Poland is verifying if it needs to request consultations under Article IV of the NATO military alliance treaty, government spokesman Piotr Muller said Tuesday night following an alleged strike by Russian missiles in a Polish village three miles from the Ukraine border. The missiles struck an area where grain was drying in the Polish town of Przewodow, killing two people.
Poland is a member of NATO.
Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki called an emergency meeting of the National Security Bureau to discuss what Muller called the “crisis situation.” Poland’s National Security Bureau consists of heads of defense, interior, justice and foreign affairs ministries as well as coordinator of intelligence services, and is a body that prepares and coordinates decisions on national security and defense.
After the NSB meeting, Muller said the country’s military alert level was raised.
In addition, he said, Poland is examining the possibility of activating Article IV of the NATO alliance (summoning all members of the alliance for a security consultation).
Russia denied the allegations of a strike, saying the reports were a “deliberate provocation,” Sky News reported.
— Amichai Stein (@AmichaiStein1) November 15, 2022
The director of Israel’s Institute for National Security Studies, Maj. Gen. Tamir Himan, told Channel 12 News on Tuesday night, “The missile strike on a Polish village is a major event and an important test for NATO. The nature of the response will affect Russian motivation later. It is likely that NATO will be content with strong and threatening messages. Nevertheless, there is also an option that NATO will see the event as an opportunity to set a red line for [Russia’s President Vladimir] Putin, and despite the risk of escalation, a targeted response will be decided.”
In the United States, Pentagon Press Secretary Air force Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder told journalists at a news briefing, “I don’t want to speculate when it comes to our security commitments and Article V. But we have made it crystal clear that we will protect every inch of NATO territory.”
State Department deputy spokesperson Vedant Patel expressed the department’s reluctance to “get into hypotheticals” and said Washington is working with its allies to “determine what happened” and then to “decide appropriate next steps.”
Article V states that “if a NATO Ally is the victim of an armed attack, each and every other member of the alliance will consider this act of violence as an armed attack against all members and will take the actions it deems necessary to assist the ally attacked.”
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen expressed “alarm” in a tweeted statement and sent condolences to Poland and Ukraine.
We are closely monitoring the situation and are in touch with Polish authorities and partners and allies.
— Ursula von der Leyen (@vonderleyen) November 15, 2022
Hungary’s President Viktor Orban convened his nation’s Defense Council.
The attack came as Russia continued to pound away at Ukraine’s energy infrastructure, firing at least 85 missiles at the country — its biggest barrage of missiles to date. The attacks, which also struck numerous civilian buildings, caused widespread blackouts.
Neighboring Moldava has also been affected by the attacks, reporting massive power outages after Russian missile strikes knocked out a key power line, according to ABC News.
“Shocked by the news of a missile or other ammunition having killed people on Polish territory. My condolences to the families,” European Council president Charles Michel tweeted Tuesday night. “We stand with Poland. I am in contact with Polish authorities, members of the European Council and other allies.”
The nation of Estonia also issued a statement saying, “Latest news from Poland is most concerning. We are consulting closely with Poland and other Allies. Estonia is ready to defend every inch of NATO territory. We’re in full solidarity with our close ally Poland.”
Latvia’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense Artis Pabriks likewise said in a statement posted on Twitter, “My condolences to our Polish brothers in arms. Criminal Russian regime fired missiles which target not only Ukrainian civilians but also landed on NATO territory in Poland. Latvia fully stands with Polish friends and condemns this crime.”
Pabriks added in an interview, “We of course can speculate, ‘Was it an accident or not?’ But the reality is because [of] indiscriminate Russian attacks on civilian objects for weeks, [we have] now ended up with two missiles killing citizens of Poland on NATO territory. Because if this happened once, either by accident or whatever, it shall not happen for a second time. Russians should know that it cannot go unpunished.