- Biden says the missile was “probably” fired from Russia
- Moscow said the missile was a Ukrainian air defense S-300
WARSAW, Nov 16 (Reuters) – U.S. President Joe Biden told allies that the missile that killed two people in Poland was a Ukrainian air defense missile, NATO sources said on Wednesday.
Earlier, Biden publicly stated that it was unlikely that the missile was fired by Russia. If confirmed, the first fatal incident in a NATO country since the start of the war in Ukraine would ease concerns that the escalation is likely.
NATO ambassadors were due to hold an emergency meeting on Wednesday to discuss Tuesday’s explosion at a grain dryer in eastern Poland near the border with Ukraine, which came as Russia fired several missiles at towns in Ukraine.
Kyiv says it shot down most of the incoming Russian missiles with its own air defense missiles. Ukraine’s Volyn region, across the border from Poland, was one of Ukraine’s claims targeted by Russia’s attacks.
The Russian Defense Ministry said none of its missiles came closer than 35 km (20 miles) from the Polish border, and photos of the wreckage showed components of a Ukrainian S-300 air defense missile.
Asked if it was too early to say whether the missile was fired by Russia, Biden said: “There is preliminary information that contradicts it. I don’t want to say until we fully investigate it, but it’s not possible. It was fired by Russia. was done, but we’ll see.”
The United States and NATO countries will conduct a thorough investigation before taking action, Biden said in Indonesia after meeting with other Western leaders on the sidelines of a summit of 20 major economies.
The Kremlin said on Wednesday that some countries had made “baseless statements” about the incident, but Washington was relatively restrained. Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters that Russia had nothing to do with the incident, saying it was caused by the S-300 air defense system.
Poland’s foreign ministry said the rocket landed in the village of Przewodo, 6 km (4 miles) from the border with Ukraine.
Polish President Andrzej Duda told reporters it was “most likely a Russian-made missile”, but there was no concrete evidence of who fired it. Both Russia’s long-range missiles and air defense missiles used by Ukraine use Soviet designs.
A resident, who declined to be identified, said the two victims were men who were near the weigh area of the grain facility.
Some Western leaders said Russia was ultimately responsible for whoever fired the missile.
“He stressed that, whatever the outcome of that investigation, Putin’s invasion of Ukraine is fully responsible for the ongoing violence,” British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s office said after a meeting between Sunak and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Writing by Peter Graf, edited by John Stonestreet and John Boyle
Our Standards: Principles of Thomson Reuters Trust.