Russia and Ukraine Current Events

Duke

Active Member
Article:
Volodymyr Zelensky said Russian missiles hit Nato member Poland on Tuesday in what he called a “significant escalation” of the conflict as dozens more caused destruction and power outages across Ukraine.

US and other western officials were investigating explosions at a grain store in Przewodow, Lublin, in which two people were killed.

The place is ~5 km (3 miles) across the border.
SmartSelect_20221115-224757_Samsung Internet.jpg
Systems fail, humans make mistakes. The US had missiles launched against Iraq in 2003 suffer failures and go down in Saudi Arabi, although I don't think there were any fatalities. Similarly a B-2 put several JDAMs in the Chinese embassy in Belgrade in 1999 and killed three Chinese journalists. Mistakes happen. Hopefully cool heads prevail here. Might even open useful dialogue between the West and the Russians.
 
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Mauro

Senior Member
It could be a Russian missile which malfunctioned, possibily due to a successful interception, or an Ukrainian air defence missile, or even both. Surely NATO knows exactly what it was and where it was launched from, maybe tomorrow we too will know it reliably. In any case I would not worry too much. Condolences for the people who died.
 

Duke

Active Member
It could be a Russian missile which malfunctioned, possibily due to a successful interception, or an Ukrainian air defence missile, or even both. Surely NATO knows exactly what it was and where it was launched from, maybe tomorrow we too will know it reliably. In any case I would not worry too much. Condolences for the people who died.
I was just about to add an addendum to my previous post that the missile in question could have been a Ukrainian SAM.
 

Hevach

Senior Member.
Apparently Przewod in Polish means Cable or Wire. This tiny town is apparently called Cable Town because it was built around the connection point between Ukraine's power grid and Poland's (and by extension most of Europe's).

Obviously we can't mind read the people who gave the order or pulled the trigger, but the two missiles that landed there were part of two waves of missiles targeting the towns around key power grid nodes.

What I'm saying is, I don't believe this a technical failure. A mistake, yes, but the question is which kind of mistake: A. Somebody pulling up a map of the grid and not cross referencing to a political map to make sure all their selections are valid targets. B. Somebody knew what they were doing it this was a *really* bad idea.

My sincere hope is A, but there's precedent for Russia making both careless errors and malicious bad ideas.
 
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Mendel

Senior Member.
Apparently Przewod in Polish means Cable or Wire. This tiny town is apparently called Cable Town because it was built around the connection point between Ukraine's power grid and Poland's (and by extension most of Europe's).
Do you have a source?

Article:
Currently, the only line operating across the Polish-Ukrainian border does not connect the power systems of the two countries, but two Ukrainian power plants directly to the Polish energy system.

Article:
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This is from June.
 

Duke

Active Member
What I'm saying is, I don't believe this a technical failure. A mistake, yes, but the question is which kind of mistake: A. Somebody pulling up a map of the grid and not cross referencing to a political map to make sure all their selections are valid targets. B. Somebody knew what they were doing it this was a *really* bad idea.

My sincere hope is A, but there's precedent for Russia making both careless errors and malicious bad ideas.
To clarify, are you insinuating someone went rogue or that the order to fire a missile into Poland came down from senior command authority?

Your A option is similar to what happened when the US bombed the Chinese embassy in Belgrade. The JDAMs hit exactly where they were programmed, but the intel identifying the target was faulty. (Or at least that was our story and we stuck to it.)

Lest I hear from someone "because you said it doesn't mean it's true," here's a detailed BBC article I chose since it doesn't contain too many military terms and acronyms.

 Article

"In simple terms, one of our planes attacked the wrong target because the bombing instructions were based on an outdated map," US defence secretary William Cohen said two days after the bombing. He was referring to a US government map that apparently did not show the correct location of the Chinese embassy nor the FDSP.
Content from External Source
https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-48134881.amp
 
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Mendel

Senior Member.
https://www.reuters.com/world/europ...t-kyiv-friday-says-govt-spokesman-2022-09-09/

The line has been upgraded and was being reopened before the end of the year, as of September Poland was quite committed to making it happen before winter.
yes, that's what my first source said (note the URL):
Article:
The power line will connect Poland’s southeastern city of Rzeszów with Khmelnytskyi in western Ukraine and have a voltage of 400 kV

I think this is the same as the old route represented by the dashed line on my map?
I just have a hard time imagining it goes past Przewodow. Dobrotvir (the end point of the short route) is much closer.

