NATO chief says Poland blast likely caused by Ukrainian missile — but not Ukraine’s fault

Members of the police searching the fields near the village of Przewodow in Poland on November 16, 2022. Two people were killed on Tuesday in an explosion at a farm near the village in south-eastern Poland that lies about six kilometers inside the country’s border with Ukraine.

Anadolu Agency | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

NATO said there was no indication that the missile strike that hit a Polish border village on Tuesday night was deliberate, saying that Russia was ultimately to blame as it continues to bombard Ukraine with missiles.

The military alliance’s Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said the missile incident took place “as Russia launched a massive wave of rocket attacks across Ukraine.”

While the investigation was ongoing into the indicent, he said “there was no indication this was the result of a deliberate attack” and no indication it was a result of “offensive military actions against NATO.”

Preliminary analysis, as previously reported, suggests that the incident was caused by a Ukrainian air defense missile fired to intercept a Russian missile.

“Let me be clear, this is not Ukraine’s fault. Russia bears the ultimate responsibility as it continues its war against Ukraine,” he said.

The comments come after the alliance’s North Atlantic Council held an emergency meeting following a missile strike that hit Poland on Tuesday night, killing two civilians.

Early Wednesday morning, the Associated Press reported, citing three unnamed U.S. officials, that preliminary assessments indicated “the missile that struck Poland had been fired by Ukrainian forces at an incoming Russian missile.”

Other media agencies, including NBC News, cited similar details on Wednesday; Reuters reported a NATO source as saying President Joe Biden had told the G-7 and NATO partners that the strike was caused by “a Ukrainian air defense missile,” while the Wall Street Journal cited two senior Western officials briefed on the preliminary U.S. assessments as saying the missile was from a Ukrainian air-defense system.

Those assessments came after Biden said Tuesday that it was “unlikely” the missile was fired from Russia, citing the trajectory of the rocket. President Andrzej Duda of Poland said Wednesday that there was no indication that this was an intentional attack on Poland.

“There are many indications that it was an air defense missile, which unfortunately fell on Polish territory,” Duda said.

(With Inputs from cnbc)

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