US official: Ukrainian military tells US, allies it attempted missile interception near Poland strike location
From CNN's Jim Sciutto
The Ukrainian military told US and allies that it attempted to intercept a Russian missile during the timeframe and near that location of the Poland missile strike, a US official told CNN.
It’s not clear this air defense missile is the same missile that struck Poland, but this information has informed an ongoing US assessment of the strike.
A Pentagon spokesperson referred CNN to comments by US President Joe Biden last night: “It’s unlikely, in the minds of the trajectory, that it was fired from Russia. But we’ll see. We’ll see.”
8:59 a.m. ET, November 16, 2022
Polish PM says explosion Tuesday probably caused by shooting down of a Russian missile
From CNN's Tim Lister
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said that the explosion in Poland yesterday near the border with Ukraine was likely caused by a Russian missile being shot down "without any intention on either side."
"Materials collected by our services and provided by our allies most probably indicate that the explosion in Przewodów, in eastern Poland, was caused by the shooting down and destruction of a Russian missile," he said.
Morawiecki tweeted that "there are many indications that one of these missiles fell on Polish territory without any intention on either side."
Earlier Wednesday, Polish President Andrzej Duda said his government doesn’t have any evidence to suggest that the missile that landed in Poland on Tuesday was fired by Russia.
“Probably it was shot by the Ukrainian Air Defense, and unfortunately, it fell onto Polish territory,” he said.
He reiterated that nothing shows that it was an “intentional attack” against Poland.
9:10 a.m. ET, November 16, 2022
It's mid-afternoon in Kyiv. Here's what you need to know
Poland's president and the head of NATO have today both said that it's likely that the missile strike that killed two people in a Polish border village Tuesday was accidentally caused by Ukrainian air defenses, with no sign that it was a intentional attack on Poland.
Yet this is the first time a NATO country has been directly hit since the conflict began in February. Alliance chief Jens Stoltenberg said that: "Russia bears ultimate responsibility, as it continues its illegal war against Ukraine."
Meanwhile, residents across Ukraine face emergency power cuts following Russia's barrage of strikes targeting energy infrastructure on Tuesday.
Here are the latest developments:
"Not Ukraine's fault": The origins of the missile that struck eastern Poland with deadly consequences are still under detailed investigation, though Stoltenberg said early analysis suggests it was "likely" fired by Ukraine's defenses.
Emergency blackouts hit Ukraine: Residents in multiple Ukrainian regions will face further scheduled and unscheduled power cuts Wednesday, a day after Russia fired scores of missiles at the country.
Missile threatens diplomacy: Global leaders scrambled to alleviate the fallout from Tuesday's incident. French President Emmanuel Macron echoed his G20 counterparts and said the group should send a “very clear message to avoid escalation."
What the Kremlin says: Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov praised the United States' reaction to the missile incident in Poland, saying it was "restrained" and "professional," contrasting statements from Poland and other countries. The Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs has said the missile that fell in Poland was Russian-made. On Wednesday, Polish President Andrzej Duda said that the strike was "probably an accident" from Ukraine's air defenses. US President Joe Biden called for an emergency meeting of the leaders of the G7 and NATO countries on Wednesday. Biden said the preliminary information refutes reports that the missile was fired from Russia.
War dominates G20: The paragraph on the war in Ukraine was the most intensely discussed section of the G20 joint leaders’ declaration, Indonesian President Joko Widodo said Wednesday, as the summit wrapped.
Grain deal concerns: Leaders at the G20 summit called for the "full implementation" of the Black Sea Grain Initiative after Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov cast doubt on the future of the agreement, which was negotiated to ease a global food crisis inflamed by the war.
9:11 a.m. ET, November 16, 2022
US will "work closely" with Poland and others to gather more information on Tuesday's strike, official says
From CNN's Ellie Kaufman
The US will “continue to work closely” with Poland and other allies to “gather more information” about the deadly explosion that occurred in Poland yesterday, killing two people, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said during opening remarks ahead of the seventh meeting of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group Wednesday.
