Live: ‘No indication of deliberate attack’ on Poland, NATO’s Stoltenberg says

Issued on: 16/11/2022 – 03:55

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg gestures as he addresses media after a meeting of the North Atlantic Council, following yesterday’s explosion in Eastern Poland close to the border with Ukraine, at the Nato headquarters in Brussels on November 16, 2022. © John Thys, AFP

Text by:

17 min

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said Wednesday a deadly explosion in Poland on Tuesday was probably the result of Ukrainian anti-aircraft fire, but that Russia bears “ultimate responsibility” for the war. Follow our live blog for all the latest developments. All times are Paris time (GMT+1). 


3:43pm: Ukrainian access to missile probe needs Polish, US approval, says Poland

Polish President Andrzej Duda said both Poland and the US would have to agree to Ukraine’s participation in the investigation into a missile that hit a Polish border village, killing two people.

“The proceedings are conducted by Polish and American experts and if anyone was to be allowed to take part in these proceedings it would need at least the agreement of both parties,” Duda told a news conference.

3:02pm: ‘An accident waiting to happen’

French President Emmanuel Macron has expressed his solidarity with Poland and has cautioned that more analysis of the circumstances around Tuesday’s deadly blast was required. FRANCE 24’s Douglas Herbert explains that, “the circumstances under which this happened are during an intensifying conflict, a conflict which the G20 leaders meeting in Bali recognise as a Russian invasion of Ukraine in their final statement … it was an accident waiting to happen and it’s exactly the kind of scenario NATO has feared” since the February 24 start of the invasion.



1:27pm: Ukraine seeks access to site of Poland missile strike

Ukraine wants access to the site of an explosion in eastern Poland which Western officials say was probably caused by a Ukrainian air defence missile, a senior Ukrainian defence official said on Wednesday.

Oleksiy Danilov, Secretary of the National Security and Defence Council of Ukraine, said Ukraine wanted a joint study of Tuesday’s incident with its partners and to see the information that provided the basis for its allies’ conclusions.

12:51pm: ‘Changes very little’ if Poland blast was not due to Russia, Italy’s Meloni says

Italy believes it does not make much difference if the missile that caused a deadly explosion in Poland was not Russian, because Moscow is still to blame for attacking infrastructure in Ukraine, Prime Minister said on Wednesday.

Talking to reporters at the G20 summit in Bali, Meloni said she spoke to Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki.

“The possibility that the missile falling on Poland was not a Russian missile but a Ukrainian one changes very little,” she said.

12:50pm: ‘No indication of deliberate attack’ on Poland, NATO’s Stoltenberg says

Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said Wednesday a deadly explosion in Poland was probably the result of Ukrainian anti-aircraft fire but that Russia bears “ultimate responsibility” for the war.

“An investigation into this incident is ongoing, and we need to await its outcome […]. But we have no indication that this was the result of a deliberate attack,” Stoltenberg said after chairing a meeting of NATO ambassadors.

“Our preliminary analysis suggests that the incident was likely caused by a Ukrainian air defence missile fired to defend Ukrainian territory against Russian cruise missile attacks.”

12:27pm: Poland says missile that struck border village ‘very likely’ from Ukraine’s air defence

Poland’s President on Wednesday said it was “very likely” that the deadly missile that struck a Polish border village was from Ukraine’s air defence. 

“Absolutely nothing indicates that this was an intentional attack on Poland … It’s very likely that it was a rocket used in anti-missile defence, meaning that it was used by Ukraine’s defence forces,” he told reporters. 

Duda described the blast in the village as most likely an unfortunate accident. He also said that the ultimate responsibility lies with Russia, which launched a barrage of missile attacks on Ukraine on Tuesday.

11:59am: Germany offers to aid Polish air patrols after rocket strike

said Wednesday it could send its own warplanes to support patrols over Poland following a deadly rocket strike in a village close to the border with Ukraine.

“As an immediate reaction to the incidents in Poland, we will offer to strengthen air policing with combat air patrols over its airspace with German Eurofighters,” defence ministry spokesman Christian Thiels said at a regular press conference. “This can happen from tomorrow, if Poland so wishes.”

