After an emergency NATO meeting convened to investigate what Poland claimed was an attack by a projectile built in Russia, U.S. President Joe Biden claimed on Wednesday that it was not likely that the missile that killed two people in Poland was launched from Russia.
Tuesday’s explosion at a grain storage facility close to the Ukrainian border happened as Russia launched a barrage of missile attacks against Ukrainian energy infrastructure, sparking worries that the conflict would spread to other nations.
The rocket landed on Przewodow, a village approximately 6 kilometers (4 miles) from the Ukrainian border, according to the Polish Foreign Ministry. Poles said the missile was produced in Russia, but Russia denied that it was to blame for the incident.
Poland is a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Under Article 5 of it, members of NATO are committed to collective defense, and a Russian strike on Poland could risk widening the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.
Immediately after the report of the incident emerged, Biden convened a meeting of leaders gathered for the G20 meeting in Bali, Indonesia. Leaders from NATO members Germany, Canada, Netherlands, Spain, Italy, France, and Britain attended, as well as non-NATO member Japan and representatives from the European Union.
I spoke with President Andrzej Duda of Poland to express my deep condolences for the loss of life in Eastern Poland and offer our full support for Poland's investigation of the explosion.
We will remain in close touch to determine appropriate next steps as it proceeds. pic.twitter.com/m6OSwcHKtD
— President Biden (@POTUS) November 16, 2022
Asked whether it was too early to say if this missile was fired from Russia, Biden said: “There is preliminary information that contests that. I don’t want to say that until we completely investigate. But it is…unlikely…that it was fired from Russia.”
Meanwhile, Polish officials sought to avoid inflaming the situation. Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki called on all Poles to remain calm, and President Duda said there was no concrete evidence showing who fired the missile and that it was a one-off incident.
Biden told Duda in a call that Washington has an “ironclad commitment to NATO” and will support Poland’s investigation, the White House said.
Russia denies involvement
Russia’s defence ministry denied that Russian missiles hit Polish territory, describing such reports as “a deliberate provocation aimed at escalating the situation”.
Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said he had no information on an explosion in Poland.