Poland, NATO: Missile attack is not an attack on Russia

PRZEWODOW, POLAND (AP) — The head of a military alliance with NATO member Poland said Wednesday that the missile strike that killed two people on Polish farmland was unintentional and was probably launched by air defenses in neighboring Ukraine. Polish President Andrzej Duda said: “Ukrainian defense teams were firing missiles in many directions, unfortunately one of these missiles is likely to have landed on Polish territory.” . At a meeting of the 30-nation military alliance in Brussels, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg reiterated Poland’s preliminary findings. However, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky disputed this and called for further investigation. Tuesday’s assessment of the deadly missile landing appears to have reduced the chances of triggering another major escalation in Russia’s nearly nine-month-old invasion of Ukraine. Had Russia targeted Poland, it would have risked drawing NATO into the conflict. Still, Stoltenberg and others condemned Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war in general, if not specifically. “This is not Ukraine’s fault. Stoltenberg said Russia bears the ultimate responsibility. Zelenskyy told reporters he had “no doubt” about reports he had received from the commander-in-chief that “were neither our missiles nor the missile strikes.” “Ukrainian officials should approach the scene and participate in the investigation,” he said. “If speaking publicly, if some remnant[of Ukrainian air defenses]killed people, we should apologize.” “But first you need to investigate and approach it. We want to get the data you have.” On Tuesday, he called the strike a “very important escalation”. “We’ll try to find out exactly what happened,” he added, on the Ukrainian-Polish border. The Kremlin condemned the initial response by Poland and others and called Biden’s “understated and much more professional response” in a rare tribute to the American leader. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the Russian Foreign Ministry convened the Polish ambassador to Moscow late Wednesday.The discussion reportedly lasted about 20 minutes, and the Polish president said the missile was probably a Soviet-era Russian-made S-300. Ukraine, once part of the Soviet Union, deployed both Soviet and Russian-made weapons and seized more Russian weapons while repelling the Kremlin’s invading forces: Ukrainian forces fired more than 90 missiles, 77 of which were hit by air defenses along with 11 drones. They said it was shot down. The sound was scary.” Ewa Byra, principal of a primary school in the village of Przewodow, east of the missile attack, said she knew two people who were killed, one the husband of a school staff member and the other the father of a former student. In Europe, NATO members condemned Moscow, calling for a thorough investigation. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said: “After the air attack, power was cut across Ukraine. About 10 million people lost electricity, Zelenskyy tweeted, but 8 million were reconnected overnight. Previous airstrikes had already destroyed about 40% of the country’s energy infrastructure. Ukraine said the bombing was the largest on its power grid so far. Russian missiles on Tuesday “showcase improvements in Ukraine’s air defenses over the past month,” which are being beefed up with Western-supplied systems. Sweden said on Wednesday that an air defense system with ammunition would be part of its latest and largest military and humanitarian aid package to Ukraine, valued at $360 million. U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said the flow of arms and support would continue throughout the winter to ensure Ukraine can continue to consolidate interests and seize the initiative on the battlefield. Mark Milley, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, said on Wednesday that he had tried to talk with the Russian Joint Chiefs of Staff, but the effort was unsuccessful. Milley did not elaborate on the effort, but when asked whether Russia attacked its NATO ally, the lack of dialogue raises concerns about high-level US-Russia communications at stake. At the United Nations, the organization’s political chief said the missile strikes in Poland were a “frightening reminder” of the need to prevent the war from escalating further. As long as the fighting continues, Rosemary DiCarlo warned the UN Security Council. The ramifications are still all too real.” The Russian attack follows days of euphoria sparked by the recapture of the southern city of Kherson last week, one of Ukraine’s biggest military successes. At least six civilians have been killed and 17 injured in Russian attacks over the past 24 hours, senior official Kirilo Tymoshenko said on Wednesday. Maksym Kozytskyy said two out of three Russian missiles hit the western province’s vital energy infrastructure. He said power has been restored to about 95% of the province, but only 30% of consumers have access to electricity at the same time. Margina Daria, a Kyiv resident, said cell phone service in her area was cut off due to the strike on Tuesday. “We have already adjusted to a life without light because we planned daily outages, but without communication it was quite uneasy,” she said. “There was no way to even tell our families that we were okay.”___ Associated Press reporters Vanessa Gera and Monika Scislowska in Warsaw; Ron Cook of Brussels; John Lester of Kyiv, Ukraine; Yuras Karmanau of Tallinn, Estonia; Zeke Miller of Nusa Dua, Indonesia; Washington’s Michael Balsamo and Lolita Baldor; Elise Morton in London; Edith M. Lederer of the United Nations; Contributed by James LaPorta of Wilmington, NC.
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