Polish President Says ‘Without Indication’ Missile in Poland Was a Deliberate Attack


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CNN

Polish President Andrzej Duda said the missile that killed two people in eastern Poland Tuesday was likely fired by Ukrainian forces defending against a wave of Russian missile strikes, and the incident appeared to be an accident.

“There is no indication that this was an intentional attack on Poland. It was most likely a Russian-made S-300 rocket,” Duda said in a tweet on Wednesday. He then said at a press conference that there was a “high chance” that it was an air defense missile from the Ukrainian side and that it probably fell on Polish territory in “an accident” so that it was intercepting incoming Russian missiles.

Duda’s comments were consistent with two officials briefed on early US assessments, who told CNN it appears the missile originated in Ukraine, even though it was Russian-made.

CNN has not confirmed the type of missile that landed in Poland. Russian and Ukrainian forces used Russian-made munitions during the nine months of conflict, including the S-300 surface-to-air missile system, which Kyiv deployed as part of its air defenses. These older generation weapons systems date back to when Russia and Ukraine were part of the Soviet Union.

The missile landed outside the rural Polish village of Przewodow, about 6.4 kilometers west of the Ukrainian border on Tuesday afternoon, around the same time as Russia launched its biggest wave of missile attacks on Ukrainian cities in over a month.

US officials said Wednesday that the US assessment was what President Joe Biden appeared to be referring to in his earlier remarks when he said the missile was “unlikely” to come from Russia. The intelligence assessments were discussed at an emergency meeting called by Biden on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Bali.

NATO General Secretary Jens Stoltenberg also said there was no indication that the incident was the result of a deliberate attack.

“Our preliminary analysis suggests that the incident was likely caused by the Ukrainian air defense missile fired to defend Ukrainian territory from Russian cruise missile attacks,” Stoltenberg told a news conference afterward. of an emergency meeting of NATO ambassadors in Brussels on Wednesday.

“But let me be clear, it’s not Ukraine’s fault,” he said. “Russia bears the ultimate responsibility, as it continues its illegal war against Ukraine.”

Stoltenberg added that “we have no indication that Russia is preparing offensive military actions against NATO.”

A joint statement after the G7 meeting was deliberately ambiguous about the incident, putting much more emphasis on the dozens of Russian strikes that occurred in the hours before the missile hit Poland.

The Associated Press reported on Wednesday that three US officials said preliminary assessments suggested the missile was fired by Ukrainian forces in an effort to intercept an impending Russian strike. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly, according to the AP.

A spokesperson for the US National Security Council declined to comment on the AP report. “We have no comment and will not confirm this report. As the president said today, we support Poland’s ongoing investigation to determine exactly what happened,” the doorman said. -word.

Earlier, Biden said preliminary information suggests the missile that landed in Poland is unlikely to have been fired from Russia after consulting with allies at the G20 summit in Bali.

“I don’t mean that [it was fired from Russia] until we fully investigate,” Biden continued. “It’s unlikely in the spirit of the trajectory that it was fired from Russia. But we’ll see.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Wednesday that Russia had “no relation” to the missile incident in Poland, and that some leaders made statements without understanding “what really happened “.

“The Poles had every opportunity to immediately report that they were talking about the wreckage of the S-300 air defense system missile. And, therefore, all experts would have understood that it could not be about a missile with a connection to the Russian armed forces,” Peskov said in a regular call with reporters.

“We witnessed another frenzied hysterical Russophobic reaction, which was not based on any real evidence.

“High-ranking leaders from different countries have made statements with no idea what really happened.”

These older generation weapons systems date back to when Russia and Ukraine were part of the Soviet Union.

In a statement to CNN on Wednesday, an adviser from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky did not explicitly deny reports that the missile came from Ukraine, but pointed to Russia’s responsibility for starting the war.

“There is only one logic to follow,” said Mykhailo Podolyak, adviser to the head of the Ukrainian president’s office. “The war was started and is being waged by Russia. Russia massively attacks Ukraine with cruise missiles. Russia has turned the eastern part of the European continent into an unpredictable battlefield. Intent, means of execution, risks, escalation – everything comes from Russia alone.

“And there can be no other explanation for any missile incident here. So when an aggressor country launches a deliberate and massive missile strike against a major country on the European continent with its obsolete Soviet-era weapons (missiles class Kh), the tragedy occurs sooner or later in the territories of other states as well.

A Ukrainian air force spokesman told state television on Wednesday that it would “do everything” to facilitate a Polish investigation into the strike.

“What happened was that the Air Defense Force repelled the air attack,” said Yurii Ihnat, spokesman for Air Force Command Ukraine. “What happened next – whether it was a Russian missile or whether it was the wreckage of the two rockets that fell – that needs to be inspected at the site. And that’s what’s happening right now.”

He added that “what happened yesterday is obviously the consequences of the war”.

Russia has triggered a massive barrage of 85 missiles on Tuesday in Ukraine, mainly targeting energy infrastructure. The bombardment caused blackouts in the city and knocked out electricity to 10 million people nationwide.

Zelensky later confirmed on Twitter that power had been restored to eight million consumers. “The supply of 8 million consumers has already been restored. Electrical engineers and repairmen will work all night. Thank you everyone!”

Firefighters work to put out a fire in a residential building hit by a Russian missile strike in Kyiv on November 15, 2022.

Ukrainians across the country faced further scheduled and unplanned power cuts on Wednesday.

“Massive missile strikes on November 15 on energy infrastructure and cold weather further complicated the situation of the electrical system,” state-owned energy company NPC Ukrenergo said in a statement.

“Please be prepared for longer power cuts: stock up on water, charge your devices and batteries in advance to stay in touch with loved ones.”

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