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Biden: Poland Explosion 'Unlikely' Fired from Russia

Biden speaks to the media after a Russian missile blast in Bali
Biden speaks to the media after a Russian missile blast in Bali

BALI, INDONESIA — Leaders of NATO and the Group of Seven met for an emergency meeting Wednesday morning local time on the sidelines of the Group of 20 summit in Bali to discuss the explosion in eastern Poland that Warsaw has attributed to a Russian-made missile, potentially marking a significant escalation in Russia's war on Ukraine.

"We agreed to support Poland's investigation into the explosion in rural Poland near the Ukrainian border," U.S. President Joe Biden told reporters after the meeting. "And I'm going make sure we figure out exactly what happened."

In a hastily arranged emergency meeting, U.S. President Joe Biden convened leaders of Canada, the European Commission, the European Council, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Spain, the United Kingdom following the explosion.

Biden said at this point it was unlikely that the missile was fired from Russia.

"There's preliminary information that contest that. I don't want to say that until we completely investigate," he added.


US, NATO Investigating Reports of Deadly Russian Missile Strike in Poland

Initial findings suggest that the missile that hit Poland was fired by Ukrainian forces at an incoming Russian missile, according to The Associated Press, which cited U.S. officials.

NATO and Russia Clashes

Moscow's representative to the United Nations said that the blast was designed to spark a war between Russia and NATO.

"There is an attempt to provoke a direct military clash between NATO and Russia, with all the consequences for the world," Dmitry Polyansky said in a statement posted on his Telegram channel.

During their emergency meeting Wednesday, leaders also discussed the latest series of Russian missile attacks, Biden said, calling Moscow's actions "totally unconscionable."

"And the moment when the world had come together at the G-20 to urge de-escalation, Russia continues to — has chosen to escalate in Ukraine. While we're meeting," Biden said.

The U.S. president was awakened overnight by staff with news of the missile explosion. He spoke over the phone with Polish President Andrzej Duda and with NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg prior to convening the NATO and G-7 meeting, a meeting made up of representatives of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and major industrial nations.

Biden promised Duda "full U.S. support for and assistance with Poland's investigation" and "reaffirmed the United States' ironclad commitment to NATO." He expressed condolences for the loss of life. Poland said the blast killed two people.

The explosion marked the first time since the invasion of Ukraine that Russian weapons came down on a NATO country. Warsaw has requested a NATO meeting on the basis of Article 4 of the alliance's founding treaty, two European diplomats told Reuters.

According to Article 4, members can raise any issue of concern, especially related to the security of a member country.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy decried the strike as "a very significant escalation" of the war.

Meanwhile just as Biden was making his statement on Russian aggression, former President Donald Trump reiterated his claim that "Ukraine would have never happened if I were your president."

Speaking from his Mar-a-Lago club and home in Palm Beach, Florida, Trump, who refused to accept the results of the 2020 presidential election and inspired a deadly riot at the Capitol, was announcing he would seek the presidency again in 2024.

G-20 Leaders Statement

At the end of the G-20 summit Wednesday, the group released their Leaders Statement saying that "most" members "strongly condemned" the war in Ukraine and stressed the conflict is exacerbating an already fragile global economy.

"There were other views and different assessments of the situation and sanctions," the leaders said in a statement, adding that the G-20 is not "the forum to resolve security issues, we acknowledge that security issues can have significant consequences for the global economy."

In what appears to be a veiled criticism against Russia's aggression, leaders stated that the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons is "inadmissible." The group also called for the extension of the agreement with Russia that allows Ukrainian grain export set to expire Saturday.

News of the explosion had derailed events of the G-20 summit in Bali hosted by President Joko Widodo. G-7 leaders arrived over an hour late to the mangrove planting event designed to highlight the group's climate agenda.

"The G-20 is an economic forum, a financial forum, and diplomat forum, not a political forum. So here we talk about the economy," Widodo told a reporter at the event's site as he was waiting for the G-7 leaders' arrival.

The Indonesian leader filled the delay time by giving reporters a tour of the mangroves.

The head of the Russian delegation, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, was not at the event held at Bali's mangrove forest park. Russian state media reported that he had left the island.

VOA's White House correspondent Anita Powell and VOA's State Department Bureau chief Nike Ching contributed to this report. Some information came from Reuters and The Associated Press.