A flurry of urgent and high-level diplomatic talks are taking place among NATO members on Wednesday as more details emerge following a missile that struck Polish territory last night.
Russia was heavily suspected of firing the missile that killed two Polish citizens, although it denied any involvement, calling it a "provocation." Meanwhile, NATO members — particularly Poland and its Eastern European neighbors, and former Soviet states in the Baltics — said there would be a tough response if Russia is found to be behind the attack.
Initial findings suggest, however, that the Russian-made missile was not likely to have been fired from Russia. U.S. President Joe Biden said the trajectory of the missile does not support that theory.
AP cited U.S. officials suggesting that it could have been Ukrainian forces firing a missile to intercept a Russian one.
As investigations continue, NATO members held an emergency meeting Wednesday to discusse the incident which took place after Ukraine experienced a barrage of Russian missile attacks on its civilian and energy infrastructure; Ukraine's energy company said the attacks were the "largest attack in the history of the energy sector."
The Group of Seven met on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Bali, which concludes today, and issued a statement in which they condemned "the barbaric missile attacks" that Russia inflicted on Ukrainian cities and infrastructure on Tuesday.
More than 60 tortured bodies exhumed in recently liberated Kherson region, Ukraine says
Ukrainian Minister of Internal Affairs Denys Monastyrskyi said that 63 bodies of tortured residents were recovered in the recently liberated Kherson region.
"The bodies of those who were tortured there are being exhumed. So far, 63 bodies have been discovered in the entire territory of Kherson region, but we must understand that the search has only begun," he said, according to an NBC translation.
Russia has previously said that its forces have not committed war crimes in Ukraine, which would include the torture and killing of civilians.
— Amanda Macias
Putin 'will try to freeze the country into submission,' U.S. Ambassador to U.N. says
The U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations blamed Russia for the death of two citizens inside Poland's territory.
"While we still don't know all of the facts, we do know one thing: This tragedy would never have happened but for Russia's needless invasion of Ukraine and its recent missile assaults against Ukraine's civilian infrastructure," Linda Thomas Greenfield said before the U.N. Security Council.
"The UN charter is clear – Ukraine has every right to defend itself against this barrage. Defend its sovereignty. Defend its territorial integrity," she added.
Thomas Greenfield said that Russia on Tuesday carried out "the widest scale missile attack since the beginning of the war."
"Now, millions of Ukrainians are without heat or electricity. We extend our solidarity with the Ukrainian people for the fallout of this attack, and our deepest condolences for those lives lost," Thomas Greenfield said, adding that this was a "deliberate tactic by Putin."
"He seems to have decided that if he can't seize Ukraine by force, he will try to freeze the country into submission. It is hard to overstate how horrific these attacks are," she said.
— Amanda Macias
Russian counterpart did not respond to U.S. Joint Chiefs Chairman Milley's calls regarding explosion in Poland
U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Army Gen. Mark Milley said he reached out to his Russian counterpart on the heels of the explosion in Poland to discuss the matter.
The purpose of the call was to understand and de-escalate the situation.
Milley told reporters at the Pentagon that he was unable to reach his Russian counterpart and therefore the two did not speak. Milley said that he did hold separate calls with both his Ukrainian and Polish counterparts.
— Amanda Macias
Eight vessels will depart Ukraine’s ports under Black Sea Grain Initiative
The organization overseeing the export of agricultural products said eight vessels carrying rapeseed, soybeans, corn and wheat left Ukrainian ports.
The amount of grain and other foodstuffs exported under the Black Sea Grain Initiative so far exceeds 11.1 million metric tons.
The Black Sea Grain Initiative, a deal brokered in July among Ukraine, Russia, Turkey and the United Nations, eased Russia's naval blockade and saw three key Ukrainian ports reopen.
The deal between the signatories is set to expire this week.
— Amanda Macias
Backlog of 67 ships waiting to transport crops from Ukraine
The organization overseeing the export of Ukrainian crops said there is a backlog of 67 vessels waiting to be loaded with cargo.
The U.N.-led Joint Coordination Center also said that about eight loaded vessels are waiting for inspection in Turkish territorial waters.
The Black Sea Grain Initiative, a deal brokered in July among Ukraine, Russia, Turkey and the United Nations, eased Russia's naval blockade and saw the reopening of three key Ukrainian ports. Since the deal was signed, more than 460 ships carrying 11.1 million metric tons of grain and other food products have left for destinations around the world.
