NATO member Poland and the head of the military alliance said yesterday that there was “no indication” of a deliberate attack by a missile that landed on Polish farmland and killed two people, and that air defenses in neighboring Ukraine were probably the bullet of the age to fend off a Russian attack that wreaked havoc on the Soviet-power grid. .
“The Ukrainian defense was launching its missiles in various directions, and it is very likely that one of these missiles unfortunately fell on Polish soil,” said Polish President Andrzej Duda. “There is nothing, absolutely nothing, that there was a deliberate attack on Poland.”
“We have no indication that this was the result of a deliberate attack,” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said at the 30-nation military alliance meeting in Brussels, echoing Poland’s initial findings.
Initial assessments of Tuesday’s deadly missile landing seemed to rule out the possibility that the event could trigger another major escalation in Russia’s nearly nine-month invasion of Ukraine. Had Russia deliberately targeted Poland, it could have risked drawing NATO into the conflict.
Still, Stoltenberg and others did not blame Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war in general but specifically.
“This is not Ukraine’s fault,” Stoltenberg said. The ultimate responsibility lies with Russia.” said.
Prior to the Polish and NATO assessments, US President Joe Biden said it was “unlikely” for Russia to fire the missile, but said “I will let us know exactly what happened”.
Three U.S. officials said preliminary assessments showed an incoming Russian force had been fired on by Ukrainian forces. Officials spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly.
That assessment, and Biden’s comments at the Group of 20 (G-20) summit in Indonesia, contradicted information from a senior US intelligence official who told the Associated Press earlier Tuesday that Russian missiles had crossed into Poland.
The former Soviet bloc country of Ukraine has stockpiles of Soviet and Russian-made weapons, including air defense missiles, and has also captured much more Russian weapons while repelling the Kremlin’s occupying forces.
Ukrainian air defense has worked vigorously against Russia’s attack on power generation and transmission facilities, including the western region of Ukraine on the border with Poland, on Tuesday. Of the more than 90 missiles fired, 77 and 11 drones were shot down, the Ukrainian military said.
The Kremlin yesterday denounced Poland’s and other countries’ initial response to the missile landing and rarely praised a US leader, praising Biden’s “measured, much more professional response.”
“We witnessed another hysterical, frenzied, anti-Russian reaction that was not based on any real data,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said. He added that “all experts immediately understood that this could not be a missile attached to the Russian armed forces.”
Yet Ukraine was under nationwide Russian bombardment with the detonation of cruise missiles and drones on Tuesday, which overshadowed the first picture of exactly what happened in Poland and why.
In Europe, NATO members Germany and the United Kingdom combined calls for a comprehensive investigation of the missile landing with criticisms of Moscow.
“This would not have happened if it were not for Russia’s war against Ukraine, but for the missiles currently being fired at the Ukrainian infrastructure intensively and on a large scale,” said German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.
“This is the brutal and grim reality of Putin’s war,” said British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy described it as a “very significant escalation”. At the other end of the spectrum, China has been among those seeking calm and restraint.
The damage from the airstrike in Ukraine was enormous, and large areas of the country were plunged into darkness. Nearly 10 million people lost their power, Zelenskyy tweeted overnight, but 8 million people later reconnected and repair teams were working overnight. Previous Russian attacks had already destroyed an estimated 40% of the country’s energy infrastructure.
The missile fell on Przewodow, a farming village near Poland’s border with Ukraine.
Russian bombardment also affected neighboring Moldova. He reported major power outages after strikes in Ukraine cut off a power line to the small nation.
Tuesday’s attacks killed one person at a residence in Ukraine’s capital, Kiev. He followed the days of enthusiasm sparked by the recapture of the southern city of Kherson, one of Ukraine’s greatest military successes, last week.
As battlefield casualties increased, Russia increasingly resorted to targeting Ukraine’s power grid, apparently hoping to weaponize the approach of winter by keeping people cold and dark.
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