Missile strike that killed two people in Poland an 'unfortunate accident,' says country's president

16 November 2022, 09:06 | Updated: 16 November 2022, 11:46

Sunak (top right) says UK stands 'steadfastly' with Poland after two killed by missiles
Sunak (top right) says UK stands 'steadfastly' with Poland after two killed by missiles. Picture: Getty

By Stephen Rigley

The missile blast that killed two people near the Ukrainian border appears to be an "unfortunate accident," not an "intentional attack," Poland's president has said.

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His comments come after Rishi Sunak slammed Vladimir Putin for "raining down missiles" and taking innocent lives.

The PM spoke out at the G20 summit in Bali after a missile hit a Polish village last night, killing two civilians.

In a press conference this morning, Mr Sunak offered his "wholehearted support" to Poland vowing "The UK stands steadfast behind President Duda and his people at this worrying time.

"We should all be clear, none of this would be happening if it weren't for Russia's invasion of Ukraine. This is the cruel and unrelenting reality of Putin's war.

"As long as it goes on, it poses a threat to our security and that of our allies. And as long as it goes on, it will continue to devastate the global economy."

Mr Sunak blasted: "There is not a single person in the world who hasn't felt the impact of Putin's war.

"Global food markets have been severely disrupted by his attempts to choke off Ukrainian grain supply. There has been an eight fold increase in global energy prices.

"Thanks to Russia turning off their gas taps, the economic aftershocks of Putin's casual disregard for human life will ripple around the world for years to come."

Earlier US President Joe Biden has said it is "unlikely" a missile that killed two people in Poland was fired from Russia.

Initial findings suggest the missile that hit Poland was fired by Ukrainian forces at an incoming Russian missile, according to US officials.

Three US officials said preliminary assessments suggested the missile was fired by Ukrainian forces at an incoming Russian one - amid the crushing salvo against Ukraine's electrical infrastructure on Tuesday.

Mr Biden's comments after he convened an "emergency" meeting of the G7 and Nato leaders in Indonesia early on Wednesday morning for consultations on the attack that killed two people in the eastern part of Poland near the Ukraine border.

Security forces take measures in Przewodow village on Ukrainian border
Security forces take measures in Przewodow village on Ukrainian border. Picture: Getty
G7 leaders gather to hold an "emergency" meeting to discuss a missile strike on Polish territory
G7 leaders gather to hold an "emergency" meeting to discuss a missile strike on Polish territory. Picture: Getty

"There is preliminary information that contests that," Mr Biden told reporters when asked if the missile had been fired from Russia.

"It is unlikely in the lines of the trajectory that it was fired from Russia, but we'll see."

The president, who was awakened overnight by staff with the news of the missile explosion while in Indonesia for the Group of 20 summit, earlier called Polish President Andrzej Duda to express his "deep condolences" for the loss of life.

Read more: Russian missiles hit Kyiv hours after Zelensky unveils peace plan at G20

Read more: 'Get out of Ukraine now and end this barbaric war:' Rishi Sunak confronts Russian foreign minister Lavrov at G20

Mr Biden promised on Twitter "full U.S support for and assistance with Poland's investigation", and "reaffirmed the United States' ironclad commitment to NATO".

He said that he briefed the allies on his conversations with Mr Duda and Nato secretary general Jens Stoltenberg and that there was "total unanimity among the folks at the table" to support Poland's investigation into the attack.

"I'm going to make sure we figure out exactly what happened," Mr Biden said. "Then we're going to figure out our next step."

Meeting at a large round table in a ballroom in his hotel, Mr Biden hosted the leaders of the G7, which includes Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK and the European Union, along with the president of the European Council and the prime ministers of Nato allies Spain and the Netherlands.

A statement from the Polish Foreign Ministry identified the missile as being made in Russia. But Poland's president was more cautious about its origin, saying that officials did not know for sure who fired it or where it was made.

He said it was "most probably" Russian-made, but that is being still verified. If confirmed, it would be the first time since the invasion of Ukraine that a Russian weapon came down on a Nato country.

The foundation of the Nato alliance is the principle that an attack against one member is an attack on them all.

The strikes by Russia were the largest attack on Ukraine's energy infrastructure since the start of its full-scale war.

According to Oleksandr Vilkul, the head of the Kryvyi Rih military administration, 566 miners are trapped underground due to energy cut-offs caused by Russian strikes on Ukraine's energy infrastructure in Dnipropetrovsk Oblast.

Volodmyr Zelensky addressed world leaders at the Summit in Bali via Videolink this afternoon and said he was ready to end the war but that Russia had to withdraw all troops from his territory first.

President Vladimir Putin was long expected to attend the summit in Bali, but is sending his foreign minister Sergei Lavrvov in his place, as he continues to suffer military setbacks and unanimous condemnation from Western powers.

Rishi Sunak also confronted Lavrov telling him to 'get out of Ukraine and end this barbaric war'.In the first face-to-face meeting between a British Prime Minister and a senior Russian leader since the war began he said the UK would support Ukraine 'for as long as it takes'.

He explained: "Countries should not invade their neighbours, they should not attack [civilians] and they should not threaten nuclear escalation."