U.S. President Joe Biden has disputed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s comment that missiles that landed in Poland were not of Ukrainian origin.
“That’s not the evidence,” Biden told reporters at the White House upon returning from a trip to Asia.
Biden’s statement followed comments by NATO chief and Poland that the November 15 blast in Polish territory was likely caused by a Ukrainian air-defense missile.
“From the information that we and our allies have, it was an S-300 rocket made in the Soviet Union, an old rocket, and there is no evidence that it was launched by the Russian side,” Polish President Andrzej Duda said on November 16. “It is highly probable that it was fired by Ukrainian anti aircraft defense.”
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg also said it was likely to have been a Ukrainian air-defense missile fired to shoot down incoming missiles on November 15 during what Kyiv said was Russia’s most intensive wave of missile attacks on cities across Ukraine since the start of the war in February.
Nevertheless, Stoltenberg said Russia, not Ukraine, was still to blame for starting the war with its February invasion.
“This is not Ukraine’s fault. Russia bears ultimate responsibility as it continues its illegal war against Ukraine,” NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg told reporters in Brussels.
Speaking on November 17, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken also said Russia bore responsibility for the blast in Poland.
Addressing reporters at an Asia-Pacific summit in Bangkok, Blinken said he had spoken again with his Ukrainian counterpart on the probe but added: “Whatever its final conclusion, we already know the party ultimately responsible for this tragic incident: Russia.”
“I have no doubt that it was not our missile,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy was quoted as saying on November 16. “I believe that this was a Russian missile, based on our military reports,” he said on Ukrainian television.
In another development, Ukrainian Interior Minister Denys Monastyrskiy said on November 17 that investigators in the recently liberated southern Kherson region have uncovered 63 bodies with signs of torture after Russian forces left the area.
“Now, 63 bodies have been discovered in the Kherson region, but we must understand that the search has only just started so many more dungeons and burial places will be uncovered,” the press service of the Interior Ministry quoted Monastyrskiy as saying.
Monastyrskiy said law enforcement bodies had uncovered 436 instances of war crimes during Russia’s occupation. Eleven places of detention had been discovered, including four where torture had been practiced.
Ukrainian forces entered the strategic southern city of Kherson on November 11 following the retreat of Russian forces.
The White House hailed Russia’s withdrawal from Kherson as an “extraordinary victory” for Ukraine.

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