Ukrainian missile responsible for Poland blast, Biden says - NATO

Former Russian president: "The incident with the Ukrainian-alleged 'missile strike' on a Polish farm proves just one thing: waging a hybrid war against Russia, the West moves closer to world war."

 Members of the media stand near a police blockade as a police vehicle passes by after explosions in Przewodow, a village in eastern Poland near the border with Ukraine, November 16, 2022. (photo credit: KACPER PEMPEL/REUTERS)
Members of the media stand near a police blockade as a police vehicle passes by after explosions in Przewodow, a village in eastern Poland near the border with Ukraine, November 16, 2022.
(photo credit: KACPER PEMPEL/REUTERS)

US President Joe Biden told G7 and NATO partners that a missile blast in Poland was caused by a Ukrainian air defense missile, a NATO source told Reuters on Wednesday.

This comes after initial findings suggested that the missile that hit Poland was fired by Ukrainian forces at an incoming Russian missile, Associated Press reported on Wednesday, citing US officials.

This latest report contradicts earlier intelligence provided by US officials that the missile that hit Poland was of Russian origin.

Ukraine's senior presidential adviser said Wednesday morning that Russia is responsible for all missile incidents.

"In my opinion, it is necessary to adhere to only one logic. The war was started and is being waged by Russia. Russia massively attacks Ukraine with cruise missiles. Russia has turned the eastern part of the European continent into an unpredictable battlefield. Intent, means of execution, risks, escalation - all this is only Russia. And there can be no other explanation for any incidents with missiles."

Mykhailo Podolyak

"In my opinion, it is necessary to adhere to only one logic. The war was started and is being waged by Russia. Russia massively attacks Ukraine with cruise missiles," Mykhailo Podolyak said. "Russia has turned the eastern part of the European continent into an unpredictable battlefield. Intent, means of execution, risks, escalation - all this is only Russia. And there can be no other explanation for any incidents with missiles."

 People wave Polish and Ukrainian flags during a demonstration in solidarity with Ukraine in Warsaw, Poland February 20, 2022. (credit: Jacek Marczewski/Agencja Wyborcza.pl via REUTERS) People wave Polish and Ukrainian flags during a demonstration in solidarity with Ukraine in Warsaw, Poland February 20, 2022. (credit: Jacek Marczewski/Agencja Wyborcza.pl via REUTERS)

However, Moscow said that Russian strikes in Ukraine had been no closer than 35 km (22 miles) from the Polish border.

"The photos published in the evening of Nov. 15 in Poland of the wreckage found in the village of Przewodow are unequivocally identified by Russian defense industry specialists as elements of an anti-aircraft guided missile of the S-300 air defense system of the Ukrainian air force," the Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement.

"The photos published in the evening of Nov. 15 in Poland of the wreckage found in the village of Przewodow are unequivocally identified by Russian defense industry specialists as elements of an anti-aircraft guided missile of the S-300 air defense system of the Ukrainian air force."

Russian Defense Ministry

Earlier, Polish President Andrzej Duda had told reporters 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.

Poland later said the missile was Russian-made but it was probable that the missile was accidentally fired by Ukrainian forces, though there is no indication that it was an intentional attack.

Finland's Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto told a news conference on Wednesday it was not yet possible to tell the origin of the missile.

Poland's national security council (BBN) said on Wednesday it will meet again at 1100 GMT amid concerns the Ukraine conflict could spill into neighboring countries.

"The BBN is currently analyzing the arrangements made so far with commanders, service chiefs and allies," BBN head Jacek Siewiera said in a post on Twitter.

What happened when a missile struck Poland?

Earlier Tuesday, Polish media reported that two people were killed in an explosion in the village of Przewodów, located near the border with Ukraine.

At the time, it was widely speculated that this could have been a Russian missile. Polish officials also confirmed that the missile was of Russian origin.

However, the Russian Defense Ministry called the reports about the impact of Russian missiles in Poland a "deliberate provocation," claiming that the Russian Armed Forces did not carry out any strikes near the Ukrainian-Polish border.

The Kremlin on Wednesday criticized how some Western leaders had responded to the incident.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters Russia had nothing to do with the blast, and said a number of countries had made "baseless statements" about Russia's involvement.

Former Russian president Dmitry Medvedev said that the alleged missile strike on Polish territory showed that the West was moving closer to another World War.

"The incident with the Ukrainian-alleged 'missile strike' on a Polish farm proves just one thing: waging a hybrid war against Russia, the West moves closer to world war," Medvedev wrote on Twitter.

"The incident with the Ukrainian-alleged 'missile strike' on a Polish farm proves just one thing: waging a hybrid war against Russia, the West moves closer to world war."

Dmitry Medvedev

Russia's permanent mission to the UN later called the incident an attempt to spark direct military clashes between Russia and NATO.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he respected Russia's response regarding the missile strike in Poland and said further investigation is needed. However, he added that he thinks this has nothing to do with Russia.

How has NATO responded to the missile hitting Poland?

A Russian strike on Poland could risk widening the conflict between Russia and Ukraine as members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) are committed to collective defense under its Article 5.

US President Joe Biden convened a meeting of 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.”

"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.”

US President Joe Biden

The United States and NATO countries would fully investigate before acting, Biden said.

Polish officials in Warsaw said that their government was likely to request a NATO meeting under the treaty's Article 4 for consultations among the allies, and also raise the issue at a UN Security Council meeting on Wednesday.

The United Kingdom will not rush to judgment on the incident as full details are not yet known, foreign minister James Cleverly told parliament.

Both Poland and the United States would have to agree to Ukraine taking part in the investigation into a missile that landed in a village in southeastern Poland, the Polish president said on Wednesday.

"The proceedings are conducted by Polish and American experts and if anyone was to be allowed to take part in these proceedings it would need at least the agreement of both parties," Andrzej Duda told a news conference.

Tzvi Joffre contributed to this report.