Monday, December 5, 2022

Russia’s “Special Operation” in Ukraine; Day 267: Biden casts doubt on Zelensky’s claim over fatal incident in Poland

Russia, wary of NATO’s eastward expansion, began a military campaign in Ukraine on February 24 after the Western-leaning Kiev government turned a deaf ear to Moscow’s calls for its neighbor to maintain its neutrality. In the middle of the mayhem, Moscow and Kiev are trying to hammer out a peaceful solution to the conflict. Follow the latest about the Russia-Ukraine conflict here:

EU to supply heat generators to Ukraine

The EU will provide temporary cold-weather shelter, generators and electricity grid-repair kits to Ukraine to help ahead of winter, the bloc’s crisis management commissioner Janez Lenarcic said.

“Winter is almost here and this is now our cardinal priority when we talk about humanitarian aid,” he told reporters, adding that the “systematic destruction by Russia of critical infrastructure in Ukraine” has made support over the winter even more crucial.

While winters in Ukraine are usually very cold, with temperatures at below zero Celsius, Russia continues to target crucial infrastructures such as power, water and heating.

“You can imagine how hard this winter could be for Ukrainians when they are facing energy shortages, electricity blackouts, lack of water, lack of heating, oil,” Lenarcic stated.

“All of these due to the Russian destruction of critical civilian infrastructure,” Lenarcic continued.


US: Russia felt world would not accept opting out of grain deal

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken stated that, apparently, Russia felt the world would not accept if it refused to renew the Black Sea grain deal.

Russia’s foreign ministry confirmed the extension of the Black Sea grain deal for 120 days starting from November 18, without any changes to the current one.

The Kremlin agreed to the extension after being granted assurances from the UN over removing barriers to Russia’s exports of agricultural products and fertilisers.


US: Full confidence in Poland’s investigation into blast

US Secretary of State, Antony Bliken, says he has complete confidence in Poland’s investigation into Tuesday’s explosion.

Initial findings of the explosion that hit a village on the border of Ukraine were found to have “likely” been caused by Ukraine’s air defence system.

Blinken, who addressed reporters at an Asia-Pacific summit in Bangkok, stated “Whatever its final conclusion, we already know the party ultimately responsible for this tragic incident — Russia.”

But, Ukraine has argued that the missile came from Russia.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky noted, “I don’t know what happened. We don’t know for sure. The world does not know. But I am sure that it was a Russian missile, I am sure that we fired from air defence systems”.


Russia ‘bears full responsibility’ for Poland explosion: Ukraine

Ukraine announced Thursday that Russia was ultimately responsible for a deadly missile blast in Poland this week, after Washington announced it was likely fired by Ukrainian air defence.

“We share the view that Russia bears full responsibility for its missile terror and its consequences on the territory of Ukraine, Poland and Moldova,” Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said on Twitter, announcing he had spoken by telephone with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

A missile struck the Polish village of Przewodow near the Ukrainian border on Tuesday, killing two people, raising fears of an escalation of the conflict.

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky said Wednesday that the missile was Russian but Kyiv’s allies said the explosion was likely caused by a Ukrainian air defence missile launched to intercept Russian attacks.

Warsaw, Washington and NATO stressed that Moscow was ultimately to blame for attacking Ukraine. The Kremlin said it had “nothing to do with the incident”.


Moscow calls on Washington to push Kyiv to negotiations

The Kremlin accuses Kyiv of shifting the goalposts regarding possible peace talks and says it could not imagine engaging in public negotiations, calling on Washington to push Kyiv towards diplomacy.

In a briefing call with reporters, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the United States could consider Russia’s concerns and encourage Kyiv to return to the negotiating table if it wanted to.

Peskov added that Ukraine had changed its position on whether it even wanted to negotiate with Moscow several times during the nine-month conflict and could not be relied on.


Four killed in Zaporizhzhia

At least four people have been killed in Vilniansk in the Zaporizhzhia region after an overnight strike that hit a residential building.

Rescuers are currently searching through debris for other victims, Kyrylo Tymoshenko, deputy head of Ukraine’s presidential office, said.


All evidence indicates missile strike was launched by Ukrainian air defenses: Polish official

All of the evidence collected by NATO, the United States and Poland indicates that a missile which killed two people in Poland was fired by Ukrainian forces, according to a Polish official.

