At least two are dead in Poland after a Russian missile landed inside the NATO member state near the Ukrainian border.
The Russian missiles reportedly hit a grain dryer in the Polish village of Przewodów, about nine-miles southwest of Dołhobyczów, and near the border of Ukraine. This would be the first time someone has been killed on NATO territory due to an apparent Russian strike since Moscow launched its unprovoked and wholly unwarranted invasion of Ukraine in late February.
The exact type of missile or rocket that struck Poland is currently unknown.
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki convened the Committee of the Council of Ministers for National Security and Defense Affairs, calling it a “matter of urgency.” The meeting is set to begin at approximately 9 pm local time in Warsaw (3 pm EST). The committee consists of the heads of defense, interior, justice, and foreign affairs ministries as well as the coordinator of intelligence services. It prepares and coordinates decisions on national security and defense.
Some military analysts have suggested the Russian missile’s intended target may have been Lviv, a Ukrainian city that is about 100 km (62 miles) south of the Polish village, which is actually 65 km (40 miles) within Poland.
How Will Poland and NATO Respond?
The Polish Armed Forces are also on “high alert,” while Polish Air Force fighters and other aircraft were scrambled in response.
The attack could – at least in theory – prompt Poland to trigger NATO’s Article 5 provisions, calling on all of the treaty’s members to attack Russia. According to Article 5, an attack against one NATO Ally is considered an attack against all Allies.
NATO only invoked Article 5 for the first time in its history after the 9/11 terrorist attacks against the United States.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg previously declared that its 30 members would defend and protect every inch of their territory in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. It is unlikely that Warsaw will demand such a response, but the world won’t know until after the committee meets.
Neighboring Moldova – which is not a NATO member – was also impacted by Tuesday’s missile strikes. It reported massive power outages after Russian missiles knocked out a key power line in the small landlocked nation that borders Ukraine and Romania.
“My condolences to our Polish brothers in arms,” Latvia’s Minister of Defence Artis Pabriks said in a statement. “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.”
The Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs also declared their “full solidarity” with Poland and announced, “Estonia is ready to defend every inch of NATO territory.”
This is a developing story.
A Senior Editor for 19FortyFive, Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer. He has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers, and websites with over 3,000 published pieces over a twenty-year career in journalism. He regularly writes about military hardware, firearms history, cybersecurity, and international affairs. Peter is also a Contributing Writer for Forbes and Clearance Jobs. You can follow him on Twitter: @PeterSuciu.