Thursday, 17 November 2022 06:51

What to know after Day 267 of Russia-Ukraine war

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RUSSIAN PERSPECTIVE

Russia’s UN envoy Vasily Nebenzya on Wednesday said statements by Warsaw and Kiev sought to trigger a direct Russia-NATO conflict over the missile incident in Poland.

"If this meeting hadn’t been scheduled, it would have had to be convened to discuss the attempts of Ukraine and Poland to provoke a direct clash between Russia and NATO. The absolutely irresponsible statements made by the leadership of these two countries cannot be perceived in any other way," he said at a meeting of the UN Security Council.

Nebenzya said Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky immediately after the explosion in Poland accused Russia of the shelling.

"I am highlighting this for the colleagues: These statements came from a person that couldn’t fail to have the information that it was Ukrainian missiles fired by an air defense system that flew over to Poland," the diplomat said. "That means it wasn’t just deliberate disinformation but a conscious attempt to prompt NATO, which is waging a proxy war with Russia in Ukraine, to get involved in a direct clash with our country."

"Poland’s Russophobic government wasn’t much different as they said from the start with full confidence that they came under a Russian attack. That country’s Foreign Ministry summoned the Russian ambassador in the dead of the night and issued him a resolute protest," Nebenzya said.

The envoy said the first photos from the scene of the explosion, which appeared on social networks, made it clear that it was a Ukrainian air defense missile that fell in Poland.

"That has already been expressly confirmed by NATO and the West in general," he said.

**Poland should rethink its position towards the conflict in Ukraine after a “provocation” on the part of Kiev that cost two villagers their lives, a former city councilman in Lublin said on Wednesday. Jaroslaw Pakula, whose term ended four days before the incident, said the missile that struck Przewodow was obviously Ukrainian and that the government in Warsaw needed to send a message to Kiev instead of telling “fairy tales” to its citizens.

“Of course, this is a Ukrainian rocket. Of course, this is a provocation on the part of the Ukrainian authorities,” Pakula posted on his Facebook page. “The rocket could not be fired 100km in the opposite direction by mistake.”

The purpose of the provocation was to scare the EU and get civil society support for sending even more weapons to Ukraine, Pakula added. Instead of telling “fairy tales” about the missile, the Polish president should tell Ukraine’s Vladimir Zelensky that Warsaw “will no longer put up with this behavior” by Kiev. 

“I urge you to rethink Poland’s position [regarding] this war in the event that the red line is crossed again!” Pakula concluded.

Pakula’s Facebook page still has a Ukrainian flag over his portrait photo, and lists him as chairman of the city council of Lublin, the seat of the region where Przewodow is located. The official city website, however, notes that he was no longer in office as of November 11. 

Zelensky was quick to accuse Russia of attacking Poland and the entire NATO after a missile exploded in Przewodow on Tuesday afternoon, killing two people. The government in Kiev said the incident showed the need for NATO to “close the sky” over Ukraine, as they have demanded since February.

While Zelensky continues to insist the missile was Russian, Warsaw and Moscow have both identified it as a S-300 air defense missile, with Poland calling it “Russian-made” and Russia pointing out it was in Ukrainian service. The US and NATO have also described the missile as an air defense rocket that strayed, seeking to minimize the incident while also arguing that Russia was the ultimate culprit for bombing Ukraine in the first place. 

The Russian military has pointed out that Tuesday’s missile strikes on Ukrainian military and energy infrastructure targets came nowhere close to the Polish border.

WESTERN PERSPECTIVE

Ukraine said it faced fierce attacks in the east from Russian forces reinforced with troops withdrawn from Kherson in the south, while NATO and Poland concluded a missile that crashed in Poland was probably a stray fired by Ukraine's air defences.

EXPLOSION IN POLAND

* Villagers in Przewodow in southeastern Poland, where the missile killed two people, struggled with the realisation that the war on their doorstep could reach them at any time.

* NATO's secretary-general said Tuesday's blast in Poland was probably caused by a Ukrainian air defence missile but Russia was ultimately responsible because it started the war.

* Ukraine wants access to the explosion site, a senior Ukrainian defence official said. Oleg Danilov said Ukraine had evidence of a "Russian trace" in the incident, without giving any details.

FIGHTING

* Investigators in Ukraine's recently liberated southern region of Kherson have uncovered 63 bodies with signs of torture after Russian forces left, Ukraine's interior minister was quoted as saying.

* The top U.S. general said Ukraine's chances of any near-term, outright military victory were not high, cautioning that Russia still had significant combat power inside Ukraine.

* About 50 Russian soldiers were killed or wounded in a long-range Ukrainian artillery attack, the military said, in a rare instance of Ukraine claiming to have inflicted major casualties in a single incident.

* Power was fully restored in seven Ukrainian regions, including Kyvi, the capital, less than 24 hours after a Russian missile barrage on energy infrastructure across the country.

* Following the withdrawal of Russian security forces from Kherson, residents have given Reuters accounts of abuses, but Reuters could not independently verify all the events described.

GRAIN

* A United Nations source said the organisation has reasons to be "cautiously optimistic" about the renewal of a Black Sea grains export agreement, which is set to roll over on Saturday unless there are objections.

DIPLOMACY

* Ukrainian President Zelenskiy said he met U.S. Central Intelligence Agency Director Burns. Burns also met Russian President Putin's spy chief in Turkey this week.

* French President Macron said G20 leaders agreed to push Russia towards defusing the conflict and expressed hope China could play a bigger mediation rolein coming months.

* Russia hailed the G20 leaders' declaration, which mentions the "immense human suffering" caused by the war, as a "balanced text" that Russian diplomats worked hard to influence.

 

TASS/RT/Reuters