The NATO chief said Wednesday there is no indication that Tuesday's explosion in an area near Poland’s border with Ukraine resulted from a deliberate attack on alliance territory, or that there are preparations for any such attack.
"Our preliminary analysis suggest that the incident was likely caused by a Ukrainian air defense missile, fired to defend Ukrainian territory against Russian cruise missile attacks," said Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in Brussels after an urgent NATO meeting.
Stoltenberg’s assessment that the strike was likely Ukrainian misfire is in line with initial public statements by US, Polish, and Russian officials.
During a meeting held on the explosion in rural eastern Poland, close to the border with Ukraine, NATO's supreme allied commander, Gen. Christopher Cavoli, briefed allies, and the Polish ambassador also gave an update on the incident and the ongoing investigation, said Stoltenberg.
"We have no indication that this was the result of a deliberate attack and we have no indication that Russia is preparing offensive military actions against NATO," underlined Stoltenberg, adding that as investigation into the incident is ongoing they need to await its outcome.
However, he stressed that the incident is not Ukraine’s fault, as Russia instead bears "ultimate responsibility" because it continues its war against Ukraine, which it launched in late February.
"Yesterday’s explosion took place as Russia launched a massive wave of rocket attacks across Ukraine," Stoltenberg stated.
'NATO reacted in responsible way'
The NATO chief reiterated the alliance's firm stance on supporting Ukraine in its right to self-defense, and stressed that Russia "must stop this senseless war."
Mentioning a phone call with US President Joe Biden and Polish President Andrzej Duda, Stoltenberg said that they agreed on the need to stay "vigilant, calm and closely coordinated. "
"We will continue to consult and monitor the situation closely," he stated, adding that NATO stands united and will always do what is necessary to protect and defend all allies.
Saying that the NATO allies reacted to the incident in a responsible way, Stoltenberg added that managing such incidents is about being calm and preventing any unnecessary escalation.
The secretary-general also mentioned that NATO allies offered the deepest condolences on the tragic loss of life and expressed their strong solidarity with Poland over the incident.
The suspected missile landed in the village of Przewodow, eastern Poland, located near the border with Ukraine. Two people died in the explosion.
The explosion occurred 500-600 meters (1,312-1,640 feet) from a primary school. The area near the explosion site has been cordoned off.
Source: Anadolu Agency