Kyiv has previously blamed Moscow for holding up inspections and delaying vessel movements.
— Amanda Macias
Pentagon calls Russia's deliberate targeting of Ukraine's civilian power grid a war crime
The Pentagon slammed Russia's deliberate bombing of Ukraine's civilian energy sector, adding that more than a quarter of Ukrainians are without power throughout the country.
"While assessments are ongoing yesterday's strikes looked like they launched at least 60 missiles and they may have launched upwards of 90 or even perhaps 100," U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley told reporters during a press conference alongside Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin.
"It was likely the largest wave of missiles that we've seen since the beginning of the war," Milley said, adding that "the deliberate targeting of the civilian power grid, causing excessive collateral damage and unnecessary suffering on the civilian population is a war crime."
— Amanda Macias
Nearly 8 million Ukrainians have become refugees from Russia's war, U.N. estimates
More than 7.8 million Ukrainians have become refugees and moved to neighboring countries since Russia invaded Ukraine in late February, the U.N. Refugee Agency estimates.
Nearly 5 million of those people have applied for temporary resident status in neighboring Western European countries, according to data collected by the agency.
"The escalation of conflict in Ukraine has caused civilian casualties and destruction of civilian infrastructure, forcing people to flee their homes seeking safety, protection and assistance," the U.N. Refugee Agency wrote.
— Amanda Macias
White House places blame on Russia for explosion in Poland
The White House placed the blame squarely on Russia after an explosion in a Polish village resulted in the death of two people.
"We have seen nothing that contradicts President Duda's preliminary assessment that this explosion was most likely the result of a Ukrainian air defense missile that unfortunately landed in Poland," National Security Council spokesperson Adrienne Watson said in a statement.
"That said, whatever the final conclusions may be, it is clear that the party ultimately responsible for this tragic incident is Russia, which launched a barrage of missiles on Ukraine specifically intended to target civilian infrastructure. Ukraine had — and has — every right to defend itself," Watson added.
Watson added that the Biden administration will remain in close contact with both Ukrainian and Polish counterparts.
— Amanda Macias
NATO chief says allies reaffirmed support for Kyiv during U.S.-hosted Ukraine Defense Contact Group
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg called for Russia to stop the conflict in Ukraine following a spillover explosion in Poland's territory.
Stoltenberg, who attended the Ukraine Defense Contact Group hosted by U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, said allies reaffirmed their support for Ukraine during the meeting.
The Ukraine Defense Contact group, a coalition of nearly 50 countries supporting Ukraine's military needs, has met seven times since it was formed in April.
"NATO allies stand firm in supporting Ukraine's right to self-defense against Russia's brutal aggression, including its strikes on civilian infrastructure. Russia must stop the war and end the suffering," he added.
Earlier in the day, Stoltenberg said from NATO headquarters that the strike was not a deliberate attack and that Russia was ultimately to blame.
— Amanda Macias
U.N. Security Council will meet after missile hits Poland
The U.N. Security Council will meet to discuss developments in Ukraine following reports that a missile crossed into Poland's territory and resulted in the deaths of two people.
The meeting of the 15 members at 3 p.m. ET, which was previously scheduled, is expected to focus on the apparent spillover from the war in Ukraine.
U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres expressed concern over the explosion in Polish territory and urged a de-escalation of the conflict.
— Amanda Macias
UN secretary-general 'very concerned' by reports of explosion in Poland
U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres expressed concern over the reports of an explosion in Polish territory and urged a de-escalation of the conflict in Ukraine.
"The Secretary-General is very concerned by the reports of a missile exploding on Polish territory. It is absolutely essential to avoid escalating the war in Ukraine," U.N. deputy spokesman Farhan Haq wrote in a statement.
"He sends his condolences to the families of the victims. He hopes that a thorough investigation will be conducted," he added.
— Amanda Macias
U.S. Joint Chiefs Chairman Milley, Defense Secretary Austin and Secretary Blinken hold calls with Polish and Ukrainian counterparts
U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley spoke with his Polish counterpart Chief of the General Staff Gen. Rajmund Andrzejczak by phone. The call between the two came hours after reports that a missile crossed Poland's borders, resulting in the death of two people.
