concerned, the culprit is unequivocal Moscow. But it's more complicated than that because yes, the Russians have
denied that they were using any kind of missiles in or near the border between Ukraine and Poland. But this is factually incorrect because the
city of Lviv, the one thing that's come under attack repeatedly today, and that city is not far from the Polish border. So, it's conceivable that
there could have been a missile that overshot from Russia, missed its target, landed in Poland. It's equally conceivable that a missile fired by
the Ukrainians struck a Russian missile, or knock it off course, and sent it into Poland or indeed, there could be a missile or anti-aircraft missile
gone astray, or missiles gone astray from the Ukrainians. We simply do not know.
What we do know is that the Ukrainians -- say it wasn't us. The Russians say it wasn't them. But it should be pretty clear to all NATO partners, but
particularly to the polish, now that they've been on site, been able to see the debris. There will have been able to have tracking systems, monitoring
the use of these missiles because there are NATO monitoring aircraft in the Polish airspace at the time of these missiles being fired around in the
So, I think it's pretty clear to all parties, probably already by now, where these missiles came from and really, then the issue will be, you
know, whether or not it was deliberate. If it turns out to have been Russian missiles or it was some kind of accident, the result is a
consequence of these very substantial waves of missile attacks here, close to 100 missiles being fired. Many dozens of them shot down, of course. But
some getting through and at one point, some 8 million people in this country were suffering from power cuts.
The Ukrainians are proud to announce that the power is going back on in some cities as they tried to repair everything once again the
infrastructure that is attacked by Russia.
MACFARLANE: Yeah, and, Sam, still so much we do not know at this hour. Even though, as you say, we have had a response from Ukraine. We have had a
response from Russia tonight.
I want to turn to our Christiane Amanpour, joining us here in London. Christiane, we have heard from Poland, however, saying in the last hour
that they are considering the need to activate Article Four, which would be calling for consultation of NATO members.
Just talk us through what that means exactly and whether or not that could still lead to the triggering of Article Five, if that were deemed
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Well, certainly the NATO chief, Jens Stoltenberg, secretary general, has been in touch with
polish officials, the president and prime minister's office there. And all the European and NATO nations and the U.S. have immediately stood up and
said quite clearly that they said for the defense of their fellow NATO ally. And while they wait to actually determine what happened and what the
intent was, they are telling the Russians very clearly that if this is something that was deliberate, if it was, you know, something that violated
the rules of the road, so to speak, that they've been undertaking for the last nine months, then there will be, you know, measures taken.
But at this moment, we are still not being told and I think it's really important to keep that in mind, exactly what happened. We do have to really
stand by and wait for that. Article Four is the consultation process, you know, within NATO members. And that obviously happens more than article
five. Article Five so far has only ever been activated once. And that was on behalf of the United States after 9/11.
But all the NATO leaders and all the countries that are involved have been saying since the very beginning that not one inch of NATO airspace or NATO
territory will be violated without a strong response from NATO, without article five being activated. So, that's the question. To see what,
frankly, the polish government, the Polish investigators, figure out what they asked their fellow NATO nations to do. But obviously, a step before
that would be consultations, which is what you're asking about Article Four.
MACFARLANE: And, Christiane, how likely is it that if Article Four, this consultation, takes place, it could potentially divide NATO members?
Because we know that some Baltic States have been on the front line of Russian aggression could seek a harsher response, potentially.
AMANPOUR: Well, I mean, they've been very clear as well. If it is deemed to have been a deliberate attack on a NATO member, well then there is an
obvious response. If not, then there are a number of other ways to try to deal with this.
For instance, you know, one thing to say about division, NATO has been remarkably united. I think that's the thing that has been one of the keys
to the whole activity over the last nine months in supporting Ukraine's right to self-defense. That despite the difficulties, despite the energy,
you know, weaponization that Putin has done, despite the inflation, despite, you know, the real hurt that this has done, sanctions -- to the
West, the West has stood strong behind its commitment and behind Ukraine.
