Should NATO take action after missile hits Poland? POLL
Russian missiles land in NATO member Poland killing two
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A suspected Russian missile killed two people in a Polish town near the Ukrainian border on Tuesday, November 15, following a series of strikes across Ukraine. The missile hit the village of Przewodów and is the first incident on NATO soil since the invasion began. So should NATO take action as the war in Ukraine enters a new deadly phase? Vote in our poll.
An emergency meeting of national security and defence ministers was called by the Polish Government after the attack to discuss the “crisis situation”. The Polish President Andrzej Duda has said there is no sign the missile was an intentional attack on Poland adding that it was probably an “unfortunate incident” and “very likely” for the explosion to have been caused by Ukrainian air defences.
Since Poland is a NATO member the country is protected by the alliance’s principle of collective defence, as enshrined in Article 5 of the treaty. This states that an attack on one member is an attack on all members of the alliance.
Article 5 has been invoked once before following the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the US. It can only be triggered if the Polish Government decides it is a necessary step but may choose to take alternative action if the incident is determined not to be a deliberate attack.
Instead, Article 4 could be invoked which is reportedly less likely to escalate tensions with Russia. Leaders can active Article 4 if they identify a threat to their “territorial integrity, political independence or security”.
The Article actions formal consultations on the threat but does not have to lead to the alliance entering a conflict. Any member nation can invoke Article 4 but all decisions are made through joint consensus.
Poland has not requested a meeting under the terms, but previously invoked Article 4 alongside a group of Eastern European and Baltic states at the start of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine in February. This reaffirmed their commitment to collective defence.
Speaking on Wednesday, November 16, after a meeting of the North Atlantic Council, Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, said that there was no indication Russia was preparing military action against NATO members.
He said in a statement: “We have no indication that this was the result of a deliberate attack. I have no indication that Russia is preparing offensive military action against NATO.”
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He continued: “Our preliminary analysis suggests that the incident was likely caused by a Ukrainian air defence missile fired to defend Ukrainian territory against Russian cruise missile attacks. But let me be clear, this is not Ukraine’s fault.”
He added that Russia bears the ultimate responsibility and that investigation into the incident was ongoing. Mr Stoltenberg concluded: “NATO stands united and we will always do what is necessary to protect and defend all allies.”
Speaking of the incident, a Polish MEP claimed the attack was not deliberate but he remained very concerned and did not rule out violence hitting Poland in the future. Rodoslaw Sikorski, Poland’s Minister of Foreign Affairs between 2007 and 2014, said: “The Russians have been missing their targets all along and they are now rocketing and bombing western Ukraine, which is very close to the Polish border. So we can’t eliminate the risk of such actions in the future.”
He added: “Remember, the main story is this huge Russian attack on Ukrainian cities, they really are terrorising the civilian population and that’s a war crime. So even if the Ukrainian weapon misfired, the responsibility for this is borne by the aggressor.”
So what do YOU think? Should NATO take action? Vote in our poll and leave your thoughts in the comment section below.
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