x

WORLD

Poland, NATO Say Missile Strike Wasn’t a Russian Attack

November 16, 2022

PRZEWODOW, Poland — NATO member Poland and the head of the military alliance both said Wednesday there is “no indication” that a missile that came down in Polish farmland, killing two people, was an intentional attack, and that air defenses in neighboring Ukraine likely launched the Soviet-era projectile to fend off a Russian assault that savaged its power grid.

“Ukraine’s defense 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 30-nation military alliance in Brussels, echoed the preliminary Polish findings, saying: “We have no indication that this was the result of a deliberate attack.”

The initial assessments of Tuesday’s deadly missile landing appeared to dial back the likelihood that the incident would trigger another major escalation in the nearly 9-month Russian invasion of Ukraine. If Russia had deliberately targeted Poland, it could have risked drawing NATO into the conflict.

Still, Stoltenberg and others laid overall but not specific blame on Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war.

Police officers work outside a grain depot where, according to the Polish government, an explosion of a Russian-made missile killed two people in Przewodow, Poland, Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2022. (AP Photo/Michal Dyjuk)

“This is not Ukraine’s fault. Russia bears ultimate responsibility,” Stoltenberg said.

Before the Polish and NATO assessments, U.S. President Joe Biden had said it was “unlikely” that Russia fired the missile but added: “I’m going to make sure we find out exactly what happened.”

Three U.S. 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 authorized to discuss the matter publicly.

That assessment and Biden’s comments at the Group of 20 summit in Indonesia contradicted information earlier Tuesday from a senior U.S. intelligence official who told The Associated Press that Russian missiles crossed into Poland.

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 defenses worked furiously against the Russian assault 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 response to the missile landing and, in rare praise for a U.S. leader, hailed Biden’s “restrained, much more professional reaction.”

“We have witnessed another hysterical, frenzied, Russophobic reaction that was not based on any real data,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said. He added that “immediately, all experts realized that it could not have been a missile linked to the Russian armed forces.”

Still, Ukraine was under countrywide Russian bombardment Tuesday by barrages of cruise missiles and exploding drones, which clouded the initial picture of what exactly happened in Poland and why.

In Europe, NATO members Germany and the U.K. laced their calls for a through investigation of the missile landing with criticism of Moscow.

“This wouldn’t have happened without the Russian war against Ukraine, without the missiles that are now being fired at Ukrainian infrastructure intensively and on a large scale,” said German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said: “This is the cruel and unrelenting reality of Putin’s war.”

Police officers gather outside a grain depot in Przewodow, eastern Poland, on Tuesday Nov. 15, 2022 where the Polish Foreign Ministry said that a Russian-made missile fell and killed two people. (AP Photo)

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called it “a very significant escalation.” On the other end of the spectrum, China was among those calling for calm and restraint.

Damage from the aerial assault in Ukraine was extensive and swaths of the country were plunged into darkness. Zelenskyy said about 10 million people lost power but tweeted overnight that 8 million were subsequently reconnected, with repair crews laboring through the night. Previous Russian strikes had already destroyed an estimated 40% of the country’s energy infrastructure.

The missile landed in the Polish farming village of Przewodow near the border with Ukraine.

The Russian bombardment also affected neighboring Moldova. It reported massive power outages after the strikes in Ukraine disconnected a power line to the small nation.

Tuesday’s assaults killed one person in a residential building in Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv. It followed days of euphoria in Ukraine sparked by one of its biggest military successes — the retaking last week of the southern city of Kherson.

With its battlefield losses mounting, Russia has increasingly resorted to targeting Ukraine’s power grid, seemingly hoping to turn the approach of winter into a weapon by leaving people in the cold and dark.

 

RELATED

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Rapid changes in the gravitational force led to a 178-feet (54-meter) altitude drop of a Singapore Airlines flight that left one passenger dead and many others who were not buckled up injured in extreme turbulence last week, a preliminary investigation by Singapore’s Transport Ministry said Wednesday.

Top Stories

Columnists

A pregnant woman was driving in the HOV lane near Dallas.

General News

NEW YORK – Meropi Kyriacou, the new Principal of The Cathedral School in Manhattan, was honored as The National Herald’s Educator of the Year.

Video

‘We Have Nothing.’ As Israel Attacks Rafah, Palestinians are Living in Tents and Searching for Food

DEIR AL-BALAH, Gaza Strip (AP) — The tent camps stretch for more than 16 kilometers (10 miles) along Gaza’s coast, filling the beach and sprawling into empty lots, fields and town streets.

NEW YORK (AP) — Harvey Weinstein is expected to appear before a judge Wednesday afternoon in the same New York City courthouse where former President Donald Trump is on trial.

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris are stepping up their reelection pitch to Black voters, a key part of their 2020 winning coalition that has shown signs of fraying.

BERLIN (AP) — In a strip of greenery between Berlin’s Natural History Museum and a busy street, bumble bees move swiftly between flowers while a ladybug makes its way along a leaf full of aphids and bugs crawl about.

DALLAS (AP) — Karl-Anthony Towns finally found his rhythm, and the Timberwolves finally closed a game in the Western Conference finals.

Enter your email address to subscribe

Provide your email address to subscribe. For e.g. [email protected]

You may unsubscribe at any time using the link in our newsletter.