- Biden says “unlikely” missile fired from Russia
- Moscow says the missile was a Ukrainian air defense S-300
WARSAW, Nov 16 (Reuters) – U.S. President Joe Biden told allies that a missile that killed two people in Poland was a Ukrainian air defense missile, a NATO source said on Wednesday.
Earlier, Biden publicly said it was unlikely the missile was fired from Russia. If confirmed, that would likely ease concern that the first deadly incident in a NATO country since the war in Ukraine began could lead to an escalation.
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 Ukrainian border, which occurred as Russia fired scores of missiles at cities across Ukraine.
Kyiv says it has shot down most of the incoming Russian missiles with its own air defense missiles. The Volyn region of Ukraine, just over the border from Poland, was one of many in Ukraine that was targeted by Russian attacks.
The Russian Defense Ministry said none of its missiles had hit closer than 35 km (20 miles) from the Polish border, and pictures of the wreckage showed elements of a Ukrainian S-300 air defense missile.
Asked if it was too early to say whether the missile was fired from Russia, Biden said: “There is preliminary information that challenges that. I don’t want to say that until we fully investigate it, but it’s n unlikely in the lines of the route it was fired from Russia, but we’ll see.”
The United States and NATO countries would investigate fully before acting, Biden said in Indonesia after meeting with other Western leaders on the sidelines of the G20 summit of major economies.
The Kremlin said on Wednesday that some countries had made “baseless statements” about the incident, but that Washington had been relatively restrained. Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters that Russia had nothing to do with the incident, which he said was caused by the S-300 air defense system.
Poland’s Foreign Ministry said the rocket fell on Przewodow, a village about 6 km (4 miles) from the Ukrainian border.
Polish President Andrzej Duda told reporters that it was “most likely a Russian-made missile”, but there was no concrete evidence of who fired it. Russian 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 weighing area of a grain facility.
Some Western leaders said that whoever fired the missile was ultimately responsible for Russia.
“They emphasized that whatever the outcome of that investigation, Putin’s attack on Ukraine is to blame 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 Graff Editing by John Stonestreet and Jon Boyle
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.