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“No indication” missile that hit Poland was “attack,” but NATO says Russia at fault as it hammers Ukraine

NATO secretary general Jens Stoltenberg stated Wednesday that there was no evidence that the missile that struck Poland on Tuesday killed two people and that Russia was planning to launch offensive military operations against NATO allies.

Stoltenberg said Wednesday that he believed this showed the dangers associated with the ongoing war in Ukraine. However, it hasn’t changed our fundamental assessment regarding the threat against NATO allies,” Stoltenberg stated to journalists after Wednesday’s meeting of NATO’s ambassadors.

Jens Stoltenberg (secretary general of NATO) speaks at a news conference after a meeting of NATO Headquarters in Brussels, Belgium on November 16, 2022. 

Bloomberg

 

He stated that preliminary results indicated that the missile was probably Ukrainian air defense but that Russia was responsible for what happened in Poland yesterday. This was because it was “directly a result” of ongoing Russian aggressions on Ukraine.

Poland is a NATO member, so even if it had been a hostile strike by Russia, it could have triggered an allies response under the collective defense charts that underpin the transatlantic military alliance.

Although the origin of the missile that struck Polish territory Tuesday night has yet to be confirmed, both U.S. leaders and Polish leaders indicated Wednesday that it was unlikely that it had been launched by Russia.

After two victims of an explosion on a farm close to the border with Ukraine, the previous afternoon, police officers were seen in the area of Przewodow (Poland), November 16, 2022. 

Artur Widak/Anadolu Agency/Getty

 

Joe Biden, President of the United States, joined other Western leaders in calling to have an investigation done into the strike. However, Biden said that he believed it unlikely that the missile was fired by Russia, based upon preliminary evidence of its trajectory. He suggested that the missile could instead have been caused by a Ukrainian attempt or interception of a Russian attack.

Mr. Biden stated Tuesday that “we’ll see.” “I’m going make sure that we find out exactly how it happened.”

President Joe Biden talks during a meeting of G7 and NATO leaders in Bali, Indonesia, November 16, 2022. 

Doug Mills/AP

 

Andrzej Duba, the Polish President, said Wednesday that it was most likely a Ukrainian ballistic missile that crashed just inside Polish territory. This is near the border with Ukraine. It did not appear to be an “intentional strike” by Russia, he said.

The Polish president reiterated his comments from yesterday, saying that he and his comrades were “acting calmly” in a “difficult situation.”

On Wednesday morning, Polish investigators were busy at work in the missile-crater and had set up a police line just a few meters away. BBC News’ Dan Johnson reported the incident from the scene. The area is located about 10 miles from Ukraine’s border. Johnson said that residents have been worried that the conflict could spread to their neighborhood since Vladimir Putin invaded on February 24.

#Przewodow, gdzie doszlo do wybuchu policjanci od poczatku zdarzenia zabezpieczaja teren. Policyjni eksperci m. in. @CBSPolicji#CLKP, Biura Kryminalnego @PolskaPolicja wspolnie z innymi sluzbami szczegolowo wyjasniaja okolicznosci zdarzenia i zabezpieczaja dowody. pic.twitter.com/ohBP0rT4u7

— Polska Policja (@PolskaPolicja) November 16, 2022

According to the Ukrainian government, Russia launched more than 90 missiles or drones against Ukrainian cities and towns on Tuesday. This plunged 10 million Ukrainian households into darkness. This was the most powerful single missile attack Russia launched during wartime.

Volodomyr Zelensky, the Ukrainian President, stated that “this is a Russian missile strike on collective security.” This is a significant escalation. “We must act.”

The Kremlin denied responsibility and called European leaders’ response “hysterical.” It also noted the “restrained” and “much more professional” U.S. response.

Police officers stand at a blockade after an explosion in Przewodow, a village in eastern Poland near the border with Ukraine, November 16, 2022. 

KACPER PEMPEL / REUTERS

 

Although they urged a thorough investigation, Western leaders including the German Chancellor Olaf Sholz, and Rishi Sunak, the U.K. Prime Minster, claimed that Russia was ultimately responsible for the missile landing in Poland.

Scholz stated that “this wouldn’t have occurred without the Russian war on Ukraine, and without the missiles being fired at Ukrainian infrastructure intensively, and on a big scale.”

Sunak stated, “This is the cruelly unrelenting reality Putin’s war,”

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