U.S. President Joe Biden has said Tuesday’s blast on Polish territory, which killed two civilians, was caused by a Ukrainian air defense missile, Reuters has reported.
The U.S. leader shared the information with his G7 and NATO partners, the news agency wrote on Wednesday, citing an anonymous NATO source.
The incident in the village of Przewodow near the border with Ukraine sparked fears that the Ukraine-Russia conflict could spill over into other nations, as Poland is a NATO member state.
Earlier on Wednesday, Biden said it was “unlikely” that the missile was fired by Russian forces.
“I do not want to say that until we completely investigate, but it is unlikely, in the minds of the trajectory, that it was fired from Russia. But we will see,” he told reporters at the G20 summit in Bali, Indonesia on Wednesday morning, following early consultations with NATO members.
Moscow has denied any involvement in the incident, describing the allegations as “a deliberate provocation” aimed at further escalating the situation. The Russian Defense Ministry said on Wednesday that the country’s military experts analyzed photos of the projectile’s parts published by the media and “identified them as elements of a missile from the S-300 air defense system used by the Air Force of Ukraine.”
The incident occurred during large-scale Russian shelling of Ukrainian energy infrastructure, and Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky was quick to accuse Moscow of striking a NATO member. Russia’s military insists the strikes were carried out only against targets in Ukraine and no closer than 35 kilometers (21.7 miles) from the border with Poland.
Ukrainians Admitted Firing Missile Near Poland Blast Site, Reports CNN
Ukrainian military officials told their U.S. and other Western counterparts that they attempted to intercept a Russian missile near the site of a fatal blast in Poland on Tuesday, CNN reported. While Kiev initially blamed the explosion on Russia, Western leaders have since stated that it was likely caused by an errant Ukrainian air defense projectile.
Citing a U.S. official, CNN anchor Jim Sciutto said on Wednesday that the Ukrainian military has informed its Western backers that it “attempted to intercept a Russian missile in the same timeframe and near the location” of a “missile strike” at the Polish village of Przewowdow a day earlier.
“It is not clear this is the same missile that struck Poland, but this has informed ongoing U.S. assessment,” Sciutto added.
The apparent admission by Ukraine’s military marks a dramatic climbdown by Kiev since Tuesday, when Zelensky called the incident a “Russian attack on the collective security” of NATO. In a video statement, Zelensky urged the West to put Russia “in its place” in response.
However, in the time since the blast, Ukraine’s Western backers have all but confirmed that the missile was fired from Ukraine.
US President Joe Biden, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg and Polish President Andrzej Duda have all stated that the blast was likely caused by a Ukrainian air defense missile, with Duda opting not to call for urgent consultations under Article 4 of the NATO Treaty.
The Russian Defense Ministry reported that analysis of debris at the site of the explosion showed that it was caused by a missile from the S-300 air defense system, a Soviet-era system fielded by Ukraine.
Poland is currently leading an investigation into the explosion, which killed two people.
Polish President Admits High Possibility That The Missile Is Ukrainian
Polish President Duda said on Wednesday that he has no evidence that the missile that fell in Poland on November 15 was fired by the Russian military.
“Who was responsible for launching this missile? We have no evidence that the missile was fired by the Russian side,” Duda told a briefing. “There are many indications that there is a high probability that it was a missile, which served as a missile defense, was used by the Ukrainian defense forces”.
Poland Has No Exact Information On Whose Missiles Landed on Polish Territory, Says Duda
Polish President Duda told reporters that Poland has no exact information on whose missiles landed in its territory.
The official added that nothing indicated shelling of Polish territory by missiles could be repeated.
He further noted that US experts would be joining the investigation into the incident.
Belgian Ministry of Defense said: Polish explosion likely caused by Ukrainian Air Defense missile.
Hungary Calls Kiev’s Allegations Against Russia Over Poland Missile Incident ‘Bad Example’
A report from Budapest said:
The allegations voiced by Ukrainian President Zelensky against Russia in connection with the missile incident in Poland are a “bad example,” the head of the Hungarian prime minister’s office, said on Wednesday.
“The Ukrainian president was wrong. He immediately accused Russia of what, based on the current information, was done by Ukraine. This is a bad example,” Gulyas said.
In this regard, Gulyas urged world leaders to wait for the end of the investigation into the missile’s fall before making irresponsible statements that could have serious consequences.
Poland Refrains From Using NATO Charter’s Article 4 After Urgent Consultations
Poland abandoned plans to apply Article 4 of the NATO Charter, which stipulates urgent consultation, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said on Wednesday.
“The course of events and the information received at night led us to the conclusion that this was not a deliberate attack on Poland. According to our information, there was no plan to attack the territory of Poland. According to our information at the moment. Therefore, we did not launch the 4th article, but kept it in reserve,” Morawiecki said.
At the same time, the Polish prime minister noted that Poland was constantly consulting with NATO.
