we President Joe Biden He emerged from an emergency meeting with top allies during his last day at the G-20 in Indonesia promising to “know exactly what happened” after a Russian-made missile crashed within the borders of a NATO ally.
“We agreed to support Poland’s investigation into the explosion in rural Poland near the Ukrainian border, and we’ll make sure we find out exactly what happened,” Biden told reporters after his emergency roundtable with leaders at the G20 summit.
And Biden added, “Then we will collectively determine the next step as we investigate.”
The Chair had just left the meeting in Bali on Wednesday morning local time. The talks came after Poland’s Foreign Ministry said late Tuesday that a “Russian-made missile” had hit the village of Przyudow. On Wednesday, Polish President Andrzej Duda said the missile that fell in Poland on Tuesday “may have been an accident” from the Ukrainian side while intercepting incoming Russian missiles.
The statement appears to confirm something Biden hinted at earlier when he spoke to the press after being asked if the missile was launched from Russia.
He replied, “There is preliminary information that contradicts that.”
He added, “I don’t want to say that until we fully investigate. It’s unlikely in the minds of the track that it was released from Russia. But we’ll see.”
The Russian Ministry of Defense denied that strikes took place on targets near the borders of the Ukrainian-Polish state.
Biden and leaders from the G7 and NATO were at the round table. The officials said the meeting included Biden and leaders from Canada, the European Union, Spain, Italy, France, Germany, the Netherlands and Japan.
The president said there was “a complete consensus among the people at the table” on how to respond to the incident. He did not provide other information about the source of the missile.
“Biden expressed his deepest condolences for the loss of life in eastern Poland earlier this evening,” the White House said in a statement during a phone call with Duda earlier.
President Duda described Poland’s ongoing assessment of the explosion, which took place in the eastern part of the country near the border with Ukraine. President Biden offered the United States’ full support and assistance in Poland’s investigation.”
Biden “reaffirmed the United States’ firm commitment to NATO” and the leaders agreed to keep their teams “in close contact to determine appropriate next steps as the investigation continues.”
At the summit, Biden and most G20 members were to sign a statement condemning Russia’s war in Ukraine “and the human suffering it has caused both Ukrainians and families in the developing world facing food and fuel insecurity as a result,” according to a senior administration official who has seen the statement. Such an expression of condemnation was the result of months of diplomacy between the leaders of the G20.However, it is not yet clear which countries will sign the declaration.
Before starting the long trek back to Washington, Biden participated in mangrove planting with other G20 leaders. He also met British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak for the first time since Sunak took office last month.
Sunak stepped into the role of prime minister late last month when he replaced Liz Truss, who is now the shortest serving prime minister in UK history. Truss resigned after six weeks of a term that flooded Britain in political and economic turmoil. Sunak is The first person of color and the first Hindu to lead the United Kingdom. He is also the youngest person to hold the position in more than 200 years.
White House officials were expecting a divided moment on screen this week as Biden met with world leaders in Bali at the very moment his predecessor announced his third run in the presidential election.
But the dynamic was amplified when Biden held the emergency talks at the same hour that Trump loyalists filled Mar-a-Lago Hall for former President Donald Trump’s announcement.
Biden has been leading crisis talks with members of the Group of Seven and NATO in Bali — two groups have questioned Trump’s usefulness while he was in office.
Less than 10 minutes after he finished speaking to reporters, Trump took the stage at Mar-a-Lago.
With the trip looming, Biden’s advisers weren’t particularly concerned about the split screen, and after the Democrats’ better-than-expected midterm elections, they were less wary of Trump announcing a third bid for president while Biden was in Asia.
For example, Biden officials are happy to draw the comparison between the current and former president on the outdoor stage, given the general chaos that has often left Trump on his travels abroad.
Team Biden also believes the president’s newfound acclaim among Democrats compares favorably with Trump’s post-midterm status within the GOP — an image that is still evolving, but showing signs of erosion.
Trump’s announcement is sure to spark renewed interest in Biden’s decision-making about running for re-election. By all accounts, including from his closest advisers, Biden will feel more motivated to seek a second term if Trump is in contention.
Over the course of his meetings in Asia this week, Biden was called by fellow leaders bearing congratulations after the midterm results, a sign that the American political rivalries were being watched closely by leaders on the other side of the world.
It was a phenomenon that surprised some of his aides, especially the privacy that many of the leaders had their eye on. It was a sign, according to a senior administration official, that the dangers of the midterm elections extended far beyond the borders of the United States. Biden himself framed the contest as putting democracy on the ballot—stakes that leaders in foreign capitals have been more attuned to as they work to determine which direction the political winds are blowing in the United States.
Ahead of the election, foreign diplomats dispatched to Washington traveled the country to work to smooth the political air, all with the goal of determining whether Trump could be ready for a political comeback.
If the group of election deniers and Trump henchmen vying for office was a sign that the former president’s influence was still alive in Republican politics — and his return to the White House remained a distinct possibility — the widespread disapproval of those candidates last week sent an alternative signal abroad.
For Biden, the timing could not have been more appropriate. The prospect of a mid-term elimination has loomed over preparations for his round-the-world trip over the past several weeks. A broad Republican victory — including by election deniers — would severely complicate the president’s core message that democracies will triumph over authoritarian regimes.
That Trump provoked his campaign announcement at the moment when Biden would have rallied the world behind democratic ideals only raised the stakes.
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