Biden says ‘unlikely’ missile that struck Poland came from Russia
President Biden revealed late Tuesday that the missile in a deadly strike on Polish soil was “unlikely” to have been fired from Russia.
Biden, 79, told reporters at the G20 summit in Bali, Indonesia that a preliminary analysis of the missile’s trajectory appears to “contest” that it came from Russia.
“There is preliminary information that contests that,” Biden said when asked by a reporter if the missile was fired by Moscow.
“I don’t want to say that until we completely investigate, but it’s unlikely — in the lines of the trajectory — that it was fired from Russia, but we’ll see,” he added.
The commander-in-chief went on to say that G7 and NATO leaders agreed during an emergency meeting “to support Poland’s investigation” into the blast in a rural part of the country, near the Ukrainian border.
Biden also said that the next steps would be determined by the outcome of that investigation.
The president’s gaggle with reporters followed a period of confusion as the White House promised that he would make an on-camera statement about the missile strike prior to the meeting with NATO leaders — only for Biden to refuse to give any remarks before the administration cut off video of the gathering after less than 30 seconds.
The emergency roundtable on the summit sideline was a late addition to the president’s schedule on Wednesday morning, local time.
“Mr. President, can you tell us what you know so far about the explosion in Poland, sir?” Johnathan Lemire of Politico shouted at Biden as the leaders posed for pictures.
“No,” Biden responded as he sat between Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.
With that, the press pool was ushered out of the room and the official White House video feed cut out 27 seconds after it began.
It was not immediately clear whether Biden was unaware he was expected to give a statement to reporters before the meeting or simply changed his mind.
Joining Biden, Trudeau and Sunak were German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, French President Emmanuel Macron, Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, European Council President Charles Michel, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte.
Hours earlier, Biden spoke with Polish President Andrzej Duda on the phone about the strike that killed two people.
“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,” a tweet from the president’s official account read. “We will remain in close touch to determine appropriate next steps as it proceeds.
The tweet included an image of Biden in shirtsleeves on the phone in his hotel room alongside Secretary of State Antony Blinken — clad in similar casual wear — and National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan.
Duda said in a statement that the missile strike was under investigation, but added that the projectile was “most likely” from Russia.
“’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,” the Polish leader added.
A Polish government spokesperson said Warsaw was considering whether to invoke NATO Article 4, which states that members can bring any issue of concern, especially regarding security, up for discussion before the North Atlantic Council.
When asked about the possibility of Poland invoking Article 4 or Article 5, which espouses the principle of collective defense among NATO members, Biden said a meeting of ambassadors would be held soon, though he did not give a specific timetable.