Poland and Nato said on Wednesday that a missile that struck Poland was likely an accident, fired by Ukrainian air defences rather than a Russian attack, allaying international concerns that the conflict in Ukraine would spread across the border.
However, the head of Nato claimed that Moscow, not Kyiv, was ultimately to blame for beginning the conflict and launching the attack that activated Ukraine’s defences.
“This is not Ukraine’s fault. Russia bears ultimate responsibility as it continues its illegal war against Ukraine,” said Nato Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg addressing journalists in Brussels.
The war’s first fatal incursion onto the territory of the Western military alliance resulted in two deaths at a grain factory in Poland close to the Ukrainian border on Tuesday. In response, Nato diplomats were holding emergency discussions.
Andrzej Duda, the president of Poland, said “From the information that we and our allies have, it was an S-300 rocket made in the Soviet Union, an old rocket and there is no evidence that it was launched by the Russian side.” “It is highly probable that it was fired by Ukrainian anti-aircraft defence.”
Additionally, Stoltenberg stated that it was most likely a Ukrainian air defence missile. The rocket’s trajectories, according to US Vice President Joe Biden, make it appear implausible that Russia fired the missile.
The incident happened as Russia launched dozens of missiles into Ukrainian cities in what Ukraine said was the largest barrage of such attacks during the nine-month conflict.
According to Kyiv, its own air defence systems destroyed the majority of the approaching Russian missiles. Ukraine claims that numerous of its regions were attacked by Russia nationwide, including the Volyn region, which is located immediately across the Polish border.
A Ukrainian S-300 air defence missile was partially visible in images of the debris in Poland, according to the Russian Defense Ministry, which claimed that none of its missiles had ever struck any closer than 35 kilometers from the Polish border.
On Wednesday, the Kremlin claimed that several nations had made “baseless claims” over the incident, but that Washington had acted quite calmly. Journalists were told by spokesman Dmitry Peskov that Russia was unrelated to the event.
Volodymyr Zelensky, the president of Ukraine, had attributed the tragedy within hours to “Russian missile terror,” and on Wednesday, Kyiv didn’t seem prepared to acknowledge that its missile was at fault. Oleksiy Danilov, Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine, claimed that Kyiv desired access to the location and continued to believe that Russia was responsible for the strike.
The residents of the Polish village where the missile struck, who claimed they had feared being drawn into the conflict, expressed some comfort upon hearing that authorities had determined the missile to be Ukrainian.
“Everyone has in the back of the head that we are right near the border and that an armed conflict with Russia would expose us directly,” according to Grzegorz Drewnik, mayor of Dolhobyczow, the municipality to which Przewodow belongs.
“If this is a mistake of the Ukrainians, there should be no major consequences, but I’m not an expert here.”
At a G20 gathering of the major economies in Indonesia, some Western leaders made the assertion that regardless of who fired the missile, Russia and President Vladimir Putin would eventually be held accountable for any incident resulting from its incursion.
Following a side-of-the-summit discussion between Sunak and Justin Trudeau, the office of British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak released the following statement “They stressed that, whatever the outcome of that investigation, Putin’s invasion of Ukraine is squarely to blame for the ongoing violence.”
The summit’s leaders issued a statement in which they admitted that “there were alternative perspectives and diverse evaluations of the situation and sanctions,” but stated that “the majority of members strongly opposed the war in Ukraine.”
Zelensky spoke at the conference via video link while Putin stayed at home, despite the fact that Russia is a member of the G20 and Ukraine is not.
Lone a few days had passed since Moscow had abandoned Kherson, the only provincial capital it had taken following the invasion, in the south.
Residents of Kherson who were on the main square on Wednesday scarcely noticed the explosions that Russian artillery was firing into the city.