A missile that killed two people in Poland was probably not fired from Russia, President Joe Biden has said, after holding talks with leaders of Western allies amid concerns the Ukraine conflict could escalate into a much bigger war involving transatlantic military alliance, NATO and Russia.
The missile explosion on Tuesday, at a grain facility near the Ukrainian border came as Russia unleashed a wave of missiles targeting Ukrainian energy infrastructure, attacks that Kyiv said were the heaviest in nearly nine months of war.
The Polish foreign ministry said the rocket fell on Przewodow, a village about 6 km (4 miles) from the border with Ukraine but according to U.S. officials, initial findings suggested that the missile that hit Poland was fired by Ukrainian forces at an incoming Russian missile.
The Polish President Andrzej Duda had also told reporters earlier that it was “most likely a Russian-made missile”, but there was no concrete evidence of who fired it, and the incident was a one-off.
Following initial claims that the missiles were fired from Russia a move that could trigger NATO’s article 5, Russia’s defense ministry denied that any 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.
“There is an attempt to provoke a direct military clash between NATO and Russia, with all the consequences for the world,” Dmitry Polyansky, the head of the permanent mission of Russia to the United Nations, said on his Telegram channel.
Biden convened a meeting of several leaders gathered in Bali, Indonesia, for a G20 summit to discuss the incident. 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.
Asked whether it was too early to say if the 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 it, but it is unlikely in the lines of the trajectory that it was fired from Russia but we’ll see.”
“The United States and NATO countries would fully investigate before acting”, Biden said.
NATO ambassadors are expected to meet later on Wednesday.