The White House blamed Russia on Wednesday after officials confirmed that a Ukrainian missile landed and exploded in Poland, sparking a flurry of debate and an emergency meeting on Tuesday.
“I have never seen anything that contradicts the president. [Andrezj] Duda’s preliminary assessment that this explosion was most likely the result of a Ukrainian air defense missile that unfortunately landed in Poland,” National Security Council spokesman Adrian Watson said in a statement.
“However, whatever the final outcome, it is clear that the party ultimately responsible for this tragic incident is Russia. and launched a barrage of missiles into Ukraine, which has and still has every right to defend itself,” Watson added.
NATO officials and the Polish government have confirmed that the missile was of Ukrainian origin and not a Russian strike. and two people died.
Duda told reporters that Ukrainian forces fired missiles in a defensive manner after Russia launched a barrage of attacks across the country. He said it was “very likely” that one of those Ukrainian missiles hit Polish territory.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg agreed with Poland’s preliminary findings at a meeting of the 30-nation military alliance in Brussels.
Earlier Wednesday, President Joe Biden told reporters it was unlikely that Russia launched a missile that landed in Poland.
“I don’t want to say until we fully investigate, but given the trajectory, it is unlikely that it was launched from Russia. .
However, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky challenged the preliminary findings and demanded proof. He told reporters there was “no doubt” about a report he said he received personally from the commander in chief that “it was neither our missile nor the missile attack”.
Kyiv officials must visit the site and participate in the investigation, he added. A day earlier, Zelensky said the strike was a “very significant escalation” in the months-long conflict.
According to state media, the Russian Defense Ministry on Tuesday denied reports that a missile had struck Polish territory, saying the incident was a false flag designed to escalate the war.
“The attacks on targets near the Ukrainian-Polish border were not carried out by Russian means of destruction,” the statement said, noting that the debris reportedly found at the scene “had nothing to do with Russian weapons.” None,” he added.
A spokesman for the Russian Defense Ministry in Moscow said Tuesday’s Russian strike was not within 35 kilometers (22 miles) of the Ukrainian-Polish border. Condemning the initial response of Poland and others, the Kremlin praised Biden for his “restrained, more professional response” while offering rare praise for a US leader.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said: “We have witnessed elsewhere hysterical and enthusiastic Russophobic reactions that are not based on real data.
According to Kyiv government and US officials, the Polish incident occurred as Russia was shelling Ukraine’s energy infrastructure.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.