What I was really asking is a source that this power line goes past Przewodow, and that there's a major substation there.
 
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Mendel

Senior Member.
Article:
Russian forces conducted the largest set of missile strikes against Ukrainian critical infrastructure since the start of the war. Ukrainian Air Force Command spokesperson Yuriy Ignat reported on November 15 that Russian forces launched about 100 Kh-101 and Kh-555 cruise missiles at targets in Ukraine, primarily against Ukrainian critical infrastructure facilities.[1] The Ukrainian General Staff also reported that Russian forces targeted Ukrainian infrastructure with ten drones.[2] Ukrainian and Russian sources reported that Russian forces struck targets in Kyiv as well as in Rivne, Zhytomyr, Lviv, Khmelnytskyi, Dnipropetrovsk, Poltava, Vinnytsia, Odesa, Kirovohrad, Cherkasy, Volyn, and Kharkiv oblasts.[3]

The Russian military likely used a substantial portion of its remaining high-precision weapon systems in the coordinated missile strikes on November 15. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Ukrainian air defenses shot down 73 Russian cruise missiles and all drones on November 15.[4] Ukrainian air defenses had previously shot down 43 cruise missiles out of 84 and 13 drones out of 24 during the October 10 coordinated Russian missile strikes.[5] Ukraine‘s increased shoot-down percentage illustrates the improvement in Ukrainian air defenses in the last month, and the Ukrainian General Staff attributed this improvement to the effectiveness of Western-provided air defense systems. [..]

The Polish Foreign Ministry stated on November 15 that a “Russian-made missile” killed two Polish citizens in the border village of Przewodow.[8] Polish President Andrzej Duda noted that Poland does not currently have information regarding the actor responsible for firing the missile but noted that the missile was “most probably Russian-made.”[9] The Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) denied Russia’s involvement in striking any targets near the Ukraine-Polish border and claimed that the incident is a “provocation.”[10] Russian forces, however, did target energy infrastructure in Lviv City, about 72km south of Przewodow.[11] US President Joe Biden stated that according to preliminary information it is unlikely that the missile was fired from territorial Russia but emphasized that the investigation is still ongoing as of the time of this publication.

As always, this situation is complicated by Ukraine having Eastern bloc gear; I wouldn't be surprised if they stationed some of that old gear in the hinterland away from the front. The possibility that it's a Ukrainian SAM gone astray can't be ruled out yet.

Russia can obviously fire missiles from ships, or from occupied Ukraine, and maybe even Belarus? so Biden's statement doesn't rule out that it was a Russian strike, either.
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
Russians have reported Ukraine attacking/occupying the Kinburn spit previously (e.g. September 15), it's never been proven true.
Article:
Premature reports of Ukrainian forces capturing territory on the left bank of the Dnipro River provoked backlash in the Russian information space. Reports emerged that Ukrainian forces had reached Nova Kakhovka, Oleshky (about 10km southeast of Kherson City), and the Kinburn Spit, but Ukrainian officials later refuted these claims.


News from the bridge:
Article:
Russian logistics routes from Crimea into southern Ukraine are likely highly degraded. A Russian source reported that Russian officials elected to delay repairing the Kerch Strait rail bridge until summer or autumn 2023 as weather conditions are too dangerous to conduct the repairs and noted that one rail line is still usable.[72] The Ukrainian General Staff stated that Russian officials only allow passenger traffic over the Kerch Strait road bridge and transport all other vehicles across the strait via ferry.[73]
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
maybe even Belarus?
From June:
Article:
"On the night of June 25, a massive missile and bomb attack was carried out on the territory of Ukraine. In particular, Russian bombers operated directly from the territory of Belarus. For this purpose, six Tu-22M3 aircraft were involved, which launched 12 X-22 cruise missiles. The launch line is the area of the town of Petrykov, not far from Mozyr, approximately 50-60 kilometers from the state border of Ukraine. The bombers took off from the Shaykovka airfield in Russia’s Kaluga region. Then, through the territory of Kaluga and Smolensk regions, they entered the airspace of Belarus. After launching the missiles, they returned to Shaykovka airfield in Russia. The blow was inflicted on Kyiv, Chernihiv, and Sumy regions,” the GUR reports.