The evidence “indicates that we are dealing with an S-300 missile launched by Ukrainian air defenses,” said Jacek Severa, the head of Poland’s National Security Bureau, in an interview with Polish RMF FM radio on Thursday.

Two farmers died Tuesday when a missile landed outside the rural eastern Polish village of Przewodow, about 4 miles (6.4 kilometers) west of the Ukrainian border.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has insisted the missile was not Ukrainian, and said that Ukrainian experts must be allowed access to the site of the explosion and review all data available to its allies.

When asked why Zelensky denies it was a Ukrainian missile, Severa replied: “President Zelensky represents a country that is at war. The war that had the hardest time in terms of attacks and the use of air assault.”

“It is normal that under such conditions certain hypotheses that seem obvious from the point of view of the defense of the state also seem obvious to the head of that state,” he added.


Neither US, nor Russia will use nuclear weapons: Turkey

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan noted he was told neither party would use nuclear weapons following the US-Russia talks held earlier this week in Ankara,  according to a readout of his comments to reporters.

In remarks Erdogan made on the way back from the G20 Summit, Erdogan stated the two countries should frequently meet so that a new world war could be prevented.

Threats by Russian President Vladimir Putin to use nuclear weapons in the Ukraine war have increased worries about escalation.


Ukraine controls 1 percent of Luhansk: Russia

Ukrainian forces control around 1 percent of territory in the eastern region of Luhansk, the RIA Novosti news agency cited the Russian-installed head of the area.

The Moscow-backed administrator Leonid Pasechnik said Ukraine controlled the village of Belogorovka and two other settlements in the region.

Russia annexed the Luhansk region and declared them as part of Russia after holding illegal ‘referendums’ in occupied areas of Ukraine.

Western governments and Kyiv announced the votes breached international law and were coercive and non-representative.


Russian landmines pose threat in Ukraine: Monitor

Russia’s use of landmines in Ukraine, including newly produced models, threatens to overturn progress made on the issue over the past 25 years, the Landmine Monitor announced.

The monitor confirmed evidence that Russian forces had planted “victim-activated booby-traps and improvised explosive devices in Ukraine since February 2022 at numerous locations prior to retreating and abandoning their positions”.

Its annual report identified 277 civilian casualties of mines and explosive remnants of war (ERW) in Ukraine in the first nine months of 2022, a nearly fivefold increase from the 58 recorded in 2021.

The monitor additionally found that “At least seven types of antipersonnel mines have been used by Russian forces in Ukraine since Russia invaded the country on February 24”.


‘Americans need dialogue as much as us’: Russia on spy chiefs’ meeting

US Central Intelligence Agency Director William Burns and Sergei Naryshkin, recently met head of Russia’s SVR foreign intelligence service, on the consequences of any use of nuclear weapons.

The meeting in Turkey was the first known high-level, face-to-face US-Russian contact since Russia invaded Ukraine in February.

“The contact (between Burns and Naryshkin) was initiated by the American side,” Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Russia Sergei Ryabkov told RTVI.

“The questions discussed there were of a sensitive nature,” he continued.

He added: “Dialogue is going on but it is not of a systemic character … But we are not standing there with our hat in our hand: the Americans need dialogue with us just as much as we need it with them.”

Ryabkov stated more contact with the United States would take place later this month when a bilateral consultative commission on the New START arms treaty meets on November 29 to December 6 in Cairo.


Black Sea grain deal to be extended by 120 days: Zelensky

President Volodymyr Zelensky has announced that the Black Sea grain deal will be extended by 120 days with the efforts of Turkey and the UN.

“Grain Deal will be prolonged for 120 days. Ukraine together with (UN Secretary-General) Antonio Guterres and (Turkish President) Recep Tayyip Erdogan made key decision in the global fight against the food crisis. Waiting for official announcement from partners – Türkiye and UN,” Zelensky wrote on Twitter.


Zelensky no longer ‘100% sure’ Russia behind Poland missile strike

President Volodymyr Zelensky has changed his tune after Poland and the US both said Kiev fired the missile (or missiles).

“I don’t know what happened this time, we don’t know 100%..” he said on Thursday.

“We can’t say what type of rocket it was based on the fragments which fell on Poland,” Zelensky added.


Ukraine will probably get access to blast site: Polish official

Ukraine is likely to get access to the site in southeastern Poland where a missile killed two people, the Polish president’s top foreign policy advisor has said, after Kyiv demanded access to the scene of the blast.

