November 16, 2022 Russia-Ukraine news

By Tara Subramaniam, Sana Noor Haq, Ed Upright, Adrienne Vogt, Aditi Sangal and Mike Hayes, CNN

Updated 1:02 a.m. ET, November 17, 2022
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12:22 a.m. ET, November 16, 2022

CIA director visits Kyiv amid Russian missile strikes across Ukraine

From CNN's Katie Bo Lillis 

CIA Director Bill Burns testifies during his Senate Intelligence Committee hearing in Washington DC, on February 24, 2021.
CIA Director Bill Burns testifies during his Senate Intelligence Committee hearing in Washington DC, on February 24, 2021. (Tom Williams/Pool/Reuters)

CIA Director Bill Burns traveled to Kyiv to meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and his intelligence counterparts on Tuesday, according to a US official.

Burns, the official said, was safely in the US Embassy during Russian missile strikes across the country, including blasts that rocked the capital.

Burns’ trip to Kyiv came on the heels of a Monday meeting in Ankara, Turkey with his Russian intelligence counterpart, Sergey Naryshkin — and it is the second known time in less than a month that the CIA director has visited Kyiv.

While there, the official said, Burns “discussed the US warning he delivered to the head of Russia’s SVR not to use nuclear weapons and reinforced the US commitment to provide support to Ukraine in its fight against Russian aggression.”

Some context: The flurry of back-channel communications comes less than a week after Russia announced a withdrawal from the key Ukrainian city of Kherson and as a quiet debate has begun in Washington over whether or not to encourage Kyiv to pursue a diplomatic resolution to the conflict. It also comes as the US has grown increasingly concerned that Russia could turn to a nuclear weapon in its struggling war.

Burns and other US officials have said publicly they see no evidence that Moscow is actively preparing to take such a step, but officials familiar with the intelligence warn the risk is perhaps the highest it has been since Russia's invasion began in February.

1:23 a.m. ET, November 16, 2022

G7 and NATO condemn "barbaric" attacks in Ukraine and offer support following Poland blast

From CNN's Allie Malloy, Angus Watson and Eric Cheung

NATO and G7 leaders released a joint statement following their emergency meeting on the margins of the G20, condemning the “barbaric missile attacks that Russia perpetrated on Ukrainian cities and civilian infrastructure on Tuesday.”

Russia fired "around 100 missiles" at cities across Ukraine on Tuesday, Yurii Ihnat, a spokesperson for the Ukrainian Air Force command, said earlier.

At least a dozen cities and districts were targeted, according to a CNN analysis of the missile strikes. The wave of strikes appears to be the largest since Oct. 10, when Russia stepped up its campaign to destroy electricity, water and gas infrastructure across Ukraine. 

The leaders also offered "full support" for Poland following an explosion in the country's east and said they would "remain in close touch" to determine the appropriate next steps.

"We all express our condolences to the families of the victims in Poland and Ukraine," the joint statement said.

World reacts: Australia’s Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said the international community should consider what is an "appropriate response" to the explosion in Poland. "Russia's reckless and dangerous use of force" had brought "danger for the entire region," he said. In a tweet, New Zealand's foreign minister condemned "Russia’s abhorrent targeting of civilian infrastructure in Ukraine" as a "grave breach of international law." Meanwhile, Taiwan's Foreign Ministry did not call out Russia specifically, but condemed “acts of war against other countries that violate the United Nations Charter and undermine peace.”

11:57 p.m. ET, November 15, 2022

A deadly explosion in Poland is raising fears of an escalation in the war. Here's what we know

US President Joe Biden held an emergency meeting with G7 and NATO allies on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Bali, Indonesia, on Tuesday after Poland said a "Russian-made missile" landed on a village near the Ukraine border on Tuesday, killing two people.

The deadly explosion in eastern Poland — a NATO member country — has raised fears of a further escalation in the months-long Russia-Ukraine war.

