Poland blast may not be from Russian missile, Biden says
NUSA DUA, Indonesia – The United States and its Nato allies are investigating the blast that killed two in Poland, but early information suggests it may not have been caused by a missile fired from Russia, US President Joe Biden said on Wednesday.
Mr Biden spoke after global leaders, who are gathered for their Group of 20 (G-20) meeting in Bali, Indonesia, held an emergency meeting to discuss the incident near Poland’s border with Ukraine.
Asked about claims that the blast was linked to Russia, Mr 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... We’ll see.”
The meeting was convened by Mr Biden, the White House said. Leaders from the US, Germany, Canada, the Netherlands, Japan, Spain, Italy, France and Britain took part in the meeting. All except for Japan are members of Nato, the defence alliance that also includes Poland.
A determination that Moscow was to blame for the blast could trigger Nato’s principle of collective defence known as Article 5, in which an attack on one of the Western alliance’s members is deemed an attack on all, starting deliberations on a potential military response.
Poland’s President Andrzej Duda said earlier on Wednesday that there was no clear evidence of who fired the missile, but added that it was “most probably Russian-made”.
“We do not, for the moment, have unequivocal evidence of who fired the missile. An investigation is ongoing. It was most probably Russian-made,” he told reporters.
He also said it was “highly likely” that Poland’s ambassador to Nato will request urgent consultations under Article 4 at a meeting with other alliance ambassadors in Brussels on Wednesday.
Article 4 of the Nato Treaty states that consultations can be called when any Nato member feels its “territorial integrity, political independence or security” are at risk.
Not us, say both Kyiv and Kremlin
In Kyiv, Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said allegations that one of Ukraine’s missiles landed in Poland were a “conspiracy theory”.
“Russia now promotes a conspiracy theory that it was allegedly a missile of Ukrainian air defence that fell on the territory of Poland. Which is not true. No one should buy Russian propaganda or amplify its messages,” he said in a Twitter post.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in his nightly address that the strike in Poland proves that Russian terrorism is not limited to Ukraine, without offering evidence of such an attack.
“How many times has Ukraine said that the terrorist state will not stop on our country? Poland, the Baltic states – it’s only a matter of time before Russian terror goes further,” he said.
The Russian-appointed head of the Donetsk region of Ukraine, which is controlled by Russian forces, earlier described reports that a Russian missile landed in Poland as a “provocation” orchestrated by Kyiv.
“The situation with Poland is just a provocation, an attempt by the Kyiv regime to draw additional forces into the conflict,” Mr Denis Pushilin said on social media.
Russia’s Defence Ministry also dismissed reports that Russia’s missiles landed on Polish territory.
It said Russia did not aim weapons near the Ukrainian-Polish border, insisting the debris shown in media reports did not match Russian weapons. - AFP, REUTERS
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