"The two leaders discussed Russia's ongoing invasion of Ukraine and the loss of life near Poland's border and agreed to remain in touch as the investigation proceeds," according to a Pentagon readout of the call.
Milley also spoke with his Ukrainian counterpart Armed Forces Gen. Valery Zaluzhny in a separate call.
"They discussed the unprovoked and ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine and exchanged perspectives and assessments. The chairman reaffirmed unwavering support for Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity," according to a Pentagon readout of the call.
U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin also spoke with Polish Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of National Defense Mariusz Błaszczak to discuss the current security situation along NATO's eastern flank.
Austin assured Błaszczak of the "ironclad commitment of the United States to defend Poland and the Department of Defense's readiness to assist Poland in any investigation of the incident."
Meanwhile, Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke with Polish Foreign Minister Zbigniew Rau and Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba in separate calls.
— Amanda Macias
Russia bars entry to Irish PM and 51 others
Russia said on Wednesday it was banning entry to 52 Irish politicians including Prime Minister Micheal Martin, accusing Dublin of waging "an aggressive anti-Russian propaganda campaign".
The ban - also including Deputy Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, the foreign, justice and finance ministers and a number of parliamentarians - was the latest in a barrage of largely symbolic moves by Russia against prominent figures from Western countries that have condemned its war in Ukraine.
Prime Minister Martin, who was told of the sanctions while speaking in parliament, said it was a new development and "I don't think I've ever been sanctioned before".
He said the sanctions "were part of a broader propaganda war being waged by Russia" and said that "cool heads are always required in situations like this".
As a member of the European Union, Ireland has joined sanctions against Russia over its Feb. 24 invasion and the two countries have expelled some of each other's diplomats.
Moscow also demanded an apology in March after a man drove a lorry through the gates of its Dublin embassy to protest against the war.
Ukrainian official says Kyiv wants a 'joint study' and to see evidence on Poland missile strike
Ukraine asked to see the evidence upon which NATO based its assessment that a missile strike on Poland that killed two people was likely caused by Ukraine's air defenses trying to defend itself against a barrage of Russian missile attacks.
NATO's Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg insisted, however, that the strike was not a deliberate attack and that Ukraine was not to blame.
"Let me be clear, this is not Ukraine's fault. Russia bears ultimate responsibility as it continues its illegal war against Ukraine," Stoltenberg said at a press briefing.
After NATO's comments, Oleksii Danilov, the head of Ukraine's National Security and Defense Council, tweeted that Kyiv favored a "joint study" into the incident, and wanted to see the evidence held by its allies that suggested it was involved.
Danilov said on Twitter that Ukraine was "ready to hand over the evidence of the Russian trail that we have" but Kyiv was still awaiting "information from our partners, on the basis of which a conclusion was made that it is a Ukrainian air defense missile."
He added that Ukraine had requested that defense ministry and border guard officials are granted immediate access to the site of the explosion.
— Holly Ellyatt
NATO says Poland blast likely caused by Ukrainian missile, but doesn't blame Ukraine
NATO said there was no indication that the missile strike that hit a Polish border village on Tuesday night was deliberate, saying that Russia was ultimately to blame as it continues to bombard Ukraine with missiles.
The military alliance's Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said the missile incident took place "as Russia launched a massive wave of rocket attacks across Ukraine."
While the investigation was ongoing into the indicent, he said "there was no indication this was the result of a deliberate attack" and no indication it was a result of "offensive military actions against NATO."
Preliminary analysis, as previously reported, suggests that the incident was caused by a Ukrainian air defense missile fired to intercept a Russian missile.
"Let me be clear, this is not Ukraine's fault. Russia bears the ultimate responsibility as it continues its war against Ukraine," he said.
— Holly Ellyatt
Poland's president says missile hit does not appear to be intentional
Poland's President Andrzej Duda said there is no evidence the missile strike on a village at the Polish-Ukrainian border was deliberate as details emerge suggesting the strike was a result of Ukrainian forces intercepting a Russian missile.
"We are in direct contact with our NATO allies. I emphasize — we do not have any circumstantial evidence that would allow us to conclude that it was an attack on Poland," the president's office tweeted Wednesday, citing comments by Duda.
