The conflict in Ukraine threatens to spill over to NATO after Russian missiles struck Poland on Tuesday morning, killing at least two people.
The Polish government has called an emergency national security meeting following reports that Russian ballistic or cruise missiles struck a Polish farm near the border with Ukraine, killing two farmers.
On day 265 of the conflict in Ukraine, the war threatens to spiral out of control.
Russian Missiles Strike NATO Territory
Citing a senior U.S. intelligence official, the Associated Press reported that Russian missiles struck Polish territory and that the Polish government is convening to determine its next steps.
However, the Pentagon stated that it has no information to corroborate the Associated Press story as of Tuesday afternoon.
Poland is a NATO member, and under the transatlantic alliance’s charter, and especially under Article 5, an attack on a member is an attack on all members.
The missile that struck Poland was part of a barrage of more than 100 ballistic and cruise missiles that struck Ukrainian urban centers and critical infrastructure on Monday afternoon. The missile barrage came in response to the Ukrainian liberation of Kherson.
The latest Russian barrage mainly targeted Ukrainian energy infrastructure, both power generation facilities and transmission systems, shutting off power for millions of Ukrainians across the country.
Although the missile strikes continue to focus on the Ukrainian energy grid, the Ukrainian air defenses are becoming stronger daily.
“This continues for us to be an area of discussion in terms of how the United States and the international community can continue to support them when it comes to their air defense needs,” Ryder said.
Despite the attacks, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky remained defiant.
“When there is a Ukrainian flag, there is civilization, there is freedom. There is social security. There is infrastructure. There is security. This is what the Russian flag means – complete desolation. There is no electricity, no communication, no Internet,” the Ukrainian leader said following the Russian missile barrage.
Russian Casualties in Ukraine: Update
Meanwhile, the Russian military continues to suffer heavy casualties in Ukraine.
Overall, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense claimed that as of Tuesday, Ukrainian forces have killed approximately 82,080 Russian troops (and wounded approximately thrice that number), destroyed 278 fighter, attack, bomber and transport jets, 261 attack and transport helicopters, 2,861 tanks, 1,850 artillery pieces, 5,773 armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles, 393 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS), 16 boats and cutters, 4,351 vehicles and fuel tanks, 206 anti-aircraft batteries, 1,511 tactical unmanned aerial systems, 160 special equipment platforms, such as bridging vehicles, and four mobile Iskander ballistic missile systems, and 399 cruise missiles shot down by the Ukrainian air defenses.
Since April, when the Ukrainian forces, shyly at first but more forcefully later, started counterattacking all across Ukraine, the Ukrainian military has liberated approximately 64,000 square kilometers (almost 25,000 square miles) of territory.
As winter arrives, the Ukrainian military is seeking to liberate more territory, though the adverse weather and low temperatures are bound to make that task harder.
Expert Biography: A 19FortyFive Defense and National Security Columnist, Stavros Atlamazoglou is a seasoned defense journalist specializing in special operations, a Hellenic Army veteran (national service with the 575th Marine Battalion and Army HQ), and a Johns Hopkins University graduate. His work has been featured in Business Insider, Sandboxx, and SOFREP.