Poland and NATO say missile that hit village was most likely Ukrainian

Warsaw, Poland - Officials from NATO and Poland said on Wednesday that there was "no indication" a missile blast the day before on the alliance member's territory bordering Ukraine was a deliberate Russian attack.

Polish President Andrzej Duda convened an emergency council on Tuesday as news of the missile hit broke.
Polish President Andrzej Duda convened an emergency council on Tuesday as news of the missile hit broke.  © Agencja Wyborcza.pl via REUTERS

"We have no indication that this was the result of a deliberate attack. And we have no indication that Russia is preparing offensive military actions against NATO," Jens Stoltenberg said in Brussels, a day after US President Joe Biden also expressed doubts over the initial explanations.

Stoltenberg spoke after alliance members conducted crisis talks a day after a missile killed two people in Poland near the Ukrainian border.

"Our preliminary analysis suggests that the incident was likely caused by a Ukrainian air defense missile fired to defend Ukrainian territory against Russian cruise missile attacks," Stoltenberg said, echoing Polish President Andrzej Duda.

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The strike came amid a wave of missiles fired at Ukraine on Tuesday, in one of Russia's first large-scale attacks on the country since Russia withdrew from parts of Kherson last week, triggering massive power outages.

On Tuesday afternoon, two people died when a missile hit a farm in the Polish village of Przewod├│w, some less than 4 miles from the border with Ukraine, according to the Polish Foreign Ministry.

Warsaw had confirmed earlier that the rocket was Russian-made. Both Ukraine and Russia use Soviet-designed missiles, with Ukraine defending as Moscow continues to wage its war against its neighbor.

Russia denied targeting Poland and defended Tuesday's round of missile attacks on Ukraine as a strike on the country's "military command system" and "associated energy facilities," according to Russian Defense Ministry spokesperson Igor Konashenkov.

Russia "bears ultimate responsibility" for Polish deaths

Police officers walk near the site of an explosion in Przewodow, a village in eastern Poland near the border with Ukraine.
Police officers walk near the site of an explosion in Przewodow, a village in eastern Poland near the border with Ukraine.  © REUTERS

Stoltenberg said the incident did "not have the characteristics of an attack against NATO territory" and praised the allies "prudent and responsible" reaction late on Tuesday.

The top NATO official stressed, however, that the blast "doesn't say anything" against the alliance's ability "to defend against deliberate attacks against NATO territory."

"It hasn't changed our fundamental assessment of that threat against NATO allies," Stoltenberg said, underlining the alliance's recent actions to bolster the defenses of members in Eastern Europe.

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NATO also had no plans to consult under Article 4, Stoltenberg said, based on the ongoing results of the investigation. Poland also agreed this was not necessary, though it did present a diplomatic note to Russia's embassy in Moscow regarding the incident.

Article 4 says consultations with other NATO countries can take place when one member's territorial integrity, political independence or security is under threat.

Russia later accused Poland of deliberately muddying the waters and sowing confusion in relation to the incident, noting that there would have been clarity if Warsaw had immediately made known that the missiles discovered were from a defense system.

Stoltenberg also said "Russia bears ultimate responsibility" for the incident as it continues its illegal war against Ukraine.

Cover photo: Agencja Wyborcza.pl via REUTERS

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