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Smoke rises in the distance, amid reports of two explosions, seen from Nowosiolki, Poland, near the border with Ukraine
Smoke rises in the distance, amid reports of two explosions, seen from Nowosiolki, Poland, near the border with UkraineImage: Stowarzyszenie Moje Nowosiolki via REUTERS
ConflictsPoland

Biden says 'unlikely' missile fired from Russia

Published November 15, 2022last updated November 16, 2022

US officials say initial findings suggest a missile that hit Poland was fired by Ukrainian forces at an incoming Russian missile.

https://p.dw.com/p/4JZjm
  • US officials say rocket that struck Poland may have been Ukrainian anti-aircraft missile fired at Russian missile
  • Poland considering NATO Article 4 activation
  • NATO convenes urgent meeting over Poland explosion
  • Russia's Defence Ministry denies Russian missiles struck Polish territory
  • NATO, US, EU and UK say they are looking into the reports 
  • The news come after missile strikes hit critical infrastructure across Ukraine, including in Kyiv

Missiles landing in Poland no coincidence: Olexander Scherba, former Ukrainian Ambassador

This live updates article has been closed. For the most recent developments on the missile strike in Poland, please click here.

Kremlin notes 'measured' US response

Speaking to reporters in Russia on Wednesday, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov accused some countries of making "baseless claims" about the missile incident and said the US response has been more measured in comparison.

"In this instance, attention should be paid to the measured and more professional response from the American side," he said.

Biden said he is awaiting the results of an investigation before placing blame on any country.

Russia's defense ministry blamed the explosion S-300 anti-aircraft system but did not provide evidence beyond photographic analysis of the crash. It claimed Polish authorities could have reported that the recovered fragments were from this equipment in order to clear up allegations against Russia.

Ukraine's foreign minister previously called Moscow's claims a "conspiracy theory."

NATO convenes over Poland explosion

NATO said it would discuss the explosion in Poland during its scheduled meeting on Wednesday.

Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg presided over the NATO ambassadors' meeting in Brussels and will conduct a press conference at 12:30 p.m. (11:30 GMT/UTC), according to a statement from NATO.

Late on Tuesday, Poland said that it was considering requesting emergency discussions under Article 4 of the NATO founding treaty.

Such discussions are allowed by the article if one of the 30 member nations believes that its territory may be in danger. But as of Wednesday morning in Brussels, Warsaw had not requested such a meeting of the military alliance.

Russia calls incident an attempt to provoke conflict

The head of the permanent mission of Russia to the United Nations decried the incident as an attempt to foment further conflict.

"There is an attempt to provoke a direct military clash between NATO and Russia, with all the consequences for the world," Dmitry Polyansky said on Telegram.

Missile that hit Polish village possibly came from Ukraine — US officials

Early findings, according to three US officials, indicate that the missile that struck Poland on Tuesday and killed two people was launched by Ukrainian forces to intercept an approaching Russian missile, the AP and dpa news agencies reported on Wednesday.

The Ukrainians were caught in a blistering attack against their electrical infrastructure by Russian forces.

 The White House has been cautious in its response and has not attributed blame for the missile.

The officials saying it was possibly a Ukrainian anti-aircraft missile aimed at an incoming Russian rocket spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly.

'Unlikely' missile fired from Russia — Biden

US President Joe Biden has met with NATO and G7 leaders in hastily arranged talks, following the explosion in Poland which killed two.

Biden said it was there was agreement to support Poland's investigation and told reporters "I'm going to make sure we figure out exactly what happened."

When asked whether a missile could have been fired from Russia, Biden said: "There is preliminary information that contests that, I don't want to say that until we completely investigate."

Biden then said it was "unlikely" that it was fired from Russia judging by trajectory.

Scholz offers condolences to Polish president

Following explosions near Poland's border with Ukraine, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz announced in a statement that he had spoken with Polish President Andrzej Duda and had sent his sympathies to him and his people.

"This is a terrible incident and it is necessary to carefully clarify how it came about," Scholz said, according to the statement.

Nothing to do with Russia — Erdogan

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday that he believes Moscow when it said that it was not a Russian missiles that Polish territory.

"Russia saying this has nothing to do with them and (US President Joe) Biden saying these missiles are not Russian-made show that this has nothing to do with Russia," Erdogan said.

The Turkish leader said he will speak with Vladimir Putin when he returns home.

