Top European leaders said Wednesday that the missile that killed two people in Poland on Tuesday appeared to be an unfortunate accident and not a deliberate attack by Russia on a NATO member.
“Our preliminary analysis suggests that the incident was likely caused by a Ukrainian air defense missile fired to defend Ukrainian territory against Russian cruise missile attacks,” NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said in a report by Deutsche Welle media. “But let me be clear, this is not Ukraine’s fault. Russia bears ultimate responsibility as it continues its illegal war against Ukraine.”
Also Wednesday, Polish President Andrzej Duda said the strike appeared to be an “unfortunate accident” and not an “intentional attack.”
The missile landed Tuesday in the Polish town of Przewodow, prompting an emergency NATO meeting and a scramble to craft a response.
When attacked, members of NATO can invoke Article 4 of the treaty, which says an attack on one member should be considered an attack on all and may require a joint response.
Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov fumed over “baseless claims” about the incident and pointed to President Biden’s caution in concluding the missile was deliberately fired by Russia.
“In this instance, attention should be paid to the measured and more professional response from the American side,” Mr. Peskov said.