The agency notes that this is the first case of an air strike on Ukraine directly launched from Belarusian territory.
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
Apparently Przewod in Polish means Cable or Wire. This tiny town is apparently called Cable Town because it was built around the connection point between Ukraine's power grid and Poland's (and by extension most of Europe's).
That's bunk. Przewodow predates power grids.

Polish Wikipedia via Google translate (German wikipedia confirms):
Article:
The village is located in the old Polish district of Belz. In 1403 it was part of the Latin parish of Rzeplin , at that time it belonged to Benedykt (Radzanowski?) from Przewodów and Wasylów .
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
yes, that's what my first source said (note the URL):
Article: The power line will connect Poland’s southeastern city of Rzeszów with Khmelnytskyi in western Ukraine and have a voltage of 400 kV Source: https://notesfrompoland.com/2022/06/14/poland-and-ukraine-to-link-power-grids-by-end-of-year/
I think this is the same as the old route represented by the dashed line on my map?
I just have a hard time imagining it goes past Przewodow, while Dobrotvir (the end point of the short route) is much closer.

What I was really asking is a source that this power line goes past Przewodow, and that there's a major substation there.
Article:
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The green line is the active Dobrotvirska connection, the blue line is the old, possibly to be reactivated, Khmelnytska-Rzeszów connection.

Article:
Screenshot_20221116-094206_Samsung Internet.jpg

The power line runs several km/miles distant from Przewodów.
 

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Mauro

Senior Member
I'm unable to spot any power substations at or near Przewodov on Google Maps, only fields and what looks like agricultural buildings.

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Mendel

Senior Member.
I'm unable to spot any power substations at or near Przewodov on Google Maps, only fields and what looks like agricultural buildings.

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according to the NYT, the explosion was right in the middle of your picture, far away from the power line shown on the map I posted earlier.
Article:
Poland’s president and the secretary general of NATO said Wednesday that it appears that a Ukrainian air defense missile most likely unintentionally caused a deadly explosion on its territory a day earlier.

“We have no evidence at the moment that it was a rocket launched by Russian forces,” Mr. Duda told reporters. “However, there are many indications that it was a missile that was used by Ukraine’s anti-missile defense.”

Jens Stoltenberg, the NATO secretary general, said after a meeting of the alliance’s envoys that a preliminary analysis suggests the incident “was likely caused by a Ukrainian air defense missile fired to defend Ukrainian territory against Russian cruise missile attacks.”

Ukraine’s foreign minister has denied that one of their missiles was involved in the explosion

15vid-vi-sat-poland-mobileMasterAt3x.png

Obviously nobody blames Ukraine for this.

The situation reminds me of Teheran shooting down Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 back in 2020: it seems to take a while to confirm "yes, this really was one of our missiles"; it's not something you want to admit unless you're 100% certain.
 

Duke

Active Member
according to the NYT, the explosion was right in the middle of your picture, far away from the power line shown on the map I posted earlier.
Article:
Poland’s president and the secretary general of NATO said Wednesday that it appears that a Ukrainian air defense missile most likely unintentionally caused a deadly explosion on its territory a day earlier.

“We have no evidence at the moment that it was a rocket launched by Russian forces,” Mr. Duda told reporters. “However, there are many indications that it was a missile that was used by Ukraine’s anti-missile defense.”

Jens Stoltenberg, the NATO secretary general, said after a meeting of the alliance’s envoys that a preliminary analysis suggests the incident “was likely caused by a Ukrainian air defense missile fired to defend Ukrainian territory against Russian cruise missile attacks.”

Ukraine’s foreign minister has denied that one of their missiles was involved in the explosion

15vid-vi-sat-poland-mobileMasterAt3x.png

Obviously nobody blames Ukraine for this.
If you mean "nobody" can be critical of Ukraine for firing SAMs to defend its territory, that's a fair statement. But they are clearly "to blame" for the death for two people and property damage in Poland. If it's their missile, it's their responsibility for any collateral damage it caused even if they followed their own RoEs and there was no human error involved in its firing.
 
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Henkka

Active Member
What is the probability that a random, stray missile would hit a populated area in the countryside, rather than an empty field or forest? It seems very unlikely to me.
 

