A missile investigationthis week, highlighting the risks of a Russian war on the eastern edge of NATO territory, continued on Thursday. NATO, the United States and Poland all said the blast was most likely caused by a Ukrainian air defense missile fired to intercept one of dozens of weapons launched by Russia. tuesday.
Ukraine initially dismissed this explanation, accusing Russia of being responsible for the explosion near a grain processing plant. It was a rare discrepancy in the narratives between Kyiv and its valued allies, but Kyiv appeared to take a more nuanced stance on Thursday, demanding access to the site to draw its own conclusions, but no longer outrightly rejecting the possibility that any of the his missiles strike his neighbor and close ally.
What has never been disputed between Ukraine and its partners is that theon Polish soil, regardless of which side fired the missile in question, belonged to Russia.
Police had still cordoned off the area around the site of the explosion in the small Polish village of Przewodow on Thursday. The missile hit people working at a grain facility, killing two men, a few hundred yards from a school. The school was still closed on Thursday.
Polish soldiers were on the streets, helping to keep residents – who were still in shock – and others away from the site. CBS News has learned that American investigators have joined Polish teams working on the ground to carefully inspect the crater and any evidence of the explosion.
Polish officials on Wednesday reiterated remarks first made by the country’s President, Andrzej Duda, saying they had seen no evidence the missile had been launched by Russia, just as Mr. Biden and the NATO Secretary General. They all suggested it was more likely an air defense missile fired by Ukraine to intercept one of the Russian rockets that fell just inside the Polish border.
But Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy broke ranks with his country’s supporters, saying on Wednesday he had no reason to doubt the assessment of his own military commanders, who had denied launching the missile.
“It’s not our missile or our missile strike,” Zelenskyy insisted on Wednesday.
President Biden, reacting to those remarks, said, “That’s not the evidence.”
Whatever the evidence, the Ukrainians want to see it, and they demanded access to the site inside Poland. President Duda said Thursday that Ukrainian officials would likely be allowed access, but he did not specify a timeline.
There appears to have been a softening in Ukraine’s rhetoric on Thursday.
“We need our specialists to join the work of the international investigation, and that we have access to all the data from the explosion site available to our partners,” Zelenskyy said, without reiterating his categorical denial of responsibility. Ukrainian in the murderous attack. blast.
Ukrainian Air Force spokesman Yuriy Ignat went further, telling CBS News that it doesn’t matter which missile actually fell in Poland, because even if it was launched by the Ukraine, he reportedly aimed to stop a Russian airstrike, so the blame lies with Russia.
Ignat admitted that when air defense systems intercept a missile, weapons can fall to the ground “uncontrollably”. He added that the Ukrainian Air Force was still collecting evidence on its side of the border on Thursday.
NATO leader Mr Biden and his European counterparts who backed Zelensky not only politically but with a huge supply of weapons during the nearly nine-month war against Ukraine have all made it clear that whatever the side that fired the missile, the blame ultimately rests on the shoulders of Vladimir Putin.
The blast was one of dozens of deadly missile explosions this week – the only one that did not occur inside Ukraine.
Russia unleashed its most intense series of strikes on Ukrainian towns and villages since the invasion began on February 24, some of which hit western Ukraine, far from front lines and close to the ground Polish.
On Thursday, the Ukrainians woke up to a new barrage of missiles.
Several were reportedly shot down by Ukrainian air defenses in the frontline town of Dnipro, but while these systems destroyed the majority of rockets launched by Putin’s forces, they are not perfect.
CBS News visited the scene of an explosion caused by a missile that ripped through defenses on Thursday, injuring 14 people in Dnipro, including a 15-year-old girl who was undergoing surgery.
Dnipro Mayor Boris Filatov posted a photo on social media on Thursday that he said showed the jacket of a woman who was performing her duties as a city employee when shrapnel from a missile ripped it open.
A large hole with burnt edges was visible in the fabric. Filatov said the woman was also undergoing surgery.
In a post on his channel on the social media platform Telegram, Zelenskyy shared a dashcam video of a vehicle driving on a road he said was in Dnipro when a huge ball of fire appeared further down the road. the street and an explosion is heard.
“A peaceful city and people’s desire to live a normal life. To go to work, for business. A missile strike! just as much pain and suffering as possible.”