Przewodow, Poland: Russia on Wednesday accused Ukraine of a deadly blast in Poland, with Belgium saying it was probably caused by Kyiv’s air defences firing at Moscow’s incoming missiles.
The explosion in a farm building on Tuesday killed two people, leaving the village of Przewodow in shock and sparking international concern over a possible further escalation of the conflict.
Ambassadors from members of the NATO military alliance went into emergency talks in Brussels after Poland put its military on high alert in the wake of the blast and summoned Russia’s ambassador.
“Based on the preliminary information available, the strikes are most likely a result of Ukrainian anti-aircraft systems that were engaged to take Russian missiles out of the sky,” Belgian Defence Minister Ludivine Dedonder said in a statement.
US President Joe Biden had said it was “unlikely” the missile came from Russia, and the Kremlin said it had “nothing to do with” it.
“Photographs of the wreckage… were unequivocally identified by Russian military experts as fragments of a guided anti-aircraft missile of a Ukrainian S-300 air defence system,” the Russian defence ministry said in a statement.
It added that “strikes were carried out on targets only on the territory of Ukraine and at a distance of no closer than 35 kilometres from the Ukrainian-Polish border.”
But Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba earlier rejected the idea that it may have been a Ukrainian missile.
The impact occurred in the village of Przewodow at 1440 GMT on Tuesday, killing two farm workers.
Police cordoned off the blast site and sirens could be heard wailing in the distance.
“I’m scared. I didn’t sleep all night,” said Anna Magus, a 60-year-old teacher at the local elementary school.
“I hope it was a stray missile because otherwise we’re helpless,” she said.
Meanwhile, the Belgian defense minister stated that ‘Poland blast was likely caused by Ukraine air defence’
The explosion that killed two Polish civilians in a village near the Ukraine border was probably caused by Ukrainian air defence units firing at incoming Russian missiles, the Belgian defence minister said.
“The missile strikes in Poland last night are being fully investigated by our intelligence service, which is in close contact with NATO partner services,” Ludivine Dedonder said in a statement.
“Based on the preliminary information available, the strikes are most likely a result of Ukrainian anti-aircraft systems that were engaged to take Russian missiles out of the sky.”
According to Dedonder, “pieces of Russian missiles and Ukrainian anti-aircraft fire hit Polish territory… I wish to express my condolences to the families of the victims and the Polish people”.
Russia launched a wave of missile strikes against Ukraine on Tuesday, but insists it was not to blame for the blast on Polish territory that triggered fears the conflict could spread.
NATO powers meeting in Brussels on Wednesday have pledged full solidarity with their fellow member state Poland, while condemning Moscow’s latest attacks on Western-backed Ukraine.
However Western leaders, including US President Joe Biden, have been cautious about describing the explosion in Poland.
“It’s unlikely… that it was fired from Russia. But we’ll see,” Biden said.