Oystein

Senior Member
What is the probability that a random, stray missile would hit a populated area in the countryside, rather than an empty field or forest? It seems very unlikely to me.
After a fact, the probability of it occurring is 100%.
Most events have a very small, often staggeringly tiny a-priori likelihood of happening. The history of the universe is one of truly countless events of low probability. Doesn't mean the universe is impossible.
 

Duke

Active Member
What is the probability that a random, stray missile would hit a populated area in the countryside, rather than an empty field or forest? It seems very unlikely to me.
You think the Russians targeted a grain drying facility?
 

captancourgette

Active Member
What is the probability that a random, stray missile would hit a populated area in the countryside, rather than an empty field or forest? It seems very unlikely to me.
https://www.reuters.com/world/europ...oldovan-village-interior-ministry-2022-10-31/
Debris of Russian misil downed by Ukraine lands in Moldovan villageReutersCHISINAU, Oct 31 (Reuters) - Missile debris landed in the northern Moldovan village of Naslavcea on Monday morning after a Russian fusillade was intercepted by air defences in neighbouring Ukraine, Moldova's Interior Ministry said.
Obviously the poland incident was a mistake, from either Ukraine or Russia. Most likely Ukraine I base this on chiefly due to Nato/Poland saying so. Though I do see some people are saying in a conspiracy theory that they are blaming Ukraine because they don't want to be forced to respond to Russia and raise the tensions, but surely an accident is different than something deliberate like the pipeline explosion.

I'm guessing the size of the explosion for a surface to air missile is going to be lot smaller than one that is aimed at doing a lot of damage
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S-300_missile_system
OK so warhead can range from 24kg -> 150kg

I see Tochka and Iskander are typically ~500kg

Although I read that Russia are running low on the best missiles for the job
https://apnews.com/article/russia-ukraine-kyiv-moscow-fb4f603cd7e8694e788eb764da9e23ac
Russian forces have also repeatedly used the S-300 surface-to-air defense missile systems for striking ground targets, which was seen by some observers as a sign of a Russian weapons shortages.

Apparently S-300 can be made to explode if they miss their intended air target
https://news.err.ee/1608790825/expe...and-could-have-exploded-in-self-destruct-mode
But they are clearly "to blame" for the death for two people and property damage in Poland.
Whos to blame in the following
Russia fires a S300 at some target in Ukraine
Ukraine fires a S300 to intercept the other missile and knocks it off course
Russia missile hits Poland, is Russia to blame or Ukraine? Neither was trying to hit Poland.
Or Visa Versa if the Ukraine missile gets knocked off course and hits poland

EDIT: So the damage does look like from an explosion and not a fire.
Now if it was a Ukraine missile why did it not self destruct in the air like it was designed to do, Im pretty sure they want their missiles to self destruct because if they miss as they most likely will come down on Ukrainian territory. Sure theres always the possibility that the self destruct malfunctioned

 
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Henkka

Active Member
Yeah there was also a Finnish military expert commenting on that above photo, saying it's unlikely an actual missile hit there. He said so mainly due to the truck tires being intact and the ground not appearing to have burned. Here's the article, but it's in Finnish: https://www.hs.fi/ulkomaat/art-2000009206296.html

”Kun taistelulataus räjähtää, siinä tulee voimakas kuumuus ja tulivaikutus. Sellaista mustunutta palojälkeä ei ole, eivätkä perävaunun renkaat ole rikkoontuneet. Se pisti silmään siinä ensimmäisenä. Heräsi kysymys, että olisiko tuossa mikään räjähtänyt”, Kelloniemi pohtii.
My translation:
"When an explosive charge goes off, there's a strong heat and fire effect. There's no such black residue, and the truck tires aren't broken. That caught my attention at first. It raised the question, did anything really explode there", Kelloniemi says.

I've also read that such missiles will self-destruct in the air if they miss their target, and the article speculates that this could explain why there's so little damage. But it's confusing to me, would falling shrapnel from a self-destructed missile be able to flip a truck on its side?
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
Whos to blame
since this comes up again, it might be useful to make a distinction between two types of blame

culpability
"whose fault is it"
decided in criminal proceedings
typically requires intent or recklessness
standard of proof: "beyond reasonable doubt"

liability
"who is responsible for it"
decided in civil proceedings
standard of proof: preponderance of the evidence

Ukraine may be liable as it's their missile that did the damage: there's nobody else who'd have a reason to pay for it. However, Ukraine is not culpable, because they didn't intend to cause damage to Poland, and it wasn't foreseeable that it would happen. That's why it doesn't count as an attack.
 

