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November 16, 2022 Russia-Ukraine news
By Tara Subramaniam, Sana Noor Haq, Ed Upright, Adrienne Vogt, Aditi Sangal and Mike Hayes, CNN
Ukrainian ambassador to UN says Kyiv is ready to cooperate with Poland on missile investigation
From CNN's Lauren Kent
Ukraine's Ambassador to the UN Sergiy Kyslytsya told the UN Security Council on Wednesday that the country is "ready to cooperate with the Polish side" on the investigation into the missile that killed two people in Poland on Tuesday.
"Ukraine expresses its solidarity with brotherly Polish people following yesterday's tragedy in the village of Przewodow, where two people were killed by missiles," Kyslytsya said. "We support a full and transparent investigation to establish all the facts of this tragic incident and we are ready to cooperate with the Polish side to contribute to this investigation."
Earlier on Wednesday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said his country wants to establish all the facts surrounding the missile that landed in Poland and noted in his daily video address that "clarification of all the circumstances of how Russian aggression crossed the Polish border" was now an issue before the UN Security Council.
The ambassador also told the Security Council that Russia's attacks were creating a humanitarian disaster that could spill beyond Ukraine.
"We are grateful for the support of our friends, in particular Poland, in countering these attacks and bringing peace and security back to our region," he said.
Some context: The leaders of Poland and NATO said the missile that killed two people in Polish territory on Tuesday was likely fired by Ukrainian forces defending their country against a barrage of Russian strikes and that the incident appeared to be an accident.
The blast occurred outside the rural eastern Polish town of Przewodow, about four miles (about 6.4 kilometers) west of the Ukrainian border on Tuesday afternoon, roughly the same time as Russia launched its biggest wave of missile attacks on Ukrainian cities in more than a month.
CNN's Tim Lister contributed to this report
Polish ambassador to NATO says missile incident was ultimately the responsibility of Russia
From CNN's Chris Liakos and Lauren Kent
The Polish ambassador to NATO said that the “ultimate responsibility lies with Russia,” following the deadly missile that landed on Polish territory on Tuesday that left two people dead.
Speaking to CNN, ambassador Tomasz Szatkowski said that the incident would not have happened if Russia did not attack Ukraine and engaged in war crimes by attacking civilian infrastructure.
"The ultimate responsibility lies with Russia," Szatkowski said.
When asked about how Polish people are feeling following the incident, Szatkowski said that “a certain level of apprehension is understandable,” adding that authorities are doing a lot in order to reassure the population.
Later Wednesday, Russia's Ambassador to the UN Vasily Nebenzya rejected those claims.
"We have long ago stop being surprised by your attempts, in any circumstances in spite of fact or common sense, to blame Russia for everything," Nebenzya said during the UN Security Council meeting in New York.
"Today, in spite of clear evidence of Ukrainian-Polish provocation, many representatives of western countries have stated to the effect that even if the missiles were launched by Ukraine, it's still Russia that is to blame for destroying critical infrastructure," Nebenzya added.
Some more context: The leaders of Poland and NATO said the missile was likely fired by Ukrainian forces defending their country against a barrage of Russian strikes, and that the incident appeared to be an accident.
Poland's investigation into the incident continues.
This is the first time a NATO country has been directly hit during the conflict. NATO head Jens Stoltenberg also said Russia bears "ultimate responsibility" for the incident, "as it continues its illegal war against Ukraine."
President Zelensky says Ukraine wants all data connected to missile that landed in Poland
From CNN's Denis Lapin in Kyiv
President Volodymyr Zelensky says Ukraine wants to establish all the facts surrounding the missile that landed in Poland on Tuesday, killing two people.
Polish officials have indicated that it is likely a Ukrainian missile, deployed by its air defenses amid waves of Russian missile attacks Tuesday, landed inside its border.
Zelensky said in his daily video address that "clarification of all the circumstances of how Russian aggression crossed the Polish border" was now an issue before the UN Security Council.
"The Ukrainian position is very transparent: we want to establish all the details, every fact. That is why we need our experts to join the work of the international investigation and to get access to all the data available to our partners and to the site of the explosion."
Zelensky said he had spoken with Polish President Andrzej Duda and expressed his condolences but insisted that it was "Russian aggression" that had claimed the lives of two Polish citizens.
Zelensky said Wednesday had been "a long and hard day," following the onslaught of Russian missile strikes on infrastructure targets on Tuesday.
"Emergency and stabilization blackouts continue in 18 regions and in Kyiv. These are millions of consumers. We are doing everything to restore electricity – both generation and supply," he said.
As for the recently liberated city of Kherson, Zelensky said his administration was doing its best to restore key services.
"Pharmacies are finally reopening in Kherson, the post office and banks are working, people have access to the Internet. There are already 30 points of distribution of humanitarian aid," the president said.
US State Department aware of Brittney Griner's whereabouts at Russian penal colony, spokesperson says
From CNN's Jennifer Hansler and Michael Conte
The US State Department is aware of detained WNBA star Brittney Griner’s whereabouts, principal deputy spokesperson Vedant Patel said Wednesday.