“In fact, we are constantly consulting. But within the framework of the Washington defense treaty, there is Article 4, which obligates the participants to consult in the event of a threat. Together with the president, at the council of the National Security Committee late last night, we decided that we would check the prerequisites for use of Article 4. And if they are, then our ambassador [to NATO] would have the opportunity to use it,” he said.
No Indication That Russia Plans To Attack NATO, Says Stoltenberg
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told reporters on Wednesday that the organization sees “no indication” that Russia is preparing “offensive military actions” against it. While Kiev accused Russia of launching a missile strike on Poland, Stoltenberg said the missile was likely Ukrainian.
Speaking after a meeting of NATO’s North Atlantic Council, Stoltenberg said the explosion that killed two people near the Polish village of Przewowdow on Tuesday “was likely caused by a Ukrainian air defense missile.”
“We have no indication that Russia is preparing offensive military actions against NATO,” he added. Erdogan said: Data shows Russia had nothing to do with missile incident in Poland.
Not Ukraine’s Fault, Says NATO SG
Stoltenberg said that, while the missile was Ukrainian, “this is not Ukraine’s fault,” Russia, he continued, “bears ultimate responsibility, as it continues its illegal war against Ukraine.”
Recent Russian missile strikes severed internet and phone connections across the country, and left “about ten million Ukrainians” without electricity, Zelensky said on Wednesday.
Russia ‘Ultimately Responsible’ For Poland Missile Incident, Says U.S.
The U.S. does not possess any new information that would suggest a missile that killed two people in Poland on Tuesday was not Ukrainian, the National Security Council’s spokesperson, Adrienne Watson, said in a statement on Wednesday.
Washington remains convinced that Russia is to blame, she added. Meanwhile, Zelensky continues to insist that his country was not behind the fatal incident.
“We have seen nothing that contradicts Polish president Duda’s preliminary assessment that this explosion was most likely the result of a Ukrainian air defense missile that unfortunately landed in Poland,” Watson explained, adding that the U.S. would not carry out its own investigation of the incident and would rely on the results of the ongoing Polish probe.
Washington is “in close touch” with both Warsaw and Kiev and has “full confidence” in Poland’s investigative efforts, the spokeswoman added, vowing to provide new information on the incident “as it becomes available.”
Despite agreeing with Duda’s conclusion that the missile was most likely a Ukrainian one, the White House still believes it is Moscow and not Kiev that should bear the “ultimate” blame for the incident, regardless of the probe results.
“It is clear that the party ultimately responsible for this tragic incident is Russia, which launched a barrage of missiles on Ukraine specifically intended to target civilian infrastructure,” the statement read.
U.S., NATO Actions Were Root Cause, Says Kremlin Spokesman
Commenting on the White House’s statement about Russia’s responsibility for a recent incident when missiles landed in Poland, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the U.S. and NATO actions were the root cause of everything that is happening now.
“The American speak in the paradigm ‘if something had not happened before, this would not happen now.’ Then it makes sense to rewind. And we will see the root cause of everything – it is NATO and the U.S. at the helm,” Peskov said, commenting on the White House statement.
The Missile Was Ukrainian, Says Moscow
A missile which hit Polish territory on Tuesday night was fired by Ukraine, the Russian Defense Ministry has claimed. Moscow says it reached the conclusion after studying images taken from the site.
The Russian Defense Ministry has reported that its experts analyzed photos of the projectile’s parts, published by media outlets, and “identified them as S-300 air defense system used by the Air Force of Ukraine.”
The ministry added that, on the same day, Russian aircraft and ships conducted “massive” strikes on Ukrainian command centers and energy infrastructure. “The high-precision strikes were carried out only against targets on Ukrainian territory and no closer than 35 kilometers (21.7 miles) from the Ukrainian-Polish border,” it said in a statement on Wednesday.
Both Russia and Ukraine use the Soviet-designed S-300 missile system, which Moscow has since upgraded into S-400 and S-500 models.
Polish President Andrzej Duda, meanwhile, said the missile was “most probably” Russian-made, but fell short of stating who’d fired it.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov described the reaction to the missile incident as “hysterical.”
“High-ranking officials from different countries made statements without any clear knowledge of what has happened,” Peskov told reporters on Wednesday. “Such a brazen reaction once again demonstrates that one should never rush with assessments and statements that could escalate the situation.”
Zelensky Doubles Down On Poland Missile Claims
Ukrainian President Zelensky has continued to insist his military did not fire the missile that killed two civilians in the Polish village of Przewodow. Ukraine wanted to be included in any investigation of the incident, he told reporters in Kiev on Wednesday.
“I have no doubt that it was not our missile or our missile strike,” Zelensky said, according to Ukrainian media. Noting that this is what the Ukrainian air force commander told him on Tuesday evening, he added, “It makes no sense for me not to trust them.”