11:43am: Ukraine races to restore power after Russian missile barrage

Power was fully restored on Wednesday in seven Ukrainian regions, including in the capital Kyiv, less that 24 hours after a Russian missile barrage on infrastructure across the country.

Work to restore electricity was also under way in seven other regions, said Kyrylo Tymoshenko, deputy head of Ukraine’s presidential administration.

He wrote on the Telegram messaging app that emergency cut-offs were still possible, and national grid operator Ukrenergo said it was implementing planned outages across the entire country as repair work continued “around the clock.”

11:32am: Macron urges China to play ‘greater mediation role’ on Ukraine

French President Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday urged China to play a “greater mediation role” to help avoid an escalation of the Ukraine war, a day after talks with his Chinese counterpart.

“China can play a greater mediation role, alongside us, in the coming months,” said Macron, adding that he had discussed a possible trip to China early next year with President .

China has declined to put pressure on Moscow over its nearly nine-month-old invasion, and helped shield Russia from diplomatic censure at forums such as the United Nations.

11:14am: Macron says US has shared information on Poland blast, ‘but we must remain careful’

French President Emmanuel Macron said on Wednesday the had shared preliminary information about the missile blast in Poland but that it was too early to say what happened.

“There is preliminary work that was shared by the United States but we must remain careful,” he told a news conference in Bali after a G20 summit.

10:54am: ‘Convergence within G20 to push Russia towards de-escalation’, Macron says

French President Emmanuel Macron said at a press conference at the G20 summit in Indonesia on Wednesday that there is a “convergence within the G20 that Russia must be pushed towards de-escalation” in its war against Ukraine, after Poland said that two Russian-made missiles fell on its territory on Tuesday, killing two people.

Macron said that expresses “full solidarity” with Poland and that it will “cooperate” with Warsaw to find out exactly what happened.

10:23am: Biden said Ukraine air defence missile responsible for Poland blast, NATO source says

US President told G7 and NATO partners that a missile blast in Poland was caused by a Ukrainian air defence missile, a NATO source told Reuters on Wednesday.

The blast raised global alarm that the Ukraine conflict could spill into neighbouring countries.

9:56am: G20 summit host Indonesia says Ukraine war most debated part of leaders’ declaration

The war in Ukraine was the most debated article of a declaration of G20 leaders who gathered at a summit this week, the president said on Wednesday, while urging all sides not to escalate tensions further.

President Joko Widodo added the war had caused devastation and huge human suffering and weighed on global economic recovery.

9:27am: NATO holds emergency talks after missile lands in Poland

Ambassadors from the 30 nations gathered in Brussels Wednesday for emergency talks after Poland said that a Russian-made missile fell on its territory, killing two people, and US President Joe Biden and his allies promised support for the investigation into the incident.

The blast came as Russia launched widespread aerial strikes across Ukraine and immediately raised concern and confusion about whether Russia might be broadening the war it launched in Ukraine in February, potentially dragging NATO into the conflict.

But three US officials said preliminary assessments suggest the missile was fired by Ukrainian forces at an incoming Russian projectile, and Biden said it was “unlikely” that it was fired from Russia. NATO chief spokeswoman Oana Lungescu described the blast as a “tragic incident”.

Poland said late Tuesday that it was considering calling for emergency consultations under Article 4 of NATO’s founding treaty, which provides for such talks if one of the 30 allies considers that its territory might be under threat. But Wednesday’s meeting did not appear to include Article 4 consultations.

9:14am: G20 leaders end meeting condemning war but note divisions

G20 members ended their meeting Wednesday by declaring that most of them strongly condemned the war in Ukraine and warning that the conflict is intensifying fragilities in the world’s economy.

The summit’s closing declaration was noteworthy in highlighting the war given the divisions among the group, which includes not only Russia but also countries such as China and that have significant trade ties with Moscow and have stopped short of outright criticism of the war.

Still, the declaration acknowledged “there were other views and different assessments” and stated that the G20 is “not the forum to resolve security issues”.

9:44am: Fuel depot explodes in southern Russia

A fuel depot exploded on Wednesday in southern near Ukraine following a suspected drone attack, Russian authorities said.

There were no casualties reported in the alleged attack which took place some 200 kilometres (125 miles) from the Ukrainian border in the province of Oryol.

