UK not rushing to judgement on Poland missile - foreign minister

Britain's cabinet meeting at Number 10 Downing Street, London

LONDON (Reuters) -Britain will not make a judgement about a missile which exploded in Poland until there are full details, foreign minister James Cleverly said on Wednesday, although he said the incident was ultimately a result of Russia's aggression towards Ukraine.

Poland and NATO have said the missile, which killed two near Poland's border with Ukraine on Tuesday, was likely a stray fired by Ukraine's air defences rather than a Russian strike.

"Poland will lead the investigation to establish exactly what has happened and the UK stands ready to provide any practical or technical assistance," Cleverly told parliament.

"In the meantime, we are not going to rush to judgement. Our response will always be led by the facts."

Cleverly said NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg was right to say that what happened in Poland was not Ukraine's fault, and Russia bore ultimate responsibility.

He said Britain would continue to support Ukraine's right to defend itself and that Russia's "brutal" air campaign on Tuesday, which saw it fire scores of missiles at cities across Ukraine, was revenge for Ukraine's gains on the battlefield.

"The only reason why missiles are flying through European skies and exploding in European villages is because of Russia's barbaric invasion of Ukraine," Cleverly said.

"The tragic incident in Poland last night is ultimately the result of Russia's aggression against Ukraine. That is the only reason why it has happened, and it would not have happened otherwise."

(Reporting by Alistair Smout and Andrew MacAskill. Editing by Kylie MacLellan)