Poland says ‘no indication’ missile strike was ‘intentional attack’

Poland has said there is “no indication” that a missile which struck the country, killing two people, was “an intentional attack” and there is no evidence it was launched by Russia.

Moscow denied responsibility for the strike in the village of Przewodów near the Ukrainian border on Tuesday afternoon, which came during Russia’s biggest missile attack on Ukraine in weeks. Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy and some western nations initially blamed Russia for launching the missile, which Warsaw initially said was a strike by a “Russian-made missile”.

Photographs posted on social media showed a damaged farm vehicle lying on its side next to a large crater. Local media reported the casualties were farm workers.

Andrzej Duda, Polish president, told a press conference on Wednesday: “There is no indication that this was an intentional attack on Poland,” adding that there was “a high probability” the weapon was fired by the Ukrainian defence forces at a Russian missile.

Duda said investigators believed that “most likely” it had been a Russian-made missile produced in the 1970s, the S300. “We have no evidence that it was launched by Russia,” he added.

Based on the latest findings, prime minister Mateusz Morawiecki said that “most of the evidence we have collected indicates that perhaps the activation of article 4 [of the Nato treaty] will not be needed”.

In the immediate aftermath of the attack Polish officials indicated they would invoke article 4 of the Nato treaty, which concerns discussions on a potential threat to an alliance member.

Nato ambassadors met in Brussels on Wednesday to discuss the attack.

The Polish announcement confirms a statement made by US president Joe Biden after a hastily-convened member of G7 leaders on the sidelines of the G20 summit. Biden told reporters there was “preliminary information that contests” the missile was fired from Russia.

Dmitry Peskov, Russian president Vladimir Putin’s spokesman, told reporters on Wednesday that the initial claims of Russian responsibility from Kyiv and some western allies were “yet another hysterical, rabidly Russophobic reaction that was not based on any real information”. 

Russia insisted it did not fire on any targets close to the Polish border and said that any damage to civilians was Kyiv’s fault.

Map showing Przewodów in Poland after suspected Russian missile kills 2 people

The defence ministry said it had not even fired on Kyiv during the day’s barrage, and said the incident in Poland was a “deliberate provocation with the goal of escalating the situation”.

Peskov praised Biden’s reaction, however, which he said was “restrained and more professional” than “the absolutely hysterical reaction of Poland and a number of other countries”.

Polish media reported that a second missile explosion had been heard on Tuesday afternoon on the Polish side of the border, but neither Poland’s president nor its prime minister mentioned a second hit on Wednesday during their news conference.

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