WE President Joe Biden emerged from an emergency meeting with key allies on his final day at the G20 in Indonesia vowing to ‘understand exactly what happened’ after a Russian-made missile fell inside the borders of a NATO ally.
“We have agreed to support Poland’s investigations into the explosion in rural Poland near the Ukrainian border and we will make sure we understand exactly what happened,” Biden told reporters after his roundtable discussion. emergency with the leaders at the G20 summit.
Biden added, “Then we will collectively determine the next step as we investigate.”
The president had just left the meeting in Bali on Wednesday morning local time. The talks took place after the Polish Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday evening that the “Russian-made missile” fell on the village of Przewodów. On Wednesday, Polish President Andrzej Duda said the missile that landed in Poland on Tuesday was “probably an accident” on the Ukrainian side while intercepting incoming Russian missiles.
The statement appeared to confirm something Biden hinted at earlier when speaking to the press after being asked if the missile was fired from Russia.
“There is preliminary information that disputes this,” he replied.
He added: ‘I don’t want to say that until we fully investigate. It is unlikely in the spirit of the trajectory that it was fired from Russia. But we will see.
The Russian Defense Ministry had denied that any strikes had been carried out on targets near the Ukraine-Poland border.
Biden and G7 and NATO leaders were present at the roundtable. The meeting included Biden and leaders from Canada, the European Union, Spain, Italy, France, Germany, the Netherlands and Japan, the officials said.
The president said there was “complete unanimity among the people around the table” on how to respond to the incident. He did not provide further information on the source of the missile.
During a call with Duda earlier, Biden “expressed deep condolences for the loss of life in eastern Poland earlier this evening,” the White House said in a statement.
“President Duda described Poland’s ongoing assessment of the explosion that took place in the eastern part of the country near the border with Ukraine. President Biden has offered the full support and assistance of the United States to Poland’s investigation,” the reading continued.
Biden “reaffirmed the United States’ ironclad commitment to NATO” and the leaders agreed that their teams “stay in close contact to determine appropriate next steps as the investigation proceeds.”
At the summit, Biden and most G20 members were expected to sign a statement condemning Russia’s war in Ukraine “and the human suffering it has caused both to Ukrainians and to families in the developing world who face food and energy insecurity as a result”. ,” according to a senior administration official previewing the statement. Such an expression of condemnation was the work of months of diplomacy between G20 leaders. However, it is not yet clear which countries will sign the declaration.
Before embarking on a long trip back to Washington, Biden participated in a mangrove tree planting with other G20 leaders. He also met Prime Minister Rishi Sunak of the United Kingdom for the first time since Sunak took office last month.
Sunak took over as prime minister late last month when he replaced Liz Truss, now the shortest prime minister in UK history. Truss resigned six weeks after a term that plunged Britain in political and economic turmoil. Sunak is the first person of color and the first Hindu to rule the UK. He is also the youngest to hold this position in over 200 years.
White House officials were expecting a split-screen moment this week as Biden met with world leaders in Bali at the same time his predecessor announced a third presidential election.
But the momentum was amplified when Biden called the emergency talks at the same time Trump loyalists filled the Mar-a-Lago ballroom for former President Donald Trump’s announcement.
Biden was leading the crisis talks with members of the G7 and NATO in Bali – two groupings Trump has questioned the usefulness of his tenure.
Less than 10 minutes after he finished speaking to reporters, Trump took the stage at Mar-a-Lago.
Prior to the trip, Biden’s advisers weren’t particularly concerned about split-screen, and after Democrats’ better-than-expected midterm elections, they were even less suspicious of Trump’s announcement of a third candidacy. in the presidency while Biden was in Asia.
On the one hand, Biden officials are happy to draw comparisons between the current president and the former on the foreign stage, given the general chaos that has often followed Trump on his foreign trips.
Biden’s team also believes the president’s newfound acclaim among Democrats compares favorably to Trump’s postmidterm status in the Republican Party — a picture still evolving, but showing signs of erosion.
Trump’s announcement will surely spark renewed attention on Biden regarding decision-making regarding his re-election bid. By all accounts, including his closest advisers, Biden will feel more inclined to seek a second term if Trump is in the running.
During his meetings in Asia this week, Biden was approached by other leaders congratulating the midterm results, a signal that America’s political contests were being closely watched by leaders on the other side of the world.
It was a phenomenon that surprised some of his aides, especially the specificity with which many leaders looked. It was a sign, according to a senior administration official, that the stakes in the midterm elections extended well beyond US borders. Biden himself had framed the contest as putting democracy on the ballot — issues that leaders in foreign capitals were keenly sensitive to as they worked to determine which way the political winds were blowing in the United States.
Ahead of the election, foreign diplomats stationed in Washington traveled the country to try to determine the political temperature, all in an effort to determine whether Trump might be ready for a political comeback.
If the collection of election deniers and Trump cronies vying for the job amounted to a signal that the former president’s influence was still alive within Republican politics – and that his return to the White House remained a distinct possibility – the widespread rejection of these candidates last week sent another signal abroad.
For Biden, the timing couldn’t have been more opportune. The prospect of mid-course annihilation loomed over preparations for his trip around the world for the past few weeks. Widespread Republican victories — including by election deniers — would seriously complicate the president’s core message that democracies will prevail over autocracies.
Trump’s tease of a campaign announcement just as Biden would rally the world behind Democratic ideals only raised the stakes.