Polish President Andrzej Duda said on Wednesday that access to the site of the explosion would require the agreement of both countries leading the investigation, Poland and the United States.

“A Polish-American investigating team is on site,” Jakub Kumoch told private broadcaster TVN 24.

“The Ukrainians asked for access to the site of the investigation. If both parties agree, and as far as I know there will be no objection from the American side, such access could be obtained soon,” he added.


Russian missile strikes target Ukrainian gas production facilities: Ukraine’s PM

Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal has said new Russian missile strikes targeted gas production facilities and a missile plant, Interfax Uktraine news agency has reported.

“Missiles are flying over Kyiv right now. Now they are bombing our gas production (facilities), they are bombing our enterprises in Dnipro and Yuzhmash (missile factory),” it quoted him as telling a conference.


Russian shelling hits infrastructure in Dnipro and Odesa: Ukrainian officials

The central city of Dnipro and the southern region of Odesa were hit by Russian shelling on Thursday, Ukrainian officials stated.

“Russian terrorists have just shelled Dnipro city,” Kyrylo Tymoshenko, Deputy Head of the Office of the Ukrainian President said on Telegram.

“There are several hits to two infrastructure objects,” he added.

The head of Odesa’s regional administration, Maksym Marchenko, noted on his Telegram account there had been, “a missile attack on a regional infrastructure facility.”

Russia’s renewed targeting of civilian infrastructure comes after Moscow’s forces fired around 100 missiles on at least a dozen cities and districts Tuesday, according to Ukrainian officials and a CNN analysis of the strikes. The attacks appeared to be the largest since Oct. 10, when Russia stepped up its campaign to destroy electricity, water and gas infrastructure across Ukraine.


UN secretary general says Black Sea grain deal extended

The United Nations secretary general says he welcomes an agreement by all parties to extend the Black Sea grain deal to facilitate Ukraine’s agricultural exports from its southern Black Sea ports.

“I welcome the agreement by all parties to continue the Black Sea grain initiative to facilitate the safe navigation of export of grain, foodstuffs and fertilisers from Ukraine,” UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said in a statement.

Guterres added the UN was also “fully committed to removing the remaining obstacles to exporting food and fertilisers from the Russian Federation” – a part of the deal Moscow sees as critical.


“That’s not evidence”: Biden casts doubt on Zelensky’s Poland missile claim

US President Joe Biden on Thursday responded to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s claim that a Ukrainian missile was not responsible for a deadly explosion in Poland on Tuesday.

““That’s not the evidence,” Biden told reporters at the White House after returning from the G20 summit in Bali, Indonesia.

Two farmers died Tuesday when a missile landed outside the rural eastern Polish village of Przewodow, about 4 miles (6.4 kilometers) west from the Ukrainian border.

Polish officials have indicated that it is likely a Ukrainian missile, deployed by its air defenses amid waves of Russian missile attacks Tuesday, fell inside Polish territory.

Speaking to reporters Wednesday, Zelensky said he did not believe the missile was Ukrainian.

“I have no doubt that it was not our missile,” he noted.

Later, in his daily video address, Zelensky stated “clarification of all the circumstances of how Russian aggression crossed the Polish border” was now an issue before the UN Security Council. He said he had spoken with Polish President Andrzej Duda and expressed his condolences but insisted it was “Russian aggression” that had claimed the lives of two Polish citizens.

“The Ukrainian position is very transparent: we want to establish all the details, every fact. That is why we need our experts to join the work of the international investigation and to get access to all the data available to our partners and to the site of the explosion,” Zelensky added.


Poland acted with “full restraint” in deadly missile incident: UN ambassador

Poland’s Ambassador to the United Nations says the country acted with “full restraint” after a suspected Russian-made missile fell inside its border on Tuesday, killing two residents and sparking fears of an escalation in Russia’s war against Ukraine.

Speaking at the UN Security Council on Wednesday, Krzysztof Szczerski said Poland immediately launched an “extensive multiphase investigation” into the missile, which Poland and NATO said was likely fired by Ukrainian forces defending their country against a barrage of Russian strikes.

“Poland is also conducting intensive consultations on the incident with its NATO allies and key partners,” he added.

Two farmers died when the missile caused an explosion outside the rural eastern Polish village of Przewodow, about 4 miles (6.4 kilometers) west from the Ukrainian border.

Szczerski stated initial findings support the theory the event was not a deliberate attack.