The Ukrainian president also said the Przewodow incident was yet another argument for NATO to impose a no-fly zone over Ukraine, something he has been asking for since February.
Zelensky was quick to blame “terrorist” Russia for what he described as an attack on NATO and the concept of collective security itself. His foreign minister Dmitry Kuleba did likewise. Neither have retracted their claims, even after Poland announced the missile that struck Przewodow was from an S-300 air defense system.
“There is a high probability that it was a Ukrainian air defense missile,” Polish President Andrzej Duda said on Wednesday morning. Meanwhile, CNN quoted unnamed Ukrainian military officials as saying the missile was indeed theirs.
Zelensky, however, told reporters he disagreed with phrases like “high probability” and that Ukraine “has the right” to see the evidence and data from partner countries. So far, he added, Kiev has received nothing.
The Russian Defense Ministry swiftly noted that the debris filmed in Poland had nothing to do with any Russian weapon. Nor had anything nearby been targeted by the Russian military, Moscow added.
Even the U.S. government acknowledged the projectile that hit the Polish village was not Russian. On Wednesday, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg also said the missile had been Ukrainian and there were no indications of a Russian attack. He argued that the ultimate responsibility for the incident still lay with Moscow, however.
Moscow Mocks Zelensky’s Allegations
Ukraine’s President Vladimir Zelensky has stepped out of line in his relationships with his foreign backers, Maria Zakharova, spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry, has said. She was referring to his attempt to nudge NATO into retaliating against Russia for a deadly incident in Poland.
“Zelensky sits in a bunker and cannot unstand why his version about a ‘Russian missile in Poland’ was dismissed even by the worst Russophobes,” she wrote on social media on Wednesday. The president, she added, should realize that his job is “to do the dirty work and not tell bosses what they should do.”
The remark came after the incident on Tuesday evening in the village of Przewodow on Poland’s border with Ukraine, in which two local residents were killed. Zelensky rushed to declare it “a Russian missile strike on collective security” and urged Western nations to “take actions.”
Some sources in Poland initially claimed that two Russian missiles had caused the deaths, while the Polish Foreign Ministry referred to a single projectile, describing it as “Russian made.”
U.S. Should Stop Sending Billions To Kiev After Ukrainian Missile Hits Poland, Says Trump Jr.
Donald Trump Jr., the son of former U.S. president Donald Trump, said on Wednesday the United States should stop sending billions of dollars in security and economic assistance to Kiev after a Ukrainian missile hit Poland on Tuesday.
“Since it was Ukraine’s missile that hit our NATO ally Poland, can we at least stop spending billions to arm them now?” Trump Jr. said via Twitter.
Moscow Urges Warsaw Not To Engage In ‘Dirty Provocations’ By Kiev Regime
The Russian Foreign Ministry explained to the Polish charge d’affaires that hyping up the anti-Russia hysteria over the “missile incident” was unacceptable.
Moscow also called on Warsaw not to engage in “dirty provocations” staged by the Kiev regime and not to initiate its own.
Russian Foreign Ministry Summons Polish Ambassador Over Missile Incident
Polish Ambassador to Moscow Krzysztof Krajewski has been summoned to the Russian Foreign Ministry, ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told Wednesday.
Reaction of NATO States To Missile Incident Is Appalling, Says Moscow
The Russian Foreign Ministry firmly denied allegations of any links regarding the missile which fell in Poland, noting that an impartial probe would reveal it is nothing but a provocation. Moscow noted in an official statement that Kiev is desperately trying to use any pretext to blame Moscow, searching for additional support from the West. The ministry also described the reaction of some NATO countries to the incident as “appalling'”.
Germany And NATO Not Considering Introduction Of No-Fly Zone Over Ukraine, Says Berlin
“The introduction of a no-fly zone is dangerous, as it will lead to a direct conflict between NATO and Russia. Together with all our partners in the alliance, we are unanimous in the opinion that we want to avoid a further escalation of the war in Ukraine,” German Federal Government Deputy Spokesman Wolfgang Buechner said at a briefing.
Chinese Foreign Ministry urges parties to stay calm amid reports of missile incident in Poland.
UK PM Offers Poland Help In Investigation Of Fallen Missiles
British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak in a phone call offered his assistance to Polish President Andrzej Duda in the investigation of missiles fallen on the territory of Poland, Sunak’s office said on Tuesday.
“President Duda updated on the Polish investigation efforts, and the Prime Minister offered any assistance needed to urgently establish what happened,” the UK government said late on Tuesday.
Poland Invited Int’l Experts to Investigate Landing of Missiles
Poland has invited international experts to investigate the landing of missiles on its territory, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki told reporters.
“We are working to establish all the causes of what happened and everything that happened, with international experts whom we invited to the group of our experts and investigators,” Morawiecki said.
He said Poland put police and security services on high alert and boosted airspace monitoring jointly with allies. American experts are expected to join the probe as well.