West News Wire: Poland claims that there is “absolutely no indication” that the two people killed by a missile that landed in Polish farmland were victims of an intentional attack on the NATO member state, and that the Soviet-era missile was likely fired by Ukraine’s neighbor in response to a Russian airstrike that severely damaged its power grid.
Andrzej Duda, the president of Poland, stated on Wednesday that the Ukrainian military had been firing missiles in a number of directions when it is quite likely that one of them accidentally landed on Polish soil.
There is nothing to imply that Poland was intentionally attacked nothing at all.
Jens Stoltenberg, the secretary-general of NATO, endorsed the evaluation during a gathering of the military alliance in Brussels.
“An investigation into this incident is ongoing and we need to await its outcome. But we have no indication that this was the result of a deliberate attack,” Stoltenberg told reporters.
The preliminary findings came after President Joe Biden and other Western backers of Ukraine had thrown their weight behind the investigation and amid repeated assertions from Russia that it didn’t fire the missile.
Biden said it was “unlikely” that Russia fired the missile but added: “I’m going to make sure we find out exactly what happened.”
The missile came down on Tuesday near Poland’s border with Ukraine. Three US officials said preliminary assessments suggested it was fired by Ukrainian forces at an incoming Russian one. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorised to discuss the matter publicly.
That assessment and Biden’s comments at the G20 summit in Indonesia contradicted information earlier Tuesday from a senior US intelligence official who told The Associated Press that Russian missiles crossed into Poland.
Former Soviet-bloc country Ukraine maintains stocks of Soviet- and Russian-made weaponry, including air-defence missiles, and has also seized many more Russian weapons while beating back the Kremlin’s forces.
Ukrainian air defences worked furiously against the Russian assault on Tuesday on power generation and transmission facilities, including in Ukraine’s western region that borders Poland. Ukraine’s military said 77 of the more than 90 missiles fired were brought down, along with 11 drones.
The Kremlin on Wednesday denounced Poland’s and other countries’ initial reaction to the missile incident and, in rare praise for a US leader, hailed the response of the US.
“We have witnessed another hysterical, frenzied, Russophobic reaction that was not based on any real data,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Wednesday. He added that “immediately, all experts realized that it could not have been a missile linked to the Russian armed forces,” and pointed to a “restrained, much more professional reaction” of the US and its president, Joe Biden.
In Brussels, NATO countries were coming together Wednesday for emergency talks. There was no immediate proof that Tuesday’s blast was a deliberate, hostile attack on NATO member Poland that could trigger the alliance’s provisions for a collective military response.
Russia denied any involvement. But Ukraine was under countrywide Russian bombardment Tuesday by barrages of cruise missiles and exploding drones, which clouded the picture of what exactly happened in Poland and why.
In Europe, NATO members Germany and the UK were among those stressing the need for a full investigation.