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Missile Kills Two People In Poland Unlikely Fired From Russia: Biden
The explosion at a grain facility near the Ukrainian border occurred on the same day that Russia launched a barrage of missiles at Ukrainian energy infrastructure, which Kyiv described as the heaviest in nearly nine months of conflict
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A missile that killed two people in Poland was most likely not fired by Russia, according to US President Joe Biden, who spoke with leaders of Western allies on Wednesday amid concerns that the Ukraine conflict could spill over into neighbouring countries.
The explosion at a grain facility near the Ukrainian border occurred on the same day that Russia launched a barrage of missiles at Ukrainian energy infrastructure, which Kyiv described as the heaviest in nearly nine months of conflict.
According to the Polish Foreign Ministry, the rocket landed in Przewodow, a village about 6 kilometres from the Ukrainian border.
According to US officials, preliminary findings indicate that the missile that struck Poland was fired by Ukrainian forces in response to an incoming Russian missile, according to the Associated Press.
Earlier, Polish President Andrzej Duda told reporters that the missile was “most likely Russian-made,” but there was no concrete evidence of who fired it and the incident was isolated.
According to a resident who declined to be identified, the two victims were men who were near a grain facility's weighing area.
The Russian defence ministry denied that any Russian missiles had struck Polish territory, calling such reports “a deliberate provocation aimed at escalating the situation.” Dmitry Peskov, the Kremlin spokesman, said he has no information about the explosion in Poland.
Any Russian attack on Poland could exacerbate the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, as members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) are obligated to collective defence under Article 5 of the treaty.
To discuss the incident, Biden convened a meeting of several leaders gathered in Bali, Indonesia, for the G20 summit. NATO leaders from Germany, Canada, the Netherlands, Spain, Italy, France and the United Kingdom attended, as did non-NATO member Japan and European Union representatives.
When asked if it was too soon to say whether the missile was launched from Russia, Biden said, “There is preliminary information that contests that. I don't want to say anything until we thoroughly investigate it, but the trajectory suggests that it was fired from Russia, but we'll see.”
Biden said that the US and NATO countries would conduct a thorough investigation before taking action.
Polish officials in Warsaw said their government planned to request a NATO meeting under Article 4 of the treaty for consultations among allies and raise the issue at a UN Security Council meeting on Wednesday.
According to the White House, during a phone call, Biden told Duda that Washington has an “ironclad commitment to NATO” and will support Poland's investigation.
According to the Associated Press, a senior US intelligence official said the blast was caused by Russian missiles that had crossed into Poland.
However, the Pentagon, White House and US State Department all said that they could not confirm the report and were working with the Polish government to gather more information. The State Department called the report “extremely concerning.”
Other Western allies said they were monitoring the situation and assessing information as soon as possible.
According to Latvian Deputy Prime Minister Artis Pabriks, the situation is “unacceptable” and could lead to NATO providing more anti-aircraft defences to Poland and Ukraine.
Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov said Kyiv had warned of the threat Russian missiles posed to neighbouring countries and had called for a no-fly zone to be imposed.
“We were requesting that the sky be closed because the sky has no boundaries. Not for unguided missiles. Not because of the threat they pose to our EU and NATO neighbours. The gloves have been removed. It's time to win,” Reznikov said on Twitter.