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Poland President Says Missile Blast Appears To Be Accident, Not Russian Attack

Polish President Andrzej Duda on Wednesday said the missile blast that killed two people on Tuesday appears to have been an accident and not a deliberate attack.

“Ukraine’s defense was launching their missiles in various directions and it is highly probable that one of these missiles unfortunately fell on Polish territory,” Duda said. “There is nothing, absolutely nothing to suggest that it was an intentional attack on Poland.”

Western allies of Ukraine were scrambling after reports indicated a Russian-made missile landed in Polish territory near the border with Ukraine. But multiple Western leaders now say the incident was likely an accident. 

The Associated Press reported Wednesday that three U.S. officials said Ukrainian forces appear to have fired the missile at a Russian missile.

President Biden also indicated the missile did not seem to be from a Russian attack in comments to reporters from the Group of 20 summit in Indonesia on Wednesday. 

Biden said it was “unlikely” that Russia fired the missile, citing preliminary information, but said there would be an investigation. 

A senior U.S. intelligence official previously told the AP that Russian missiles had crossed into Ukraine. 

Ambassadors from the 30 members of NATO held an emergency meeting on Wednesday after the reports of the missile surfaced to discuss the situation. 

Reuters reported that NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg blamed Russia for starting the war and allowing this type of situation to occur. 

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

NATO chief spokeswoman Oana Lungescu said the missile was a “tragic incident.” 

The situation was particularly fraught, given the potential for the incident to have started a larger conflict if the missile came from Russia. Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty, which established NATO, states that an attack on one member nation is considered an attack on all members, and they should take actions they deem “necessary” to defend the alliance. 

Article 5 has only been invoked one time since the treaty’s ratification, in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. 

The article could be invoked only after a country that considered itself to be under attack met with its NATO allies to discuss the situation. 

Russia has hammered various parts of Ukraine with missiles in recent weeks, and the bombardment renewed Tuesday after Russia withdrew from the city of Kherson, the only regional capital it had taken since the start of its full-scale invasion in February. 

The missile that landed in Poland struck a grain silo in a village about 15 miles away from the border with Ukraine. The Russian Defense Ministry denied firing any missiles near the border.

NATO has largely avoided a direct confrontation with Russia as the war in Ukraine has continued. The organization itself has not gotten involved, but some member states, including the United States, have sent weapons and other supplies to help the Ukrainians.

–The Associated Press contributed to this report

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