"There is no indication that this was an intentional attack on Poland. Most likely, it was a Russian-made S-300 rocket. We have no proof at the moment that it was a missile fired by the Russian side," he added.
"There are many indications that it was an air defense missile, which unfortunately fell on Polish territory."
Poland has been a staunch ally of Ukraine during the Russian invasion, providing weapons to Ukraine as well as distributing military and humanitarian supplies from other allies to Kyiv.
— Holly Ellyatt
Belgium says evidence points to Ukraine firing missile that hit Poland
Belgium's defense minister is the latest official to suggest current evidence points to Ukraine's forces being behind a missile strike that hit Polish territory Tuesday night.
"Based on current information, the strikes in Poland seem to be a result of Ukrainian air defense," Ludivine Dedonder said on Twitter Wednesday.
"Pieces of Russian missiles and a Ukrainian interception missile are said to have landed in Poland," she added.
Investigations continue into the Polish border missile incident which killed two people. NATO members are also set to meet in Brussels Wednesday to discuss the matter.
Ukraine's Defense Ministry responded cautiously to several reports suggesting its own armed forces fired the missile, saying the issue is "very sensitive" as more details emerge.
— Holly Ellyatt
Russia's Defense Ministry slams Ukraine, says Moscow's missiles hit their targets
Russia's Ministry of Defense laid the blame for the Poland missile strike at Ukraine's door Wednesday, claiming that all Moscow's missiles hit their intended targets during its massive air strike on the country yesterday that knocked out a significant part of its energy infrastructure.
The ministry said Russian armed forces launched a "massive air and sea-based long-range high-precision weapon against the military command and control system of Ukraine and related energy facilities," yesterday, adding that "all fired missiles hit exactly on their intended targets."
Addressing the missile that hit Polish territory on Tuesday, which initial reports suggest could have been fired by Ukrainian forces, Russia said again that it was not responsible. "We want to emphasize that high-precision strikes were delivered only on the territory of Ukraine and at a distance of no closer than 35 kilometers from the Ukrainian-Polish border."
It said photographs of the wreckage found in the village of Przewodow where the missile struck, killing two people, were identified by Russian defense experts "as elements of an anti-aircraft guided missile of the S-300 air defense system of the Ukrainian Air Force."
Similar assessments appear to have been made by Western officials with media agencies citing defense personnel saying initial reports suggested Ukraine's forces fired the missile.
Russia's Defense Ministry then denied it had targeted Kyiv yesterday, saying strikes to residential buildings were "a direct consequence of the fall and self-destruction of anti-aircraft missiles fired by Ukrainian troops from Ukrainian and foreign air defense systems located within the city."
"We also want to emphasize that - during the massive strike on November 15 by high-precision weapons against objects in the territory of Ukraine - not a single missile strike was carried out against objects in the city of Kyiv," the ministry claimed.
— Holly Ellyatt
Russian missile attack was largest ever on Ukraine's energy sector
Ukraine's national energy company said the wave of missile attacks that struck Ukrainian cities and energy infrastructure on Tuesday were "the largest attack in the history of the energy sector" and one which affected all regions of Ukraine.
According to a senior Ukrainian official, the attacks saw Russia fire over 90 missiles, which hit Kyiv, Kharkiv and Lviv and other parts of the country, damaging 15 energy facilities and leaving seven million people without power.
National energy company Ukrenergo said on Wednesday that the most difficult situation is in the west of the country, as well as in the central and northeastern regions.
"To stabilize the energy system of Ukrenergo, emergency shutdown schedules were used. This made it possible to prevent a complete blackout of the country," it said on Telegram, adding that emergency workers are trying to restore power to consumers.
It warned "the next few days will be difficult: the cold weather is approaching and the consumption of electricity will increase, accordingly, the load on the networks will also increase" and called on consumers to use power sparingly.
"The enemy is cruel and we understand that he may not stop there. We have a response plan for various situations, including the worst. At the same time, Ukrainians should be prepared for significant interruptions in energy supply and have the necessary supply of water, charged devices and power banks," Ukrenergo said.
— Holly Ellyatt
U.S. officials say initial assessments suggest Ukrainian forces fired missile that struck Poland: AP
The Associated Press reported that preliminary assessments by U.S. officials suggest Ukrainian forces fired a missile that struck Poland. The missile was fired at an incoming Russian missile, the AP reported, citing three officials.