“Today (Wednesday) at 04:00 (0100 GMT) a suspected drone blew up a fuel depot in the village of Stalnoi Kon. There were no casualties,” the governor of the Oryol region, Andrei Klytchkov, said in a statement posted on Telegram.

Since the launch of the Russian offensive in Ukraine, several fuel or ammunition depots in southern Russia have been attacked by drones or helicopters, with the Russian authorities blaming Ukrainian forces.

Most of the attacks occurred against targets only tens of kilometres from the border, which makes Wednesday’s incident stand out for taking place deeper into Russian territory.

9:18am: Germany’s Scholz calls for Poland missile strike inquiry

German Chancellor said on Wednesday a missile strike in eastern Poland near the Ukrainian border, in which two people were killed, should be fully investigated before conclusions are drawn.

In his closing statement following the G20 summit in Bali, Scholz called it a positive sign that the US had offered to assist Poland with the probe.

Scholz welcomed the clear language found at the summit to condemn the war in Ukraine, adding: “The Russian president is almost alone in the world with his policy.”

9:17am: Lithuania calls for more air defences along NATO’s eastern border

NATO should swiftly deploy more air defences on the Polish-Ukrainian border and the rest of the alliance’s eastern flank, Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda said on Wednesday after Tuesday’s missile strike that killed two people in Poland.

” will be actively support deploying (NATO) air defences along the Polish-Ukrainian border,” Nauseda told reporters, adding that this also applied to the rest of the eastern flank.

“I hope by next year’s NATO summit in Vilnius we will be able to make progress, as the situation confirms it is the right decision and needs swift implementation”, Nauseda said.

9:11am: UK, Canada stress importance of full probe into Poland missile strike

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Canadian Prime Minister spoke to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to stress the importance of a full investigation into a missile strike on Poland, Sunak’s office said on Wednesday.

“The prime minister and Prime Minister Trudeau emphasised the importance of a full investigation into the circumstances behind missiles falling in Poland yesterday,” Sunak’s office said, after the two leaders spoke to Zelensky from the G20 summit in Indonesia.

8:42am: NATO envoys hold emergency meeting on Poland blast

ambassadors will hold an emergency meeting at 0900 GMT on Wednesday to discuss a missile strike in eastern Poland close to the Ukrainian border that killed two people on Tuesday, two NATO officials and a European diplomat said.

The Brussels gathering will be chaired by Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, who will hold a news conference around 1130 GMT, NATO said, amid concerns that the incident could be a trigger for the Ukraine war to spill into neighbouring countries.

NATO member Poland said the rocket landed on a grains facility in a village about 6 kilometres from the border. NATO allies were quick to express concern and support.

8:38am: Cuban president to meet Putin next week in Moscow

President Miguel Diaz-Canel is set to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin next week in Moscow, the RIA News agency reported on Wednesday, citing the Cuban ambassador.

8:38am: Zelensky tells G20 leaders ‘terrorist state among you’

Ukrainian President told G20 leaders Wednesday there was a “terrorist state” among them, accusing Russia of a missile strike on Poland that killed two people.

Speaking by video link, Zelensky called the strike “a true statement brought by Russia for the G20 summit”, according to a copy of his speech seen by AFP. Poland has said there is no clear evidence on who launched the missile.

8:31am: China urges ‘calm’ after missile strike in Poland

on Wednesday called for “calm” following a deadly missile strike on a Polish village near the border with war-ravaged Ukraine.

Foreign ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning told a regular press briefing: “Under the current situation, all relevant parties should stay calm and exercise restraint to avoid escalation of the situation.”

8:31am: ‘Problem for the Russians is they always categorically deny’

“We’re still not absolutely certain where that rocket came from,” said FRANCE 24’s Chief Foreign Editor Robert Parsons. “It does seem certain that it was of Russian provenance, but that doesn’t mean of course that Russia fired it, because uses Russian rockets […].

“At the moment, it’s beginning to look as though the rocket was fired from within Ukraine itself, which rather suggests it was a response by the Ukrainian armed forces to that missile attack that took place on Tuesday – a massive wave of rockets; at least 90 cruise missiles and ballistic missiles, as well as drones – in which case it’s either a rocket that went off course or struck a Russian rocket and then fragments of it landed in Poland.

