Polish president denies claims gov't knew of stray missile origin from start

Wojtek Jargiło/PAP

Andrzej Duda, the Polish president, has refuted media reports that he and the government knew from the very beginning that a missile that exploded near a Polish village on Tuesday, killing two people, was Ukrainian.

The president's words came in reaction to an article by the onet.pl news website, which quoted findings by the Gazeta Wyborcza newspaper that the government and the military had known from the start that the missile had been fired by Ukrainian forces, but "there was confusion about how to communicate this."

According to Gazeta Wyborcza, as quoted by onet.pl, the government decided to wait for information from the White House, and to talk to Ukrainian officials before issuing a formal statement.

Andrzej Duda wrote on Twitter that "the only true thing in the article is that a missile did explode and a meeting did take place."

He called the claims "pure confabulation" by journalists, putting the last word in inverted commas.

The defence minister, Mariusz Blaszczak, also denied that the government had been aware of the rocket's origin.

"No. We didn't know. We held a meeting to establish the information and to debate the situation," he said on Friday.

"We didn't want to make any false move, that's why we devoted so much time to clearing up the matter," Blaszczak said, adding that Poland's allies were also consulted before a statement was issued.