Aftermath of the missile strike
Aftermath of the missile strike (Picture: Reuters).

Ukraine: UK and Russia clash over responsibility for missile strike

Aftermath of the missile strike
Aftermath of the missile strike (Picture: Reuters).

The UK and its Western allies clashed with Russia at the UN Security Council over responsibility for a deadly missile strike in Poland near the Ukrainian border.

The US and Albania had called for a council update on the situation in Ukraine last week, and the meeting was dominated by Tuesday’s missile strike in Poland that killed two farm workers.

This came after Russia has been accused of carrying out up to 90 long-range precision strikes onto civilian infrastructure – the most fired in a single day since the start of Russia’s illegal invasion in Ukraine.

During the heated exchanges Britain's UN ambassador Dame Barbara Woodward said: "We should be clear that this is a tragedy that indisputably stems from Russia's illegal and unjustified invasion. And its inhumane assault on civilians across Ukraine."

Russia’s UN ambassador Vassily Nebenzia countered, accusing Ukraine and Poland of trying "to provoke a direct clash between Russia and Nato".

Mr Nebenzia pointed to statements by Ukraine's president and Polish officials initially indicating Russia was responsible.

As for the missile attacks, Mr Nebenzia said: "If you reacted to the terrorist actions of the Ukrainian special forces against Russia, we would not be forced to conduct precision strikes on infrastructure."

"But since you're acting as you're acting, while the Kyiv regime is taking credit for non-existent military prowess, we are forced to achieve the goals set for the special military operation by weakening the military potential of Ukraine."

Ms Woodward strongly disagreed, telling the council: "We are in no doubt that Ukraine will prevail in the face of Russia's aggression."

UN political chief Rosemary DiCarlo called the incident "a frightening reminder of the absolute need to prevent any further escalation" of the nine-month war in Ukraine.

US ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield told the council: "This tragedy would never have happened but for Russia’s needless invasion of Ukraine and its recent missile assaults against Ukraine's civilian infrastructure."

Ms DiCarlo told the council that it was Russia's "most intense bombardments" since its February 24 invasion of Ukraine, and the impact "can only worsen during the coming winter months".

She reiterated that attacks targeting civilians and civilian infrastructure are prohibited under international law, noted that "heavy battles" are continuing in eastern Donetsk and Luhansk and told council members "there is no end in sight to the war".

She also warned that "as long as it continues, the risks of potentially catastrophic spillover remain all too real".

Ms Thomas-Greenfield called the barrage of more than 90 missiles that rained down on Kyiv and other cities and targets devastating civilian infrastructure "a deliberate tactic" by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

"He seems to have decided that if he can’t seize Ukraine by force, he will try to freeze the country into submission," she said.

Poland’s ambassador Krzysztof Szczerski told the council, "those innocent people would not have been killed if there had been no Russian war against Ukraine".

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