After reports of Russian missile attacks on Polish territory, Warsaw put its army units on high alert. Several combat units and “other uniformed” units will be placed on heightened alert, a government spokesman said after an emergency meeting of the National Security Council on Tuesday evening. Earlier, there were reports that two Russian missiles had landed on Poland. EU and NATO officials expressed concern but did not initially confirm the reports.
The US and NATO said they were investigating reports of the missile strike. However, there was initially no official confirmation from Warsaw, Washington or Brussels.
Polish government spokesman Piotr Müller did not mention reports of the rocket attacks after an emergency meeting of the Security Council in the evening, stressing that investigators were on the scene after an explosion in the east of the country that killed two people “to clarify what happened”. According to Polish media reports, the explosion occurred in a grain warehouse in the village of Przewodow near the border with Ukraine.
Moscow denies this
In an initial reaction, the government in Moscow dismissed the reports as “provocations” intended to cause escalation. Images of the wreckage in Przewodow published in Polish media “were not related to Russian firepower”.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg warned against hasty reactions. “It is important that all the facts are established,” Stoltenberg wrote on Twitter after a phone call with Polish President Andrzej Duda: “NATO is monitoring the situation and alliance partners are coordinating closely.” The US State Department said Washington would “clarify what happened and what next steps would be appropriate”.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy directly accused Russia of firing missiles at Poland, causing a “very significant escalation”. Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba called for an “immediate” NATO summit to discuss a joint response. He also rejected the suspicion that a Ukrainian anti-aircraft missile could have landed on Polish territory. It is a “conspiracy theory” promoted by Russia, he wrote on Twitter.
Article 4 of NATO
According to NATO, the government in Warsaw could theoretically invoke Article 4 of the North Atlantic Treaty and demand a discussion among the 30 allies. Such a decision has not yet been made, it said in Brussels.
In Article 4, NATO states undertake to “consult” in all cases where a member sees a threat to “its territorial integrity, political independence or security”. However, this does not necessarily lead to joint actions.
On Tuesday, Russia fired dozens of missiles at Ukrainian cities, including Lviv near the border with Poland. According to Kyiv, the attacks led to power outages in around seven million households. Moldova, which neighbors Ukraine, also reported power outages as a result of the attacks on Ukraine and called on Russia to “immediately stop the destruction.”
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