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Reacting to the news that Russian missiles have crossed into NATO member Poland and killed two people, State Department Principal Deputy Spokesperson Vedant Patel, said on Tuesday that the US is “working with the Polish Government and our NATO partners to gather more information.”
Patel offered reassurance that the US will “determine what happened and what appropriate next steps would be.” For the first time in the Ukrainian conflict Russian missiles have landed in territory under NATO protection in Poland but it is unclear if a strike was accidental or intentional.
“I’m just not going to try and speculate or try and get in the mind of President Putin or his intentions,” said Patel. “What we do know is that this war has been one that is unjust. It’s been brutal. It has affected millions of lives, not just in Ukraine but across the world as well. And as you guys saw, in response to President Zelenskyy’s speech at the G20, what President Putin did was he met Ukraine with another round of cruel attacks that killed civilians and destroyed infrastructure.”
Patel said that the missile barrage was a response to Zelenskyy’s speech at the G20 summit.
“While President Zelenskyy spoke at the G20 about a path to a just peace and for ending this war, what we saw was Russia unleash a barrage of attacks that have killed civilians and destroyed critical infrastructure. And it is no surprise that after the Ukrainian liberation of Kherson that Russia has gone down the path of attempting yet again to plunge Ukrainian civilians into darkness,” said Patel.
Earlier in the day, during his video address, Zelenskyy called on “G19” leaders to end the Russian invasion. “I am convinced now is the time when the Russian destructive war must and can be stopped,” said Zelenskyy.
The Ukrainian energy minister, Herman Haluschenko, described the missile barrage as “another attempt at terrorist revenge” following Russian military setbacks.
“We discussed the explosion that took place in the eastern part of Poland near the border with Ukraine. We offer our full support for and assistance with Poland’s ongoing investigation. We agree to remain in close touch to determine appropriate next steps as the investigation proceeds,” the Leaders of Canada, the European Commission, the European Council, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States said in a joint statement.
Asked is it too early to say whether this missile was fired from Russia, President Biden said “There is preliminary information that contests that.”
Biden refused to say more “until we completely investigate. But it’s unlikely, in the minds of the trajectory, that it was fired from Russia.”
In a conversation with Sky News, former NATO Director of Planning Fabrice Pothier said that Poland could trigger Article 4 on emergency consultations.
At G20 today, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine saying “countries should not invade their neighbors.”
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