So, it would be very difficult to see how they could suddenly be divisions, you know, amongst NATO if something this serious has actually happened.
This is the time where NATO actually would have to band together to actually protect each other and one of their own.
So, I'm not so sure about divisions if it is deemed to have been something that was done deliberately. We -- I heard from a military analyst who we
spoke to quite a lot. Many believe that it might, in fact, have been something that was an intentional. However, it points out the danger and
the recklessness of Russia's consistent behavior in this regard, where it is sending barrages and salvos of missiles on any given day, you know, to
attack what is civilian infrastructure, after all, energy and the other things. The towns, for instance, close to the Polish border.
So, this is something that is going to have to be, you know, dealt with by the alliance and presumably they're going to be calls underway right now,
presumably, between the United States and others who have direct contact with their Russian counterparts.
MACFARLANE: Christiane, thank you. I want to turn to Colonel Cedric Leighton joining us. Colonel, you heard Christiane saying there that it's
important to keep in mind that we have not heard more detail yet on why, what is actually happening some three hours after we became aware of the
We have heard from Secretary General Stoltenberg, saying that they are monitoring the situation, that it's most important that the facts are
established. But what is playing out here behind the scenes? And how much is at stake for NATO right now and its allies, given, you know, the next
step, whatever step they take will be crucial in determining way more than just the outcome of this war?
CEDRIC LEIGHTON, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: That's right, Christina. There's a lot at stake here for NATO. You know, first of all, as Christiane
mentioned, there's the whole idea of -- under Article Four of the NATO charter. That is really a precursor to all of the actions that NATO will be
So, NATO has put all this together. They have to gather the information and right now, with the intelligence entities within NATO, the military
intelligence entities, plus the civilian intelligence services, are looking at this and seeing exactly what kind of missiles, rockets these were.
Did they come from a Ukrainian source? Did they come from a Russian source? What was the trajectory? They may be able to retrace where these missiles
flew from. If they can determine a point of origin, that could then also help determine what happened here, whether it, you know, was an errant
strike or was a deliberate strike.
So, these are the kinds of things and it's definitely -- a lot of information gathering. And in my intelligence business, this would be a
time of maximum work. This would be the time when everything has to come together from all possible sources, so that means that the radio
environment, the signals environment of that period would be examined, plus they would be going to the ground in Poland to look at exactly what kind of
debris there is from these missiles or rockets. That's a kind of thing that would happen right now.
And that information would then be used to determine what kind of political decision-making would happen next, within NATO and the NATO member
MACFARLANE: Cedric, thank you.
I want to go back for a final word with our Sam Kiley in Kryvyi Rih.
Sam, we did hear response from early rush earlier today, calling the ports of reports of missiles a, quote, provocation. No apology coming from them.
Not I suppose that we expected one.
Even if this were a misstep on their part, or a mistake, could we expect any sort of apology? What sort of response would we have expected from
KILEY: I think people were surprised that Russia was the sort of first international organism in this tragedy to come out with a definitive
answer. And the answer was, it wasn't us, indeed, it was a provocation, suggesting that some kind of false flag attack would depend on them. The
rejecting allegations that they said were sourced in the Polish press.
But they climbed a long way up the tree. It's difficult for them to clearly see how they could climb out of it again. But this has been the pattern
throughout this conflict, going back to the downing of the Malaysian airliner several years ago but with a Russian manufactured missile that
fired from Russian controlled rebel territory. They denied that, they denied that they were going to invade Ukraine. They denied the massacres in
Bucha and elsewhere in the country, and they continue to deny that they're attacking civilian infrastructure.
So, at the end of the day, we really shouldn't be surprised by that. And in all probability, they will carry on denying anything to do with this,
whether or not they are held directly responsible by other parties to this.
MACFARLANE: All right. Sam Kiley there live from but Kryvyi Rih, thank you to Sam. Thank you to Christiane Amanpour and, of course, Colonel Cedric
Leighton. Appreciate it.
All right, you're watching CNN and we're going to continue following this story. We will be back after this short break. Stay with us.