Duke

Active Member
I've also read that such missiles will self-destruct in the air if they miss their target, and the article speculates that this could explain why there's so little damage. But it's confusing to me, would falling shrapnel from a self-destructed missile be able to flip a truck on its side?
It's quite possible other Ukrainian S-300s have failed to self-destruct, and/or hit the ground in Ukraine. Any damage or destruction they would have caused in Ukraine would have been chalked up to Russian missiles. The solitary nature and location of the missile that struck Poland is the only reason this event is even known.

Age and maintenance (or lack thereof) of the missile that hit Poland could be significant. I'm no expert on SAMs, but it's a good bet there are time change and/or calibrated components on the S-300. Overage or out of calibration components in a system can lead to any number of malfunctions or failures. What's the Ukrainians' stock of spares and availability of support equipment for their Soviet/Russian made missiles? Who knows? In time of war, you'll use what you have in the condition it's in.

Probably doesn't apply here, but it's not unheard of for SAMs to be used in the surface-to-surface role. The Iraqis are said to had done this against both the Iranians (Iran-Iraq War) and Coalition (Desert Storm.) For a fact we know the Brits used ship launched SeaSlug SAMs against Argentine ground targets in the Falklands War.

 Article

The first combat use in the surface-to-surface role was during a shore bombardment on 26 May, when HMS Glamorgan fired Seaslugs at Port Stanley Airport claiming the destruction of a number of helicopters and a radar installation.
Content from External Source
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seaslug_(missile)
 
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DavidB66

Senior Member
A criminal court in the Netherlands has reached verdicts in the trial of four people (3 Russians and 1 Ukrainian citizen from the disputed eastern territory) for crimes connected with the shooting down of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 in 2014, which killed 298 people. The defendants were tried in absentia. Three were found guilty and one acquitted. A report from the BBC outlining the judges' findings is here:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-63637625

Not for the first time I find it annoying that media reports do not give a link to an official text of the judgement or even sufficient information to track it down. Just describing it as 'a Dutch court' is hardly sufficient. Of course, it is possible that the court has only given an oral summary, to be followed later with a full written text. It does seem clear that the ruling is specifically from a Dutch court and not the international court of justice at The Hague.

It may be particularly interesting to see what, if anything, the court says about Russian attempts to pin the blame on Ukraine. According to the BBC report,

Russia has always denied any involvement and instead pumped out a range of alternative theories - suggesting a Ukrainian fighter jet fired the missile, or that Ukrainian government forces were responsible, and in some cases fabricated evidence to support their claims.

The report says that the court has rejected these claims, but doesn't give details.
 

captancourgette

Active Member
liability
"who is responsible for it"
decided in civil proceedings
standard of proof: preponderance of the evidence

Ukraine may be liable as it's their missile that did the damage: there's nobody else who'd have a reason to pay for it.
So juding by this criteria, If I'm driving along the road and a drunk driver goes through a red light hits me which causes my car to run into kill a couple of people, then I'm 100% liable because Its my car that done the damage.
I am doubtful outside of China if courts would find me guilty.
 

Henkka

Active Member
After a fact, the probability of it occurring is 100%.
Most events have a very small, often staggeringly tiny a-priori likelihood of happening. The history of the universe is one of truly countless events of low probability. Doesn't mean the universe is impossible.
I mean, "after the fact" isn't really the question... You can't just say well it happened, so the chances were 100%. The question is if a missile goes off target over rural countryside, what are the chances it will actually drop on a person? Here you can see a map of the area and a street view of what it looks like:



Now I can't do that calculation, but if that probability is infinitesimally small, you should consider the possibility that Przewodow was deliberately targeted. It's also frustrating that no information on its specific trajectory has been released, even though NATO and Poland were probably tracking it the entire way.
 

LilWabbit

Senior Member
I mean, "after the fact" isn't really the question... You can't just say well it happened, so the chances were 100%.

I agree.