The Ukraine Defense Contact Group is designed to coordinate support for Ukraine from foreign allies around the world. This is the group’s seventh meeting. Austin and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley are hosting this meeting virtually from the Pentagon.
Austin highlighted Russia's strikes across Ukraine earlier on Tuesday before reports of a strike in Poland emerged.
Russia is putting “civilians and civilian infrastructure in its gun sights,” Austin said. He reaffirmed that Russia’s targeting of civilians and their continued missile strikes “only deepen the resolve of the contact group,” and “only intensify Ukraine’s determination,” in his opening remarks.
“The Kremlin may hope that more bombardment will break the resolve of the Ukrainian people, but ordinary Ukrainian citizens have responded with the magnificent defiance that the world now knows so well,” Austin added.
8:19 a.m. ET, November 16, 2022
MI5 chief says Russian spying in Europe has been dealt "significant strategic blow" since war in Ukraine
From CNN's Nick Paton Walsh
Russia’s ability to spy in Europe has been dealt the “most significant strategic blow” in recent history after coordinated expulsions of diplomats since the invasion of Ukraine, with 100 diplomatic visa requests refused in the UK alone in recent years, according to the head of the UK’s security services, MI5.
Ken McCallum, the director general of MI5, said in an annual speech outlining threats to the United Kingdom that this year 600 Russians officials had been expelled from Europe, 400 of whom his agency judged to be spies.
“We’ve continued to work intensively to make the UK the hardest possible operating environment for Russian covert action,” said McCallum. “In the UK’s case, since our removal for 23 Russian spies posing as diplomats, we have refused on national security grounds over 100 diplomatic visa applications … the serious point is that the UK must be ready for Russian aggression for years to come.”
In comments after the speech, McCallum called the expulsions “a very, very large dent in the Russians call about positioning across Europe,” adding data about agents was shared between European allies so that “it’s not easy for the Russians to cross post” one spy “expelled from country A to Country D.”
He added: “I hope what will continue to be true is that a very large volume of trained, experienced Russian intelligence talent, if I can use that term, will be of far less utility and most other parts of the world for many years to come.”
8:16 a.m. ET, November 16, 2022
After Russia's missile barrage, NATO's top priority is more air defense systems for Ukraine
From CNN's Radina Gigova and Allegra Goodwin
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg confirmed one of the alliance's top priorities is to provide more air defense systems to Kyiv, after Russia launched its biggest wave of missile attacks on Ukrainian cities in more than a month on Tuesday.
"Our main priority now or one of the top priorities now is to provide more air defense systems for Ukraine," Stoltenberg said.
Stoltenberg added he has spoken with Polish President Andrzej Duda and US President Joe Biden, after a missile landed in eastern Poland on Tuesday and killed two people near the border with Ukraine.
The NATO chief said in the same news conference that preliminary analysis suggests the Poland missile incident was "likely" caused by a Ukrainian air defense missile, adding: "This is not Ukraine's fault. Russia bears ultimate responsibility, as it continues its illegal war against Ukraine."
The explosion marked the first time a NATO country has been directly hit during Russia's invasion of Ukraine, with global leaders working to allay fears of a potential escalation in the conflict as a result of the strike.
"We agreed that we need to stay vigilant, calm and closely coordinated. We will continue to consult and monitor the situation very closely," Stoltenberg said.
"NATO stands united, and we will always do what is necessary to protect and defend all allies."
8:09 a.m. ET, November 16, 2022
Germany offers to help Poland patrol airspace after missile incident
From CNN’s Chris Stern in Berlin and Eve Brennan in London
Germany on Wednesday said it will offer support to Poland to help patrol Polish airspace in light of the missile explosion on Tuesday.
"As an immediate reaction to the incident in Poland, we will offer to strengthen air policing with combat air patrols over its airspace with German Eurofighters," German Defence Ministry spokesperson Christian Thiels said at a press conference.
