Poland Could Force NATO Into War


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On Tuesday, Russia dropped dozens of missiles on western Ukraine. In addition, two stray rockets reportedly landed in a town on the Polish border (Przewodow) and killed two people. 

While Ukraine has claimed the explosion in Poland to have been a deliberate attack, it wouldn’t make sense for Russia to have intentionally aimed for what was reportedly a grain dryer. A posting on The Russian Ministry of Defense’s official Telegram channel denied the reports, calling them “a deliberate provocation to escalate the situation.” 

“No strikes were made against targets near the Ukrainian-Polish state border by Russian means of destruction,” the statement said. It also added that Polish reports showing missile fragments at the scene bore no resemblance to Russian weapons. While it’s always best to remain skeptical of Russia’s denials, citizens of NATO countries want to believe that this attack wasn’t intentional in the hopes that the invocation of Article V doesn’t happen. 

The main concern is that Article V of the North Atlantic Treaty can potentially be roped into this mess. Article V has only been invoked one time – after the 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States. 

Article 5 reads: “The Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all, and consequently they agree that, if such an armed attack occurs, each of them, in the exercise of the right of individual or collective self-defense recognized by Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations, will assist the Party or Parties so attacked by taking forthwith, individually and in concert with the other Parties, such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force, to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic area.

“Any such armed attack and all measures taken as a result thereof shall immediately be reported to the Security Council. Such measures shall be terminated when the Security Council has taken the measures necessary to restore and maintain international peace and security.”

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg spoke about the ongoing investigation: ‘there was no indication’ Russia was preparing military action against NATO members. After the North Atlantic Council meeting on Wednesday, the secretary general said the attack was likely a Ukrainian air defense missile that went astray. “We have no indication that this was the result of a deliberate attack.” He stated. 

“I have no indication that Russia is preparing offensive military action against NATO. Our preliminary analysis suggests that the incident was likely caused by a Ukrainian air defense missile fired to defend Ukrainian territory against Russian cruise missile attacks.

“But let me be clear, this is not Ukraine’s fault. Russia bears ultimate responsibility as it continues its illegal war against Ukraine.”

“An investigation on this incident is ongoing and we need to await its outcome. But 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.”

Poland can warp NATO into World War III, but it’s unlikely to happen. It was undoubtedly a reckless act from Moscow to fire missiles it knows are imprecise that close to the border. But absent any evidence that this was more than an accident, the odds of this leading to NATO invoking Article V are slim.