Poland, NATO say missile strike wasn’t a Russian attack

Przewowo, Poland (AP) — NATO member Poland and the head of the military alliance said Wednesday that a missile attack on Polish farmland that killed two people appears to have been unintentional and is being ruled out as possible. was launched by air defenses in neighboring Ukraine. Russia was then bombing Ukraine in an attack that destroyed its power grid.

“Ukraine’s defense was firing its missiles in different directions, and it is very likely that one of them unfortunately landed on Polish soil,” Polish President Andrzej Duda said. “There is nothing, absolutely nothing, to suggest that this was a deliberate attack on Poland.”

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at the 30-nation military meeting Coalition in Brussels, echoes Polish initial results. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, however, disagreed and called for further investigations.

Assessments of Tuesday’s deadly missile landing appear to have sparked another major escalation in the nearly nine-month-old Russian invasion of Ukraine.. If Russia were to target Poland, it could risk drawing NATO into the conflict.

Still, Stoltenberg and others blamed Russian President Vladimir Putin for the war overall but not specifically.

“This is not Ukraine’s fault. Russia bears the ultimate responsibility,” Stoltenberg said.

Zielinski told reporters that he had “no doubt” about the report he received from his top commanders that “it was not our missile or a missile attack.” He added that Ukrainian authorities should gain access to the site and participate in the investigation.

“Let’s say openly, if God forbid, some remnants (of Ukraine’s air defense) killed one person, those people, then we need to apologize.” “But first there needs to be an investigation, access – we want to get the data you have.”

On Tuesday, he called the strike “a very significant development”.

Ahead of the Polish and NATO assessments, US President Joe Biden said it was “unlikely” that Russia had fired the missile but added: “I’m going to make sure we know exactly. Let’s see what happened.”

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A spokesman for the Russian Defense Ministry in Moscow said on Tuesday that no Russian attack had taken place within 35 kilometers (22 miles) of the Ukraine-Poland border. The Kremlin condemned the initial response from Poland and other countries and praised Biden’s “limited, very professional response” in rare praise from an American leader.

“We have seen yet another hysterical, fanatical, Russophobic reaction that was not based on any real data,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

Later on Wednesday, the Russian Foreign Ministry summoned Poland’s ambassador to Moscow. The argument reportedly lasted for about 20 minutes.

The Polish president said the missile was probably a Russian-made S-300 from the Soviet era. Ukraine, once part of the Soviet Union, has Soviet and Russian-made weapons and has captured several more Russian weapons while repelling the Kremlin’s invading forces.

Russia’s attack on power generation and transmission facilities on Tuesday also included western Ukraine bordering Poland. Of the more than 90 missiles fired, 77 were shot down by air defenses and 11 by drones, the Ukrainian military said.

A nationwide bombardment by cruise missiles and exploding drones clouded the initial picture of what happened in Poland.

“It was a huge explosion, the sound was terrible.” said Eva Baira, director of a primary school in the eastern village of Przevodo, where the missile hit. She said she knew both men who were killed – one was the husband of a school employee, the other the father of a former student.

Another resident, Kanga Kansar, 24, said the men worked at a grain drying facility.

“It’s very hard to accept,” he said. “Nothing was happening and suddenly, there was a global sensation.”

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NATO members in Europe called for a full investigation and criticized Moscow.

“This would not have happened without the Russian war against Ukraine, without the missiles that are now being fired intensively and massively at Ukraine’s infrastructure,” German Chancellor Olaf Schulz said.

Ukraine’s Swat was without power after the airstrike. About 10 million people lost power, Zielinski said, but tweeted overnight that 8 million were later reconnected. Previous attacks have already destroyed an estimated 40% of the country’s energy infrastructure.

Ukraine said its power grid was hit by the worst bombing ever.

The Institute for the Study of War, a Washington-based think tank, said that Ukraine’s shooting down of so many Russian missiles on Tuesday “reflects improvements in Ukraine’s air defenses over the past month,” which Western-supplied Systems are being strengthened. Sweden said on Wednesday that an air defense system with munitions would be part of the latest and largest package of military and humanitarian aid to Ukraine worth $360 million.

The United States has been Ukraine’s biggest supporter, providing $18.6 billion worth of weapons and equipment. US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said the flow of weapons and aid “will continue throughout the winter to allow Ukraine to consolidate its gains and seize the initiative on the battlefield.”

Army Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, said he tried to talk to his Russian counterpart on Wednesday, but those efforts were unsuccessful. Milli did not elaborate on the effort, but the lack of communication, at a time when there were questions about whether Russia had attacked a NATO ally, raised concerns about high-level U.S.-Russian communication in a crisis. Gives birth.

At the United Nations, the organization’s political chief said the missile attack in Poland was a “terrible reminder” of the need to prevent the war from escalating.

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As long as the fighting continues, Rosemary DeCarlo warned the UN Security Council, “the risks of potentially catastrophic outbreaks are very real.”

After days of euphoria in Ukraine following the Russian offensive, one of its biggest military successes came – last week’s recapture of the southern city of Kherson.

With losses on the battlefield, Russia has resorted to targeting Ukraine’s power grid as winter approaches.

At least six civilians were killed and 17 others wounded in Russian strikes in the past 24 hours, a senior official, Kyrillo Tymoshenko, said on Wednesday.

Two of the three Russian missiles hit key energy infrastructure in the western province, Lviv Governor Maxim Kozytsky said. He said that electricity has been restored in about 95 percent of the province, but only 30 percent of consumers can use electricity at the same time.

Due to the power shortage, trains were extended until Wednesday, but there were no cancellations. Because diesel engines were pressed into service, rail officials said.

Margina Daria, a Kyiv resident, said Tuesday’s strikes cut off cell phone service in her area.

“We’ve already adapted to life without lights, because we’ve set a cut-off time every day, but without communication it was quite disturbing,” he said. “There was no way to tell our family that we were OK.”

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AP journalists Vanessa Gera and Monika Sisloska in Warsaw; Lorne Cook in Brussels; John Lester in Kyiv, Ukraine; Yuras Karmanau in Tallinn, Estonia; Zeke Miller in Nusa Dua, Indonesia; Michael Balsamo and Lolita Baldor in Washington; Alice Morton in London; Edith M. Lederer at the United Nations; and contributed by James La Porta in Wilmington, North Carolina.

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Follow AP’s coverage of the war in Ukraine: https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine

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