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Live: US says Russia ultimately responsible for ‘tragic’ blast at Polish border

Issued on: 17/11/2022 – 07:28

A Polish army truck drives towards the place where a missile struck, killing two people in farmland near the border with Ukraine, on November 16, 2022. © Evgeniy Maloletka, AP

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US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said Thursday that Russia was ultimately responsible for a deadly blast at Poland’s border this week that was likely part of Ukrainian air defences, deployed as Russia fired a volley of missiles at targets across Ukraine. A Polish-American team is investigating the site. Follow our live blog for all the latest developments. All times are Paris time (GMT+1). 


2:52pm: Blinken says Russia bears ultimate responsibility for deadly Poland blast 

US Secretary of State has said Russia was ultimately responsible for the “tragic incident” in Poland, where a missile blast killed two people in a village near the Ukrainian border.

Addressing reporters at an Asia-Pacific summit in Bangkok, Blinken said that he had spoken again with his Ukrainian counterpart on the investigation into the blast, but added: “Whatever its final conclusion, we already know the party ultimately responsible for this tragic incident – Russia.”

The US has said the explosion was likely caused by a stray Ukrainian air defence missile, but Kyiv has questioned the assessment.

11:43am: Ukraine will probably get access to blast site, Polish official says

Ukraine is likely to get the access it has demanded to the site in southeastern where a missile killed two people, the Polish president’s top foreign policy adviser said on Thursday.

Warsaw says evidence from the scene points to the explosion being caused by a Ukrainian air defence missile that went astray, something Kyiv denies saying it has evidence of a “Russian trace” in the blast.

Polish President said on Wednesday that access to the site of the explosion would require the agreement of both countries leading the investigation, Poland and the United States.

“A Polish-American investigating team is on site,” Duda’s adviser Jakub Kumoch told private broadcaster TVN 24.

11:23am: Erdogan says confident US, Russia won’t use nukes

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Thursday that neither the United States nor Russia planned to use , following a meeting of their respective spy chiefs in Turkey.

“Let me say this, according to information I received from my intelligence chief, neither of the sides will use nuclear weapons as of now,” Erdogan was quoted as telling journalists in Indonesia where he attended the G20 summit.

11am: Erdogan says Russian grain could be exported as flour to Africa via Turkey

Turkish President said Russian grain exports could be processed into flour in Turkey and then shipped to Africa to help relieve shortages there.

Speaking on his flight back from the G20 summit in Bali, Erdogan said Russian grain was meant to be delivered to countries such as Mali, Djibouti, Sudan and Somalia free of charge.

“We will also contribute to the free delivery of this (Russian grain)… We already have such an agreement. Hopefully, this wheat will come to us (Turkey) and be turned into flour in our country and sent (to Africa) in this form. It will offer a significant relief to them (countries in Africa),” Erdogan said.

10:56am: Russia’s use of landmines in Ukraine poses threat, monitor says

Russia’s use of in Ukraine, including newly produced models, threatens to overturn progress made on the issue over the past 25 years, a monitor said Thursday.

Moscow has been developing new antipersonnel mines and has used ones made as recently as 2021 in its war in Ukraine, the Landmine Monitor said.

The monitor said the use of landmines in Ukraine, as well as mines used in Myanmar, marred the 25th anniversary of the Mine Ban Treaty, which was created in Ottawa in 1997.

Its annual report identified 277 civilian casualties of mines and explosive remnants of war (ERW) in Ukraine in the first nine months of 2022 – a near fivefold increase on the 58 recorded in 2021.

“At least seven types of antipersonnel mines have been used by Russian forces in Ukraine since Russia invaded the country on February 24,” it said.

10:32am: Ukraine says Russia ‘bears full responsibility’ for missile blast in Poland

Ukraine said Thursday that Russia was ultimately responsible for a deadly missile blast in Poland this week, after Washington said it was likely fired by Ukrainian air defence.

“We share the view that Russia bears full responsibility for its missile terror and its consequences on the territory of Ukraine, Poland and Moldova,” Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said on Twitter, announcing he had spoken by telephone with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

I had a call with right during another massive missile attack on Ukraine this morning. We share the view that Russia bears full responsibility for its missile terror and its consequences on the territory of Ukraine, Poland, and Moldova. 1/2

— Dmytro Kuleba (@DmytroKuleba)

8:50am: Russian missile strikes target Ukrainian gas production facilities

Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said new Russian missile strikes on Thursday targeted production facilities and a missile plant, Interfax Ukraine news agency reported.

“Missiles are flying over Kyiv right now. Now they are bombing our gas production (facilities), they are bombing our enterprises in Dnipro and Yuzhmash (missile factory),” it quoted him as telling a conference.

8:15am: Ukrainian minister says Black Sea grain deal to be extended by 120 days

Ukraine’s infrastructure minister said on Thursday the Black Sea grain export agreement reached in July would be extended by 120 days. The minister, Oleksandr Kubrakov, gave no further details.

His remarks could not immediately be confirmed independently.

The July deal has helped stave off a global food crisis by allowing the export of and fertilisers from several of Ukraine’s Black Sea ports that had been blockaded by Russia.

“#BlackSeaGrainInitiative will be prolonged for 120 days,” he wrote on Twitter, calling it “another important step in the global fight against the (global) food crisis.”

7:36am: Russian missile hits Odesa, Ukrainian authorities say

‘s southern port city of Odesa was struck by a Russian missile on Thursday morning, Ukrainian authorities said.

Ukrainian media also reported a series of blasts in the city of Dnipro.

6:47am: Russia’s media watchdog blocks Novaya Gazeta website

Russia’s watchdog blocked access to the website of independent news site Novaya Gazeta on Thursday.

Novaya Gazeta suspended publication on its website, social media and in print in March in response to strict new censorship laws introduced by Russia.

In July, the Roskomnadzor media regulator also blocked a new Novaya Gazeta website that was launched in Europe by staff affiliated with the newspaper, and in September a court revoked Novaya Gazeta’s media license.

6:32am: Biden disputes Zelensky’s statement that missile that landed in Poland wasn’t Ukrainian

US President on Thursday disputed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s statement that a missile that landed in Poland on Tuesday, killing two people, was not of Ukrainian origin.

“That’s not the evidence,” Biden told reporters at the White House upon returning from a trip to Asia.

6:01am: Ukrainian investigators find bodies with signs of torture in Kherson

Investigators in ‘s southern Kherson region have uncovered 63 bodies with signs of torture after Russian forces left the area, Ukraine’s Interior Minister Denys Monastyrsky was quoted as saying early on Thursday.

“Now, 63 bodies have been discovered in Kherson region, but we must understand that the search has only just started so many more dungeons and burial places will be uncovered,” Interfax Ukraine news agency quoted Monastyrsky as telling national television.

Monastyrsky 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.

“Investigators are currently examining them and setting down every instance of torture. Exhumations are also taking place of the bodies of those who were killed,” Monastyrsky told national television, according to Interfax.

Andriy Kovalenko, a prosecutor in the Kherson regional prosecutor’s office, told the New York Times that testimony had been gathered on 800 detentions by Russians in the region. He said that the most common types of abuse inflicted on detainees were electric shocks, beatings with plastic or rubber nightsticks, and suffocation by pinching the breathing hose on a gas mask placed over a prisoner’s head.

(FRANCE 24 with AP, REUTERS and AFP)

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