Zelensky doubles down on his position and rejects Western assessments that a Ukrainian missile killed 2 in Poland

On Wednesday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky denied estimates by Poland, NATO and Western governments that a Ukrainian air defense missile had accidentally fallen into Polish territory and two people had been killed.

“I have no doubt that it was not our missile,” Zelensky told Ukrainian media, telling Reuters. The Ukrainian leader also said that Ukraine has the right to be part of the team investigating the accident.

The day before, Zelensky had openly blamed Russia for the fatal strike, calling it a “major escalation” in the war. Western officials took a more cautious approach as more information was collected.

On Wednesday, both Poland and NATO said the deadly explosion may have been the result of a straying Ukrainian air defense missile. Polish President Andrzej Duda said: “From the information we and our allies have, the S-300 was made in the Soviet Union, an old missile, and there is no evidence that it was launched from the Russian side.” “It is very likely that the Ukrainian defensemen shot him.”

Duda said there was no indication it was a deliberate attack, referring to the incident as an “unfortunate accident”.

Similarly, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said the alliance had no indication that the deaths were the result of a “deliberate attack”.

“We have no indication that Russia is preparing to conduct offensive military operations against NATO,” Stoltenberg said, adding that “our initial analysis indicates that the incident was most likely caused by a Ukrainian air defense missile fired to defend Ukrainian territory against attacks by Russian cruise missiles.”

But the head of NATO did not let Russia off the hook.

“Let me be clear: this is not Ukraine’s fault,” Stoltenberg said. “Russia bears ultimate responsibility as it continues its illegal war against Ukraine.”

The White House reiterated those assessments on Wednesday.

National Security Council spokeswoman Adrienne Watson said in a statement: “We saw nothing that contradicted President Duda’s initial assessment that this explosion was most likely the result of a Ukrainian air defense missile that unfortunately fell in Poland.”

After news of the deadly explosion first emerged, there were serious concerns about the possibility of a direct confrontation between Russia and NATO, but these fears were eased after Poland and other countries assessed that the incident was not a case of Russia deliberately attacking NATO. country.

However, there are signs that the Ukrainian government’s approach to the incident may undermine its credibility at a crucial moment in the war, as Ukrainian forces make progress in their counter-offensive with the help of Western countries.


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