“We’re still not absolutely certain where that rocket came from,” FRANCE 24 Chief Foreign Editor Robert Parsons said. © France 24 screengrab

“The problem, I think, for the Russians here is that they always categorically deny […] So in the past we’ve had them deny that they were responsible for assassinating Russian agents [Sergei] Skripal in Britain and [Alexander] Litvinenko; they denied they shot down the Malaysian airliner [in 2014]; they denied that they invaded Crimea in 2014; they denied they were going to attack Ukraine earlier this year […] So suspicion will fall on Russia even if they’re innocent.”

8:29am: Sweden promises $287 million Ukraine military aid package

said on Wednesday it would deliver military aid worth 3 billion Swedish crowns ($286.98 million) to Ukraine.

Defence Minister Pal Jonson told a news conference the package would include an anti-aircraft system.

7:34am: Polish military on high alert after missile strike

Poland’s military was on high alert Wednesday after a deadly missile strike on a village near the border with war-ravaged Ukraine.

Western leaders held an “emergency roundtable” on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Bali, Indonesia, where they urged against jumping to any conclusions about the origins of the strike.

The talks came after Poland’s President said there was no clear evidence of who fired the missile that killed two people in the southeastern village of Przewodow, near the border with Ukraine.

He also said the missile was “most probably Russian-made”.

7:12am: G20 leaders’ declaration denounces Russian aggression against Ukraine

G20 leaders made a declaration on Wednesday saying they “deplore in the strongest terms” Russia’s aggression against .

The declaration, approved on Wednesday, said most members strongly condemned the war in Ukraine but there were other views. It said international law must be upheld and the threat of the use of nuclear weapons was inadmissible and welcomed the Black Sea grain initiative.

7:10am: Erdogan says he believes Ukraine grain exports will continue

Turkish President said Wednesday he believed a deal allowing Ukraine to export grain through the Black Sea that is set to expire Saturday would remain in place.

“I am of the opinion that it will continue. There’s no problem there,” Erdogan told a press conference at the G20 summit in Bali, Indonesia.

Ukraine is one of the world’s top grain producers, and Russia’s invasion of the country blocked 20 million tonnes of grain in its ports before the United Nations and Turkey brokered the deal in July.

Erdogan said he would speak with Russian President Vladimir Putin as soon as he returned to Turkey.

6:43am: Incident in Poland an attempt to provoke military clash between NATO and Russia, Russian mission to UN says

The incident in , a blast in a village near the border with Ukraine that killed two people, is an attempt to provoke a direct clash between Russia and NATO, the head of the permanent mission of Russia to the UN said on Wednesday.

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

6:42am: Blinken calls Polish, Ukrainian FMs over missile attack

US Secretary of State called his Polish and Ukrainian counterparts on Wednesday after a deadly missile strike in Poland, pledging coordination as “we determine appropriate next steps”.

“We pledged to remain closely coordinated in the days ahead as the investigation proceeds and we determine appropriate next steps,” Blinken said in a tweet as US President Joe Biden met allies on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Bali to discuss the blast.

6:42am: Biden, Sunak call Russian bombing of Ukrainian civilians ‘barbaric’

US President Joe Biden and his British counterpart Rishi Sunak called Russian President Vladimir Putin’s targeting of Ukrainian “barbaric” on Wednesday at a G20 summit in Bali.

“At a moment when world leaders here in Bali are seeking to make progress on world peace, Putin is striking civilian targets – children, women. I mean, it’s almost – my words, not yours – barbaric,” Biden said at a meeting with .

The British prime minister, meeting Biden for the first time since taking office, said: “I agree with your words – barbaric.”

They were speaking as tensions spiralled over the deaths of two people when a missile hit inside Poland, across the Ukrainian border.

6:40am: France urges ‘utmost caution’ on origin of Poland strike

urged “utmost caution” Wednesday on the origin of a deadly missile strike on NATO member Poland, saying many countries in the region have similar weapons.

“It’s logical that we approach the question with utmost caution,” a French presidential official said.

“Identifying the type of missile won’t necessarily identify who is behind it,” the official said, warning of the “significant risks of escalation”.

“This is a subject where we don’t want to make a mistake,” the official added.