Here's what we know:

  • What Poland says: Poland's Foreign Ministry said late Tuesday that a "Russian-made missile" landed on the Polish village of Przewodów, near the border with Ukraine, killing two people. The ministry did not specify the type of missile or where it was fired from, but the country's President said it was "most likely produced in Russia." The incident was a "single act" and there is no evidence of further missiles, Poland's prime minister said.
  • Unanswered questions: The circumstances surrounding the incident, which marks the first time a NATO country has been directly struck during the almost nine-month conflict, remain unclear — including who fired the missile and where it was fired from. Both Russian and Ukrainian forces have used Russian-made munitions during the conflict, with Ukraine deploying Russian-made missiles as part of their air defense system.
  • Why it's raising tensions: Poland, a NATO member, said Warsaw is considering invoking the defense alliance's Article 4 to discuss its concerns and will also increase the combat readiness of some Polish troops. Article 4 is a consultation method that allows members of the 30-country alliance to bring an issue — usually about security — affecting them for discussion at the North Atlantic Council, its decision-making body.
  • Reports from the ground: A local resident told CNN they heard a terrifying “whoosh” as a projectile flew over the town. CNN's Matthew Chance spoke to a caretaker of a local school who said the force of the blast shook classroom windows, though students were not inside the school when the explosion occurred. Polish media reported that a projectile had landed on a farm in the country — roughly the same time as Russia launched its biggest wave of missile attacks on Ukrainian cities in more than a month. 
  • World leaders' reaction: Speaking after an emergency meeting with G7 and NATO allies at the G20 summit in Bali, President Biden said preliminary information suggests it is unlikely the missile was fired from within Russia. Biden said the allies would support Poland's investigation, which would "collectively determine our next step as we investigate and proceed," adding there was "total unanimity" among the leaders.
  • What Russia says: In a statement late Tuesday, Russia's Defense Ministry said reports of the explosion were "a deliberate provocation in order to escalate the situation." "There were no strikes made on targets near the Ukrainian-Polish state border," it said, adding photos of wreckage published by Polish media "from the scene in the village of Przewodow have nothing to do with Russian weapons."
  • What happens next: In a joint statement following their G20 summit meeting, NATO and G7 leaders said they offered "full support" for Poland and would "remain in close touch" to determine the appropriate next steps. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg will chair an emergency meeting of alliance ambassadors Wednesday morning in Brussels to discuss the incident.
2:39 a.m. ET, November 16, 2022

Top US general spoke with Ukrainian and Polish counterparts

From CNN's Jamie Crawford

Gen. Mark Milley, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, spoke with his Ukrainian counterpart on Tuesday, according to a readout provided by the Pentagon.

Milley discussed the Russian invasion and "exchanged perspectives and assessments" with Ukrainian Armed Forces Gen. Valery Zaluzhny, it said.

The chairman also reaffirmed US support for Ukraine, the readout added.

It comes after a missile exploded in Poland, near the Ukrainian border, killing two people Tuesday. 

Milley also spoke with his Polish counterpart, Chief of the General Staff Gen. Rajmund Andrzejczak, according to a readout:

“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."

Some background: US President Joe Biden, speaking in Indonesia at the G20 Summit, said world leaders supported the Polish investigation into the incident. He also said it was "unlikely" the missile was fired from inside Russia.

2:38 a.m. ET, November 16, 2022

NATO tracked missile that landed in Poland, military official says

From CNN's Vasco Cotovio

A NATO aircraft flying above Polish airspace on Tuesday tracked the missile that landed in the country, an alliance military official told CNN on Tuesday.

“Intel with the radar tracks [of the missile] was provided to NATO and Poland,” the NATO military official added. 

NATO aircraft have been conducting regular surveillance around Ukraine since the Russian invasion began. The aircraft flying above Poland on Tuesday was monitoring events in Ukraine. 

The NATO official did not say who launched the missile that was tracked landing in Poland, nor where it was fired from.

2:38 a.m. ET, November 16, 2022

Biden says it's "unlikely" missile that fell in Poland was fired from Russia

From CNN's Maegan Vazquez and Kevin Liptak

US President Joe Biden said preliminary information suggests it is unlikely the missile that caused an explosion in Poland on Tuesday and killed two civilians was fired from within Russia. 

