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Russia Ultimately at Fault for Ukrainian Missile Incident in Poland, White House Says

The White House is blaming Russia for the missile blast in Poland, even if they find out that Russia isn't responsible. Regardless of the investigation's results, Russia is at fault because they are the ones who fired the missile.

The secretary general of NATO said that a Ukrainian air defense missile most likely caused the explosion on the Polish-Ukrainian border on Tuesday.

Poland’s president said on Wednesday that a Ukrainian air defense missile had most likely caused a deadly explosion in his country a day earlier, calling it an “unfortunate accident” and easing fears that his country and its NATO allies could be drawn into a direct conflict with Russia.

Russia was heavily suspected of firing the missile that killed two Polish citizens, although it denied any involvement, calling it a “provocation.” Meanwhile, NATO members — particularly Poland and its Eastern European neighbors, and former Soviet states in the Baltics — said there would be a tough response if Russia is found to be behind the attack.

As investigations continue, Poland has called an emergency meeting of NATO under the alliance’s “Article 4” provision, which provides for NATO members to call for urgent meetings when they feel threatened. It will take place later Wednesday in Brussels.

National Security Council spokesperson Adrienne Watson said that while the White House has not seen anything that could contradict the assessment that the explosion was a result of an Ukrainian air defense missile, Russia caused Ukraine to have to defend itself.

“We will continue to assess and share any new information transparently as it becomes available. We will also continue to stay in close touch with the Ukrainians regarding any information they have to fill out the picture,” she said.

“That said, whatever the final conclusions may be, it is clear that the party ultimately responsible for this tragic incident is Russia, which launched a barrage of missiles on Ukraine specifically intended to target civilian infrastructure. Ukraine had — and has — every right to defend itself,” she added.

Jens Stoltenberg, the NATO secretary general, said after meeting with the alliance’s envoys that a preliminary analysis also suggested that a Ukrainian missile was responsible for the explosion, but that a fuller investigation was still underway. He stressed that there was no indication of a deliberate attack by Russia or of any Russian plans to attack a NATO ally — meaning that NATO’s commitment to collective defense was not at issue. But even if the missile was Ukrainian, he said the blame belonged to Russia.

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

Russia’s Ministry of Defense on Tuesday denied reports that its missiles hit Polish territory and said the incident was a false flag designed at escalating the war, according to state-run media outlets.

“No strikes on targets near the Ukrainian-Polish state border were made by Russian means of destruction,” the statement said, adding that debris reportedly found at the scene “has nothing to do with Russian weapons.”

A Russian Defense Ministry spokesman in Moscow said no Russian strike Tuesday was closer than 35 kilometers (22 miles) from the Ukraine-Poland border. The Kremlin denounced Poland’s and other countries’ initial response and, in rare praise for a U.S. leader, hailed Biden’s “restrained, much more professional reaction.”

“We have witnessed another hysterical, frenzied, Russo-phobic reaction that was not based on any real data,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.


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