WW3 fears as ‘Russia would choose more valuable target’

Poland: Missile unlikely to be Russian provocation says expert

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International tensions have peaked after a Russian-made missile landed in Poland, killing two people in the village of Przewodów. The incident sparked global concern as Poland is a member of the NATO alliance which operates under a policy of collective defence, meaning an attack on any member state is treated as an attack against all. While the explosion in Poland has the potential to trigger a huge global response, experts have quashed rumours that international powers are on track to World War Three. Samantha De Bendern, an expert in political risk who specialises in Russia and Eastern Europe, argued there was a huge “misconception” about the internal procedures of NATO.

Speaking to Times Radio, Ms De Bendern reported: “Yes, a missile did land in NATO territory – but, there is this whole misconception that if a NATO country is under attack, all 30 allies will immediately get into a sort of war footing and respond. That’s not at all the case.”

She continued: “Even if this had been a direct attack against Poland, before anything was to happen, the North Atlantic Council – which is the ambassadors of every single NATO member state – would meet and discuss the way forward at the invitation of the country under attack.

“What happened yesterday is the Poles actually reacted with a lot of calm and very sort of level headed. They had an internal meeting. They then said to NATO, we might invoke what’s called Article Four of the North Atlantic Treaty.

“That is the article under which a member state can say it feels threatened and it can ask for consultations – that’s all, discussions.”

The Polish Foreign Ministry confirmed a missile had struck the village of Przewodów at approximately 3:40pm local time on Tuesday, killing two civilians.

In response, Poland’s Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki convened an emergency meeting of the Committee for National Security and Defence Affairs.

NATO officials confirmed the organisation had been in contact with Polish representatives, but asserted allies of Poland would await all details of the incident before initiating a response.

NATO General Secretary Jens Stoltenberg reported: “NATO is monitoring the situation and Allies are closely consulting. [It is] important that all facts are established.”

Read more: Poland Missile Attack – Who’s to blame and what happens next

Ms De Bendern said: “From my point of view, I definitely didn’t feel that this was about to go into World War Three. It looked, from the very beginning, as though it was a mistake. 

“It was very difficult to imagine, however irrational Russia can seem these days, Russia deliberately targeting NATO territory. 

“And, certainly not a farm in the middle of Poland. It would have probably chosen a slightly more valuable target.”

After news of the explosion in Poland broke, the Russian Ministry of Defence rapidly issued a statement denying responsibility for the blast. The Kremlin claimed “no strikes”  had been conducted close to the Ukrainian-Polish border.

Ukrainian sources reported missiles had targeted Lviv, some fifty miles from the Polish border, and Volyn Oblast, which borders Poland.

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NATO has since determined it is not likely the missile strike was a deliberate attack against Polish territory.

On Wednesday, Jens Stoltenberg told a press conference the blast was probably the result of defensive operations by the Ukrainian military, although he asserted investigations were still ongoing.

However, he added: “Russia bears ultimate responsibility as it continues its illegal war against Ukraine.”

He told reporters: “Let me be clear, this is not Ukraine’s fault.”

The President of Poland Andrzej Duda has said: “There are many indications that it was an air defence missile, which unfortunately fell on Polish territory.”

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki has since indicated it may not be necessary to invoke Article Four.

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