China calls for restraint

China issued an appeal for restrain on Wednesday, following a fatal missile attack on a Polish hamlet close to the Ukrainian border.

"Under the current situation, all relevant parties should stay calm and exercise restraint to avoid escalation of the situation," foreign ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning said.

NATO and G7 leaders pledge continuing support for Ukraine

Russian missile attacks on Ukrainian cities and civilian infrastructure have been condemned in a joint statement issued by NATO and G7 leaders on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Bali.

The explosion in the eastern part of Poland was discussed with a resolve to fully support and assist Poland's ongoing investigation. Leaders agreed to keep in "close touch to determine appropriate next steps as the investigation proceeds."

Support for Ukraine was reaffirmed, including readiness to "hold Russia accountable for its brazen attacks in Ukrainian communities."

UN chief 'very concerned' by explosion in Poland

The Secretary General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres is "very concerned by the reports of a missile exploding on Polish territory," a statement issued by the UN said.

According to the statement, Guterres stressed that it was "absolutely essential to avoid escalating the war in Ukraine."

Guterres extended condolences to the families of the victims and hoped for a thorough investigation.

Two persons confirmed dead near Polish-Ukrainian border: DW's Teri Schultz

Blinken pledges 'close coordination' with Poland, Ukraine

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said he had called the foreign ministers of Poland and Ukraine "regarding the explosion in eastern Poland," and they had "pledged to remain closely coordinated in the days ahead as the investigation proceeds and we determine appropriate next steps."

The comments on Twitter follow an earlier statement released by the White House in which President Joe Biden offered condolences and full support and assistance with Poland's investigation into the "explosion" in eastern Ukraine.

Poland's position to be presented to UN Security Council

The Permanent Representative of Poland to the UN, Krzysztof Szczerski, said that Poland's stance would be presented before the UN Security Council.

"On Wednesday, at the afternoon session of the Un Security Council, I will present the Polish position on the current situation," Szczerski said in a tweet.

It comes after Poland's Ministry of Foreign Affairs released a statement saying, "A Russian-made missile fell, killing two citizens in the Republic of Poland."

This was followed by calls for calm from the country's prime minister and a statement from Poland's President Andrzej Duda to say the circumstances were still under investigation.

"We do not for the moment have unequivocal evidence of who fired the missile. An investigation is ongoing. It was most probably Russian-made," Duda told reporters on Wednesday.

Polish government will tread very cautiously: DW's Grzegorz Szymanowski

Italian PM expresses 'solidarity' with Poland

Prime Minister of Italy Giorgia Meloni expressed solidarity with the government and people of Poland in a post on Twitter.

"I am now meeting with NATO Allies on the fringes of the G20 to check the facts and consider next steps," Meloni said while highlighting the gravity of the situation.

"It is a confirmation of the seriousness and consequences of the Russian aggression against Ukraine," Meloni said.

Biden offers Poland 'full US support'

US President Joe Biden has spoken to Poland's President Andrzej Duda after two people were killed in an apparent missile strike, the circumstances of which have yet to be determined.

"President Biden offered full US support for and assistance with Poland's investigation. President Biden reaffirmed the United States' ironclad commitment to NATO," a White House statement read.

The leaders said that their teams would remain in close communication "to determine next steps as the investigation proceeds."

Polish PM calls for calm

Poland's Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki has called for calm after a missile killed two people in a Polish village near the border with Ukraine.

"I am calling on all Poles to remain calm in the face of this tragedy... We must exercise restraint and caution," Morawiecki said following emergency government talks in Warsaw.

Meanwhile, Polish news station Radio ZET NEWS cited Poland's President Andrzej Duda as saying that there was no conclusive evidence as to who fired the missile and that investigations were underway.

The news station reported the president as saying that it was most likely a Russian-made rocket.

Germany offers condolences, reiterates support for Poland

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has spoken to Poland's President Adrzej Duda over the phone to offer condolences and also pledge support, according to government spokesman Steffen Hebestreit.

"Poland will closely investigate the circumstances of the incident in which two citizens died last night," Hebestreit said on Twitter. "Germany stands close to our NATO partner Poland," the German government spokesman said.

NATO to hold urgent talks Wednesday

A NATO spokesperson says the secretary general of the alliance Jens Stoltenberg would be holding urgent talks on Wednesday with ambassadors from member states.