MACFARLANE: Some breaking news into CNN the past two minutes. We have confirmation from Poland that they will be moving to invoke Article Four,
NATO's Article Four, calling for the consultation of NATO members. This comes after a missile landed in police territory on Tuesday, killing two
We don't have any indication as to when that will be held. We'll bring that as soon as we have it.
NATO Article Four, the parties will consult together whenever in the opinion of any of them, the territorial integrity, political independents
or security of any party is threatened. So, we now know that consultation will be taken place of all 30 NATO members.
World leaders are watching closely and are scrambling to figure out what happened in Poland, after reports that two missiles or rockets have struck
the country. NATO says it is important that all facts are established. U.S. State Department says they're waiting for more information about it, but
the U.S. will defend every inch of NATO territory.
The U.K. says it's investigating and liaison-ing closely with his allies. Louisiana says it stands in strong solidarity with Poland. My next guest
has also offered his condolences on Twitter saying, quote, the criminal Russian regime fired missiles that targeted not only Ukrainian civilians
but also landed on NATO territory in Poland. Latvia fully stands with Polish friends and condemns this crime.
Let's bring in Latvian Defense Minister Artis Pabriks. He joins me now live from Brussels.
Thank you so much for joining us.
Before we get your thoughts on the evoking of Article Four, I just want to try to get your understanding of what actually occurred here, because we
still have little detail at this hour as to what happened. Please tell us if there are any facts you can give us.
ARTIS PABRIKS, LATVIAN DEFENSE MINISTER: Well, I am basing my arguments, of course, on preliminary information which we got from the pull-aside but
just like many others, I need to get a full confirmation. Of course, until there is no full confirmation, we will still hold back and wait until we
However, we must remember that if there would not be a Russian waged war against Ukraine, we would not sit tonight or today and discuss the
questions about some missiles falling on Polish territory. This is because of this war. It's too close to our borders.
Now, I think the first thing is, of course, in the nearest time, we are very much looking forward for full information about the missile type,
about who could fire this and why it happened. It was an accident or it was planned airstrike. And then, we would have to consult.
Looking from the Latvian perspective, my personal opinion is we could support Polish request for Article Four of consultations, and then we can
MACFARLANE: Even if this were an accident, is that interview acceptable? Does intent matter here? Would you accept an apology from Russia?
PABRIKS: With my experience living nearby Russians, I somehow do not remember if Russians ever apologize for any type of crimes.
But, even if it was an accident, and even if it would be a Ukrainian air defense missile fired to shut down some Russian missile, which is falling
near or on the post territory, it's still important that there would not be this criminal war against Ukraine, we would not discuss this. So, in any
case, I think the next step would be to find a way that we can ensure that such missiles do not fall anymore, neither on Poland nor on any other NATO
country, and this is what probably we will have to discuss in the near time, but first of all, we have to find full data and information on the
MACFARLANE: Knowing Russia as you do, do you have any concern that this could be a test by Russia firing into NATO territory?
PABRIKS: We cannot exclude this. I think we had to be in this way, sorry for my irony, an open minded, because all possibilities are there. It could
be an accident. It could be coincidence. It could be also some kind of sinister planning to check our response and to see our vigilance. But we
have enough resilience or are we backing down?
The biggest problem with dealing with Russia is that, traditionally, they are never accepting weakness. Namely, the best encouragement for further
attacks in Poland is showing weakness. This is not what unfortunately we can afford at these times.
MACFARLANE: It's yet to be determined exactly what happened. We know Poland are moving forward to invoke Article Four, which means that there
will be a consultation process taking place. How prepared are you for a collective response, if it's found that this was a deliberate attack?
PABRIKS: Well, they're probably must not only be a comment response but a measurable response and to not allow synthesized us to have been and to
also not provoke weakness any further. If you ask my pure personal opinion, I would say that we in any case would have to bolster air defense systems
nearby NATO borders.
I personally would not exclude that we somehow have to figure out how we can also defend some kind of western part of Ukraine against missile
attacks, because even if it's an accident and Russia continues to herd Ukrainian civilian objects by their missiles then even by accident, such
mishappenings could have been also in the future. We had to avoid this by simply taking care of our own people.
