Two officials briefed on initial US assessments said it appears the missile that killed two people in eastern Poland Wednesday originated in Ukraine, even though it was Russian made.
The official said that assessment is what President Joe Biden appeared to be alluding to in his remarks earlier when he said it was “unlikely” the missile originated in Russia,
The officials said intelligence assessments had been discussed at the emergency meeting called by Biden on the margins of the G20 summit in Bali and would also be a topic of conversation at a meeting of NATO ambassadors in Brussels.
The joint statement after the G7 meeting was also deliberately ambiguous when it came to the incident, putting far more focus on the dozens of strikes that happened in the hours before the missives crossed into Poland.
A spokesperson with the US National Security Council declined to comment on reports that the Russian-made missile that landed in eastern Poland killing two people was fired by Ukrainian forces trying to intercept a Russian attack.
“We have no comment and will not be confirming this report. As the President said today, we support Poland’s ongoing investigation to figure out exactly what happened,” the spokesman said.
Earlier, President Biden said preliminary information suggests it is unlikely the missile that landed in Poland was fired from Russia after consulting with allies at the G20 Summit in Indonesia.
“I don’t want to say that [it was fired from Russia] until we completely investigate,” Biden went on. “It’s unlikely in the minds of the trajectory that it was fired from Russia. But we’ll see.”
Both Russian and Ukrainian forces have used Russian-made munitions during the nine-month conflict. CNN has previously reported that Ukraine has used Russian-made missiles as part of their air defense system. These older-generation weapons systems date back to the period when both Russia and Ukraine were part of the Soviet Union.
In a statement to CNN on Wednesday, an adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky did not explicitly deny reports the missile originated in Ukraine but emphasized Russia’s responsibility for starting the war.
“There is only one logic to be followed,” Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to the head of the Office of the Ukrainian President, said. “The war was started and is being waged by Russia. Russia is massively attacking Ukraine with cruise missiles. Russia has turned the eastern part of the European continent into an unpredictable battlefield. Intent, means of execution, risks, escalation – it is all coming from Russia alone.”
“And there can be no other explanation for any missile incident here. So when an aggressor country launches a deliberate, massive missile strike against a large country on the European continent with its obsolete Soviet-era weapons (Kh -class missiles), tragedy sooner or later occurs on the territories of other states as well.”