Poland has called a meeting under NATO’s Article 4, which allows members of the alliance to summon all members for a meeting when their security is at risk, after Russian missiles reportedly crossed into the country and killed two people miles from the Ukraine border.
Russian-made missiles reportedly killed two people near a grain silo in a village about 15 miles from the Ukraine border. However, Russia’s Defense Ministry has denied firing any missiles near the Ukraine-Poland border.
Article 4 of the North Atlantic Treaty states, “The parties will consult together whenever any of them have the opinion that the territorial integrity, political independence or security of any party is threatened.”
The U.S. and other NATO members have largely said they are still gathering information on the incident before deciding how to respond. The missiles landed in Poland amid a fierce Russian aerial barrage on Ukraine targeting energy infrastructure ahead of winter.
The strike has set off a frenzy over the Western alliance’s mutual defense mechanism known as Article 5.
That article says that any attack on a NATO member “shall be considered an attack against them all.” It was last invoked following the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the U.S.
Article 4 could lead to a wide range of outcomes, as it prompts consultation but no specific steps or actions. The meeting’s findings could set the stage for a formal invocation of Article 5.
Dmytro Kuleba, Ukraine’s foreign minister, called Tuesday afternoon for a NATO summit with Ukraine’s participation to discuss next steps.
“Collective response to Russian actions must be tough and principled,” he wrote, reiterating calls for Western fighter jets and air defense systems to intercept Russian missiles.
Senator Chris Coons (D-Del.) on Tuesday called Poland “one of our strongest partners and allies in support of Ukraine’s fight against Russia’s aggression.”
“President Biden’s made it clear over and over, we’ll defend every inch of NATO territory,” he told The Hill. “The question is, was this an attack of some kind? Was it an accident? We don’t know yet.”
Biden spoke with Polish President Andrzej Duda early Wednesday morning from Indonesia, where Biden is attending the Group of 20 summit.
“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,” said a White House readout of the call. “President Biden offered full U.S support for and assistance with Poland’s investigation.”