The NATO chief, who also said Russia bares responsibility for the explosion, addressed the media a day after it killed two in Przewodów, a Polish village near the border with Ukraine on Tuesday.
“This is not Ukraine’s fault, Russia bears the ultimate responsibility,” Stoltenberg said, while Polish President Andrzej Duda said, “Absolutely nothing indicates that this was an intentional attack on Poland… It’s very likely that it was a rocket used in anti-missile defense, meaning that it was used by Ukraine’s defense forces.”
The blast that detonated in Poland came amid a Russian air bombardment that featured roughly 90 missiles, according to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. It was one of the most extensive missile barrages since the invasion began in late February and it continued Russia’s ongoing campaign to destroy Ukraine’s energy infrastructure ahead of the upcoming winter.
President Joe Biden convened an emergency meeting with Group of Seven leaders in Bali, Indonesia where the G-20 Summit was taking place following the Polish explosion. The group includes the leaders of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the U.K., and the European Union, along with the president of the European Council and the Spanish and Dutch prime ministers.
“We condemn the barbaric missile attacks that Russia perpetrated on Ukrainian cities and civilian infrastructure on Tuesday,” the leaders wrote collectively. “We offer our full support for and assistance with Poland’s ongoing investigation.”
The U.S. leader reiterated the opinion on Wednesday that the strike was not from Russia.
“There is preliminary information that contests that,” Biden told reporters if the rocket was fired by Russian forces. “It is unlikely in the lines of the trajectory that it was fired from Russia, but we’ll see.”
“I’m going to make sure we find out exactly what happened,” Biden said. “And then we’re going to collectively determine our next step as we investigate.”
There was immediate concern after the explosion was first reported about whether Poland, and by extension all of the NATO alliance, would be dragged directly into conflict with Russia due to the Article 5 clause in the alliance, which requires allies view an attack against one of them as an attack against themselves. Biden has repeatedly said during Russia’s war in Ukraine that the U.S. would defend “every inch” of NATO territory.