"The Secretary General will chair an emergency meeting of NATO ambassadors tomorrow to discuss this tragic incident," NATO spokeswoman Oana Lungescu said.

Poland summons Russian ambassador over 'Russian-made missile'

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Poland has released a statement to say that "a Russian-made missile fell, killing two citizens in the Republic of Poland."

The statement issued by ministry spokesperson Lukasz Jasina said that the ambassador of the Russian Federation had been summoned and "demanded immediate detailed explanations."

British PM pledges support for allies

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak took to Twitter to say that talks between himself, the foreign secretary and the defence secretary had taken place.

Sunak said that the British government "was urgently looking into reports of a missile strike in Poland and will support our allies as they establish what has happened."

Sunak went on to say: "We are also coordinating with our international partners, including NATO."

Kremlin had no information on explosion in Poland, Ukraine denies it is theirs

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said he had no information on an explosion in Poland.

"Unfortunately, I have no information on this," Peskov said in response to a question from the Reuters news agency.

Earlier Russia's Defence Ministry called reports a Russian missile had landed inside the borders of NATO member Poland a "deliberate provocation" to spread false news about Russia.

Russia pounded Ukraine's energy facilities Tuesday with its biggest barrage of missiles yet, striking targets across the country and causing widespread blackouts.

Meanwhile, Ukraine's said allegations that one of its own missiles had landed in Poland were a "conspiracy theory."

"Russia now promotes a conspiracy theory that it was allegedly a missile of Ukrainian air defense that fell on the territory of Poland. This is not true. No one should buy Russian propaganda or amplify its messages," Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said on Twitter.

UK 'urgently' looking into missile reports

Britain's Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said on Twitter that the UK was "urgently" looking into reports of missiles landing in Polish territory.

"We are urgently looking into reports of missiles landing in Poland, and are in contact with our Polish friends and NATO allies," Cleverly's tweeted

Earlier the British politician had tweeted about "The callous targeting of Ukrainian cities with more sickening missile attacks," saying that it "shows only Putin's weakness."

EU leaders to meet on sidelines of G20

European Council President Charles Michel will call an emergency meeting of EU leaders at the G20 summit.

"I will propose a coordination meeting on Wednesday with EU leaders attending G20 here in Bali," Michel said in a tweet following a conversation with Poland's Prime Minister Mateus Morawiecki.

He assured Poland's premier of the bloc's support after the deadly blast.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said  she was "alarmed" by reports of an explosion in Poland.

"We are closely monitoring the situation and are in touch with Polish authorities and partners and allies", she said on Twitter.

Roberta Metsola, the president of the European Parliament, also said she was "deeply concerned at developments in Poland."

She added her "thoughts & solidarity are with the people of Poland."

Polish president talking to Biden

Polish President Andrzej Duda spoke with US President Joe Biden.

"The conversation between the US and Polish presidents is ongoing," Polish presidential adviser Jakub Kumoch said on Twitter.

The discussion comes after Warsaw placed its military on heightened alert after an emergency national security council meeting.

In the US, Pentagon spokesman Pat Ryder said the US was "looking into" media reports that Russian missiles had landed inside

Poland but he added, "when it comes to our security commitments and Article V we have been crystal clear that we will defend every inch of NATO territory."

The US State Department said Washington "will determine what happened and what appropriate next steps would be."

We will defend every inch of NATO territory: Pentagon Spokesman Patrick Ryder

Poland considering NATO Article 4 activation

Polish President Andrzej Duda discussed consultations under Article 4 of the NATO military alliance with Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg his office said on Twitter. 

It is the part of the NATO treaty that covers the case when a member state feels threatened by another country.

Stoltenberg said NATO was "monitoring the situation and Allies are closely consulting," after two people died in an explosion in a Polish village near the border with Ukraine.

Allies are investigating unconfirmed reports the blast was caused by stray Russian missiles.

Stoltenberg said it was, "important that all facts are established."

Polish government spokesman Piotr Muller said Poland was also increasing the readiness of some military units.

Poland is a vocal supporter of Ukraine: DW's Grzegorz Szymanowski

EU's Michel says Europe stand with Poland

The European Union stands with Poland, the president of the European Council Charles Michel, said in a tweet.

He added hew as shocked by the news that people have been killed.

"I am in contact with Polish authorities, members of the European Council and other allies." he wrote. 

Zelenskyy slams 'significant escalation'

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy accused Russia of firing missiles into Polish territory.

