Poland, NATO say missile strike wasn’t a Russian assault
By VASILISA STEPANENKO (Associated Press)
PRZEWODOW, Poland (AP) — NATO member Poland and the pinnacle of the army alliance each mentioned Wednesday a missile strike in Polish farmland that killed two individuals didn’t seem like an intentional assault, and that air defenses in neighboring Ukraine probably launched the Soviet-era projectile in opposition to a Russian bombardment that savaged the Ukrainian energy grid.
“Ukraine’s defense was launching their missiles in various directions and it is highly probable that one of these missiles unfortunately fell on Polish territory,” mentioned Polish President Andrzej Duda. “There is nothing, absolutely nothing, to suggest that it was an intentional attack on Poland.”
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, at a gathering of the 30-nation army alliance in Brussels, echoed the preliminary Polish findings, saying: “We have no indication that this was the result of a deliberate attack.”
The preliminary assessments of Tuesday’s lethal missile touchdown appeared to dial again the chance of the strike triggering one other main escalation within the practically 9-month-old Russian invasion of Ukraine. If Russia had intentionally focused Poland, that would have risked drawing NATO into the battle.
Still, Stoltenberg and others laid total however not particular blame on Russian President Vladimir Putin’s battle.
“This is not Ukraine’s fault. Russia bears ultimate responsibility,” Stoltenberg mentioned.
Before the Polish and NATO assessments, U.S. President Joe Biden had mentioned it was “unlikely” that Russia fired the missile however added: “I’m going to make sure we find out exactly what happened.”
Three U.S. officers mentioned preliminary assessments prompt it was fired by Ukrainian forces at an incoming Russian one. The officers spoke on situation of anonymity as a result of they weren’t licensed to debate the matter publicly.
That evaluation and Biden’s feedback on the Group of 20 summit in Indonesia contradicted data earlier Tuesday from a senior U.S. intelligence official who informed The Associated Press that Russian missiles crossed into Poland.
Ukraine, as soon as a part of the Soviet Union, fields Soviet- and Russian-made weaponry, together with air-defense missiles, and has additionally seized many extra Russian weapons whereas beating again the Kremlin’s invasion forces.
Ukrainian air defenses labored furiously in opposition to the Russian assault Tuesday on energy era and transmission amenities, together with in Ukraine’s western area that borders Poland. Ukraine’s army mentioned 77 of the greater than 90 missiles fired had been introduced down, together with 11 drones.
Russia mentioned it didn’t launch the missile that landed in Poland. A Defense Ministry spokesman mentioned no Russian strike Tuesday was nearer than 35 kilometers (22 miles) from the Ukraine-Poland border. The Kremlin denounced Poland’s and different international locations’ preliminary response and, in uncommon reward for a U.S. chief, hailed Biden’s “restrained, much more professional reaction.”
“We have witnessed another hysterical, frenzied, Russo-phobic reaction that was not based on any real data,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov mentioned.
Still, Ukraine was below countrywide Russian bombardment Tuesday by barrages of cruise missiles and exploding drones, which clouded the preliminary image of what precisely occurred in Poland and why.
The Polish president mentioned the projectile was “most probably” a Russian-made S-300 missile courting from the Soviet period.
“It was a huge blast, the sound was terrifying.” mentioned Ewa Byra, the first college director within the japanese village of Przewodow, the place the missile struck. She mentioned she knew each males who had been killed — one was the husband of a faculty worker, the opposite the daddy of a former pupil.
Another resident, 24-year-old Kinga Kancir, mentioned the lads labored at a grain-drying facility, one as a guard, the opposite driving tractors.
“It is very hard to accept,” she mentioned. “Nothing was going on and, all of a sudden, there is a world sensation.”
Ukraine mentioned it desires quick entry to the location. Oleksiy Danilov, head of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council, advocated on Twitter for a “joint examination of the incident.”
In Europe, NATO members Germany and the U.Okay. laced requires an intensive investigation with criticism of Moscow.
“This wouldn’t have happened without the Russian war against Ukraine, without the missiles that are now being fired at Ukrainian infrastructure intensively and on a large scale,” mentioned German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.
U.Okay. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak mentioned: “This is the cruel and unrelenting reality of Putin’s war.”
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy known as it “a very significant escalation.” On the opposite finish of the spectrum, China known as for calm and restraint.
Damage in Ukraine from the aerial assault was in depth and swaths of the nation had been with out energy. Zelenskyy mentioned about 10 million individuals misplaced electrical energy however tweeted in a single day that 8 million had been subsequently reconnected, with restore crews laboring via the evening. Previous Russian strikes had already destroyed an estimated 40% of the nation’s vitality infrastructure.
Ukraine mentioned the bombardment was the most important on its energy grid up to now. Pope Francis mentioned it induced him “great pain and concern.”
A Washington-based assume thank, the Institute for the Study of War, mentioned Ukraine’s downing of so many Russian missiles Tuesday “illustrates the improvement in Ukrainian air defenses in the last month,” that are being bolstered with Western-supplied methods. Sweden mentioned Wednesday an air protection system with ammunition would type a part of its newest and largest package deal of army and humanitarian help to Ukraine, value $360 million.
The U.S. has been Ukraine’s largest supporter, offering $18.6 billion in weapons and gear. U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin mentioned flows of U.S. weapons and help would proceed “throughout the winter so that Ukraine can continue to consolidate gains and seize the initiative on the battlefield.”
Russian assaults Tuesday killed no less than six civilians and wounded one other 17, mentioned a senior official, Kyrylo Tymoshenko. In the Kyiv area, a missile strike killed a 69-year-old girl visiting her husband’s grave at a cemetery, the regional police chief mentioned. In central Kyiv, a lady was killed in certainly one of two residential buildings that had been broken, the mayor mentioned.
The Russian bombardment adopted days of euphoria in Ukraine sparked by certainly one of its greatest army successes — the retaking final week of the southern metropolis of Kherson.
It additionally affected neighboring Moldova. It reported large energy outages after the strikes in Ukraine disconnected an influence line to the small nation.
With its battlefield losses mounting, Russia has more and more resorted to concentrating on Ukraine’s energy grid, seemingly hoping to show the method of winter right into a weapon by leaving individuals within the chilly and darkish.
AP journalists Vanessa Gera and Monika Scislowska in Warsaw; Lorne Cook in Brussels; John Leicester in Kyiv, Ukraine; Yuras Karmanau in Tallinn, Estonia; Zeke Miller in Nusa Dua, Indonesia; Michael Balsamo and Lolita Baldor in Washington; Elise Morton in London and James LaPorta in Wilmington, North Carolina, contributed.
Follow AP’s protection of the battle in Ukraine: https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine
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