“But naturally, we need to wait for the final conclusion until the investigation is over,” he continued.

He also warned the incident “teaches us how close we actually live to the potential escalation in the spillover of Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine of far-reaching consequences that we all can perceive.”

Tuesday’s incident marks the first time a NATO country has been directly hit during the nearly nine-month conflict and prompted an emergency meeting of ambassadors from the US-led military alliance in Brussels on Wednesday.

NATO head Jens Stoltenberg stressed Russia bears “ultimate responsibility” for the incident, “as it continues its illegal war against Ukraine.”


Zelensky: Ukraine wants all data connected to missile that landed in Poland

President Volodymyr Zelensky says Ukraine wants to establish all the facts surrounding the missile that landed in Poland on Tuesday, killing two people.

Polish officials have indicated that it is likely a Ukrainian missile, deployed by its air defenses amid waves of Russian missile attacks Tuesday, landed inside its border.

Zelensky stated in his daily video address that “clarification of all the circumstances of how Russian aggression crossed the Polish border” was now an issue before the UN Security Council.

“The Ukrainian position is very transparent: we want to establish all the details, every fact. That is why we need our experts to join the work of the international investigation and to get access to all the data available to our partners and to the site of the explosion,” he continued.

Zelensky added he had spoken with Polish President Andrzej Duda and expressed his condolences but insisted that it was “Russian aggression” that had claimed the lives of two Polish citizens.

Zelensky stated Wednesday had been “a long and hard day,” following the onslaught of Russian missile strikes on infrastructure targets on Tuesday.

“Emergency and stabilization blackouts continue in 18 regions and in Kyiv. These are millions of consumers. We are doing everything to restore electricity – both generation and supply,” he added.

As for the recently liberated city of Kherson, Zelensky noted his administration was doing its best to restore key services.

“Pharmacies are finally reopening in Kherson, the post office and banks are working, people have access to the Internet. There are already 30 points of distribution of humanitarian aid,” the president added.


Top US general: Ukraine “kicking Russians physically out” of country not likely to happen soon

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley said that the Ukrainians’ aim of “militarily kicking the Russians physically out of Ukraine is a very difficult task” and one that is not likely to be accomplished “anytime soon.”

Speaking at a press conference Wednesday, Milley stated Russia occupies about 20% of Ukraine, and he noted that Kherson and Kharkiv, which the Ukrainians have reclaimed “are relatively small compared to the whole.”

“In terms of probability, the probability of a Ukrainian military victory, defined as kicking the Russians out of all of Ukraine to include what they defined, or what they claim as Crimea, the probability of that happening anytime soon, is not high, militarily,” Milley added.

Milley caveated by saying that “politically, there may be a political solution where politically the Russians withdraw.”

“The Russian military is really hurting bad. So you want to negotiate at a time when you’re at your strength, and your opponent is at weakness. And it’s possible, maybe, that there’ll be a political solution. All I’m saying is there’s a possibility for it,” he said, adding, “That’s all I’m saying.”

Milley said Russia has failed “every single” objective in its war against Ukraine.

“Russians have failed every single time. They’ve lost strategically, they’ve lost operationally and, I repeat, they lost tactically. What they’ve tried to do, they failed at,” Milley stated at the press conference with Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin after a meeting of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group.

“The strategic reframing of their objectives, of their illegal invasion, have all failed, every single one of them,” he added.

Milley listed Russia’s failure to “overrun all of Ukraine” at the start of the war as well as after their refocus on the Donbas region and the capture of Zaporizhzhia and Kherson.

“Across the entire frontline trace of some 900 or so kilometers, the Ukrainians have achieved success after success after success, and the Russians have failed every single time,” Milley continued.


US defense head: No contradiction of assessment that Ukrainian defense missile caused Polish explosion

The US has seen no information so far that contradicts Polish President Andrzej Duda’s “preliminary assessment” that the explosion in Poland yesterday that left two dead “was most likely the result of a Ukrainian defense missile,” Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said at a press conference at the Pentagon on Wednesday.

“Whatever the final conclusions may be, the world knows that Russia bears ultimately responsibility for this incident,” Austin added.

The US has “full confidence” in the Polish government’s investigation into it, Austin stated.

“They’ve been conducting that investigation in a professional and deliberate manner, and so we won’t get ahead of their work. We’re going to stay in close touch with our Polish counterparts as well as with our NATO allies and other valued partners,” Austin continued.

