Poland missile explosion: World leaders hold emergency meeting as ‘Russian-made’ weapon kills two in Przewodow



CNN

World leaders meeting at the G20 summit in Bali are trying to diffuse a potential escalation in the months-long war in Ukraine after a ‘Russian-made’ missile landed inside Poland, a member of the NATO, killing two people.

The missile landed outside the rural Polish village of Przewodow, about 6.4 kilometers west of the Ukrainian border on Tuesday, around the same time Russia launched its biggest wave of missile attacks on Ukrainian cities in over a month.

The circumstances surrounding the incident, which marks the first time a NATO country has been directly hit in nearly nine months of conflict, remain unclear. It is not known who fired the missile or where it was fired from, although the Polish Foreign Ministry described it as “Russian-made”.

Both Russian and Ukrainian forces used Russian-made munitions during the conflict, with Ukraine deploying Russian-made missiles as part of its air defense system.

Speaking to reporters after holding an emergency meeting with G7 and NATO leaders on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Bali, Indonesia, US President Joe Biden said preliminary information suggested he was “unlikely” the missile was fired from Russia, but could not say conclusively until the investigation was complete.

“We’ve agreed to support Poland’s investigation into the explosion…And I’ll make sure we understand exactly what happened,” Biden said, adding that leaders had expressed sympathy for the death. of two people. “Then we will collectively determine our next step as we investigate and proceed. There was complete unanimity among the people around the table,” he added.

Biden said he briefed the others gathered on his discussions with Polish President Andrzej Duda and with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.

In comments earlier Tuesday, Duda noted that while it was unclear who launched the missile, it was “most likely” produced in Russia. “We are working calmly and very calmly,” Duda said during a National Security Office speech in Warsaw.

The Kremlin has denied any involvement in the blast, with Russia’s Defense Ministry calling reports from Polish media, which first reported the deaths, a ‘deliberate provocation with the aim of aggravating the situation’, according to a brief release Tuesday evening.

He added that photos of the wreckage published by Polish media “of the scene in the village of Przewodow have nothing to do with Russian weapons”.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told CNN he had no information about an explosion in Poland.

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said on Tuesday that evidence suggests the missile that landed in Przewodów was a “one-off” and that there is no evidence of new missile strikes.

But while urging calm, Morawiecki said Poland would increase its military readiness and consider activating Article 4 of the NATO treaty. Article 4 is a method of consultation that allows members of the 30-nation alliance to submit a matter – usually security – for discussion by the North Atlantic Council, its decision-making body.

Regardless of the outcome of Poland’s investigation, the incident has heightened long-standing concerns that a miscalculation on the battlefield could spark a NATO-Russia conflict.

A witness to the explosion said he heard a terrifying “whoosh” as the projectile flew over the city and the force of the explosion rattled nearby windows.

A video taken by a resident, geolocated and confirmed by CNN, shows a large plume of smoke in the center of the village.

At the site of the explosion, local media showed an image of a crater and an overturned farm vehicle. CNN cannot independently confirm the photos.

In his speech, Duda said the United States would send experts to investigate the site as part of a joint operation.

Speaking after a call with Duda on Tuesday, NATO chief Stoltenberg said it was ‘important that all the facts be established’

“I offered my condolences for the loss of life. NATO is monitoring the situation and the Allies are consulting closely. It is important that all the facts are established,” Stoltenberg said in a statement.

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