President says missile was probably Ukrainian

"We have no evidence that the rocket was fired by Russia; there is a high probability that it was a missile of the Ukrainian defence forces," Andrzej Duda said. Paweł Supernak/PAP

Andrzej Duda, Poland’s president, has said there is a “high probability” that the missile that killed two people in eastern Poland on Tuesday was fired by Ukraine’s air defences.

The missile landed near the village of Przewodow, which lies close to the Ukrainian border.

"We have no evidence that the rocket was fired by Russia; there is a high probability that it was a missile belonging to the Ukrainian defence forces," Duda said.

He added that Russia had launched a "massive attack on an unprecedented scale against Ukraine", firing around 100 missiles of various types at the whole country, including areas close to Poland.

"Ukraine defended itself - which is obvious and understandable - by firing missiles which were tasked with hitting Russian missiles," Duda explained.

Poland also back tracked on earlier suggestions that it might call on Nato to activate Article 4 of the alliance’s treaty.

Article 4 calls for consultations with allies if the territorial integrity, political independence or security of a member is threatened.

"Most of the evidence we have gathered indicates that it will probably not be necessary to trigger Article 4,” Mateusz Morawiecki, the prime minister, said.

He added, however, that "this instrument is within our reach."

Reacting to news of the incident President Joe Biden said on Twitter: "I spoke with President Andrzej Duda of Poland to express my deep condolences for the loss of life in Eastern Poland and offer our full support for Poland's investigation of the explosion.

"We will remain in close touch to determine appropriate next steps as it proceeds."

President Duda also spoke to Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and other leaders including Rishi Sunak, the British prime minister.

The government also raised the alert level for the police, border guard, fire service and security services as a result of the incident, Morawiecki, said.

The Polish authorities have launched an investigation into where the missile came from and who fired it.

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