President Joe Biden ripped up his schedule on the final day of his around-the-world foreign policy trip to call an emergency meeting of G7 and N.A.T.O. leaders in Bali, Indonesia, after Poland blamed Russia for a missile strike on its territory.

American officials took pains to say they did not yet know who was responsible for a blast that killed two people.

But with Russia launching what Ukraine said were the heaviest missile strikes of the nine-month war, immediate suspicion fell on Moscow. 

Biden postponed attendance at a tree planting ceremony at the G20 summit in Bali on Wednesday, and instead met with British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada, President Emmanuel Macron of the French Republic and others at the Grand Hyatt hotel. 

Earlier, he telephoned his Polish counterpart Andrzej Duda to offer the full backing of the Unites States.

Officials said Biden expressed condolences for the loss of life and laid out Washington’s ‘ironclad’ commitment to N.A.T.O. – which includes a mutual defense pact.

‘President Duda described Poland’s ongoing assessment of the explosion that took place in the eastern part of the country near the border with Ukraine,’ said the White House.

‘President Biden offered full U.S support for and assistance with Poland’s investigation.’

The two leaders will stay in touch.

President Joe Biden called an emergency meeting of G7 and N.A.T.O. leaders on the Indonesian island of Bali on Wednesday morning as Poland investigates an explosion that killed two people five miles from its border with Ukraine

President Joe Biden spoke by phone with Polish President Andrzej Duda on Wednesday morning from his hotel in Bali, Indonesia. He is joined by his National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan while Secretary of State Antony Blinken takes notes from the sofa, in this handout picture supplied by the White House after an explosion in Poland

President Joe Biden spoke by phone with Polish President Andrzej Duda on Wednesday morning from his hotel in Bali, Indonesia. He is joined by his National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan while Secretary of State Antony Blinken takes notes from the sofa, in this handout picture supplied by the White House after an explosion in Poland

President Joe Biden is in Bali for a G20 summit

President Andrzej Duda of Poland

Biden offered offered full U.S support and assistance with Poland’s investigation in the phone call with Duda (right)

Przewodow is located just five miles from the border with Ukraine

Przewodow is located just five miles from the border with Ukraine

Biden is due to fly out of Bali on Wednesday after a second day of meetings with other G20 leaders. A day earlier Ukrainian President Volodmyr Zelensky dialed in to set out his 10-point plan to ending the war. 

Biden also called N.A.T.O. Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg ahead of an expected meeting of members’ ambassadors later in the day. 

Russia’s war in Ukraine has dominated the gathering of leaders from the world’s 20 richest economy. 

Chinese President Xi Jinping for the first time appeared to express frustration with Moscow, while other leaders lined up to isolate Russia. 

A spokeswoman for Biden’s National Security Council said American officials could not confirm that Russia was responsible for the explosion. But earlier Poland said it believed Russia, and its war in Ukraine was to blame. 

‘A Russian-made missile fell, killing two citizens of the Republic of Poland,’ Polish foreign ministry spokesman Lukasz Jasina said, adding that the Russian ambassador to Poland had been summoned to give ‘immediate detailed explanations’. 

Explosions rang out in Przewodów, a rural village located five miles from the Ukrainian border in south western Poland, at around 3:40pm local time. 

The blasts came as Moscow launched a wave of missile attacks across Ukraine in what Kyiv said was the heaviest strikes in nearly nine months of war.

Russia’s defense ministry for its part denied that its missiles had landed on Polish soil, describing the incident as ‘a deliberate provocation aimed at escalating the situation’.

It added in a statement: ‘No strikes on targets near the Ukrainian-Polish state border were made by Russian means of destruction.’

N.A.T.O. ambassadors will now meet on Wednesday to plot a response to the incident, with one European diplomat said the alliance would act cautiously and needed time to verify how exactly the incident happened.

Twin explosions rang out Tuesday afternoon in Przewodów, a rural village located five miles from the Ukrainian border in south western Poland. The aftermath of the explosions, which killed two, is pictured

Twin explosions rang out Tuesday afternoon in Przewodów, a rural village located five miles from the Ukrainian border in south western Poland. The aftermath of the explosions, which killed two, is pictured

Smoke rises in the distance, amid reports of two explosions, seen from Nowosiolki, Poland, near the border with Ukraine November 15, 2022

Smoke rises in the distance, amid reports of two explosions, seen from Nowosiolki, Poland, near the border with Ukraine November 15, 2022

A chunk of metal is pictured lying in the dirt after Russian missiles landed on Polish soil and killed two. Some commentators have claimed the debris looks similar to components of the S-300 air defence system employed in Ukraine, but Poland's foreign ministry confirmed the missile was Russian

A chunk of metal is pictured lying in the dirt after Russian missiles landed on Polish soil and killed two. Some commentators have claimed the debris looks similar to components of the S-300 air defence system employed in Ukraine, but Poland’s foreign ministry confirmed the missile was Russian

Smoke is seen at the site of a reported Russian missile strike on Polish soil

Smoke is seen at the site of a reported Russian missile strike on Polish soil

Poland is a member of NATO which maintains a ‘collective defence policy’, meaning that an attack on one nation in the security bloc is an attack on all. 

