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Biden: ‘Unlikely’ missile that hit Poland was fired from Russia, pending investigation

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(The Hill) – President Biden on Tuesday said it initially appears unlikely that a missile that hit a rural town in Poland near the Ukraine border was fired from Russia, but he said a final determination is pending a full investigation into the incident.

“There is preliminary information that contests that,” Biden told reporters when asked whether the missile was fired from Russia. “I don’t want to say until we completely investigate. It’s unlikely in the minds of the trajectory that it was fired from Russia.”

Biden, who is attending the Group of 20 (G-20) Summit in Bali, Indonesia, spoke to the press after convening a meeting with the leaders of France, Germany, Italy, Canada, Spain, Japan and the Netherlands. The leaders of the European Commission and European Union were also in attendance.

Hours earlier, a missile struck a grain silo in a village about 15 miles from the Ukraine border. Polish authorities said the missile was Russian-made. Russia’s Defense Ministry has denied firing any missiles near the Ukraine-Poland border. 

Biden spoke with Polish President Andrzej Duda before meeting with other allies in Bali.

“We agreed to support Poland’s investigation into the explosion in rural Poland near the Ukrainian border, and I’m going to make sure we figure out exactly what happened,” Biden told reporters after the meeting. “Then we’re going to collectively determine our next step as we investigate and proceed. There was total unanimity among folks at the table.”

Biden condemned Russia for escalating its war in Ukraine at a time when other world leaders were in Indonesia urging a de-escalation of the conflict. Russia invaded Ukraine in February, and in recent days has fired missiles targeting Ukrainian cities.

The U.S. and other NATO members have largely said they are still gathering information on the incident before deciding how to respond. The missiles landed in Poland amid a fierce Russian aerial barrage on Ukraine targeting energy infrastructure ahead of winter.

The strike has set off a frenzy over the Western alliance’s mutual defense mechanism known as Article 5.

That article says that any attack on a NATO member “shall be considered an attack against them all.” It was last invoked following the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the U.S.

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