Missile strike was not an attack, Poland says

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There is no evidence a missile that slammed into a Polish border town near Ukraine was an intentional attack on his country, Poland President Andrzej Duda said Wednesday.

The missile, which killed two people in a rural area, appeared to be Russian-made, Duda said. Ukraine’s weaponry includes Russian-made missiles.

“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.”

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, at a meeting of the military alliance in Brussels, said a 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.

“But let me clear: this is not Ukraine’s fault,” he said. “Russia bears ultimate responsibility as it continues its illegal war against Ukraine.”

The Russian Defense Ministry said photos of the wreckage released by Poland indicated the missile was from a Ukrainian S-300 missile defense system. Russia itself carried out massive missile strikes against Ukrainian cities Tuesday, knocking out power to millions of people. 

“All the missiles launched hit their designated targets precisely,” the Defense Ministry’s press service said in a statement.

US, NATO INVESTIGATE BLAST IN POLAND:Biden says missile unlikely to have been fired from Russia

Latest developments:

►French President Emmanuel Macron urged China to play a greater mediation role in efforts to end the war. He said he might meet in Beijing next year with President Xi Jinping.

►German defense company Rheinmetall says it will supply 15 Leopard battle tanks to NATO ally Slovakia, which will be sending Soviet-era equipment of its own to Ukraine.

►Sweden said it would provide Ukraine with military aid worth $290 million and a humanitarian aid package worth $70 million.

Ukraine air defense getting better

Ukrainian air defenses shot down 73 of about 100 Russian missiles – and all drones – in Tuesday’s massive assault on the country, the Ukrainian General Staff said. In a coordinated assault Oct. 10, the Ukrainians shot down 43 cruise missiles out of 84 and 13 drones out of 24, the Institute for the Study of War reported.

“Ukraine‘s increased shoot-down percentage illustrates the improvement in Ukrainian air defenses in the last month,” the Washington-based think-tank said in its latest assessment of the war. “The Ukrainian General Staff attributed this improvement to the effectiveness of Western-provided air defense systems.”

The institute also said it Russian forces are greatly depleting their stock of high-precision weapons systems and will likely have to slow the pace of their campaign against critical Ukrainian infrastructure.

Contributing: The Associated Press

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