Article 5 of the Washington treaty – NATO’s founding agreement – stipulates that if a NATO Ally is the victim of an armed attack, ‘each and every other member of the Alliance will consider this act of violence as an armed attack against all members and will take the actions it deems necessary to assist the Ally attacked’.

But Article 4 allows for a consultation of member states to determine appropriate collective responses to incidents, so it is unlikely that NATO will launch a military operation unless there is proof of Russian intentions to deliberately target Polish or NATO military bases, infrastructure or civilian centres. 

Pentagon spokesman Big. Gen. Patrick Ryder said in a statement that the U.S. is still looking into the reported missile strikes in Poland but added: ‘we’ve been crystal clear that we will defend every inch of NATO territory.’ 

There was speculation that the explosion could have been caused by a Russian missile being shot down over Ukrainian skies before landing in Poland, with some defence researchers claiming parts of the debris bore a resemblance to components of the S-300 air defence system employed in Ukraine, though no conclusive proof was found. 

Meanwhile, editor-in-chief of RT Margarita Simonyan posted an incredulous message on social media, claiming that ‘the probability that a modern Russian missile will go off course so much is about the same as meeting a living dinosaur on the street…. there is a high probability that this is either a Ukrainian mistake or a Polish provocation. Or British.’

Ukraine’s foreign minister called for NATO members to convene an ‘immediate’ summit to bring tough measures against Moscow following the reports Russian missiles had landed in Poland.

‘A collective response to Russian actions must be tough and principled. Among immediate actions: a NATO summit with Ukraine’s participation to craft further joint actions, which will force Russia to change its course on escalation, providing Ukraine with modern aircraft,’ Dmytro Kuleba said in a statement on Twitter.

U.S. President Joe Biden offered his Polish counterpart Duda full American support with the country’s probe into a blast, the White House said.

‘President Biden offered full U.S support for and assistance with Poland’s investigation,’ the White House said after the pair spoke.

Strike on Kyiv

Strike on Kyiv

At least three Russian missiles hit the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv on Tuesday, with mayor Vitali Klitschko saying they all struck residential buildings

Polish president Andrzej Duda is pictured. Polish officials were called into an emergency meeting following the news that a pair of Russian missiles had hit a village near the border with Ukraine, killing two

Polish president Andrzej Duda is pictured. Polish officials were called into an emergency meeting following the news that a pair of Russian missiles had hit a village near the border with Ukraine, killing two

Russian President Vladimir Putin chairs a meeting of Pobeda (Victory) organising committee via teleconference call at the Novo-Ogaryovo state residence, outside Moscow, on November 15, 2022

Russian President Vladimir Putin chairs a meeting of Pobeda (Victory) organising committee via teleconference call at the Novo-Ogaryovo state residence, outside Moscow, on November 15, 2022

Russian missile strikes in Poland – will NATO respond? 

Polish government spokesman Piotr Muller said that Warsaw is looking into whether it must request consultations with member states of NATO in the wake of the suspected Russian missile strikes. 

Article 4 of the Washington Treaty, which has been recognised since NATO was founded in 1949, allows a member state to call on its fellow members to ‘consult together’ when its ‘territorial integrity, political independence or security’ is threatened.

If it can be determined that Russian missiles entered into Poland somehow by mistake or that they were shot down over Ukrainian skies and landed in Poland, then NATO is highly unlikely to launch a military response to yesterday’s strike on Poland.

NATO members Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland triggered Article 4 in February when Russia first invaded Ukraine, and NATO stationed more troops along the border in those territories. 

But the situation could become significantly more complicated if member states conclude that Moscow intended to hit a location where Western military supplies are stored.

NATO’s principle of collective defence, which is fundamental to the alliance, commits all members to take ‘such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force’, in the event of an ‘armed attack’ on any member.

The principle is enshrined in Article 5 of the Washington Treaty, and dictates that a collective armed response should be implemented if a member state suffers an attack.  

NATO has only invoked Article 5 one time in its history, following the September 11, 2001 terror attacks in the U.S. 

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky spoke by phone Tuesday with Polish counterpart Andrzej Duda, offering his condolences following reports of the alleged Russian missile strike on Polish soil.

