Rishi Sunak joined NATO and G7 leaders for an emergency meeting on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Bali this morning after a missile – thought to be Russian – crossed into Poland killing two people. US President Joe Biden called the roundtable of likeminded leaders which took place while the UK was sleeping.
French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Japan’s premier Fumio Kishida, Canada’s Justin Trudeau, Italian PM Giorgia Meloni, Ursula von der Leyen and Charles Michel from the European Commission and European Council, respectively, Spanish PM Pedro Sanchez and Dutch PM Mark Rutte also attended the emergency meeting.
The Prime Minister’s plans for the G20 gathering in Indonesia were thrown into disarray by the missile straying into NATO member Poland last night, which has sparked fears of a widening of Russia’s conflict with Ukraine.
NATO and G7 leaders who met for the meeting at 9am local time (1am UK time) offered their “full support for and assistance” with Poland’s investigation into the explosion that killed two people in the country’s east.
An official read-out of the gathering said: “We condemn the barbaric missile attacks that Russia perpetrated on Ukrainian cities and civilian infrastructure on Tuesday.
“We discussed the explosion that took place in the eastern part of Poland near the border with Ukraine. We offer our full support for and assistance with Poland’s ongoing investigation. We agree to remain in close touch to determine appropriate next steps as the investigation proceeds.
“We reaffirm our steadfast support for Ukraine and the Ukrainian people in the face of ongoing Russian aggression, as well as our continued readiness to hold Russia accountable for its brazen attacks on Ukrainian communities, even as the G20 meets to deal with the wider impacts of the war.
“We all express our condolences to the families of the victims in Poland and Ukraine.”
It comes as Mr Sunak also met Mr Biden for bilateral talks on the sidelines of the G20 summit.
In brief remarks at the top of the meeting, the US President said: “This morning we’ve already met with our fellow Nato and G7 leaders to address Russia’s latest missile strikes against Kyiv and Western Ukraine – it’s merciless.
“I mean it borders on – it’s way over the top.
“At the moment where world leaders meeting here in Bali are seeking progress on world peace, Putin’s striking civilian targets – children, and women. I mean, it’s just, It’s almost – in my words, not yours – barbaric.”
In reply, Mr Sunak said: “It’s a great honour to have the opportunity to sit down with you. I think the partnership between our countries is unique and enduring. And of course, it’s bigger than any two individuals. I’m proud to have stewardship of it at the moment.
“And as you said, the United States is our closest ally, biggest trading partner, closest security partner.
“And I’m glad to see that partnership in action doing good whether it’s standing up to – and I agree with your words – barbaric activity by Russia in Ukraine, but also tackling climate change, stabilising the global economy.”
The PM said he had spoken to Foreign Secretary James Cleverly and Defence Secretary Ben Wallace last night about the incident.
He also spoke to Polish President Andrzej Duda and “reiterated the UK’s solidarity” with the country and “expressed condolences for the victims and their families”.
Mr Sunak tweeted on Tuesday night: “We are urgently looking into reports of a missile strike in Poland and will support our allies as they establish what has happened.
“We are also coordinating with our international partners, including NATO.”
Little information is so far known about the incident, but it has already sparked concern of an escalation of Moscow’s war in Ukraine.
A deliberate, hostile attack on NATO member Poland could trigger a collective military response by the military alliance of 30 countries.
The Polish Foreign Ministry late on Tuesday said that a Russian-made missile fell in eastern Poland and killed two people.
But Russia has dismissed being behind the incident.