MACFARLANE: Defense Minister, we really appreciate your time tonight. Thank you for coming on and we will check back with you as that
consultation process plays out. Appreciate it.
You're watching CNN. We will be getting the U.S. perspective on this concerning incident when we come back after this short break.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
MACFARLANE: Extremely serious, shocking, incredibly concerning, just some of the reaction from the world palaces. The Polish government confirms an
explosion inside Poland near the Ukrainian border. The government says two people were killed by the blast in eastern Poland, about 100 kilometers
north of the Ukrainian city of Lviv.
They have not confirmed reports that the missile or rocket explosion. But Poland is now invoking NATO's Article Four, triggering top level
consultations, as Poland gives the incident maximum attention.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is weighing in on the incident, blaming Moscow and saying he warned this would happen during Russia's war
Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): Today happened what we warned about a long time ago. This terror is not limited
to our national border. It has spread to the territory of Moldova, and today, Russian missiles hit Poland.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACFARLANE: Well, it's important to note that Poland has not confirmed that these were Russian missiles, and Moscow is strongly denying
possibility. The U.S. State Department calls the reports a poll and incredibly concerning. It says the U.S. is working with allies to determine
exactly what happened, so it can decide the next steps.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VEDANT PATEL, U.S. STATE DEPT. DEPUTY SPOKESPERSON: We, of course, are ready to stand with our NATO allies and partners, but I want to again be
very clear that we don't want to get ahead of hypotheticals. We do not know what as happened yet. We have seen reports of Poland. They are incredibly
concerning, and we're working with our partners in the Polish government and our NATO partners to get more information and to assess what has
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACFARLANE: Well, Phil Mattingly is following developments from Bali where the G20 summit is taking place. And Alex Marquardt is in Washington.
Phil, let's go to you first, because we understand that President Biden has been briefed on the situation. What more are you learning?
PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: U.S. officials have been very aware for what is happening on the ground in Poland for the last
several hours. Keep in mind, it's just about 6:30 a.m. here in Bali. The president and his team are asleep.
However, Jake Sullivan, and the White House national security adviser had been monitoring the dozens of missile strikes in Ukraine over the course of
the evening. Once he was informed and briefed about what happened of the ground in Poland, he immediately called his Polish counterpart. They have
been in discussions throughout the morning and then went and briefed President Biden. President Biden has had a phone call with his post-
That call ended a about 5:30 am local time, and U.S. officials have said a couple things that they want to make clear. One, they have not confirmed
the origin of whatever landed and created the explosion on Polish grounds, but they are deeply engaged to try to figure that out. There are U.S.
intelligence assets at play here. He was government is looking as a whole into what happened, and it continues conversations with their post
counterparts, as well as other counterparts from NATO and in the region.
I think the big question right now going forward as we see more of the Polish responses here in Bali, where so many critical leaders have unified
Western response to Russia's war in Ukraine are physically. What will they do in the hours ahead.
President Biden is scheduled to head back to the U.S. in just about five and a half hours right now. Will those leaders be meeting face to face?
Will they have more calls? How will that play out given the very tense moment that we're in, as all of these leaders are gathered in the same
MACFARLANE: Now, let's turn to Alex.
Alex, we have been hearing from the State Department today, we're short on detail as to what actually happened, clear that they are not willing to say
more until the facts have been established.
ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think to Phil's point, you have a number of top American officials who reached
out to their post-counterparts. I also learned that the Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin will be speaking with the post-defense minister.
And at this point, Christina, the only two countries who seem to have any certainty in their minds about what happened are Ukrainians and Russians.
Of course, each side are blaming the other. Everyone else is simply saying that we are looking into, we're studying it. This is incredibly concerning,
but we need more answers.
Of course, most of NATO and he was looking to the polls for those answers. Were these Russian missiles that intentionally attacked Poland, or did they
accidentally fall on to Poland? Where these Ukrainian missiles, air defense missiles that accidentally fell into Poland? Those are the big questions.
