UKRAINE, November 16, 2022—Deadly Poland blast was likely caused by Ukrainian air defense missile, says NATO.
Russia may have faced a military response from NATO’s members if it was found to be responsible for the blast that killed two.
Ukraine has evidence of a “Russian trace” in an explosion in eastern Poland which Warsaw and NATO say was probably caused by a Ukrainian air defence missile, a senior Ukrainian defence official says.
Oleksiy Danilov, Secretary of the National Security and Defence Council of Ukraine, said Ukraine wanted a joint study of Tuesday’s incident with its partners and to see the information that provided the basis for its allies’ conclusions.
Kyiv is “completely open to a comprehensive study of the situation,” he wrote on the council’s official Facebook page on Wednesday.
Danilov echoed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy in blaming Russia’s “missile terror”. Danilov provided no details of what evidence he was citing when he referred to a “Russian trace” behind the incident.
Polish President Andrzei Duda said earlier it was “highly probable” that the missile was fired by Ukrainian air defence.
Asked whether Poland would grant Ukraine access to the site of the explosion and agree on a joint study, Polish Foreign Ministry spokesman Lukasz Jasina wrote by email: “We do not comment on this matter.”
Earlier on Wednesday, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said the blast, which killed two people, was probably caused by a Ukrainian air defence missile but that Russia was ultimately responsible because it started the war in Ukraine.
Russia claims the explosion was caused by a Ukrainian air defence missile, adding Russian strikes in Ukraine had been no closer than 35 kilometres from the Polish border.
“The photos published in the evening of November 15th in Poland of the wreckage found in the village of Przewodow are unequivocally identified by Russian defence industry specialists as elements of an anti-aircraft guided missile of the S-300 air defence system of the Ukrainian air force,” the Russian defence ministry said in a statement.
It was not possible to independently verify the images or the identification.
The Kremlin has criticised how some Western leaders had responded to the incident, that took place on Tuesday.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters Russia had nothing to do with the blast, and said a number of countries had made “baseless statements” about Russia’s involvement.
Peskov added that US President Joe Biden had shown “restraint” in his response to the blast.
NATO member Poland’s president said earlier that Warsaw had no concrete evidence to determine who fired a missile that struck the Polish grain facility some six kilometres inside the border with Ukraine.
Russia’s defence ministry also said it had not targeted Kyiv during yesterday’s widespread strikes.
NATO announced emergency special meeting Wednesday after the strike and after two people were killed in the blasts.
“We agreed to support Poland’s investigation into the explosion in rural Poland, near the Ukrainian border, and they’re going to make sure we figure out exactly what happened,” Biden said.
“And then we’re going to collectively determine our next step as we investigate and proceed. There was total unanimity among folks at the table.”
Leaders from the US, Germany, Canada, Netherlands, Japan, Spain, Italy, France and the United Kingdom were taking part in the meeting.
All except for Japan are members of NATO, the defence alliance that also includes Poland.
A determination that Moscow was to blame for the blast could trigger NATO’s principle of collective defence known as Article 5, in which an attack on one of the Western alliance’s members is deemed an attack on all, starting deliberations on a potential military response.
Poland has said it was verifying whether it needed to request consultations under Article 4 of the alliance, which allows NATO members to bring any issue of concern, especially regarding security, for discussion at the North Atlantic Council.
Poland summoned Russia’s ambassador to Warsaw for an explanation after Moscow denied it was responsible.
Source:7 News Australia reported the original story.