World leaders gathering at the G20 summit in Bali are attempting to diffuse a potential escalation in the months-long Ukraine war after a “Russian-made” missile struck NATO-member Poland, killing two people.
The missile landed outside the rural Polish village of Przewodow, about four miles (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.
The circumstances surrounding the incident, which marks the first time a NATO country has been directly hit during the almost nine-month conflict, remain unclear. It is not known who fired the missile, or precisely where it was fired from, though the Polish Foreign Ministry has described it as “Russian-made.”
Speaking to reporters after holding an emergency meeting with G7 and NATO leaders on the sidelines of the G20 summit, US President Joe Biden said preliminary information suggested it was “unlikely” the missile was fired from within Russia, but was unable to say conclusively until the investigation was complete.
“We agreed to support Poland’s investigation into the explosion… And I’m going to make sure we figure out exactly what happened,” Biden said, adding the leaders offered sympathy over the death of two people. “Then we’re going to collectively determine our next step as we investigate and proceed. There was total unanimity among the folks at the table,” he added.
Following Biden’s statement, a NATO military official told CNN the missile had been tracked by an alliance aircraft flying above Polish airspace at the time of the blast.
“Intel with the radar tracks [of the missile] was provided to NATO and Poland,” the NATO military official added. The NATO official did not say who launched the missile, or where it was fired from.
The missile strike within Poland’s borders on Tuesday “would not have happened without Russia’s horrific missile attacks against Ukraine,” Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said in a statement online Wednesday.
In his address, Duda said the US would send experts to investigate the site as part of a joint operation.
Speaking after a call with Duda Tuesday, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said it was “important that all facts are established.”
Duda noted that while it was not clear who launched the missile, it was “most likely” made in Russia. “We are working in a very calm manner,” Duda said during an address from the Bureau of National Security in Warsaw.
“I offered my condolences for the loss of life. NATO is monitoring the situation and Allies are closely consulting. Important that all facts are established,” said Stoltenberg in a statement.