In a video message, Zelenskyy described the strike as a blow to collective security. He also said the strike was a "significant escalation."

"Today, something that we have been warning for a long time has also happened. Terror is not limited to our state borders. Russian missiles hit Poland ... Hit missiles on NATO territory. This is a Russian missile attack on collective security! This is a very significant escalation," Zelensky said in a video message.

NATO expected to hold meeting 

A NATO official told DW's Teri Schultz in Brussels that officials were looking into the reports and consulting closely with Poland.

Schultz reported it was highly likely there would be an Article 4 meeting at NATO in Brussels on Wednesday morning.  

Article 4 of the NATO treaty covers the case when a member state feels threatened by another country or a terrorist organization.  The talks look at whether a threat exists and how to counter it, with decisions arrived at unanimously. Article 4 does not, however, mean that there will be direct pressure to act.

US 'looking into' reports

The Pentagon said it could not confirm the reports.

"We are aware of the press reports alleging that two Russian missiles have struck a location inside Poland near the Ukraine border. I can tell you that we don't have any information at this time to corroborate those reports and are looking into this further," Pentagon spokesperson Patrick Ryder told a news briefing.

The White House National Security Council also said it was verifying the news.

"We've seen these reports out of Poland and are working with the Polish government to gather more information," NSC spokeswoman Adrienne Watson wrote on Twitter. 

Russia denies involvement

Russia's Defense Ministry has called the reports "a deliberate provocation."

It said Russian forces did not fire any missiles in the area and rejected responsibility

"Statements by Polish media and officials about 'Russian' missiles allegedly falling in the area of the settlement of Przewodow are a deliberate provocation aimed  at escalating the situation," the ministry said in a statement.

It added that images shared by Polish media showed no sign of Russian weapons.

Neighboring countries respond to reports

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said Berlin was "monitoring the situation closely."

She said Berlin was in contact with neighboring Poland and other NATO allies.

Latvian Deputy Prime Minister Artis Pabriks, who is also Latvia's defense minister, said explosions in the Polish village were caused by a missile strike, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Pabriks told the newspaper that Polish officials confirmed the news about missiles strikes.

"Criminal Russian regime fired missiles which target not only Ukrainian civilians but also landed on NATO territory in Poland. Latvia fully stands with Polish friends and condemns this crime," Pabriks wrote on Twitter.

The Hungarian government spokesperson, Zoltan Kovacs, said that Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orban has convened a meeting of the Defense Council as well. The meeting is underway.

Kovacs said the meeting was in response to the "stop the oil transfer through the Druzbha pipeline and the missile hitting territory of Poland."

Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala wrote on Twitter that if Poland confirmed the alleged Russian missile strikes, it "will be a further escalation by Russia."

Fiala added that Czech Republic stood "firmly behind our EU and NATO ally."

A general view of National Security Bureau as meeting of the security committee is on the way in connection with the missile attack on the territory of Poland, in Warsaw, Poland, November 15, 2022
Poland convened an emergency meeting after the blastImage: Maciek Jazwiecki/Agencja Wyborcza.pl via REUTERS

Poland convenes emergency meeting

Piotr Mueller, the spokesman for Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, wrote on Twitter that the premier has called for an emergency meeting with national security ministers and defense ministers.

Mueller said the urgent meeting was due to a "crisis situation."

Russian missiles cross into NATO member Poland: report

Russian missile strikes have crossed into Poland, killing two people, the Associated Press (AP) news agency reported on Tuesday.

Polish media reported that two people died Tuesday afternoon after a projectile struck Przewodow, a Polish village near the border with Ukraine.

The AP cited a US intelligence official, but the Pentagon said it could not confirm the reports.

Russia missiles strike Ukrainian cities, knock out power in Moldova

Russian missiles struck briefly multiple Ukrainian cities earlier on Tuesday, hours after Ukrainian President Zelenksyy delivered a video address to leaders of the G20 in Bali, Indonesia, calling upon leaders to end the war and isolate Russia diplomatically.

Zelenskyy said some 85 Russian missiles rained down on several Ukrainian cities, including in capital city Kyiv.

Other major Ukrainian cities reported massive power outages following the strikes. 

Moldova also lost power Tuesday temporarily, after Russian missiles strikes on Ukrainian energy infrastructure downed a key power transmission line to the small nation to the south of Ukraine.

lo,rm, ss/fb (AP, AFP, dpa, Reuters)

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