Synopsis: “Russian made” missile killed two people in NATO-member Poland.
World leaders gathered in Bali for the G20 summit are attempting to defuse a potential escalation in the months-long Ukraine war.
World leaders hold emergency meeting as ‘Russian made’ missile kills two in Poland
World leaders gathered in Bali for the G20 summit are attempting to defuse a potential escalation in the months-long Ukraine war after a “Russian made” missile killed two people in NATO-member Poland.
On Tuesday afternoon, the missile landed outside the rural Polish village of Przewodow, about four miles (6.4 kilometres) west of the Ukrainian border, around the same time Russia launched its largest wave of missile attacks on Ukrainian cities in more than a month, just hours after Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelensky proposed a peace plan in front of world leaders at the G20 summit in Indonesia.
Air raid sirens wailed across Ukraine shortly after the country’s leader unveiled a 10-point plan that included the withdrawal of Russian troops and the restoration of Ukraine’s territorial integrity.
According to senior Ukrainian officials, the strikes targeted power infrastructure in several regions of the country, leaving more than seven million Ukrainians without power and the country’s electricity supply in critical condition.
The circumstances surrounding the incident of killing two polish people, which marks the first direct hit on a NATO country during the nearly nine-month conflict, remain unknown. It is unknown who launched the missile or where it was launched from, though the Polish Foreign Ministry described it as “Russian made.”
During the conflict, both Russian and Ukrainian forces used Russian made munitions, with Ukraine deploying Russian made missiles as part of its air defence system.
Speaking to reporters after an emergency meeting with G7 and NATO leaders on the sidelines of the G20 summit, US President Joe Biden said preliminary information suggested the missile was launched from within Russia, but he couldn’t say definitively until the investigation was completed.
“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 that the leaders had expressed their condolences for the deaths 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 remarks, a NATO military official told sources that the missile was being tracked by an alliance plane flying above Polish airspace at the time of the explosion.
“Intel with the radar tracks [of the missile] was provided to NATO and Poland,” the NATO military official added. The NATO official did not specify who launched the missile or where it was launched from.
The Tuesday missile strike within Poland’s borders “would not have happened if Russia had not launched horrific missile attacks against Ukraine,” Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said in an online statement Wednesday.
“The G7 and present NATO members convened a meeting this morning in Bali during the G20 to discuss the incident in Poland last night. We are united in our message that we first need to establish the facts and therefore support Poland’s investigation,” Rutte wrote.
While it was unclear who launched the missile, Polish President Andrzej Duda stated earlier Tuesday that it was “most likely” manufactured in Russia.
“We are working calmly and very calmly,” Duda said during a Bureau of National Security address in Warsaw.
On Wednesday, Russia’s UN mission stated that “the incident in Poland is an attempt to provoke a direct military clash between NATO and Russia,” adding that the incident would be the focus of attention at the UN Security Council meeting later that day.
It went on to say that photos of wreckage published by Polish media from the scene in Przewodow “have nothing to do with Russian weapons.”
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki stated that Poland would increase its military readiness and was considering invoking Article 4 of the NATO Treaty.
Whatever the outcome of the Polish-led investigation, the incident has reaffirmed long-held concerns about the possibility of a battlefield miscalculation sparking a NATO-Russian conflict.
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