President Joe Biden said Wednesday that a missile that landed inside Poland was “unlikely” to have been fired by Russia.
The missile struck a farm 15 miles inside Poland, killed two people, and instantly sparked discussions about convening NATO members to determine whether a military response was warranted under the organization’s Article 5.
The Associated Press first reported the missile strike Tuesday morning after a senior U.S. official told the publication that Russia fired the missiles.
“There is preliminary information that contests that,” Biden later told reporters while overseas when asked if the missile had been fired from Russia. “It is unlikely in the lines of the trajectory that it was fired from Russia, but we’ll see.”
Now it appears as though the missile, which Poland said was “Russian-made”, was actually fired by Ukrainian forces at a Russian missile, missed, and continued traveling through the air until it detonated at the farm, preliminary assessments suggested according to the AP.
The Russian government immediately pushed back on claims that they had fired the missile as soon as the AP’s report was published.
“No strikes on targets near the Ukrainian-Polish state border were made by Russian means of destruction,” Russia’s Defense Ministry said. The ministry called the reports “deliberate provocation(s) aimed at escalating the situation.”
The Department of Defense said at a press conference on Tuesday that they could not confirm the AP’s original report that claimed that Russia fired the missiles.
“We are aware of the press reports alleging that two Russian missiles have struck a location inside Poland near the Ukraine border,” Pentagon spokesperson Brig. Gen. Patrick Ryder said. “I can tell you that we don’t have any information at this time to corroborate those reports and are looking into this further.”
Ryder added, “When it comes to our security commitments and Article 5, we’ve been crystal clear that we will defend every inch of NATO territory.”
NATO was created with the primary mission of countering attempts by the then-Soviet Union to expand into Eastern Europe and other areas by uniting member nations in a collective defense against attacks through NATO’s Article 5.
Article 5, which was first invoked after Islamic terrorists attacked the U.S. on September 11, 2001, ensures that “an attack against one Ally is considered as an attack against all Allies.”