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.”
Zelensky also said he believes Ukraine should be part of the investigation into the missile blast.
A missile strike killed two people in a Polish village near the country’s border with Ukraine on Tuesday. Initial reports suggested that the missile was Russian, raising concerns of a potential escalation of war with other countries amid the conflict in Ukraine.
However, Polish President Andrzej Duda said on Wednesday that the strike appeared to be accidental and said it was “highly probable” that it was the result of a Ukrainian air defense missile.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg echoed Duda’s conclusions but also blamed Russia for the circumstances that led to the accidental strike, as Ukraine sought to protect itself from a barrage of Russian missiles on Tuesday.
“This is not Ukraine’s fault; Russia bears ultimate responsibility,” Stoltenberg said. “The whole incident is caused by Russia’s brutal war in Ukraine.”
The White House echoed a similar sentiment to Stoltenberg Wednesday, blaming Russia for the missile blast in Poland regardless of what an investigation into the situation finds.
“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,” Watson added.