Rishi Sunak Says UK Stands In “Solidarity” With Poland Following Missile Strike
Rishi Sunak is attending the G20 summit in Bali, Indonesia (Alamy)
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has told a press conference at the G20 Summit in Indonesia that the UK “stands steadfastly” behind Poland after a missile strike killed two people close to the border with Ukraine.
Sunak condemned Russia for firing more than 80 missiles yesterday on Western Ukraine, and said he had called Polish President Andrzej Duda shortly after a missile strike also took place over the border in Poland.
Tensions rose at the international summit in Bali, Indonesia after it was reported that a missile strike had hit a Polish village close to the border with Ukraine on Tuesday night, killing two people.
It is still unclear where the strike originated from, but Duda has said it was "most likely a Russian-made missile". Sunak refused to say whether he backed US president Joe Biden's assessment that the missile had not originated in Russia.
Ukraine has blamed Moscow for the strike. The Russian defence ministry denied that any Russian missiles hit Polish territory, describing such reports as "a deliberate provocation aimed at escalating the situation".
“In the wake of these attacks today, we held an urgent meeting of allies to underscore our solidarity with Ukraine and Poland,” Sunak told the press conference.
“I also spoke to Polish president Duda this morning to offer my wholehearted support and assurance that the United Kingdom stands steadfastly behind him and his people at this worrying time.”
“We should all be clear, none of this would be happening if it weren't for Russia's invasion of Ukraine. This is the cruel and unrelenting reality of Putin's war.”
He continued that the “persistent threat to our security and global economic expectation has been driven by the actions of the one man unwilling to be at this summit, Vladimir Putin”.
Sunak’s appearance at the G20 summit is his first test on the international stage since becoming prime minister a few weeks ago.
Downing Street confirmed early on Wednesday morning that Sunak and Canadian President Justin Trudeau had held a joint call with Ukrainian President Zelenskyy following the latest attacks.
A spokesperson said the pair “expressed their condolences for the terrible loss of life as a result of Russian attacks on Ukraine overnight”.
“They underscored their enduring support for Ukraine’s resistance and updated President Zelenskyy on their discussions at the G20 on this issue,” they added.
“The Prime Minister and Prime Minister Trudeau emphasised the importance of a full investigation into the circumstances behind missiles falling in Poland yesterday.“
But they reportedly stressed that, regardless of the investigation, “Putin’s invasion of Ukraine is squarely to blame for the ongoing violence”.
PoliticsHome provides the most comprehensive coverage of UK politics anywhere on the web, offering high quality original reporting and analysis: Subscribe