Nato in crisis mode, Biden appeased

Bali, Washington After a long day, Olaf Scholz has only slept a few hours when he is woken up at 3 a.m. by his foreign policy adviser Jens Plötner. A rocket fell in a Polish village near the Ukrainian border, killing two people, Plötner told the chancellor over the phone.

Questions immediately arise: did Russia take revenge on the previous day’s G20 statement, in which most states condemned the war with Ukraine? Is Poland, a NATO member, in danger of being drawn into the Ukraine war? The NATO countries switch to crisis mode, crisis diplomacy is starting.

Shortly before 7 a.m., Scholz telephoned Polish President Andrzej Duda, as did NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and US President Joe Biden in the morning. Shortly thereafter, the western G7 countries and NATO called an emergency meeting in a ballroom in Biden’s hotel.

According to the dpa and AP news agencies, the US President announced early in the morning: There were indications that the projectile was an anti-aircraft missile from Ukraine. He is said to have spoken of a missile from the S-300 system.

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In a press statement, Biden had previously described it as “unlikely” that the missile hit was fired from Russia. “There is preliminary information that speaks against it,” said Biden, referring to the flight history of the projectile. At that point he was already saying that it could also have been a Ukrainian interceptor missile.

Scholz said the rocket’s impact, which killed two, was a “terrible incident. We must now do what is necessary, which is to educate.” Scholz said nothing about the origin of the rocket. “In such a serious matter, making a hasty decision is out of the question,” said the Chancellor.

G20 summit

The heads of state and government meet for an emergency meeting.

(Photo: dpa)

Poland’s President Duda had also expressed caution. Although the missile is of Russian design, such missiles are also used by Ukraine. “We currently have no conclusive evidence as to who fired the missile. Investigations are ongoing.” Nevertheless, Poland put part of its armed forces on a higher level of readiness.

A spokesman for the Polish government said that a decision had been made with the NATO allies to check whether there were grounds for initiating the Article 4 procedures of the NATO treaty. Article 4 provides for consultations between the NATO states. NATO is now holding an emergency meeting in Brussels this morning.

After the rocket hit, Ukraine called for a united response against Russia. A NATO summit with the participation of Ukraine should work out further steps, suggested Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba and called for better air defense and new US fighter jets for Kyiv. There is no current statement from Ukraine on the news situation in the morning.

Second heaviest air raids since the beginning of the war

The joy of the successes on the first summit day in Bali lasted only a few hours due to the rocket impact. The group of 20 leading economies surprisingly agreed on a joint statement on Tuesday in which “most” states “condemn” the war in Ukraine and in which the G20 reject the threat of using nuclear weapons.

In the run-up to the meeting, so much unity was not expected. Scholz therefore described the summit as a “great success”. The meeting showed: “Putin is almost alone in the world.” The Chancellor particularly emphasized the role of India and South Africa at the summit. Neither country had condemned Putin’s war in the UN General Assembly.

China, on the other hand, was more cautious. State media reported that the heads of state of the G20 countries agreed on a final declaration in Bali. The official statement from the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs only said that a final declaration had been passed without giving any further details.

However, no information about the content of the declaration was initially published. The harsh condemnation of Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine contained therein does not fit with China’s official position towards Russia. As recently as Friday, a spokesman for the Foreign Ministry emphasized that the relationship with Russia was “rock solid”.

Olaf Scholz

The Chancellor in the morning after a short night.

(Photo: AP)

Russia’s head of state Vladimir Putin had already reacted to the humiliation in his own way on Tuesday. He overran Ukraine with the heaviest air raids since the war began on February 24. A spokesman for the Ukrainian Air Force spoke of around 100 rockets fired by Russia. The target of the projectiles was, among other things, Kyiv.

>> Read also: The G20 achieved a surprising amount in Bali – also thanks to Olaf Scholz

Scholz condemned the attacks on Ukraine on Wednesday. “We find that power plants are being destroyed, that substations are being hit, that water supplies are being destroyed. This form of warfare in this already unjustified war is unacceptable,” stressed the Federal Chancellor.

The G7 and NATO were even clearer in a joint statement: “We condemn the barbaric rocket attacks carried out by Russia on Tuesday on Ukrainian cities and civilian infrastructure.” The G7 and NATO also offered Poland their full support in the ongoing investigation to the missile impact.

Two missiles hit Poland – ‘No conclusive evidence’ so far

In the major security crisis, the USA quickly took the lead. Shortly before 9 a.m., Biden invited the G7 and NATO to the Grand Hyatt, where the US President resides in Bali. A few hours after the missile hit Poland, the White House released a photo showing Biden on the phone with Poland’s President Duda. It’s very early in the morning and the President is wearing a polo shirt.

The opposite of Trump – but he is running again

The meeting was attended not only by the heads of state of the G7, but also by EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and EU Council President Charles Michel. Only Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan stayed away from the meeting. He was quickly convinced that Russia had nothing to do with the missile impact.

The rapid reaction of the USA and the solidarity with international allies are a contrast to the previous administration of Donald Trump. “We will fully engage in the world,” stressed Biden in Bali. According to his message, anyone who doubts the reliability of the United States does not need to do so, at least for the moment.

But at the same time as the G7 crisis meeting, Trump reported back. The ex-president announced at his golf resort in Mar-a-Lago that he wanted to enter the race for the White House in 2024. Biden’s predecessor was notorious for leaving global summits early. He also threatened to withdraw from NATO membership.

>> Read about this: “America’s comeback is starting right now” – Donald Trump announces renewed candidacy for president

In Bali, Biden was asked if he wanted to say anything about Trump’s candidacy, he was standing alongside French President Emmanuel Macron. Both exchanged a quick look. “Not really,” Biden replied and left.

Mangrove planting in Bali

The G20 have moved on to business as usual.

(Photo: via REUTERS)

After the excitement of the night’s incident, G20 members returned to the regular programme. In the morning, the heads of state planted trees in a mangrove forest on the edge of the summit. They posed for the cameras with shovels in their hands. The day before, the G20 had dispensed with the traditional family photo.

Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who had represented Putin at the meeting, was no longer there. Lavrov had already left the G20 meeting early on Tuesday evening during dinner.

More: Explosion in Poland – evidence of Ukrainian anti-aircraft missile.

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