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Deadly missile strike on Polish village near Ukraine was a 'tragic accident': president

18.11.2022 00:15
Poland's President Andrzej Duda said on Thursday that a missile strike that killed two people in a village in the southeast of his country two days earlier was "a tragic accident" that was caused by Russia's war in neighbouring Ukraine.
Polands President Andrzej Duda speaks to reporters on Thursday, Nov. 17, in the southeastern Polish village of Przewodów, where a missile strike killed two men, near the border with Ukraine.
Poland's President Andrzej Duda speaks to reporters on Thursday, Nov. 17, in the southeastern Polish village of Przewodów, where a missile strike killed two men, near the border with Ukraine.Photo: PAP/Wojtek Jargiło

Two Polish citizens died when "a Russia-made missile" caused an explosion outside the southeastern Polish village of Przewodów, about 6 kilometres from the Ukrainian border, at around 3:40 p.m. on Tuesday, according to a statement by the Polish foreign ministry.

Tuesday's explosion at a grain facility in Przewodów came as Russia fired dozens of missiles against cities across Ukraine in a new wave of attacks targeting critical energy infrastructure, according to officials.

“Nobody wanted to hurt anyone in Poland,” Duda said on Thursday during a visit to the site of the blast.

'The families ask that their pain and privacy be respected'

He told reporters: “This is a difficult time for this small community, and the families ask that their pain and privacy be respected.”

He also said that an investigation was under way at the site "where the missile landed," with experts "recovering the remains of the missile and collecting evidence at the scene."

Ukraine requests access to explosion site

US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said on Wednesday that the deadly explosion in Poland near its border with Ukraine was the result of a Ukrainian air defense missile that landed in Poland, but added that Russia "bears ultimate responsibility" for the incident.

Ukraine on Wednesday requested "immediate access to the site of the explosion." 

senior Ukrainian defence official, Oleksiy Danilov, said in a tweet: "We advocate for a joint examination of the incident with the missile’s landing in Poland. We are ready to hand over evidence of the Russian trace that we have. We are expecting information from our partners, based on which a conclusion was made that it’s a Ukrainian air defense missile."

Duda told reporters on Thursday: "If Ukrainian guests want to see the investigation, we will be able to show them, just as I have been shown. When it comes to participating in the investigation and access to documents and information, this requires specific treaty provisions, international law provisions, international agreements."

He did not elaborate on whether Poland would grant such access, the Reuters news agency reported.

Duda also told reporters that investigators found no trace of a second missile "on Polish territory" though some initial media reports mentioned two rockets, according to Reuters.

'I'm trying to support President Volodymyr Zelensky'

Duda told the media that he was "trying to support" Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky "in this difficult situation."

“It is an extremely difficult situation, and it is not a surprise to anyone that there are emotions here," Duda said in Przewodów on Thursday.

"He is going through everything that his nation is going through," Duda added, referring to Zelensky. "It is his nation, that chose him for this post and for which he feels responsible."

Duda said on Wednesday that there was "no indication" that the missile, which killed two Polish citizens, was intended to hit Poland amid Russia's war in Ukraine.

Poland’s Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki told parliament in Warsaw on Wednesday that it could not be ruled out that the missile incident was the result of a "provocation" by Russia.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said on Wednesday that the missile was probably a stray fired by Ukraine's air defences and not a Russian strike, but added that Russia "bears ultimate responsibility" for the incident as it "continues its illegal war" against Ukraine.


Source: IAR, PAP, CNN, Reuters