Poland said a Russian-made missile was likely to blame for the deaths of two Polish citizens in an explosion near Poland’s border with Ukraine on Tuesday, a blast that raised anxiety on a day of broad Russian missile attacks on Ukraine.
While the Polish Foreign Ministry said the missile was Russian-made, President Andrzej Duda told reporters, “It was most likely a Russian-made missile, but this is all still under investigation at the moment.”
He added, “We do not have any conclusive evidence at the moment as to who launched this missile.”
Poland held an emergency meeting of the country’s national security and defense council and Mr. Duda said it was “highly likely” that he would call for invoking Article 4 of the NATO charter, under which members confer when a nation’s territorial integrity or security has been threatened.
Zbigniew Rau, Poland’s foreign minister, summoned Russia’s ambassador to demand “immediate detailed explanations” for the blast, according to a statement from the ministry.
The Kremlin has denied any involvement in the explosion, and there is no immediate evidence of an intentional strike. A deliberate attack would have broader and much more serious consequences because Poland — unlike Ukraine — is a NATO member. The alliance’s charter commits its members to mutual defense, stating that an attack on one is an attack on all. That could be taken as requiring a concerted response to the blast in Poland.
At a Pentagon briefing in Washington, Brig. Gen. Patrick S. Ryder said that the Defense Department was aware of media reports saying that two Russian missiles had landed in Poland, but said that U.S. defense officials had no corroborating information.
Analysts noted that the militaries of both Russia and Ukraine use Soviet-era, Russian-made missiles, meaning the statement did not place definitive blame on Moscow.
But faced with the prospect that the war in Ukraine had spilled into a third country, Two But faced with the prospect that the war in Ukraine had spilled into a third country, NATO ambassadors planned to meet in Brussels on Wednesday morning to discuss the situation, according to two diplomats from NATO countries who spoke on the condition of anonymity. And a top European Union official, Charles Michel, urged E.U. leaders attending a Group of 20 summit in Indonesia to hold their own meeting to discuss the events in Poland.
President Biden joined an emergency meeting of leaders of the wealthy Group of 7 nations on the sidelines of a summit in Bali, Indonesia, on Wednesday morning, to discuss the situation in Poland. A White House video feed showed 30 seconds of Mr. Biden sitting silently between British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Justin Trudeau, the prime minister of Canada. Asked by reporters if he would offer an update on the explosion, Mr. Biden replied “no.”
Earlier, Mr. Biden spoke with Mr. Duda and then with Jens Stoltenberg, NATO’s secretary general.
The explosion occurred in the village of Przewodow, about four miles north of the Ukrainian border.
Russia’s Defense Ministry denied any involvement. On Telegram, the ministry wrote that any statements by Polish officials or media outlets about Russian missiles hitting the village were a “deliberate provocation.”
“No strikes on targets near the Ukrainian-Polish state border were made,” the ministry wrote.
A Polish government spokesman, Piotr Mueller, said special procedures had been put in place, including boosting combat readiness of certain military units.
Russia launched a widespread missile attack on Ukraine on Tuesday, with roughly 90 missiles aimed primarily at the country’s electrical infrastructure. Ukraine’s Volyn region, where Russian rocket strikes were reported on Tuesday, lies across the border from Przewodow.
The explosion’s proximity to the border raised the possibility it might have been the result of an errant missile, or the remains of one that had been shot down by Ukraine’s air defense systems. The Ukrainian air force said 70 incoming Russian missiles had been shot down on Tuesday. A fragment of one destroyed missile struck a residential building in Kyiv, killing one person.
Ukraine’s foreign minister, Dmytro Kuleba, said in a Twitter post that the explosion in Poland was not caused by a Ukrainian air-defense missile.
Although the cause of the explosion remained unclear — including whether it involved munitions or had been caused by something else — Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, seized on the reports of possible Russian involvement, calling it evidence of “a very significant escalation.”
Mr. Zelensky alluded to Poland’s membership in NATO and blamed Russia for what he called an “attack on collective security.”
Mr. Kuleba said on Twitter that Ukraine stood with Poland and called for a NATO summit with Kyiv’s participation. He said Ukraine needed “modern aircraft such as F-15 and F-16” fighter jets, something the alliance has shown no interest in providing.
Since the beginning of the invasion, Ukraine’s Western allies, including the United States, have sought to keep the fighting limited to Ukrainian territory and avoid direct confrontation between NATO and Russia, even as NATO members have supplied a steady stream of weapons to Kyiv.
Steven Erlanger, Julian E. Barnes, Richard Pérez-Peña, Michael Crowley, Katie Rogers and Carly Olson contributed reporting.