"The mission could begin as early as tomorrow, if Poland desired," he added.
"The jets do not need to be relocated to Poland. Patrols could take off from German airbases and return here after each mission,” Thiels said.
German Defence Minister Christine Lambrecht is planning to speak to her Polish counterpart on the matter on Wednesday, he added.
Deputy spokesperson for the German government, Wolfgang Buechner, said at the same news conference that Chancellor Olaf Scholz has spoken to Polish President Andrzej Duda on the phone and offered Berlin's support.
“There is no question that we are standing very closely by Poland's side and will of course not leave Poland alone in this situation,” said Buechner.
8:07 a.m. ET, November 16, 2022
NATO head says missile that hit Poland was likely fired by Ukraine's defenses, but Russia bears "ultimate responsibility"
From CNN's Radina Gigova and Allegra Goodwin
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that early investigations suggest a deadly strike in Poland on Tuesday was "likely" caused by a Ukrainian air defense missile.
"Our preliminary analysis suggests that the incident was likely caused by the Ukrainian air defense missile fired to defend Ukrainian territory against Russian cruise missile attacks," Stoltenberg said during a Wednesday news conference in Brussels.
But let me be clear, this is not Ukraine's fault," he added. "Russia bears ultimate responsibility, as it continues its illegal war against Ukraine."
"We have no indication that Russia is preparing offensive military actions against NATO," the alliance chief said.
The landing of a deadly missile in eastern Poland near the border with Ukraine on Tuesday marked the first time a NATO country had been directly hit during the conflict. Leaders at the G20 summit in Bali have since scrambled to diffuse the fallout from the incident.
Stoltenberg also said the missile incident demonstrates the war "continues to create dangerous situations" and that the conflict is "President [Vladimir] Putin's responsibility."
"I think this [missile incident] demonstrates the dangers are connected to the ongoing war in Ukraine, but hasn't changed our fundamental assessment of the threat against the NATO allies," he said.
Stoltenberg said the investigation into the missile incident in Poland is ongoing and NATO will continue to monitor the situation "very closely."
"We need to stay vigilant, calm and closely coordinated," he said.
Watch here for more:
7:46 a.m. ET, November 16, 2022
Ukraine Air Force will "do everything" to cooperate with investigation into Poland missile strike
From CNN's Julia Kesaieva in Kyiv
The Ukrainian Air Force said it will “do everything” to facilitate an investigation into a missile strike in Poland on Tuesday that killed two people near the border with Ukraine.
“What happened was the Air Defense Force repelling the air attack,” Yurii Ihnat, spokesperson for Air Force Command Ukraine, said on Wednesday.
“What happened next – whether it was a Russian missile, or this was the wreckage of both rockets falling – this has to be inspected at the site. And that is what is happening right now.”
What happened yesterday is obviously the consequences of the war.”
“It is necessary to provide a legal assessment," Ihnat added. "The process is ongoing, the experts are working. It is necessary to establish which missile wreckage these were, I don't think it would be too difficult.”
“We advocate for a joint examination of the incident with the missile’s landing in Poland,” Oleksiy Danilov, Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine, said on Twitter.
“We are ready to hand over evidence of the Russian trace that we have. We are expecting information from our partners, based on which a conclusion was made that it’s a Ukrainian air defense missile.”
The comments came as the Russian defense ministry said Ukraine’s air defense system is responsible for the strike, calling assertions blaming “Russian missiles” for being behind the explosion “a deliberate provocation with the aim of escalating the situation.”
Ihnat also made reference to an incident at the end of October, when a Russian missile intercepted by the Ukrainian military fell on a village in Moldova.
“This is a really resonant situation, but this is not the first time,” he said. In that case, he explained a Russian missile was downed by Kyiv “after crossing the Ukrainian border with Moldova. The wreckage of a missile fell on the territory of Moldova.”