The question is if a missile goes off target over rural countryside, what are the chances it will actually drop on a person? Here you can see a map of the area and a street view of what it looks like:



Now I can't do that calculation, but if that probability is infinitesimally small, you should consider the possibility that Przewodow was deliberately targeted.

Any probability calculation should also take into account whether this "very old Russian-made" S-300 would have re-acquired targets due to some malfunction after straying off its initial course. In such a case, open fields are unlikely targets to hit and shouldn't be significantly weighted in the calculation.

Article:
According to the Polish government, the missile that killed two people on a farm in Przewodow, Poland, on Tuesday was a "very old Russian-made missile." The missile was "most likely" fired by Ukraine, said Polish President Andrzej Duda. The ranges of the various land-based S-300 systems range from 75 to 195 kilometers (47 to 121 miles).


It's also frustrating that no information on its specific trajectory has been released, even though NATO and Poland were probably tracking it the entire way.

The investigation into the Przewodow incident is not a quick and simple procedure. Evidence from ongoing investigations is not usually shared to the public. Also, missile-tracking data exposing NATO capabilities are classified for military reasons. There's no evidence (so far) of any major coverup operation.

Article:
In a press conference on Wednesday, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said he "did not want to go into detail because the investigation is ongoing." Questions over whether shrapnel from a Russian attack missile had also been found in addition to the missile thought to have been fired by Ukraine, or whether the apparently misfired missile from Ukraine was intercepted by the NATO protective shield in south-eastern Poland remain unanswered.


Having said that, if Russia was indeed responsible (even indirectly due to a strayed Russian missile) and NATO knew about it, the latter would have to weigh very carefully how to bring the matter to public attention and it would indeed be in their interest to find pretexts for not activating the Article 5 quite so flippantly.
 
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Mendel

Senior Member.
So juding by this criteria, If I'm driving along the road and a drunk driver goes through a red light hits me which causes my car to run into kill a couple of people, then I'm 100% liable because Its my car that done the damage.
I am doubtful outside of China if courts would find me guilty.
please, I wrote "may be", don't treat this as "definitely is"

if you are liable in that accident, you can then try to recover your costs from the (insurance of) the driver that hit you

also why the sinophobia?
 

Ann K

Senior Member.
The question is if a missile goes off target over rural countryside, what are the chances it will actually drop on a person?
What's the blast radius? Is the person in a building which can collapse? How far does shrapnel fly? "Drop on a person" is a poor description.
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
What's the blast radius? Is the person in a building which can collapse? How far does shrapnel fly? "Drop on a person" is a poor description.
if you send a missile several 100 km at a target, what are chances that it'll hit a moving agricultural tractor?

the chance that this missile hit what it hit is very low no matter if it was targetted or not!
I know that conspiracy theorists like to use "improbable odds" to bolster their theories and sow doubt, but doing so when the odds are improbably low either way is misleading

note: the apparent odds suffer from selection bias: missiles that go astray and don't hit anything important ("a field") are never reported in the press; and it'd have also been reported if it had hit a building or a car even if nobody had been injured, so what we're actually looking at are the odds of a "misfire" hitting anything newsworthy, not just "drop on a person"—and the odds of that being reported in the press are almost 100%. (Precedent of a Syrian misfire hitting Cyprus is further up the thread.)
 
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Oystein

Senior Member
So juding by this criteria, If I'm driving along the road and a drunk driver goes through a red light hits me which causes my car to run into kill a couple of people, then I'm 100% liable because Its my car that done the damage.
I am doubtful outside of China if courts would find me guilty.
No.
It's more like a a drunk driver goes through a red light trying to race into into a crowd on the other side, and you dart out of your driveway, trying to intercept the drunk driver and prevent him from hitting the crowd, but in the process (whether or not you succeed) you end up accidentally killing an ininvolved bystander.
Your motives may have been gallant, perhaps without alternative, but from the point of view of the reatives of the person you killed, you made a decision for yourself to get on the road with some dangerous, perhaps reckless driving, and that makes you (partially) responsible.
 

Oystein

Senior Member
I mean, "after the fact" isn't really the question...
But it is, for your are, in fact, trying to assess the probability after the fact has materialized.

