NATO says the deadly missile that hit Poland most likely came from Ukrainian air defences

the main points
  • Two people were killed on Tuesday when a rocket explosion hit a Polish village near the Ukrainian border.
  • After initial reports that Russia was behind the blast, NATO said it was likely caused by Ukrainian air defenses.
  • Ukraine maintains that there is still a Russian “trace” behind the attack.
Poland and NATO said on Wednesday that the missile that hit Poland was likely a missile fired by Ukrainian air defenses rather than a Russian strike, alleviating global fears that the war in Ukraine could spill over the border.
However, the NATO chief said that Moscow, not Kyiv, was ultimately to blame And he launched the attack that blew up the Ukrainian defences.

“This is not Ukraine’s fault. Russia bears ultimate responsibility as it continues its illegal war against Ukraine,” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told reporters in Brussels.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg did not announce any immediate NATO responses to the explosion. source: aap / Oliver Husslett

NATO ambassadors were holding emergency talks to respond to Tuesday’s blast the first deadly spillover of the war into the territory of the Western Military Alliance.

Polish President Andrzej Duda said: “From the information we and our allies have, the S-300 was made in the Soviet Union, and it is an old missile and there is no evidence that it was launched from the Russian side.” “It is very likely that the Ukrainian defensemen shot him.”
Stoltenberg also said it was likely a Ukrainian air defense missile. Earlier, US President Joe Biden said that the tracks indicated that the missile was unlikely to have been launched from Russia.

The incident occurred as Russia was firing dozens of missiles at cities across Ukraine, in what Kyiv described as the heaviest such blow in the nine-month war.

Smoke rises from the horizon near Lviv, western Ukraine.

More than 10 Russian missiles hit critical infrastructure surrounding the western Ukrainian city of Lviv. source: aap / Buffalo Palamarchuk

Kyiv says it has shot down most of the incoming Russian missiles with its air defense systems. Ukraine’s Volyn region, just across the border with Poland, was one of many areas that Ukraine says have been targeted by Russian attacks nationwide.

Russia’s defense ministry said none of its missiles were hit more than 35 kilometers from the Polish border, and that photos of debris in Poland showed elements of a Ukrainian S-300 air defense missile.
The Kremlin said on Wednesday that some countries had made “baseless statements” about the incident after accusing Poland of a “completely hysterical” reaction on Tuesday, but Washington was relatively restrained.

Hours after the incident, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky blamed “Russian missile terrorism,” and Kyiv on Wednesday did not appear willing to admit its missile was involved. Oleksey Danilov, secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council, said Kyiv wanted access to the site and still saw a Russian “trace” behind the attack.

A blockaded street in a Polish village near the Ukrainian border.

Police officers secure access to the site of the explosion in the village of Przewodow, Poland. source: GT / Artur Widak

However, the news that officials had concluded the missile was Ukrainian brought some relief to the residents of the Polish village hit by the missile, who said they feared being drawn into the war.

“Everyone has it in the back of the head that we are right near the border and an armed conflict with Russia would expose us directly,” Grzegorz Drewnik, the mayor of Dolhobyczow, the municipality where Przewodow is from, told Reuters.
“If this is the fault of the Ukrainians, there should be no serious consequences, but I am not an expert here.”

Some Western leaders suggested at the G-20 summit in Indonesia that no matter who launched the missile, Russia and President Vladimir Putin would eventually bear responsibility for an accident caused by its invasion.

Rishi Sunak walks with staff at the G20 summit in Bali.

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak arrives ahead of an emergency meeting of leaders at the G20 summit in Bali. source: GT / Leon Neil

“They stressed that regardless of the outcome of this investigation, Putin’s invasion of Ukraine is directly responsible for the ongoing violence,” British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s office said after a meeting between Sunak and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on the sidelines of the summit.

The G20 leaders issued a closing statement saying that “most members strongly condemned the war in Ukraine,” although they acknowledged that “there are other opinions and different assessments of the situation and sanctions.”
Russia is a G20 member and Ukraine is not, but Zelensky addressed the summit via video link, while Putin stayed home.
On Tuesday, Moscow launched a wave of missile attacks the only provincial capital it has captured since the invasion.

The barrage echoed Moscow’s pattern of long-range missile barrages after battlefield losses in Ukraine’s ongoing counteroffensive to the east and south.

An elderly man inspects a destroyed house near Kherson.

71-year-old Vasily Ontura inspects a destroyed house in the Pokrovsky Posad village of Kherson. source: GT / Annual law

In Kherson, residents who gathered in the central square on Wednesday for mobile phone cards and humanitarian aid did not notice the explosions of Russian artillery shelling towards the city. Several crashes could be heard three to four kilometers away.

Tuesday’s wave of Russian missiles largely targeted Ukraine’s power grid, causing power outages in a number of cities, some far from the front lines. The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reports that millions of people have been without electricity.

Power outage schedules in the western Lviv region have been extended to cover all hours of the day, district governor Maksim Kozitsky wrote on Telegram on Wednesday.

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