US President Joe Biden begins his final day at the Group of 20 summit by dealing with another crisis surrounding Russia’s war in Ukraine – this time involving a NATO ally.
The president is hosting an emergency roundtable with world leaders in Bali on Wednesday morning local time, according to the White House website. The talks come after an explosion in Poland killed two people.
The Polish Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday evening that the “Russian-made missile” fell on the village of Przewodów. The ministry statement did not specify the type of missile or where it was fired from. Biden spoke earlier with the Polish president and NATO secretary general.
The Russian Defense Ministry called reports of Russian missiles landing in Poland a “deliberate provocation”, denying that there had been any strikes on targets near the Ukraine-Poland border.
Biden and G7 and NATO leaders participate in the roundtable. The meeting includes Biden and leaders from Canada, the European Union, Spain, Italy, France, Germany, the Netherlands and Japan, the officials said.
Reporters were briefly ushered into the room to see the executives seated at the table. When asked if he could provide an update on the explosion, Biden replied, “No.”
During a call with Polish President Andrzej Duda earlier, Biden “expressed deep condolences for the loss of life in eastern Poland earlier this evening,” the White House said in a statement.
“President Duda described Poland’s ongoing assessment of the explosion that took place in the eastern part of the country near the border with Ukraine. President Biden has offered the full support and assistance of the United States to Poland’s investigation,” the reading continued.
Biden “reaffirmed the United States’ ironclad commitment to NATO” and the leaders agreed that their teams “stay in close contact to determine appropriate next steps as the investigation proceeds.”
At the summit, Biden and most G20 members were expected to sign a statement condemning Russia’s war in Ukraine “and the human suffering it has caused both to Ukrainians and to families in the developing world who face food and energy insecurity as a result”. ,” according to a senior administration official previewing the statement. Such an expression of condemnation was the work of months of diplomacy between G20 leaders. However, it is not yet clear which countries will sign the declaration.
Biden had initially feared his extensive diplomatic efforts would be overshadowed by his predecessor’s third run for president.
Biden’s latest diplomatic events on Wednesday – which include planting a tree with other leaders and meeting the UK’s new prime minister – contrast with the long-awaited announcement of the former president’s presidential candidacy. Donald Trump from his home state of Florida, an effort that could set the stage for a two-year political battle just as the current commander-in-chief is 10,000 miles from the White House.
Before embarking on a long trip back to Washington, Biden is expected to participate in a mangrove tree planting with other G20 leaders. He will also meet UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak for the first time since taking office last month.
Sunak took over as prime minister late last month when he replaced Liz Truss, now the shortest prime minister in UK history. Truss resigned six weeks into a term that plunged Britain into political and economic turmoil. Sunak is the first person of color and the first Hindu to lead the UK. He is also the youngest person to hold this position in over 200 years.
Biden returns Wednesday night to a Washington in the midst of a shift in political power, where politicians continue to vie for leadership positions in the next Congress.
While CNN hasn’t predicted which side the US House of Representatives will take, Republicans have elected Kevin McCarthy to be their candidate for House Speaker. In the Senate, Republicans are due to vote for the leadership on Wednesday. Florida GOP Senator Rick Scott issued a challenge to Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.
The president is also returning with the political winds in his favor, having defied historical odds by ensuring Democrats retain their majority in the Senate and avoiding a GOP sweep in the House.
Still, there are other policy challenges ahead in Congress that could pose headaches for Democrats and the Biden administration.
Congress will have to agree to the funding arrangements by Dec. 16 to avoid a government shutdown. A debt ceiling battle is also looming — an issue that Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said he plans to settle with McConnell “shortly.”