You can't just say well it happened, so the chances were 100%.
I absolutely can! And I must! For everything else would be wrong! The likelihood of an event happening after it already has happened is 100%. Period. No dancing around it.
Unless you claim the event didn't happen (in this case: No one on the ground in that rural stretch of Poland was actually hit by (parts of) a missile. If that is what you claim the fact is, then calculationg the ex-ante probability also is unnecessary, for the probability of missiles striking those two men on that day has been fixed at 0%. That's "0" as in "0.00000000000000000000000000000000000000000...". Exactly zero. Not really very tiny, but zero.

The question is if a missile goes off target over rural countryside, what are the chances it will actually drop on a person?
No, after the fact, that is no longer the question. Really. If the ex-ante likelihood of a stray missile hitting a person in this countryside is tiny (and I agree it is), then this changes from "tiny" to "100%" ex-post (after the fact). Then the two men had really very bad luck.
Really very bad luck happens. Deal with it.

Here you can see a map of the area and a street view of what it looks like:

Now I can't do that calculation, but if that probability is infinitesimally small...
...and yet >0...
..., you should consider the possibility that Przewodow was deliberately targeted. It's also frustrating that no information on its specific trajectory has been released, even though NATO and Poland were probably tracking it the entire way.
No. Why?
Really bad luck happens.
Have you thought about the likelihood that anyone would shoot an S-300 missile into Poland to kill those two farm workers? Is it bigger than a stray missile hits any news-worth thing or a person at all? Then I'd like to hear your story how you came up with such a thought, and entertain us with more detail.

But don't get distracted.
Just understand that things that have non-zero probabilities of happeing do happen all the time.
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
Just understand that things that have non-zero probabilities of happeing do happen all the time.
Try telling a lottery winner that they can't have won, since the chance of them winning is too small to make this believable. ;)
 

Henkka

Active Member
Try telling a lottery winner that they can't have won, since the chance of them winning is too small to make this believable. ;)
If a million people play the lottery, it is very likely that one of them will win. If one missile crosses over into Polish countryside, it's very unlikely that it will hit a human. Your reasoning relies on this idea that missiles cross over all the time, but aren't reported in the press because they didn't hit anything important. But I've yet to see any evidence that this is the case.

And yes, improbable doesn't mean impossible... It's just an observation, and the onus would be on Ukraine to explain how this accident occurred. I don't know if that will happen though, as Zelensky has insisted the missile was Russian, contradicting Biden and NATO.
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
If one missile crosses over into Polish countryside, it's very unlikely that it will hit a human.
the logic problem you have is that you have not connected this observation to anything that makes it more likely for this long-range missile to hit two people on a moving tractor

so you can't logically get to the conclusion you want to get to
 

LilWabbit

Senior Member
The S-300 is a Soviet surface-to-air missile system (SAM) from the 1970s, relying on an older type of radar targeting system:

Article:
The original S-300P utilises a combination of the 5N66M continuous-wave radar Doppler radar for target acquisition and the 30N6 FLAP LID A I/J-band phased array digitally steered tracking and engagement radar.


Larger metallic objects such as tractors reflect radar signals far better than individual humans or open fields. The targeting systems of SAMs are specifically designed to detect sizeable metallic objects in motion.

Hence, irrespective of its origin (Russian or Ukrainian), a possibly malfunctioning S-300 is far more likely to re-acquire a tractor as a target than most other things in an open farmland. Maybe if there was a crop duster plane carrying out aerial spraying the missile would have identified it as the target. In both cases, a large moving metallic object in and above farmlands is likely to be a vessel of some sort carrying humans.

Due to these and other variables and (current) unknowns, we're far from a place of declaring with any confidence the mathematical likelihood of the hit that occurred. However, due to the proximity of the Polish border from strategic targets on the Ukrainian side, potentially world war-triggering 'accidents' such as these were already explored as a distinct possibility ever since the start of Russia's large-scale missile strikes against Ukraine.
 

Mauro

Senior Member
Larger metallic objects such as tractors reflect radar signals far better than individual humans or open fields. The targeting systems of SAMs are specifically designed to detect sizeable metallic objects in motion.
The S-300 uses semi-active radar homing: the target is illuminated by a radar and the missile homes in on the radar reflection. But it's impossible to illuminate an object on the ground with a radar (unless the radar is airborne, which is not the case). The S-300 was probably on an unguided ballistic trajectory, it just happened to land in a bad place (any single piece of land where it could have been landed had the same small probability of being hit).
 
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