The explosion in Poland and Russia’s continued attacks against civilian infrastructure are “another reminder of the recklessness of Russia’s war of choice,” Austin noted.


Ukrainian ambassador to UN says Kyiv is ready to cooperate with Poland on missile investigation

Ukraine’s Ambassador to the UN Sergiy Kyslytsya told the UN Security Council on Wednesday that the country is “ready to cooperate with the Polish side” on the investigation into the missile that killed two people in Poland on Tuesday.

“Ukraine expresses its solidarity with brotherly Polish people following yesterday’s tragedy in the village of Przewodow, where two people were killed by missiles,” Kyslytsya said.

“We support a full and transparent investigation to establish all the facts of this tragic incident and we are ready to cooperate with the Polish side to contribute to this investigation,” he added.

Earlier on Wednesday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky stated his country wants to establish all the facts surrounding the missile that landed in Poland and noted in his daily video address that “clarification of all the circumstances of how Russian aggression crossed the Polish border” was now an issue before the UN Security Council.

The ambassador also told the Security Council that Russia’s attacks were creating a humanitarian disaster that could spill beyond Ukraine.

“We are grateful for the support of our friends, in particular Poland, in countering these attacks and bringing peace and security back to our region,” he noted.

The leaders of Poland and NATO announced the missile that killed two people in Polish territory on Tuesday was likely fired by Ukrainian forces defending their country against a barrage of Russian strikes and that the incident appeared to be an accident.

The blast occurred outside the rural eastern Polish town of Przewodow, about four miles (about 6.4 kilometers) west of the Ukrainian border on Tuesday afternoon, roughly the same time as Russia launched its biggest wave of missile attacks on Ukrainian cities in more than a month.


Polish ambassador to NATO says missile incident was ultimately the responsibility of Russia

The Polish ambassador to NATO said that the “ultimate responsibility lies with Russia,” following the deadly missile that landed on Polish territory on Tuesday that left two people dead.

Speaking to CNN, ambassador Tomasz Szatkowski stated that the incident would not have happened if Russia did not attack Ukraine and engaged in war crimes by attacking civilian infrastructure.

“The ultimate responsibility lies with Russia,” Szatkowski added.

When asked about how Polish people are feeling following the incident, Szatkowski said that “a certain level of apprehension is understandable,” adding that authorities are doing a lot in order to reassure the population.

Later Wednesday, Russia’s Ambassador to the UN Vasily Nebenzya rejected those claims.

“We have long ago stop being surprised by your attempts, in any circumstances in spite of fact or common sense, to blame Russia for everything,” Nebenzya noted during the UN Security Council meeting in New York.

“Today, in spite of clear evidence of Ukrainian-Polish provocation, many representatives of western countries have stated to the effect that even if the missiles were launched by Ukraine, it’s still Russia that is to blame for destroying critical infrastructure,” Nebenzya added.

The leaders of Poland and NATO said the missile was likely fired by Ukrainian forces defending their country against a barrage of Russian strikes, and that the incident appeared to be an accident.

Poland’s investigation into the incident continues.

This is the first time a NATO country has been directly hit during the conflict. NATO head Jens Stoltenberg also stressed Russia bears “ultimate responsibility” for the incident, “as it continues its illegal war against Ukraine.”


Poland reiterates investigation into missile incident will be joint operation with US

Poland has said that investigations at the site where a missile landed will continue to be a joint operation with the United States.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has demanded that Ukrainian experts be allowed access.

American investigators are now working at the site, Polish President Andrzej Duda stated Wednesday.

“Since President Biden declared support in a conversation with me yesterday, I accepted this support, so this investigation can be said to be conducted jointly by us and the American side or by the North Atlantic Alliance and us,” he added.

US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin also confirmed that US experts are on the ground in Poland assisting with the Polish investigation.

Zelensky said Wednesday in a meeting with Ukrainian media that a group of Ukrainian experts must be allowed access to the site.

He also added he wanted to see “the number on the missile, because all missiles have numbers on them.”

He noted that Ukrainian representatives should be invited to a virtual NATO meeting regarding the incident.


Polish President meets with US CIA director in Warsaw

Polish President Andrzej Duda met with CIA Director Bill Burns in Warsaw Wednesday after an incident in eastern Poland that left two people dead, according to Poland’s National Security Bureau chief, Jacek Siewiera.

