Biden Says It's 'Unlikely' Missile That Hit Poland Fired From Russia

Asked by a reporter if a missile that left two dead in Poland was fired by Russia, US President Joe Biden said: “There is preliminary information that contests that. I don’t want to say that until we completely investigate, but it is unlikely.”

NATO and G7 leaders assembled for the G20 summit in Indonesia have determined that any response to the incident will be collective, Biden told the press on Wednesday, November 16.

“We agreed to support Poland’s investigation into the explosion in rural Poland near the Ukrainian border, and I’m going to make sure we figure out exactly what happened,” Biden said.

“And then we’re going to collectively determine our next step as we investigate and proceed,” he said.

NATO and the G7 leaders published a joint statement expressing condolences for the families of the people killed in Poland and Ukraine, and offering “full support” for Poland’s investigation.

Polish President Andrzej Duda said early on Wednesday that it was unclear who launched the missile that caused the deadly explosion at 3:40 pm local time in Przewodow, a small village near the Poland-Ukraine border.

Two people were killed in what the president called an “isolated incident,” at a farm near the border, after Russia fired more than 90 missiles at Ukraine on Tuesday, including the western city of Lviv, which is just over 100 km southeast of Przewodow.

Duda said the projectile was mostly likely a Russian-made missile. Both Russia and Ukraine employ some of the same weapons, such as S-300 type surface-to-air missiles.

Moscow has denied striking the Ukraine-Poland border area.

The Polish Foreign Ministry summoned Russia’s ambassador to demand “immediate detailed explanations” for the blast.

Duda’s office said the government would consider asking for NATO member consultations under Article 4 of the alliance’s treaty. The president has called for calm as investigations are carried out.

NATO was set to hold a meeting in Brussels later on Wednesday. Credit: Joe Biden via Storyful

Video transcript

JOE BIDEN: Thanks for being here. As you saw, I just met with the leaders of NATO and the G7, and talked about the latest events in Europe. And I briefed them on my discussions with President Duda of Poland as well as NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg. And we agreed to support Poland's investigation into the explosion in rural Poland, near the Ukrainian border. And I'm going to make sure we figure out exactly what happened.

Our empathy, sympathy goes out to apparently two people were killed. And then we're going to collectively determine our next step as we investigate and proceed. There was total unanimity among the folks at the table. We also discussed the latest series of Russian missile attacks, which are continuing the brutality and inhumanity that they've demonstrated throughout this war against Ukrainian cities and civilian infrastructures. And they've been totally unconscionable what they're doing. Totally unconscionable.

And the moment when the world had come together at the G20 to urge de-escalation, Russia continues to chosen to escalate in Ukraine. While we're meeting. I mean, there were scores and scores of attack, missile attacks in the Western Ukraine. We supported Ukraine fully in this moment. And we have since the start of this conflict and continue to do whatever it takes to give them the capacity to defend themselves.

- Mr. President, are you able to say whether this missile was fired from Russia?

JOE BIDEN: There is preliminary information that contests that. I don't want to say that till we completely investigate. But it is-- it's unlikely in the minds of the trajectory that it was fired from Russia. But we'll see.

- Mr. President-- invoking Article 4 of 5 of NATO, sir?

JOE BIDEN: The suggestion is we're going to probably have a meeting of the ambassadors. So that looks like where we're going to go to next. Thank you.

- OK, thank you, guys.