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Russia-Ukraine war live updates Despite reports Ukrainian defense likely caused fatal explosion, NATO blames Russia

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on Nov. 16 said that Russia bore “ultimate responsibility” for a missile that landed in Poland on Nov. 15. (Video: The Washington Post)

Poland and NATO moved to de-escalate tensions Wednesday, a day after a missile landed in Poland and killed two people. The incident sparked fears that the war in Ukraine could spill beyond the country’s borders.

Polish President Andrzej Duda and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said the blast — the first such strike in Poland amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine — was probably the result of a Ukrainian air defense missile gone astray, not the result of a deliberate Russian attack. Even still, Zelensky said: “I have no doubt that it was not our missile or our missile strike.”

Police cordoned off an area around the site and continued to restrict access Wednesday. The blast was “terrifying,” Tomak Buguslaw, 35, a resident of the small border village, told The Washington Post.

Here’s what else to know

  • The blast in Poland came as Russia bombarded Ukraine with about 90 missiles Tuesday, according to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. It was one of the most extensive such barrages since the Feb. 24 invasion, striking such targets as energy infrastructure and apartment blocks.
  • New information from U.S. intelligence community indicates that the explosion was from at least one or as many as two Ukrainian missiles that went off course, said a person familiar with the intelligence.
  • NATO and Duda blamed Russia for the incident regardless. Zelensky joined them, saying that “Russian aggression took the lives of two Polish citizens.” Parts found at the site would not necessarily have provided immediate answers: Many of Ukraine’s air defense systems are of Russian origin.
  • The missile strike shows “the seriousness of Russian aggression and that its consequences go beyond Ukraine,” Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas said in an email to The Post.
  • Gen. Mark A. Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, doubled down Wednesday on his assessment that the likelihood of Ukraine vanquishing Russia on the battlefield is “not high,” as he tried to massage his recent suggestion that Ukraine ought to use this winter to negotiate an end to the conflict.
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Here's what to know:

The blast in Poland came as Russia bombarded Ukraine with about 90 missiles Tuesday, according to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. It was one of the most extensive such barrages since the Feb. 24 invasion, striking such targets as energy infrastructure and apartment blocks.
New information from U.S. intelligence community indicates that the explosion was from at least one or as many as two Ukrainian missiles that went off course, said a person familiar with the intelligence.
NATO and Duda blamed Russia for the incident regardless. Zelensky joined them, saying that “Russian aggression took the lives of two Polish citizens.” Parts found at the site would not necessarily have provided immediate answers: Many of Ukraine’s air defense systems are of Russian origin.
The missile strike shows “the seriousness of Russian aggression and that its consequences go beyond Ukraine,” Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas said in an email to The Post.
Gen. Mark A. Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, doubled down Wednesday on his assessment that the likelihood of Ukraine vanquishing Russia on the battlefield is “not high,” as he tried to massage his recent suggestion that Ukraine ought to use this winter to negotiate an end to the conflict.

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War in Ukraine: What you need to know

The latest: Russia fired at least 85 missiles on at least six major cities in Ukraine on November 15, in one of the most widespread attacks of the war so far. The strikes came just hours after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, speaking by video link, presented a 10-point peace plan to G-20 leaders at a summit in Indonesia. As in previous Russian missile attacks, critical civilian infrastructure appeared to be primary targets. Parts of several cities that were hit were left without electrical power on Tuesday afternoon.

Russia’s Gamble: The Post examined the road to war in Ukraine, and Western efforts to unite to thwart the Kremlin’s plans, through extensive interviews with more than three dozen senior U.S., Ukrainian, European and NATO officials.

Photos: Washington Post photographers have been on the ground from the beginning of the war — here’s some of their most powerful work.

How you can help: Here are ways those in the U.S. can support the Ukrainian people as well as what people around the world have been donating.

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