AP also said the latest assessment of the origin of the missile contradicts its earlier reports that said Russian missiles had crossed into Poland, citing a senior U.S. intelligence official.
NATO, G-7 condemn 'barbaric' Russian missile attacks on Ukraine cities
NATO and the Group of Seven advanced economies declared their support for the Ukrainian people after Russia carried out another round of "barbaric missile attacks" on Ukraine.
The Atlantic alliance and G-7 issued a joint statement from the G-20 summit taking place in Bali, Indonesia saying, "We condemn the barbaric missile attacks that Russia perpetrated on Ukrainian cities and civilian infrastructure on Tuesday."
"We reaffirm our steadfast support for Ukraine and the Ukrainian people in the face of ongoing Russian aggression, as well as our continued readiness to hold Russia accountable for its brazen attacks on Ukrainian communities, even as the G20 meets to deal with the wider impacts of the war," the statement said. "We all express our condolences to the families of the victims in Poland and Ukraine.
Separately, the communique expressed the two groups' "full support and assistance" for an ongoing investigation in Poland, which said on Tuesday night local time that two Polish citizens were killed by a "Russian-made" missile that hits a rural area near the Ukraine border.
The statement did not add new details to the deadly explosion in Poland, which is a member of NATO.
Moscow launched a wave of missiles into Ukraine as global leaders in Bali were discussing the war and only hours after Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelenskyy address the G-20 meeting. Ukraine's military last week defeated Russian troops in and around Kherson, Ukraine — the latest in a string of victories for Kyiv.
Leaders who signed onto the statement came from Canada, the EU, the European Council, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States.
— Ted Kemp
Biden says it's 'unlikely' the missile that killed two people in Poland was fired from Russia
U.S. President Joe Biden said it's "unlikely" a missile that killed two people in Poland was fired from Russia, citing the trajectory of the rocket.
Asked by a reporter if the missile was fired from Russia, Biden said: "There is preliminary information that contests that, I don't want to say that until we completely investigate."
He went on to say: "It's unlikely... in the minds of the trajectory, that it was fired from Russia. But, we'll see."
Biden reiterated that the leaders of the Group of 7 agreed to support an ongoing investigation into the explosion.
"We agreed to support Poland's investigation into the explosion in rural Poland near the Ukrainian border. And I'm going to make sure we figure out exactly what happened," he told reporters on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Bali, Indonesia.
EU says its 'closely monitoring' the situation in Poland
European Union Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said the bloc is "closely monitoring" the situation in Poland.
"I extend my condolences and my strongest message of support and solidarity with Poland and our Ukrainian friends," she said on Twitter.
"We are closely monitoring the situation and are in touch with Polish authorities and partners and allies," she said.
Her remarks come on the heels of an AP report that Russian missiles crossed into the NATO ally's territory.
— Amanda Macias
Missile that killed 2 in Poland was Russian-made, Polish foreign ministry says
Two people were killed after a Russian-made missile fell inside Poland, the country's foreign ministry said early Wednesday.
The ministry said Russia was carrying out a lengthy attack on Ukrainian infrastructure when the missile struck the village of Przewodów, killing two Polish citizens.
The Polish Minister of Foreign Affairs Zbigniew Rau called on the Russian ambassador for "immediate detailed explanations" of the incident.
- Chris Eudaily
Ukraine's Zelenskyy says Russian missiles hit Poland in 'significant escalation' of conflict
[Editor's note: In earlier versions of a story published Nov. 15, 2022, The Associated Press reported erroneously, based on information from a senior American intelligence official who spoke on condition of anonymity, that Russian missiles had crossed into Poland and killed two people. Subsequent reporting showed that the missiles were Russian-made and most likely fired by Ukraine in defense against a Russian attack. AP retracted the article.]
Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that Russian missiles hit Poland, a NATO country, in what he said was a "significant escalation" of the conflict.
Russian missiles hit Poland," Zelenskiy said, according to a text accompanying his nightly video address. He did not provide evidence of the strikes and Russia has denied that it fired missiles on Poland.
"The longer Russia feels impunity, the more threats there will be to anyone within reach of Russian missiles. To fire missiles at NATO territory! This is a Russian missile attack on collective security! This is a very significant escalation. We must act," Zelenskyy said.