NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on Wednesday that a deadly explosion in Poland was probably the result of Ukrainian anti-aircraft fire, but that Russia bears “ultimate responsibility” since Moscow is behind the war. Two people were killed in the blast on Tuesday in Poland’s east, near the border with Ukraine, in an incident that fuelled concerns of an escalation.
Poland’s President Andrzej Duda said on Wednesday that he would raise the issue of the explosion with his Ukrainian counterpart, Petro Poroshenko, during a meeting in Kiev.
“I am convinced that the accident that happened yesterday was caused by a missile fired from Ukrainian territory,” Mr Duda told a news conference.
“I will be talking about this in Kiev today with the Ukrainian president and I expect a clear explanation,” he said.
Mr Stoltenberg said the facts were still being established but that all indications pointed to the involvement of a Ukrainian Buk missile system.
“This is a tragic accident. Two people have been killed. And our thoughts are first and foremost with their families and loved ones,” he told a news conference in Brussels.
“The initial information indicates that this is most likely caused by the Ukrainian anti-aircraft defences. But the final conclusions must be drawn by a thorough and impartial international investigation,” he said.
“Russia bears ultimate responsibility for this, because Russia is behind the conflict in Ukraine,” Mr Stoltenberg said.
NATO has been providing military support to Ukraine since the country’s conflict with Russia began in 2014, including training and advice to the Ukrainian armed forces.
“We will continue to provide strong political and practical support to Ukraine, including support to help them to reform and modernise their armed forces,” Mr Stoltenberg said.
The explosion happened as a Polish military plane carrying journalists was about to land in the city of Lviv, western Ukraine.
The plane was returning from a ceremony in Warsaw marking the 80th anniversary of the outbreak of World War Two.