Nato and G7 condemn Moscow but do not blame it for deaths in Poland

All signs suggest Polish explosion was caused by air defence missile fired by Ukraine

Nato and G7 leaders issued a cautious statement about the explosion that killed two people in Poland on Wednesday as it emerged that it was probably caused by a Ukrainian air defence missile. The leaders condemned Russian missile attacks on Ukrainian cities but did not suggest that Moscow was to blame for the deaths in Poland.

“We condemn the barbaric missile attacks that Russia perpetrated on Ukrainian cities and civilian infrastructure on Tuesday. 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,” they said in a statement.

The leaders, who were on the Indonesian island of Bali for a meeting of the G20, received an intelligence briefing indicating that the missile had not been fired from Russia. Poland’s president, Andrzej Duda, later confirmed that the missile was probably fired by Ukrainian forces.

“From the information that we and our allies have, it was an S-300 rocket made in the Soviet Union, an old rocket and there is no evidence that it was launched by the Russian side,” he said.


“It is highly probable that it was fired by Ukrainian anti-aircraft defence.”

Security threat

Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, was quick to blame Russia for firing the missile, a position he held to even after the Polish president’s statement. Britain’s prime minister, Rishi Sunak, told the G20 that Russia was responsible for the deaths in Poland even if it did not fire the missile.

“We should all be clear – none of this would be happening if it weren’t for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. This is the cruel and unrelenting reality of Putin’s war. As long as it goes on, it poses a threat to our security and that of our allies. And as long as it goes on, it will continue to devastate the global economy,” he said.

“There is not a single person in the world who hasn’t felt the impact of Putin’s war. Global food markets have been severely disrupted by his attempts to choke off Ukrainian grain supply, there has been an eightfold increase in global energy prices thanks to Russia turning off their gas taps and the economic aftershocks of Putin’s casual disregard for human life will ripple around the world for years to come.”

The G20 leaders agreed a declaration deploring the Russian invasion of Ukraine but acknowledging that “there were other views and different assessments of the situation and sanctions” among the member countries.

“Most members strongly condemned the war in Ukraine and stressed it is causing immense human suffering and exacerbating existing fragilities in the global economy – constraining growth, increasing inflation, disrupting supply chains, heightening energy and food insecurity, and elevating financial stability risks,” the declaration said.

The leaders also expressed support for maintaining a corridor in the Black Sea to export grain from Ukraine, which will be renewed on Saturday unless Russia objects.

“It is imperative that the Black Sea grain export agreement is renewed at the end of this week. Given what both Russia and Ukraine represent in grain and fertiliser markets, the war is destabilising the whole world,” French president Emmanuel Macron said after the summit.

Denis Staunton

Denis Staunton

Denis Staunton is China Correspondent of The Irish Times