On Tuesday, a missile of unknown origin struck Poland, killing two people in the process. Polish officials have said that the “Russian made missile” landed in Przewodow, on the Ukrainian border. 

State of play 
Poland’s foreign ministry reacting to these attacks said that the missile was “Russian-made,” while President Andrzej Sebastian Duda took a more cautious approach saying “most probably Russian-made.” He added that Polish officials were unsure of the origin of the missiles. 

  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, meanwhile who accused Russia of a “serious escalation”, also uses Russian-made missiles, including for air defense.
  • However, the US President Joe Biden, who was speaking from the G20 summit in Bali, Indonesia, has said that preliminary information is not pointing to Russia as the culprit of the attack based on the trajectory of the missile that hit Polish farms. 
  • Biden added that he and eight other allied countries had agreed during an emergency meeting to support Poland’s investigation into the explosion. 

The big picture 
Poland is a North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) country. And an attack on the country is an attack on NATO’s territory according to article 5 of the organization’s laws. With Ukraine officials pointing guilty fingers at Russia; Poland, would be carrying out an investigation to definitively conclude who fired the missile and the level of intent.

  • Despite NATO’s continuous support to Ukraine since Russia’s invasion, the organization has carefully limited its involvement in the war to prevent further escalation.
  • Although Russia seemingly has no known purpose for attacking the Polish farms, Poland is consulting NATO under Article 4 as opposed to retaliatory actions as prescribed under Article 5, showing Poland is treading carefully. 

What you should know 
NATO’s Article 5, which states that “an armed attack against one or more of [the members] in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all” and that force can be used in response.

NATO’s Article 4 founding treaty enables member nations to bring any issue of concern, especially relating to security, for discussion at the North Atlantic Council, the alliance’s political decision-making body.

According to Ukraine’s Air Force spokesperson Yuri Ihnatw, on Tuesday, Ukraine was hit by over 90 missiles of which about 70 were successfully shot down.

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