‘Expressed condolences over the death of Polish citizens from Russian missile terror. We exchanged available information and are clarifying all the facts. Ukraine, Poland, all of Europe and the world must be fully protected from terrorist Russia,’ Zelensky said in a tweet.

NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg said on Twitter: ‘Spoke with President Duda about the explosion in Poland. I offered my condolences for the loss of life. NATO is monitoring the situation and Allies are closely consulting. Important that all facts are established.’

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen meanwhile declared: ‘Alarmed by reports of an explosion in Poland, following a massive Russian missile strike on Ukrainian cities. I extend my condolences and my strongest message of support and solidarity with Poland and our Ukrainian friends,’ adding she was in close contact with Polish security officials. 

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak in a tweet said Britain will support allies as they establish what happened.

‘We are also coordinating with our international partners, including NATO,’ Sunak said.

Russia unleashed one of its largest missile barrages to date at Ukraine today, leaving the country’s energy network ‘critical’ with rolling blackouts. 

More than 100 rockets were fired at cities across the country, hitting civilian buildings and power stations, the Ukrainian air force said.

The bombardment left half of Kyiv, where at least one civilian died, and the whole city of Zhytomyr without power.

Strikes were also reported in the western city of Lviv – the closest large urban settlement to the Polish border – and caused partial blackouts. 

Kharkiv, Vinnytsia, Rivne, Odesa, Zaporizhzhia, Chernihiv, Khmelnytskyi, and Ivano-Frankivsk were also targeted.

The bombardment came as German newspaper Der Spiegel reported that documents leaked from the German military said one of the country’s top generals, Eberhard Zorn, ordered the country’s army to put itself on a war footing in the face of ‘existential’ threats.

The 68-page policy paper was produced in September, according to Der Spiegel. In it, Zorn called for the complete overhaul of the German military and told commanders to prepare themselves for war.

‘Attacks on Germany can potentially occur without warning and with great, possibly even existential, damage,’ he wrote.

Pictured: Firefighters work to put out a fire in a residential building hit by a Russian missile strike, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, in Kyiv. Massive power outages were reported across Moldova on Tuesday after the Russian missile blitz

Firefighters work to put out a fire in a residential building hit by a Russian missile strike, amid Russia’s attack on Ukraine, in Kyiv

Russian stooges quit another Ukrainian city 

Russian occupation authorities in Nova Kakhovka in Ukraine’s Kherson region said Tuesday they had left the city, following Moscow’s retreat from the regional capital, because they were under fire from Ukrainian forces.

‘Employees of the state administration of Nova Kakhovka, as well as state and municipal institutions have left the city and were relocated to safe locations in the region,’ the Moscow-installed authorities said on Telegram.

Nova Kakhovka is on the left bank of the Dnipro River, around 60 kilometres north-east of Kherson, from which Russian troops retreated from last week.

The Russian-backed officials said that after Moscow’s pull-out from Kherson, Nova Kakhovka came under ‘indiscriminate fire’ from the Ukrainian army and that ‘life in the city is unsafe.’

It also claimed that ‘thousands of residents’ had followed their recommendation to leave the city to ‘save themselves’, saying Kyiv’s forces will seek ‘revenge on collaborators.’

Attacks on Ukraine today came just hours after Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky – speaking via videolink from Kyiv – told world leaders at the G20 Bali summit that he is ready to end the war provided Russia withdraws its troops from areas it currently occupies. 

Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov – speaking later at the summit in Indonesia – accused the West of waging ‘hybrid war’ in Ukraine and Kyiv of ‘prolonging’ the conflict, without mentioning Russia’s own involvement in the fighting.

‘There is an attack on the capital. According to preliminary information, two residential buildings were hit in the Pechersk district,’ Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko said.

‘Several missiles were shot down over Kyiv by air defence systems. Medics and rescuers are at the scene of the strikes.’

Moments later, he added: ‘Another hit in the Pechersk district. Multi-storey building.’

Andriy Yermak, head of Zelensky’s staff, said the attack was a response to the president addressing the G20 – ramping up pressure on Russia to stop its attacks.

‘Does anyone seriously think that the Kremlin really wants peace? It wants obedience. But at the end of the day, terrorists always lose,’ Yermak said.

Russian forces have in recent weeks been targeting energy infrastructure across Ukraine and has launched barrages of missiles and swarms of drones.

Around a third of Ukraine’s power-generating capacity has been taken out, causing rolling blackouts across the country just as winter hits.

Kyiv was last targeted by Russian forces nearly one month ago on October 17.

