Polish president says ‘no indication’ missile in Poland was deliberate attack


Bali, Indonesia
CNN

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

“There is no indication that this was an intentional attack on Poland. It was probably a Russian-made S-300 missile,” Duda said in a tweet on Wednesday. He later 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 had probably fallen into Polish territory in “a Russian accident” while intercepting incoming missiles.

Duda’s comments were in line with those of two officials briefed on initial US assessments, who told CNN it appeared the missile originated in Ukraine, although it was Russian-made.

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

The missile landed outside the rural Polish village of Przewodow, about four miles (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 more than a month.

U.S. officials said Wednesday that the U.S. assessment is what President Joe Biden appeared to allude to in earlier remarks when he said it was “unlikely” that the missile originated in Russia. The intelligence assessments were discussed in an emergency meeting called by Biden on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Bali.

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

“Our preliminary analysis suggests that the incident was probably caused by the Ukrainian air defense missile fired to defend Ukrainian territory against Russian cruise missile attacks,” Stoltenberg said at a press conference after an emergency meeting of the NATO ambassador in Brussels Wednesday.

“But let me be clear, this is 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.”

The missile landed outside the rural village of Przewodów.

A joint statement after the emergency meeting in the G20 was deliberately ambiguous when it came to the incident, putting much more focus on the dozens of attacks that occurred in the hours before the missile crossed into Poland.

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

A spokesman for the US National Security Council declined to comment on the AP report. “We have no comment and we do not confirm this report. As the president said today, we support the ongoing investigation in Poland to understand exactly what happened,” said the spokesman.

Earlier, Biden said preliminary information suggested it was unlikely the missile that landed in Poland was fired from Russia after consulting allies at the G20 summit in Bali.

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

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Wednesday that Russia has “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 the experts would have understood that this could not be a missile that had any relationship with the Russian armed forces,” Peskov said during a regular call with reporters.

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

“Senior leaders of different countries made statements without any idea of ​​what really happened.”

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

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

“There is only one logic to follow,” said Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to the head of the Office of the Ukrainian President. “The war was started and is being carried out by Russia. Russia is mass-attacking 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 against a large country on the European continent with its obsolete Soviet-era weapons (class missiles Kh), the tragedy sooner or later also happens in the territories of other states.

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A spokesman for the Ukrainian Air Force told national television on Wednesday that it would “do everything” to facilitate a Polish investigation into the strike.

“What happened was the Air Defense Force repelling the air attack,” Yurii Ihnat, spokesman for the Ukraine Air Force Command, said. “What happened next – whether it was a Russian missile, or this was the wreckage of the two missiles that fell – this must be inspected at the site. And this is what is happening now.”

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

Russia launched a massive bombardment of 85 missiles in Ukraine on Tuesday, mainly targeting energy infrastructure. The bombing caused city blackouts and knocked out power to 10 million people across the country.

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

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

Ukrainians across the country were expected to face more scheduled and unscheduled power cuts on Wednesday.

“Massive missile attacks on November 15 on energy infrastructure and cold weather have further complicated the situation with the power system,” state energy company NPC Ukrenergo said in a statement.

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

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