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Damages from the hits in Przewodów, a village in eastern Poland near the border with Ukraine.

Reuters

What We're Watching: Missiles in Poland, Chinese anger at zero-COVID

Who fired those missiles into Poland?

Explosions apparently caused by rockets or missiles killed two people Tuesday in the Polish town of Przewodów, several miles from the Ukrainian border. The incident occurred amid a barrage of Russian missile attacks on critical infrastructure across Ukraine. Poland went on heightened military readiness as some Polish officials suggested the projectiles might be Russian. An investigation is underway.

But the plot thickened early Wednesday when US President Joe Biden said at an emergency meeting on the subject in Bali, where he’s attending the G-20, that preliminary info suggests it’s “unlikely” the weapons were fired "from Russia." This raises the prospect that malfunctioning Ukrainian air defenses could have been responsible, or that the missiles could have been fired from nearby Belarus, which has supported Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Russia, for its part, says it has nothing to do with the incident at all.

The big questions are: Was it in fact a Russian missile or not? If so, is there any evidence the attack was deliberate, as some Ukrainian officials have friskily suggested, or merely a mistake in the fog of war?

The implications are huge — Poland is a NATO member, so any deliberate attack by Russia would raise the prospect of invoking the alliance’s Article 5 collective defense mechanism, in which all members go on a war footing to respond. That, of course, could set in motion an escalation between the world’s two largest nuclear powers.

In the meantime, an Article 4 response is possible: a much mellower undertaking in which the alliance convenes a formal discussion on the incident but doesn’t take military action.

But a big question remains: Even if this incident was a Ukrainian own goal or a Russian mistake, what would NATO’s response be if Russian President Vladimir Putin tried to tweak the alliance with a bite along the Polish border?

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Luisa Vieira

What We’re Watching: Trump’s 2024 plans, G-20 & Basquiat in Bali, AMLO vs. Mexican democracy

Donald Trump’s “big announcement”

Tuesday is the day. We think. It’s not completely clear. Former US President Donald Trump has dropped a number of not-so-subtle hints that he will announce his candidacy for president on Tuesday. Millions of his supporters will be watching and hoping he pulls the trigger. Millions of Republicans who fear he’s become a liability for their party are hoping he’ll postpone or shock the world by not running. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and other potential Trump rivals for the GOP nomination will be watching with dread for a first glimpse of the campaign Trump plans on waging against them. President Joe Biden, who will celebrate his 80th birthday later this month, will be watching to see what sort of Republican Party his reelection campaign is likely to face. The media will be watching in expectation of the opening salvo of the wildest presidential campaign in living memory. And you know we’ll be watching too.

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Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni walk during their meeting in Entebbe.

REUTERS/Isaac Kasamani

Russia and the West battle it out in Africa

Russia’s brutal military offensive may be taking place in Europe, but the battle to shore up support for its cause is now playing out in … Africa.

Russia’s top diplomat, Sergey Lavrov, is currently on a tour to reassure African allies of Moscow’s commitment to alleviating the global food crisis.

But Lavrov is not to be outdone by French President Emmanuel Macron, who is also on a three-nation tour in Central and West Africa. Washington, meanwhile, has sent an envoy to Ethiopia and Egypt.

Russia, the EU, and US have long tried to court developing countries in bids to expand their respective spheres of influence. But as war rages on in Europe, why the intense focus on Africa now?

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Protesters rally agains the constitutional referendum in Tunis.

Mahjoub Yassine/Sipa USA via Reuters Connect

What We're Watching: Tunisian referendum, Lavrov on African tour

Tunisia holds constitutional referendum

Tunisians go to the polls Monday to vote in a referendum over the new constitution pushed by President Kais Saied. The vote is scheduled on the first anniversary of Saied sacking the government and suspending parliament in the only country that emerged a democracy from the Arab Spring. At the time, he justified the move as necessary to prevent a bigger crisis, but his opponents called it a coup; since then, Saied has consolidated power by taking it away from any institution or group that challenged him, including judges and trade unions. The president's growing dictator vibes have upset many Tunisians who initially supported him, but he still has fans among younger people tired of corruption and dysfunctional parliamentary politics. Most opposition groups have boycotted the plebiscite, so the "yes" vote is likely to win (albeit with a low turnout). If the new charter is approved, Saied promises to hold legislative elections within six months. But they'll be less decisive under the revised constitution, which vastly expands presidential power at the expense of parliament and the judiciary.

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Russia-NATO Confrontation Is Coming | Quick Take | GZERO Media

Russia-NATO confrontation is coming: Putin will escalate

There’s not an off-ramp in sight, and that’s a problem. More than 60 days into the conflict in Ukraine, Ian Bremmer believes the chances for a negotiated settlement are looking slim.

Ian Bremmer's Quick Take:

Hi, everybody. Ian Bremmer here, and your Quick Take. And got to talk about Russia-Ukraine.

We are 62 days now into this war and on pretty much every front, we continue to see international relations deteriorate. You kind of hope that there would be some kind of off-rampin terms of a negotiated settlement, in terms of freezing the conflict, but it really doesn't look that way at all. Some of that's good news. Some of that is the Ukrainian government being able to really inspire the advanced industrial democracies around the world to win the information war against the Russians. As a consequence, getting an enormous amount of support and holding off the Russians. Certainly, Zelensky in much stronger position today than he ever was since he's been elected president and his regime is not about to be overthrown.

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