Russia faced mounting diplomatic pressure Tuesday to end its war in Ukraine, as G20 allies and critics alike rued the painful global impact of nearly nine months of conflict.

A draft communique obtained by AFP showed the world’s 20 leading economies coming together to condemn the war’s effects, but still divided on apportioning blame.

The summit has shown that even Russia’s allies have limited patience with a conflict that has inflated food and energy prices worldwide and raised the spectre of nuclear war.

Firefighters work at the scene of a missile attack in Kyiv, Ukraine, which was struck by Russian rockets hours after President Zelensky spoke at the G20

Firefighters work at the scene of a missile attack in Kyiv, Ukraine, which was struck by Russian rockets hours after President Zelensky spoke at the G20

Firefighters work to put out a fire in a residential building hit by a Russian missile strike, amid attacks on Ukraine

Firefighters work to put out a fire in a residential building hit by a Russian missile strike, amid attacks on Ukraine

President Volodymyr Zelensky addressed the G20 just hours before the missiles hit, calling on Russia to end its invasion of his country

President Volodymyr Zelensky addressed the G20 just hours before the missiles hit, calling on Russia to end its invasion of his country

Risking diplomatic isolation, Russia was forced to agree that the war in Ukraine – which Moscow refuses to call a war – has ‘adversely impacted the global economy’.

It also agreed that ‘the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons’ is ‘inadmissible’, after months of its president Vladimir Putin making such threats.

The embattled Russian leader has skipped the summit, staying at home to reckon with a string of embarrassing battlefield defeats and a grinding campaign that threatens the future of his regime.

Rubbing salt in Russia’s wounds, Zelensky – fresh from a visit to liberated Kherson – delivered an impassioned video appeal to G20 leaders.

He said they could ‘save thousands of lives’ by pressing for a Russian withdrawal.

The United States and its allies used the summit to broaden the coalition against Russia’s invasion and scotch Moscow’s claims of a conflict of East versus West.

Ukraine has now reclaimed more than HALF the territory Russia had captured since war began 

Ukraine has reclaimed more than 50 per cent of the territory it had lost since the beginning of the war to Russian troops, a new report has claimed.

Within a week of Vladimir Putin ordering his tanks to roll across the Ukrainian border on February 24, Russian armed convoys had paraded into north eastern Ukraine and had pulled up mere miles from the outskirts of Kyiv.

There they remained while Russian troops flooded into the south, rumbling through the Zaporizhzhia region and into Kherson where they seized the eponymous city on the Dnieper river.

Putin’s soldiers also launched a grinding offensive in the east, using WWI style tactics of heavy artillery bombardment and trench warfare to grind down Ukrainian positions and advance into the eastern Donbas region. 

But by April, the tide began to turn and Ukrainian forces pushed back the fraying Russian forces outside of Kyiv, forcing them to retreat into Belarus and Putin’s defence chiefs to ‘refocus’ their efforts on the Donbas. 

In the months that have followed, Ukraine’s armed forces engaged in a series of strategic counterattacks which have systematically pushed back Russian forces in the north- and south-east. 

According to an analysis of Institute for the Study of War data by the New York Times, Russia currently controls around 18 per cent of Ukraine, including Donetsk and Luhansk Provinces in the east as well as Crimea, which it illegally annexed in 2014. 

Ukrainian servicemen fire a mortar on a front line, as Russia's attack on Ukraine continues, near Bakhmut, Donetsk region, Ukraine, pictured

Ukrainian servicemen fire a mortar on a front line, as Russia’s attack on Ukraine continues, near Bakhmut, Donetsk region, Ukraine, pictured 

A Ukrainian servicemen at the frontline at the northern Kherson region on 7 November, pictured

A Ukrainian servicemen at the frontline at the northern Kherson region on 7 November, pictured

Ukraine have reclaimed areas including Kherson and Kyiv from Russian forces. Pictured: A Ukrainian soldier is kissed by a resident in liberated Kherson on November 13

Ukraine have reclaimed areas including Kherson and Kyiv from Russian forces. Pictured: A Ukrainian soldier is kissed by a resident in liberated Kherson on November 13 

Civilians, pictured, carrying Ukrainian flags celebrate at Independence Square after the withdrawal of the Russian army from Kherson to the eastern bank of Dnieper River, Ukraine on November 14,

Civilians, pictured, carrying Ukrainian flags celebrate at Independence Square after the withdrawal of the Russian army from Kherson to the eastern bank of Dnieper River, Ukraine on November 14, 

Firefighters work to put out a fire in a residential building hit by a Russian missile strike, amid attacks on Ukraine

Firefighters work to put out a fire in a residential building hit by a Russian missile strike, amid attacks on Ukraine

 

 



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