Allies must ‘establish the facts’ behind Poland missile hit, says Sunak

Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday morning, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said it was important to “establish the facts” following reports that a missile had landed in Polish territory, killing two people.

It remains unclear who is directly responsible for the hit, which happened late on Tuesday following a Russian bombardment of neighbouring Ukraine with missiles, but Sunak reiterated that blame for the continuation of the conflict in Ukraine lies at the feet of Vladimir Putin.

Sunak said: “all of us want to get to bottom of what happened”, adding that “it’s right” that process is concluded. He added: “The reason we’re even having this conversation is because yesterday, Russia rained down over 80 missile strikes on the Ukrainians, on civilians, on civilian infrastructure, electricity [and] water”.

The prime minister was speaking after a bilateral meeting with Joe Biden, the US president. US officials have said initial findings suggest the missile that hit Poland was fired by Ukrainian forces at an incoming Russian missile.

Russia was also in attendance at the G20 conference which concludes today in the form of the Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov. Sunak told reporters that he “confronted” the Russian foreign minister with the “illegality of his country’s war” in Ukraine.

With the G20 at an end, Sunak will be flying back to the UK shortly so he can be back in time to see the autumn statement, set to be delivered by Chancellor Jeremy Hunt tomorrow.

Asked about the latest inflation figures, published this morning by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the prime minister said he understood that rising prices were people’s “number one anxiety” and that it is “the enemy we need to face down”.

The ONS revealed that there has been a higher than expected leap in the rate of inflation, to a 41-year high of 11.1% last month. The increase is led by the rise in energy bills and food prices.

Speaking on Wednesday, Sunak also made a wider point about the global economy, saying that issues being experienced worldwide mean he will have to take some “difficult decisions at home” in budget plans set to be announced tomorrow. He blamed the “one man unwilling to be at this summit – Vladimir Putin”, for the “global” economic crisis.

Moving to the autumn statement, Sunak said Chancellor Jeremy Hunt will build a “global platform for the United Kingdom to thrive”. The decisions will be based on fairness and compassion, Sunak added – saying he thinks people will see that the government has “strived incredibly hard to deliver fairness, to deliver compassion”.

The prime minister closed by saying that Hunt will be laying out a plan “to get the country on a positive trajectory, put the public finances on the right footing, and get debt falling by promoting free markets, forging strong international relationships and prioritising our stability and security”.