But, of course, at the end of the day, even if these were Ukrainian missiles, this is during a day one almost 100 rockets and missiles were
fired at Ukraine by the Russian side. As you are hearing from your previous guest, the Latvian defense minister, none of this would be happening here
in up for the war that Russia is waging in Ukraine.
So, now, the question becomes, what does NATO do? What does Poland ask NATO to do? If it is indeed Article Four, as you noted, the fall short of
Article Five, which is the collective defense pact, Article Four would mean that these countries get together and discuss what happened and it does
look like that is what is going to be happening.
But now, hours after the first headline, after the news first broke, there are still many questions that remain, as the European defense official told
me, who is here in Washington, you must get the facts first and then talk about the options for reaction after that -- Christina.
MACFARLANE: And, Alex, as you point out, the timing of all this is crucial to remember amidst the backdrop of the barrel of Russian missiles launched
in Ukraine today.
Phil Mattingly, Alex Marquardt, thank you both very much.
Well, after the break, we'll be staying on top of this story. I'll be joined by CNN military analyst Cedric Leighton. We'll be back with more
just after this.
MACFARLANE: Updating you on our breaking news. Poland confirms that the people are dead in a village in the eastern part of the country, after an
explosion on a farm there. There's no confirmation of the cause but there are reports that two rockets or missiles hit there.
Ukrainian president says Moscow is to blame, but Russia is denying that and calling such allegations a provocation.
Just in the last half hour, Poland confirmed that it is invoking article four of the NATO treaty, which allows a NATO member to consult the rest of
the alliance when it's security is threatened.
Let's bring in CNN military analyst Cedric Leighton. He's a retired U.S. Air Force colonel.
Good to have you back, Colonel. Thank you for joining us again.
Just before we get to talking about NATO Article Four, what we're going to see with this consultation process. I just want to get your thoughts,
because we still don't know much this hour as to what took place on the Polish border, but there has been much talk about the fact that this could
be intentional or incompetence.
In your view, how much room was there for a miscalculation by Russia for something like this to happen?
CEDRIC LEIGHTON, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Well, Christina, I think it was highly likely that an event like this would happen at some point, and a few
other people have expressed the surprised that did not happen yet or had not happened up to this point. So, I would say that the likelihood of an
error, if it was an accident, it's likely high, it miscalculation on the part of the Russians. It was also very high, particularly given the lack of
accuracy given some other missile systems that we observed in the old Ukraine war since February.
So, in my view, what you're seeing here is that playing out. At the moment, we don't think it was a deliberately strike but we do need to, as you
mentioned, wait for more information, more confirmation about where this missile came from and what exactly the type of missile it was and then also
what other orders were given, if you get that information from intelligence sources. That would be extremely helpful and determining intent and whether
or not this was in fact a deliberate act.
MACFARLANE: Yes. Very important to remember, we don't have the facts at this hour as to what took place. But to your point, if one of the more
likely scenarios, given we are in a active war situation, we saw a missile barrage on Ukraine today, if this was a miscalculation, a mistake by
Russia, what needs to happen in terms of a response from NATO?
Okay, there was no potential intent there, but this was potentially reckless behavior on the part of Russia. What response to this warrant from
LEIGHTON: Yeah, this is one of the situations where the first strike is one which gets a diplomatic or a strongly worded response and perhaps the
movement of air defense assets into Poland and into Ukraine, frankly and to use those assets in the way we have not seen yet. This would bring in more
precise systems to help Ukrainians, and it would also mean perhaps something more akin to a deliberate offensive policy, if this happens
again, that not only the missiles will be shot down but also potentially the launch points would be under potential attack for NATO forces.
That, of course, would be a strong reaction if that were to be taken, but that's the kind of thing that NATO has to go through. They had to go
through many responses to see what makes the most sense. At this point, their efforts are going to try to avoid an escalatory situation as much as
But the fact of the matter is, this was certainly a provocation of some type, whether accidental or not. It still means that they had to do
something, and that something is going to come in the form of a strongly worded statement plus movement of some more air defense assets into the
area of conflict or near the area of conflict.
