World leaders are gathering for the G20 summit in Bali as NATO member Poland seeks to defuse a possible escalation in the months-Fri war in Ukraine.
The missile landed outside the Polish village of Przewodow, four miles (6.4 km) west of the border with Ukraine, on Tuesday, just as Russia launched its biggest missile attack in more than a month.
The circumstances surrounding the incident, which marked the first direct attack on a NATO country in the nearly nine-month conflict, remain unclear. The Polish Foreign Ministry described it as a Russian-made missile, but did not know who launched it. It is not known where the shots were fired.
Russian and Ukrainian forces have used Russian-made munitions during the conflict, and Ukraine has deployed Russian-made missiles as part of its air defense system.
Speaking to reporters after an emergency meeting of G7 and NATO leaders at the G20 summit in Bali, Indonesia, U.S. President Joe Biden said preliminary information suggested it was unlikely the missile was fired from inside Russia, but he did not. We can’t say for sure until the investigation is over.
“We have agreed to support Poland’s investigation into the explosion … and to find out exactly what happened,” Biden said. “So as we continue to investigate, we will collectively decide our next step.” There is absolute unity among the people around the table,” he added.
Biden said he briefed the leaders in earlier talks with Polish President Andrzej Duda and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.
In comments earlier Tuesday, Duda said it was unclear which missile was launched, but noted that it was most likely manufactured in Russia. “We are working calmly and calmly,” Duda said during a speech from the National Security Bureau in Warsaw.
The Kremlin denied that the Russian Defense Ministry was involved in the blast, which was first reported by Polish media, which first reported the deaths, and called it a “deliberate provocation to escalate the situation,” according to a brief statement late Tuesday.
It said photos of the wreckage published by Polish media had nothing to do with Russian weapons at the scene in the village of Przewodow.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told CNN he had no information about the explosion in Poland.
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said on Tuesday that the missile that landed in Przewodow was a “single act” and that there was no evidence of another missile launch.
But Poland is increasing its military readiness, Morawiecki said, adding that Poland is conducting thorough analysis and negotiations with its allies regarding the use of Article 4 of the NATO treaty. Article 4 allows any member to enter into negotiations with other alliances and states.
Witnesses described the blast as a terrifying “whoosh” as it ripped through the city and shook nearby windows.
Geo-verified by CNN, the video, shot by a local resident, shows a large plume of smoke in the center of the village.
Local media showed images of a crater and an overturned farm vehicle at the site of the blast. Photos could not be independently verified by CNN.
In his speech, Duda said the United States would send experts to investigate the site.
After a phone call with Duda on Tuesday, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said it was “important to get all the facts out.”
“We express our condolences for the loss of life. NATO is monitoring the situation and allies are consulting closely. It is important that all information is disclosed,” Stoltenberg said in a statement.