“No indication” missile that hit Poland was “attack,” but NATO says Russia at fault as it hammers Ukraine

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NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on Wednesday there was “no indication” that a missile that landed in Polandwhich killed two people on Tuesday was the result of a deliberate attack by Russia, “and we have no indication that Russia is planning offensive military action against NATO allies.”

“I think this demonstrates the dangers associated with the ongoing war in Ukraine, but it has not changed our fundamental assessment of the threat against NATO allies,” Stoltenberg told journalists on Wednesday after a meeting of NATO ambassadors.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg Press conference after missile attack in Poland
Jens Stoltenberg, Secretary General of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), speaks at a press conference following a meeting of the North Atlantic Council at NATO Headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, November 16, 2022.

Bloomberg


He said preliminary findings indicated it was likely the missile was Ukrainian air defense, but that “Russia bears responsibility for what happened in Poland yesterday” because it was a “direct result” of ongoing Russian attacks on Ukraine.

Poland is a member of NATO, so if the missile strike had been a hostile attack by Russia, it could have provoked a reaction from the allies under the collective defense treaty underlying the transatlantic military alliance, including the United States.

The origin of the missile that hit Polish territory on Tuesday evening has not been confirmed, but as of Wednesday both US and Polish leaders had indicated it was unlikely that it had been fired by Russia.

Suspected missile strike kills 2 in eastern Poland near border with Ukraine
Members of the police are seen near the village of Przewodow, Poland, Nov. 16, 2022, after two people were killed in an explosion at a farm near the country’s border with Ukraine the previous afternoon.

Artur Widak/Anadolu Agency/Getty


President Biden, along with other Western leaders, called for a full investigation into the attack, but said he considered it unlikely that the missile had been fired from Russia, based on preliminary evidence about its trajectory, and that it would instead be the result could be from a Ukrainian offensive. interception or attempted interception of a Russian attack.

“We’ll see,” Biden said Tuesday. “I’m going to make sure we find out exactly what happened.”

When he arrived at the White House early Thursday, reporters asked the president about claims by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy that the missile was not Ukrainian. Mr Biden replied: “That’s not the evidence.”

G20 Biden
President Joe Biden speaks at a meeting of G7 and NATO leaders in Bali, Indonesia, November 16, 2022.

Doug Mills/AP


Polish President Andrzej Duda echoed Mr Biden’s assessment on Wednesday morning, saying it was most likely a Ukrainian missile that accidentally fell just inside Polish territory, near the border with Ukraine. He said it did not appear to be a “deliberate attack” by Russia.

The Polish president reiterated his comments from the previous day, saying that he and his allies “acted calmly” because “this is a difficult situation”.

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin agreed, telling reporters at a briefing on Wednesday: “We have seen nothing to contradict President Duda’s preliminary assessment that this explosion was most likely the result of a Ukrainian air defense missile unfortunately landed in Poland.” Like other Western leaders, Austin also said that “Russia bears ultimate responsibility for this incident.”

The secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine called on social media for a “joint study” of the incident. He said Ukraine expected to review the evidence for any conclusion that the missile that landed in Poland was Ukrainian air defense, and asked for Ukrainian officials to gain access to the site.

Zelenskyy said later Wednesday that he believed reports he received from the Ukrainian Air Force that the missile was not Ukrainian. He also called for Ukraine to be allowed to visit the site in Poland.

“I have no doubt in the Air Force report that it was not our missile, and it was not our missile attack. I have no reason not to trust them. I went through the war with them,” Zelenskyy said at a press conference . “Do we have the right to be on the investigation team? Of course.”

Polish detectives were hard at work in the rocket crater earlier on Wednesday and had placed a police cordon a few yards away, BBC News’ Dan Johnson reported from the crime scene. Residents of the area, which is only about 10 miles from the Ukrainian border, have been nervous that war could spill over into their communities since Russian leader Vladimir Putin launched his invasion Feb. 24, Johnson noted.

Russia fired more than 90 missiles and drones at Ukrainian towns and cities on Tuesday, plunging ten million homes into darkness, the Ukrainian government said. It was the largest barrage of single missiles launched by Russia during the war.

“This is a Russian missile strike on collective security,” Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelensky said. “This is a very significant escalation. We must act.”

The Kremlin denied responsibility for the missile landing in Poland, calling European leaders’ response “hysterical”, while noting the US’s “restrained and much more professional” response.

Explosion kills two in Poland near Ukraine border
Police officers stand at a blockade following an explosion in Przewodow, a village in eastern Poland near the border with Ukraine, Nov. 16, 2022.

KACPER PEMPEL / REUTERS


While urging a thorough investigation, Western leaders, including German Chancellor Olaf Sholz and British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, said Russia bore ultimate responsibility for the missile landing in Poland.

“This would not have happened without the Russian war against Ukraine, without the missiles that are now being fired intensively and extensively against Ukrainian infrastructure,” Scholz said.

“This is the cruel and inexorable reality of Putin’s war,” Sunak said.

CBS News correspondent Chris Livesay contributed to this report.


The Valley Voice
The Valley Voicehttp://thevalleyvoice.org
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.

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