A missile strike on a Polish village near the Ukraine border has escalated the war in Europe. The Nato and European Union leaders are holding an emergency meeting in Bali, on the sidelines of the G-20 meeting.
The missile strike on the village of Przewodow that killed two civilians. Russia denied any role in the attack, saying it has not carried out any missile strike near the Polish-Ukrainian border.
'Likely Made in Russia'
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said the missile that hit the village was likely Russian-made. Poland also said it was increasing its military readiness. "We decided to increase the combat readiness of selected units of the Polish armed forces, with particular emphasis on airspace monitoring," Morawiecki said.
Immediately after the missile strike, Poland's foreign ministry said the missile was Russian, but did not specify its make or from where it was fired.
"At 15:40 (local time) in the village of Przewodów in the Hrubieszów poviat in the Lubelskie Voivodship, a Russian-made missile fell, killing two citizens of the Republic of Poland," Lukasz Jasina, Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson said. The ministry also summoned the Russian ambassador. "In connection with this event, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Prof. Zbigniew Rau summoned the ambassador of the Russian Federation to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and demanded immediate detailed explanations," the spokeperson said.
However, Polish president Andrzej Duda said there is no confirmation on who fired the missile but added that the missile was "most likely produced in Russia," CNN reported. "We are working calmly and in a very calm manner," Duda said, adding that the US is sending a team of experts to probe the missile attack.
Western Allies in Emergency Meeting
In Bali, the emergency meeting was attended by US President Joe Biden, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, French President Emmanuel Macron, Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and European Council President Charles Michel.
What is Nato Article 5?
The deliberations in Bali are crucial as a positive confirmation that Russia was behind the attack would trigger actions that have far reaching geopolitical consequences. If Moscow is held responsible for the attack, the NATO alliance would have to honor the commitment of the collective defense of Poland. Under Nato's Article 5, an attack on any of the member countries is seen as an attack on all, and the defense alliance will launch a potential military response to Russia.
"The principle of collective defence is at the very heart of NATO's founding treaty. It remains a unique and enduring principle that binds its members together, committing them to protect each other and setting a spirit of solidarity within the Alliance," Nato says.
Difference Between Article 4 and Article 5
The Article 4 of Nato charter says that when a member state is attacked or threatened by another country or a terror outfit, the alliance will hold formal consultations to assess the gravity of the situation. Deliberations under Article 4 have not resulted in military actions by Nato. For example, following the launch of Russia's war on Ukraine, Nato members such as Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland had triggered Article 4.
Now that a member state of Nato has directly come under attack, the situation has changed. The Russian attack on Ukraine, though seen as an affront on Nato, could not invoke neither Article 4 or Article 5 as Ukraine is not a member of Nato.