Saturday, December 10, 2022

Missile landing wasn’t Russian attack: Poland

Poland said on Wednesday there is “absolutely no indication” that a missile which came down in Polish farmland, killing two people, was an intentional attack on the NATO country, and that neighbour Ukraine likely launched the Soviet-era projectile as it fended off a Russian air assault that savaged its power grid.
“Ukraine’s defence was launching their missiles in various directions and it is highly probable that one of these missiles unfortunately fell on Polish territory,” said 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 meeting of the military alliance in Brussels, agreed with the assessment.
“An investigation into this incident is ongoing and we need to await its outcome. But we have no indication that this was the result of a deliberate attack,” Stoltenberg told reporters.
The preliminary findings came after US President Joe Biden and other Western backers of Ukraine had thrown their weight behind the investigation and amid repeated assertions from Russia that it didn’t fire the missile.
The missile came down on Tuesday near Poland’s border with Ukraine. Three US officials said preliminary assessments suggested it was fired by Ukrainian forces at an incoming Russian one.
The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorised to discuss the matter publicly.
Former Soviet-bloc country Ukraine maintains stocks of Soviet- and Russian-made weaponry, including air-defense missiles, and has also seized many more Russian weapons while beating back the Kremlin’s invasion forces.
Ukrainian air defences worked furiously against the Russian assault on Tuesday on power generation and transmission facilities, including in Ukraine’s western region that borders Poland.
Ukraine’s military said 77 of the more than 90 missiles fired were brought down, along with 11 drones.
The Kremlin on Wednesday denounced Poland’s and other countries’ initial reaction to the missile incident and, in rare praise for a US leader, hailed the response of the US.
“We have witnessed another hysterical, frenzied, Russophobic reaction that was not based on any real data,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Wednesday.
He added that “immediately, all experts realized that it could not have been a missile linked to the Russian armed forces”, and pointed to a “restrained, much more professional reaction” of the US and its president, Joe Biden. In Brussels, NATO countries were coming together on Wednesday for emergency talks.

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