Poland says missile that killed 2 was 'very likely' fired by Ukrainian air defense

Polish President Andrzej Duda stands with arms extended and palms face up in front of a few flags.
Polish President Andrzej Duda at a meeting in Warsaw on Wednesday in connection with a missile attack on Polish territory. (Slawomir Kaminski/Agencja via Reuters)

Poland said Wednesday that a missile that landed in a village near the Ukrainian border, leaving two people dead, was “very likely” caused by Kyiv’s air defenses.

“Most likely, this was an unfortunate accident,” Polish President Andrzej Duda said, referring to Ukraine's having defended itself against a barrage of Russian missiles that targeted the country the day before.

Following a conference with G20 and NATO leaders, President Biden told reporters it was “unlikely” to have been fired from Russia. “But we will see,” he added.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg will host an emergency meeting with ambassadors on Wednesday to discuss the missile strike. Duda said he told Stoltenberg and Biden it is “highly probable” that NATO’s Polish ambassador “will request to invoke Article 4, that is consultations among the allies.” According to Article 4 of the NATO treaty, a member country will “consult together whenever, in the opinion of any of them, the territorial integrity, political independence or security of any of the Parties is threatened.”

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz with President Biden, French President Emmanuel Macron, Spain's Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, Britain's Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, Spain's Foreign Minister José Manuel Albares Bueno, French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna, Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
President Biden, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, French President Emmanuel Macron and other leaders discuss the missile strike at the G20 summit in Indonesia on Wednesday. (Steffen Hebestreit/BPA/Handout via Reuters)

Speaking to reporters, Stoltenberg said: “Let me be clear, this is not Ukraine’s fault. Russia bears responsibility for what happened in Poland yesterday, because this is a direct result of the ongoing war and a wave of attacks from Russia against Ukraine yesterday.”

Initial reports from Poland stated that the missile, which killed two people at a farm building in Przewodów, was Russian-made. Belgium’s minister of defense said that both “pieces of Russian missiles and a Ukrainian interception missile” landed in Poland. “To be confirmed by ongoing investigations,” the minister, Ludivine Dedonder, wrote in a tweet.

On Tuesday, military officials said that Russia fired more than 90 missiles into Ukraine. Though 77 of the strikes were shot down, some hit the city of Lviv, a city close to Poland’s border.

Three police officers stand in the road by two police vans, one of which appears to be blocking the road.
Police officers stand at a blockade after the explosion in Przewodów, Poland, on Wednesday. (Kacper Pempel/Reuters)

However, Russia denied any involvement in launching the missiles that struck Poland and criticized Western countries for reacting “hysterically,” though it noted that Biden had shown restraint, Reuters reported.

This comes after Ukraine dismissed as a “conspiracy theory” allegations that one of its missiles had struck Poland. “No one should buy Russian propaganda or amplify its messages,” Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba tweeted on Tuesday night. “This lesson should have been long learnt since the downing of MH17.”

Earlier on Wednesday, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak accused Russia of showing “utter contempt” for the international order and said the strike in Poland would never have happened “without the Russian invasion of Ukraine.”