“In the evening, the President Andrzej Duda spoke with the head of the CIA, William Burns, who is in Warsaw after his visits to Ankara and Kiev,” Siewera wrote in a post on Twitter sharing a picture of the meeting.

He added that the general security situation as well as the context of the recent events were discussed.

“Lots of work on the PL-US line today,” he continued.

A US official told CNN that Burns had previously scheduled meetings with Polish officials including Duda. They discussed the current situation and the director reaffirmed the US commitment to providing support to Ukraine and thanked Poland for its continued partnerships including in intelligence channels, according to the official.

Poland has announced that it will continue to jointly investigate with the US the site where a missile landed on Tuesday.


Ukrainian security Service says Russian “torture chamber” in Kherson discovered

The Ukrainian Security Service (the SBU) says it has discovered another “torture chamber” allegedly used by Russian forces during the occupation of Kherson.

The Russians had “kept local patriots who refused to cooperate with the enemy in inhuman conditions,” the SBU announced.

“Kherson residents were interrogated and brutally tortured. During the inspection of the torture chamber, law enforcement officers found items that directly indicate signs of torture,” it added.


Polish PM says explosion Tuesday probably caused by shooting down of a Russian missile

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said that the explosion in Poland yesterday near the border with Ukraine was likely caused by a Russian missile being shot down “without any intention on either side.”

“Materials collected by our services and provided by our allies most probably indicate that the explosion in Przewodów, in eastern Poland, was caused by the shooting down and destruction of a Russian missile,” he stated.

Morawiecki tweeted that “there are many indications that one of these missiles fell on Polish territory without any intention on either side.”


MI5 chief says Russian spying in Europe has been dealt “significant strategic blow” since war in Ukraine

Russia’s ability to spy in Europe has been dealt the “most significant strategic blow” in recent history after coordinated expulsions of diplomats since the invasion of Ukraine, with 100 diplomatic visa requests refused in the UK alone in recent years, according to the head of the UK’s security services, MI5.

Ken McCallum, the director general of MI5, said in an annual speech outlining threats to the United Kingdom that this year 600 Russians officials had been expelled from Europe, 400 of whom his agency judged to be spies.

“We’ve continued to work intensively to make the UK the hardest possible operating environment for Russian covert action,” McCallum stated, adding, “In the UK’s case, since our removal for 23 Russian spies posing as diplomats, we have refused on national security grounds over 100 diplomatic visa applications … the serious point is that the UK must be ready for Russian aggression for years to come.”

In comments after the speech, McCallum called the expulsions “a very, very large dent in the Russians call about positioning across Europe,” adding data about agents was shared between European allies so that “it’s not easy for the Russians to cross post” one spy “expelled from country A to Country D.”

He said, “I hope what will continue to be true is that a very large volume of trained, experienced Russian intelligence talent, if I can use that term, will be of far less utility and most other parts of the world for many years to come.”


After Russia’s missile barrage, NATO’s top priority is more air defense systems for Ukraine

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg confirmed one of the alliance’s top priorities is to provide more air defense systems to Kyiv, after Russia launched its biggest wave of missile attacks on Ukrainian cities in more than a month on Tuesday.

“Our main priority now or one of the top priorities now is to provide more air defense systems for Ukraine,” Stoltenberg said.

Stoltenberg added he has spoken with Polish President Andrzej Duda and US President Joe Biden, after a missile landed in eastern Poland on Tuesday and killed two people near the border with Ukraine.

The NATO chief said in the same news conference that preliminary analysis suggests the Poland missile incident was “likely” caused by a Ukrainian air defense missile, adding that “this is not Ukraine’s fault. Russia bears ultimate responsibility, as it continues its illegal war against Ukraine.”

The explosion marked the first time a NATO country has been directly hit during Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, with global leaders working to allay fears of a potential escalation in the conflict as a result of the strike.

“We agreed that we need to stay vigilant, calm and closely coordinated. We will continue to consult and monitor the situation very closely,” Stoltenberg said, adding, “NATO stands united, and we will always do what is necessary to protect and defend all allies.”


Zelensky insists missile that hit Poland was not Ukrainian

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky insisted on Wednesday that a missile believed to be fired over the Poland-Ukraine border that killed two people was not Ukrainian.

“I have no doubt that it was not our missile or our missile strike,” Zelensky told Ukrainian news outlets, adding, “I want us to be fair, and if it was the use of our air defense, then I want that evidence.”

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