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Ukraine came under attack from Russian missiles, and Poland reports explosions

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

Ukraine says it came under attack from roughly 100 Russian missiles today. That's one of the most intense air assaults of the war. And now Poland says it is investigating whether an explosion on its territory was caused by a Russian weapon.

NPR's Greg Myre is following both of these developments. He is in Ukraine's capital, Kyiv. Hey there, Greg.

GREG MYRE, BYLINE: Hi, Mary Louise.

KELLY: I want to start with this developing story in Poland. What do we know? What is Poland saying?

MYRE: Well, now the Polish government is saying that two people were killed in an explosion at a grain processing facility in the far east of Poland, just a few miles from the border with western Ukraine. Now, Poland is attempting to determine the cause of the blast, and the government held an emergency meeting to deal with what it called a crisis situation. Now, the suspicion here, to put it out there, is that this could be a Russian weapon. But that's not confirmed. Now, the U.S. says it's working with Poland to investigate these reports. President Biden, who's at the G-20 summit in Indonesia, has spoken with Poland's President Duda.

KELLY: Greg, to state the obvious, Poland is a NATO member, a NATO ally. This is the type scenario - possible scenario that a lot of people had worried about since the war began. Is there any reaction yet from NATO?

MYRE: Yeah, just a little bit. The NATO's secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg, says he's also spoken with Poland's president to offer his condolences but to note that NATO is monitoring the situation. So everybody's acting with great alacrity here, but everybody's also showing real caution. They don't want to overreact until all the facts are known and we can figure out exactly what happened in this incident just inside Poland.

KELLY: What's Russia saying?

MYRE: Well, Russia says any suggestion that this was a Russian weapon that caused these deaths is a, quote, "intentional provocation" that's designed to escalate the conflict in Ukraine. Now, a couple points here. The forensics of whatever it is that sits on the ground there in Poland should make it clear what caused this. If it was in fact a Russian missile, that can probably be determined by what's there on the ground. And if indeed that is the case, that would certainly create a political drama involving not only Poland but obviously other NATO countries as well. Again, we need to say there's a lot that's still unconfirmed at this point, and we need to be cautious until more facts are known.

KELLY: Absolutely. OK, let me zoom us out a little bit. One thing we do know is that Russia has been going after Ukraine's electricity grid. Did that happen again today? How bad was the damage?

MYRE: Yeah, in a big way. This afternoon, all of a sudden, the air raid sirens started going off all around the country. And within the space of a couple hours, Russia fired about 100 missiles at a half dozen cities, every major city basically in Ukraine, east to west, north to south. A lot of cities lost power. Half the residents in Kyiv are out of power right now. We're among the lucky ones here at this hotel. One person was killed in Kyiv. I went to that building just a couple hours ago. A lot of Ukrainians standing around in the dark, you know, wondering why does this keep - why do the Russians keep doing this? And they're bracing for a long, cold winter

KELLY: All righty. NPR's Greg Myre up late for us tonight, reporting on all kinds of developments. He is in Kyiv. Thank you, Greg.

MYRE: My pleasure. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Greg Myre is a national security correspondent with a focus on the intelligence community, a position that follows his many years as a foreign correspondent covering conflicts around the globe.