MACFARLANE: Colonel, I wish we had more time. Thank you for breaking that down for us. We'll wait to see what the triggering of Article Four will
look like in this consultation process. It's not something we often see. We'll talk the more when that happens, thank you.
We'll continue to bring you the latest on the instant in Poland. Now more on the conflict in Ukraine.
Ukrainian military is continuing its intense bombardment of the Dnipro River's eastern bank but officials in Kherson today is too early to say
whether Ukrainian forces have retaken any communities there. It's the areas that are already liberated.
Residents are suffering a humanitarian crisis right now. Still, CNN's Nic Robertson reports, the situation is slowly improving.
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Every day here, more and more people are coming out. Now, they're able to use the new cell phone
system that the government installed on Monday, connected by those little tissues to the satellite. Look at them, come have a look.
Everyone is on their phone. Now they're talking on their phone, sending messages on their phone, this is what people have been waiting for, could
be reconnected with the rest of the country. Everyone is out, bring their dogs out, people still celebrated, wearing their flags.
Over here, there's another aid distribution. Another a truck came on Monday, but there's another one here on Tuesday, distributing food, people
coming away with bread.
But the situation in this city still a difficult one, still no water, no electricity, very cold here at night. But what you're seeing here, this aid
distribution, this is what people are hoping becomes for. More food in the shops, and the prices at the food in the shops come down.
The government here also taken other steps and measures to ease the situation. They're delivering pensions to government post office is now
open. Pensioners can get their money. It's a real effort by the government as to President Zelenskyy's visit to reclaim her son with the rest of
The eight is part of it, the self-service is part of it, but really what people tell us they want is electricity, no running water because there is
no clean drinking water at the moment. They get water from the river. They had to boil it. But what they would really like to feel here is safe and
Not far away, big cheer there for one of the soldiers on the back, doing crowd control, hoping to deliver aid, but I think the thing that is on the
back of people's minds here, the back of people's minds is the fact that this is a frontline city still. It is only just across the river. They hear
outgoing shelving here, you can still seem to have an offensive push on the other side of the river.
Here we go, look at this, this is crowd control, but this gives you a sense of the need here, and this will go on for sometime. It's not a quick fix
here, but this is what the government is working towards. Some time, maybe over the next few days, they might get their electricity back, just not
Nic Robertson, CNN, Kherson, Ukraine.
MACFARLANE: I don't think you can ever tire of seeing those images in Kherson.
Turning now to a CNN exclusive, U.S. intelligence suggest that Russia may have delayed the announcement of this retreat from the city of Kherson to
avoid giving President Joe Biden a international political win ahead of the U.S. midterm elections.
CNN's Katie Bo Lillis has more on what we're learning.
KATIE BO LILLIS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Christina, what CNN has learned is that the U.S. has intelligence reporting dishes that Russian officials
discussed the U.S. midterms as a factor during their deliberations about announcing their withdrawal from Ukrainian city of Kherson last week, which
was a major loss for the Russian military.
It suggests that Russia consider waiting until after the U.S. midterms to avoid giving President Biden any kind of political boost as Americans were
going to polls. Now it's important to understand that this is just one piece of intelligence reporting and it's not clear how decisive it was in
determining Russians timing, even if Russia did take the midterms into consideration, it was certainly not the only factor.
Military analysts say Russia had a few other operational options at the time but withdrawal and had in fact preparing the pullback for weeks.
Still, President Biden hinted publicly last week that the U.S. believed that the timing of the announcement of Russia's withdrawal, which took
place the day out of the U.S. midterms was more than mere coincidence.
In a press conference last Wednesday, Biden told reporters, quote, I find it interesting that they waited until after the election to make a
judgment, which we knew for sometime, they would be doing, and it's evidence of the fact that they have real problems with the Russian
What's interesting here, Christina, is that even though this intelligence is not a formal assessment of Russia's intentions, it is a sign that Russia
has continued interest in influencing the U.S. political landscape, and it suggests that Russia continues to believe that Republicans, some of whom
have publicly raised questions about U.S. support to Ukraine, are likely to be the party to enact policies more favorable to Moscow.