Speaking to reporters after meeting with other world leaders in Bali, Indonesia, the president was asked if it was too early to say whether the projectile was fired from Russia. 

"There is preliminary information that contests that. I don’t want to say that until we completely investigate it," Biden responded.

He added that "it’s unlikely in the minds of the trajectory that it was fired from Russia. But we’ll see."

Earlier, Russia's Defense Ministry said reports of Russian missiles landing in Poland were a "deliberate provocation."

2:19 a.m. ET, November 16, 2022

World leaders hold emergency meeting as "Russian-made missile" kills 2 in Poland

From CNN's Tim Lister, Tara John, Antonia Mortensen, Anna Chernova, Emmet Lyons and Rhea Mogul

President Joe Biden and British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak attend an emergency meeting of global leaders, in Bali, Indonesia, to discuss the explosion in Poland that killed two people, on Wednesday.
President Joe Biden and British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak attend an emergency meeting of global leaders, in Bali, Indonesia, to discuss the explosion in Poland that killed two people, on Wednesday. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)

World leaders gathering at the G20 summit in Bali are attempting to diffuse a potential escalation in the months-long Ukraine war after a "Russian-made missile" landed inside NATO-member Poland killing two people.

The missile landed outside the rural Polish village of Przewodow, about four miles (6.4 kilometers) west from the Ukrainian border on Tuesday, roughly the same time as Russia launched its biggest wave of missile attacks on Ukrainian cities in more than a month.

The circumstances surrounding the incident, which marks the first time a NATO country has been directly struck during the almost nine-month conflict, remain unclear. It is not known who fired the missile, or where it was fired from, though the Polish Foreign Ministry has described it as “Russian-made.”

Both Russian and Ukrainian forces have used Russian-made munitions during the conflict, with Ukraine deploying Russian-made missiles as part of their air defense system.

Speaking to reporters after holding an emergency meeting with G7 and NATO leaders on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Bali, Indonesia, US President Joe Biden said preliminary information suggests it was “unlikely” the missile was fired from within Russia, but he couldn’t say conclusively until the investigation was complete.

“We agreed to support Poland’s investigation into the explosion … And I’m going to make sure we figure out exactly what happened,” Biden said, adding that the leaders offered sympathy for the two people killed. “Then we’re going to collectively determine our next step as we investigate and proceed. There was total unanimity among the folks at the table,” he said.

Read the full story here.

2:38 a.m. ET, November 16, 2022

Biden: We agreed to support Poland's investigation into the explosion

US President Joe Biden said he met with G7 and NATO leaders in Bali Wednesday and they agreed to support Poland's investigation into the explosion that happened at a village near the Ukraine border. 

The leaders held an emergency meeting following the incident. Biden said he briefed the leaders on his earlier discussion with Polish President Andrzej Duda and with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.

"We agreed to support Poland's investigation into the explosion in rural Poland near the Ukrainian border. And I'm going make sure we figure out exactly what happened," Biden said, adding that they offered sympathy over the death of two people in the explosion. "Then we're going to collectively determine our next step as we investigate and proceed. There was total unanimity among the folks at the table," he added.

The meeting attendees included Biden, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, French President Emmanuel Macron, Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and European Council President Charles Michel.

2:37 a.m. ET, November 16, 2022

Polish prime minister: Evidence suggests missile that landed in Przewodów was a "single act" 

From CNN's Antonia Mortensen

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said evidence suggests the missile that landed in Przewodów in eastern Poland was a "single act" and there is no evidence of further missiles. 

However, Poland is increasing its military readiness, Morawiecki said Tuesday during his address in Warsaw following the Council of Ministers meeting. 

"We decided to increase the combat readiness of selected units of the Polish armed forces, with particular emphasis on airspace monitoring," Morawiecki said, explaining that “airspace monitoring is and will be carried out in an enhanced manner together with our allies." 

Morawiecki added that Poland is conducting thorough analysis and consultations with its allies regarding the potential use of Article 4 of the NATO Treaty — with his address echoing the caution and calm urged by other Polish officials. 

Earlier, the Polish Foreign Ministry said a "Russian-made missile" had landed in the town near the Ukrainian border and killed two people.