Patel said they know the location of Griner – who was transferred from Moscow to a penal colony — through lawyers, and “formally the Russian Federation has still failed to provide any official notification for such a move of a US citizen, which we strongly protest.”
Patel did not provide details on where she has been moved, saying at a briefing, “our embassy and our mission in Moscow has continued to press for more information about her transfer and her current location and those requests continue to be ongoing.”
He said he was not aware that anyone from the embassy had been able to speak with Griner since her transfer.
Remember: Griner was convicted of deliberately smuggling drugs into Russia and sentenced to nine years of jail time in August in a case that has raised concerns she is being used as a political pawn in Russia’s war against Ukraine.
Judge Anna Sotnikova of the Khimki city court delivered the sentence and fined Griner 1 million rubles, or about $16,400. She said the court took into account Griner’s partial admission of guilt, remorse for the deed, state of health and charitable activities. Prosecutors had asked that she be sentenced to 9.5 years in jail.
Prior to the verdict, Griner apologized to the court and asked for leniency in an emotional speech.
Top US general: Ukraine "kicking the Russians physically out" of country not likely to happen soon
From CNN's Jennifer Hansler
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley said that the Ukrainians’ aim of “militarily kicking the Russians physically out of Ukraine is a very difficult task” and one that is not likely to be accomplished “anytime soon.”
Speaking at a press conference Wednesday, Milley said Russia occupies about 20% of Ukraine, and he noted that Kherson and Kharkiv, which the Ukrainians have reclaimed “are relatively small compared to the whole.”
“In terms of probability, the probability of a Ukrainian military victory, defined as kicking the Russians out of all of Ukraine to include what they defined, or what they claim as Crimea, the probability of that happening anytime soon, is not high, militarily,” Milley said.
Milley caveated by saying that “politically, there may be a political solution where politically the Russians withdraw.”
“The Russian military is really hurting bad. So you want to negotiate at a time when you're at your strength, and your opponent is at weakness. And it's possible, maybe, that there'll be a political solution. All I'm saying is there’s a possibility for it,” he said. “That's all I'm saying.”
CNN has reported on the divisions in the Biden administration as Milley has seemed to push for a more urgent diplomatic outcome, and the Biden administration has had to work to reassure the Ukrainian government, outside experts, and former US officials that it will not push Ukraine to imminently seek negotiations with Russia after comments Milley made last week.
Poland reiterates investigation into missile incident will be joint operation with US
From CNN's Tim Lister, Denis Lapin and Antonia Mortensen
Poland has said that investigations at the site where a missile landed will continue to be a joint operation with the United States.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has demanded that Ukrainian experts be allowed access.
American investigators are now working at the site, Polish President Andrzej Duda said Wednesday.
"Since President Biden declared support in a conversation with me yesterday, I accepted this support, so this investigation can be said to be conducted jointly by us and the American side or by the North Atlantic Alliance and us," he said.
US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin also confirmed that US experts are on the ground in Poland assisting with the Polish investigation.
Zelensky said Wednesday in a meeting with Ukrainian media that a group of Ukrainian experts must be allowed access to the site.
He also said he wanted to see "the number on the missile, because all missiles have numbers on them." And he said that Ukrainian representatives should be invited to a virtual NATO meeting regarding the incident.
Polish President Duda meets with US CIA director in Warsaw, Polish security official says
From CNN's Chris Liakos and Katie Bo Lillis
Polish President Andrzej Duda met with CIA Director Bill Burns in Warsaw Wednesday after an incident in eastern Poland that left two people dead, according to Poland’s National Security Bureau chief, Jacek Siewiera.
“In the evening, the President @AndrzejDuda spoke with the head of the CIA, William Burns, who is in Warsaw after his visits to Ankara and Kiev,” Siewera wrote in a post on Twitter sharing a picture of the meeting.
He added that the general security situation as well as the context of the recent events were discussed. “Lots of work on the PL-US line today.”
A US official told CNN that Burns had previously scheduled meetings with Polish officials including Duda. They discussed the current situation and the director reaffirmed the US commitment to providing support to Ukraine and thanked Poland for its continued partnerships including in intelligence channels, according to the official.
Poland has said that it will continue to jointly investigate with the US the site where a missile landed on Tuesday.
Top US general tried to speak with Russian counterpart on Tuesday but attempts were "unsuccessful"
From CNN's Ellie Kaufman
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley attempted to speak with his Russian counterpart Gen. Valery Gerasimov on Tuesday following the missile that fell in Poland, but the attempts were not successful, Milley said during a press conference at the Pentagon on Wednesday.
Milley spoke with his Ukrainian counterpart, his Polish counterpart and other chiefs of defense in Europe after the explosion in Poland yesterday, he said.
“My staff was unsuccessful in getting me linked up with General Gerasimov,” Milley said.
“I did talk to my Ukrainian counterpart, Gen. [Valerii] Zaluzhny — talked to him several times in fact — also Polish counterpart and several other (chiefs of defense) in Europe,” he added.