Nov. 16 (UPI) — Polish officials and NATO allies said Wednesday that a missile that landed in Poland Tuesday, killing two people, appeared to come from a Ukrainian air defense system but said Ukraine did not carry blame.
The missile hit the border Polish village of Przewodow and was originally thought to have been fired by Russia, which could have triggered a response from the alliance. But an investigation into the incident appears that Ukraine fired the missile to defend itself against a wide-ranging missile attack by Moscow.
“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,” Poland’s president Andrzej Duda said in a statement. “It is highly probable that it was fired by Ukrainian anti-aircraft defense.”
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in a meeting of the North Atlantic Council in Poland Wednesday said that Ukraine was not at fault.
“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 in a statement. “But let me be clear. This is not Ukraine’s fault.
“Russia bears ultimate responsibility, as it continues its illegal war against Ukraine. In the meeting today, NATO Allies offered their deepest condolences on the tragic loss of life. They expressed their strong solidarity with our valued ally Poland.”
Longtime Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov rejected any blame for the rocket incident.
“No, we don’t see [any guilt],” Peskov said, according to the state-run news agency TASS. “As for the incident in Poland, Russia has nothing to do with it. Let us call things by their proper names. In fact, high-ranking officials in different countries were making statements without having any idea of what exactly happened or what the real cause was.”