But it also raises questions about how well Russia understands U.S. politics. Multiple sources that we spoke to says Russia probably
miscalculated the impact and early announcement that would have had. As one source put it to us, I doubt Americans would really have noticed if Russia
had lost a particular battle at a particular moment and Ukraine, much less have changed their votes because of it -- Christina.
MACFARLANE: Our thanks to Katie for that.
We need to clarify something we've been reporting. Earlier, we told you that Poland is invoking article four of the NATO treaty, calling
consultations on its explosion on its territory. In reality, at this point, Poland is considering invoking that article.
All right. Coming up, CNN is on the ground between Poland and Ukraine, where police officials have confirmed the deadly and mysterious explosion.
Stay with us with the latest updates.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): Today happened what we want about a long time ago. This terror is not isolated to
our border. It has spread to the territory of Moldova and today, Russian missiles hit Poland.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACFARLANE: That was Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. He says Russian missiles have hit Poland, but post authorities have yet to confirm
Poland is considering invoking Article Four of the NATO treaty, which allows a NATO member to consult with the rest of the alliance what its
security is threatened.
Here's what we know so far, Poland says an explosion has killed two people near the Ukraine border, and it's investigating with maximum attention.
Locals told CNN that they heard a wishing sound just before the blast. But no one has yet confirmed reports that it may have been a missile strike.
The Kremlin says that there were no strikes on targets near the border.
Our Matthew Chance is in shivered or in Przewodow, Poland, and has been there for the past hour or so.
Matthew, what more are you learning about what may have occurred here?
MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Details are sketchy, Christina, on what is happening. You can see here, it's a small
place, a one street time basically, and that street has been sealed off by the local authorities. They put up a barricade to stop us going through
close to the site, where this apparent missile strike took place.
I spoke to some local residents, and they described what happened. It happened at about 3:00 here local time. They set a huge terrifying was
heard in the skies over the village before a loud explosion shook some of the windows of the buildings. It caused that damage to the farm. The Polish
authorities confirming that two people were killed.
Of course, we've been reporting workers on the farm. What we don't know at the moment is what was the cause of the explosion? Was it a Russian
missile? Was it Ukrainian anti-aircraft munitions?
The Russians for their part say that it's a provocation to suggest that these were Russian missiles, that is what the defense ministry says. The
Kremlin told me that they have no information at all on any Russian missile strikes on Polish territory. But on background, the Ukrainian officials I
spoke to are insistent that they believe that these are Russian missiles.
And so, I expect that is what the polish authorities are doing now, trying to literally piece the situation together to try to get a better picture of
what actually took place here. The cause of death, of course, our two Polish citizens -- Christina.
MACFARLANE: Matthew, I want to get your thoughts on a slightly different target, the possible invoking of article four. Given you have lived in
Russia for so long, I wanted to get your view on how Russia will see this, if it goes ahead, which we understand it probably will.
CHANCE: Well, look, the Russians have already tried to stay out of the position, which is a categorical do now, that they had anything to do this.
It may be the case that this instance, it's not a Russian missile, so you corner one, in which case, they feel vindicated. But I have to say,
whenever Russia is accused of malign activity, they fought back on a denial like this. So it's to be expected that they would use these words.
But, look, I mean, the Russians very view, or at least it's their sort of position in the media that their propaganda line that this whole situation
in Ukraine is part of a conspiracy to weaken Russia. They say that they were drawn into this conflict, and they say that, you know, it's really the
NATO alliance that's fighting, not to Ukrainians.
So, I think the implication of article four will be seen as another provocative step by the West against Russia in Moscow.
MACFARLANE: All right. Matthew Chance in Przewodow, thanks very much, Matthew, for your reporting. Appreciate it.
And thank you for watching.
"THE SITUATION ROOM WITH WOLF BLITZER" is coming up next. Stay with us.