Jake Johnson nato Russia-Ukraine

‘Unfortunate Accident’: Polish President Says Missile That Killed Two Likely Fired by Ukraine

"There is nothing, absolutely nothing to suggest that it was an intentional attack on Poland," Polish President Andrzej Duda told reporters.
Polish President Andrzej Duda, 2021. Palácio do Planalto from Brasilia, Brasil, CC BY 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

By Jake Johnson / Common Dreams

Polish President Andrzej Duda on Wednesday said the missile that killed two people in Poland the previous day was likely fired by Ukrainian defense forces as they attempted to respond to a massive barrage of Russian airstrikes.

“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 echoed that assessment at a press conference Wednesday following an emergency meeting of alliance ambassadors.

“Our 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,” Stoltenberg told reporters. “But let me be clear: this is not Ukraine’s fault. Russia bears ultimate responsibility as it continues its illegal war against Ukraine.”

The latest findings from NATO and Polish officials contradict the earlier claim by an unnamed U.S. intelligence official that the missile, which landed in a Polish village about four miles from the Ukrainian border, was fired by Russia—an assertion that on Tuesday intensified fears of a devastating escalation of the war.

Speaking to reporters at the G20 summit in Indonesia ahead of the emergency NATO meeting, U.S. President Joe Biden said late Tuesday that it is “unlikely” that the missile “was fired from Russia.”

Foreign policy analysts and peace advocates have warned for months that the longer Russia’s war on Ukraine lasts, the greater the chance that it will spread beyond Ukraine’s borders and potentially spark a full-blown conflict between Russia and NATO.

Katrina vanden Heuvel, editor and publisher of The Nation, wrote in a column for The Washington Post on Tuesday that “the stakes are too high for us to sit idly by as the catastrophe spreads and the costs—and the risks—keep growing.”

“It might be time to give diplomacy a chance in the Ukraine war,” vanden Heuvel argued, citing recent comments by Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

In a speech earlier this month, Milley offered U.S. casualty estimates for the war and said that “when there’s an opportunity to negotiate, when peace can be achieved: seize the moment.”

Vanden Heuvel emphasized that Milley is hardly “a peace activist or a squishy liberal” and suggested his comments signal a potential shift in the Biden administration’s approach to the war.

“Despite public disavowals, the White House has tentatively been opening the door to negotiations,” vanden Heuvel pointing to reports that Biden administration officials have privately urged Ukraine’s leaders to show a willingness to engage in peace talks with Russia.

Trita Parsi of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft argued in an MSNBC column on Tuesday that the Biden White House is “right to pivot toward diplomacy in the Russia-Ukraine war.”

“Recent reporting has revealed that national security adviser Jake Sullivan earlier this month started discussions with Ukraine on ending the conflict while nudging Kyiv to show greater openness to diplomacy,” Parsi observed. “Ukraine ‘must show its willingness to end the war reasonably and peacefully,’ U.S. officials reportedly relayed to Kyiv.”

“As a direct result of Sullivan’s efforts,” Parsi added, “President Volodymyr Zelenskyy outlined five conditions for negotiations last week that no longer included the non-starter demand that Russian President Vladimir Putin be out of power before talks can take place.”

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Jake Johnson
Jake Johnson

Jake Johnson is a staff writer for Common Dreams.


  1. Russia tried to negotiate for eight years after the US overthrew the democratically elected (with UN monitoring) President Yanukovych. Ukraine signed Minsk I and Minsk II, then laughed and said they had no intention of honoring the treaties. Russia took Crimea for National Security concerns (something the US officials should understand, as it’s their main excuse too), but was hoping the other ethnic Russian Ukrainian areas would remain in Ukraine; they had won the democratic Election and Zelensky received over 70% of the vote with a “Peace with Russia” platform, instantly abandoned after the election.
    While Biden and Zelensky hope for a long break in the fighting to rearm, it is likely that Russia will seize the initiative and bring the war to western Ukraine, where there are many fewer ethnic Russian Ukrainians left. We’ll see if Russia can do “Shock and Awe” too.

    1. “Zelensky received over 70% of the vote with a “Peace with Russia” platform, instantly abandoned after the election.” Zelensky and Biden are much alike, no?

  2. “[conditions]… that no longer included the non-starter demand that Russian President Vladimir Putin be out of power before talks can take place.”

    Did you look at the list of conditions? Do you think maybe some of the others are also non-starters? If so, do you think this represents a serious attempt at negotiations, or is it just more Western Empire propaganda spin while Ukraine burns (and Europe freezes, and countries in the Global South starve)?

  3. Agreed Washington, Kyiv, London, and Ottawa have all squandered their chance for a negotiated settlement with Russia. Now we await the certain Russian winter offensive once the ground freezes and they conclude the war on their conditions. The Western warmongers in NATO brought this on now Russia will finish it at the expense of Ukrainians sadly and their is not a thing NATO and its warmonger club can do about it as no amount of HIMARS and junk from NATO will stave off the inevitable. Get used to it Mr Biden and all of us in the west there is now a new world order and we are not number 1 and the rest of the world knows it. Will our leaders be wise enough to accept this new reality? That remains the key question or will we see even greater acts of stupidity?

  4. An “unnamed U.S. intelligence” speculates that Russia struck Poland. Actually, it was probably looked upon as a godsend by US warmongers – more war, more money of the War Machine ($37.5 billion more just announced!).

    As to preconditions for negotiations, that is also ridiculous. Such preconditions, time after time in recent history, have assured that no negotiations will occure. Another possible win for “Winkin'” (the US War Machine), “Blinken” (so called secretary of state), and “Nod” (Biden himself).

  5. I’m happy to see that NATO, the target of so much vitriol, invective, slander, and smear campaigns around here, emerges from these proceedings as a model of sobriety, reasonableness, responsability, and commonsense.

    I’m all for diplomacy if it gets the Russian aggressor out of the Ukraine any sonner than prolonging the war would. What the article naturally forgets to mention is that Gen. Milley stated clearly that the reason for negotiating now was that Russia is currently weak and may be expected to do concessions. Relinquishing its illegal claims on the Ukraine would be favourite.

    Earlier this week, President Zelensky has stated very cearly that he is ready to negotiate with Russia on any solution that respects Ukrainian sovereignty. That seems to be a perfectly reasonable stance.

    1. Didn’t Zelensky insist on Wednesday that a missile believed to be fired over the Poland-Ukraine border had absolutely nothing to do with Ukraine. You’re living an illusion if you think he wants peace and at the same time getting 40 billion in US military aid. Nothing wrong with being an apparatchik defending NATO and the MIC, however suggesting this modern day version of Diem is a paradigm for peace is insane…you need to back off on CNN and MSNBC.

  6. Unfortunate accident, my ass. With CIA and other US terrorist operatives in Ukraine? I doubt it. It’s just another ploy. I’m sure they will try them all to mislead as many people as they can and also to get more military weapons. I can’t wait for the New World Order to get into place. Nuland is right, phuck the EU and the US military corporate congressional complex. But don’t hurt our people who are guilty of being duped too easily while the fools in the West try to own the world while hurting their own people. Fie on them.

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