6:28am: Indonesian leader tells G20 meeting that countries must ‘stop the war’

Indonesian President Joko Widodo, the chair of the G20 major economies, said on Wednesday that countries must “stop the war” in opening remarks at a meeting during the G20 summit.

His comments come amid discussion on the economic impacts of the war in Ukraine and concerns about a blast near Poland’s border with Ukraine.

4:34am: Poland likely to invoke NATO’s Article 4, will raise missile blast with UN 

Poland is likely to request consultations under NATO’s Article 4 after a missile, reportedly Russian-made, struck Polish territory near the border with Ukraine, and raise the issue at a UN Security Council meeting on Wednesday, officials said.

Two people were killed in an explosion in a village 6 kilometres (3.5 miles) from the border, with Polish President Andrzej Duda saying that Poland had no conclusive evidence showing who fired the missile. 

3:52am: UN chief warns against escalating conflict in Ukraine

UN Secretary-General tweeted early Wednesday that he was “very concerned by the reports of a missile exploding on Polish territory”.

The UN chief added that “it is absolutely essential to avoid escalating the war in Ukraine”.

. is very concerned by the reports of a missile exploding on Polish territory. It is absolutely essential to avoid escalating the war in Ukraine.

He sends his condolences to the families of the victims. He hopes that a thorough investigation will be conducted.

— UN Spokesperson (@UN_Spokesperson)

3:30am: Poland blast may not be from missile fired from Russia, Biden says

The United States and its NATO allies are investigating the blast that killed two in Poland, but early information suggests it may not have been caused by a missile fired from Russia, US President  said.

Biden spoke after global leaders gathered for the G20 meeting in Indonesia held an emergency meeting on Wednesday, after deadly explosions in Poland that Ukraine and Polish authorities said were caused by Russian-made missiles.

Asked whether it was too early to say that the missile was fired from Russia, Biden said: “There is preliminary information that contests that. I don’t want to say that until we completely investigate it but it is unlikely in the lines of the trajectory that it was fired from Russia but we’ll see.”

The  and NATO countries would fully investigate before acting, he added.

I spoke with President Andrzej Duda of Poland to express my deep condolences for the loss of life in Eastern Poland and offer our full support for Poland’s investigation of the explosion.

We will remain in close touch to determine appropriate next steps as it proceeds.

— President Biden (@POTUS)

1:15am: G7 leaders arranging emergency summit after Poland missile strike, reports Kyodo news agency

Group of Seven leaders are arranging an emergency summit meeting on Wednesday in response to a missile strike in Poland, the Kyodo news agency said, citing a Japanese government source.

A and United Kingdom meeting scheduled for the same day has been put on hold, according to the report.

12:57am: No concrete evidence on who fired missile, Poland’s Duda says

Poland has no concrete evidence showing who fired the missile that caused an explosion in a village near the Ukrainian border, President Andrzej Duda said on Wednesday.

“We do not have any conclusive evidence at the moment as to who launched this missile … it was most likely a Russian-made missile, but this is all still under investigation at the moment,” Duda told reporters.


12:38am: Poland increasing monitoring of its airspace, PM says

Poland has decided to increase surveillance of its airspace, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said on Wednesday, as he confirmed that Poland was studying the possibility of requesting consultations under Article 4 of the military alliance treaty.

12:04am: Biden offers Poland full US support in blast investigation

President Joe Biden offered his Polish counterpart Andrzej Duda full US support for the country’s probe into a blast that killed two people near the border with Ukraine, the White House said.

“President Biden offered full US support for and assistance with Poland’s investigation,” the said after the pair spoke.

NATO allies are investigating unconfirmed reports the explosion was caused by stray Russian missiles.

12:02am: UK ‘urgently’ looking into reports of missiles landing in Poland 

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak in a tweet on Tuesday said his country was urgently looking into reports of a missile strike in Poland and will support allies as they establish what happened.

“We are also coordinating with our international partners, including NATO,” Sunak said.

I have just spoken with the Foreign Secretary and Defence Secretary.

We are urgently looking into reports of a missile strike in Poland and will support our allies as they establish what has happened.

We are also coordinating with our international partners, including NATO.

— Rishi Sunak (@RishiSunak)

(FRANCE 24 with AFP, AP and REUTERS)

Daily newsletterReceive essential international news every morning

Take international news everywhere with you! Download the France 24 app