Russia’s defense ministry has fiercely rejected Poland’s claim of a Russian missile striking Polish territory, slamming the allegation as “deliberate provocation aimed at escalating the situation”, amid reports, which blame Ukraine for the strike.
“No strikes on targets near the Ukrainian-Polish state border were made by Russian means of destruction,” the ministry said in an official statement amid rising tensions over the war on Ukraine that began in February.
The Russian ministry further emphasized that the wreckage reportedly discovered at the scene of the strike “has nothing to do with Russian weapons.”
Latest reports by the Associate Press, cited US officials as saying that the missile was fired by Ukrainian forces while aiming at “an incoming Russian missile.”
The missile landed on Tuesday outside the rural Polish village of Przewodow — nearly 6.4 kilometers west of the Ukrainian border, killing two people.
Press reports citing witnesses to the blast described hearing a terrifying “whoosh”, with the force of the explosion shaking the nearby areas.
This is while the circumstances surrounding the incident – marking the first time a member of the US-led NATO military alliance comes under a direct missile hit during the nearly 9-month conflict – remains unclear. It has not yet been clear who launched the missile and where it originated from, but the Polish Foreign Ministry merely described it as “Russian-made.”
Both Russia and Ukraine rely on variations of Soviet-era weapons, although Russia’s are more modern. Western-backed Ukraine has also deployed Russian-made missiles as part of their air defense system, besides Western weapons in their arsenal.
G20 leaders hold emergency meeting to discuss missile strike
Meanwhile, world leaders gathering at the G20 summit in Indonesia are reportedly scrambling to diffuse further escalation of the Ukraine war following the missile strike.
US President Joe Biden said at a press briefing following an emergency meeting with other G7 and NATO leaders on the sidelines of the G20 summit in the resort city of Bali that preliminary information suggested that it was “unlikely” the missile was fired from within Russia, noting that he could not yet confirm what happened until investigations into the incident were complete.
“We agreed to support Poland’s investigation into the explosion … And I’m going to make sure we figure out exactly what happened,” Biden declared.
“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,” he further asserted.
The US president also said he briefed the allied leaders on his earlier discussions with Polish President Andrzej Duda and with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.