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As Ukraine suffered a new salvo from Russian bombardment, a missile fell on November 16 on Przewodow, a Polish village located 6 kilometers from the Ukrainian border, causing the death of two people.
- Ukrainian defense system “ most liked » in question
Polish President Andrzej Duda first criticized a “ Russian-made projectile » and claimed to be studying the possible application of Article 4 of the North Atlantic Treaty, before the results of the initial investigation showed that the incident had occurred. “ most liked » caused by the Ukrainian defense system.
“There is no indication that this was a deliberate attack on Poland. There is a high probability that it is a missile that is only used by the Ukrainian missile defense”, said the Secretary General of NATO. He “probably an unfortunate accident unfortunately”, has lavished the Polish head of state. This was previously claimed by the Russian Defense Ministry, which stated that the explosion was caused by the firing of an S-300 missile, which was used by both sides, and added that a Russian strike targeting Ukraine on the same day did not hit any targets. within 35 kilometers of the Polish border.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, for his part, repeated his belief several times that the projectiles were Russian. “I believe the missile is not ours, I believe it is a Russian missile,” he said on television, demanding access to the blast site. The Ukrainian head of state finally toned down his speech the next day, conceding this time “ don’t know what’s going on[était] the past ». However, “It’s not Ukraine’s fault”according to the Secretary General of NATO, for whom “Russia bears responsibility” of the Polish incident.
Indeed, the incident in Poland occurred as Russia launched one of its largest attacks on Ukraine on the same day since the start of the war. Ninety missiles were indeed fired at seventeen areas of Ukraine, including Lviv, which borders Poland. One person was killed and six injured in the shooting, according to Ukrainian authorities, and thirty pieces of infrastructure, including some critical, were destroyed, according to Interior Minister Denys Monastyrsky.
- Concerns about escalation on an international scale
The Przewodow episode initially raised fears that NATO, of which Poland has been a member since 1999, could be drawn into a conflict between Russia and Ukraine, under Article 5 of its founding agreement. That same night, Poland had requested implementation of Article 4 of the North Atlantic Treaty, and its forces had been put on higher alert. After the remarks of the President of Poland, referring to a “unfortunate accident”Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, however, announced the following day that Poland could hand it over.
For all intents and purposes, Article 4 of the North Atlantic Treaty provides that member states may seek consultations between the allies whenever one of them considers that “ territorial integrity, political independence or the safety of either party [est] threatened ». This meeting then allows the allies to“ exchange opinions and information, and hold discussions before reaching agreements and taking action ». This may result in a joint decision or a “joint action to be taken on behalf of the Alliance”.
Article 5 of the agreement binds the parties to protect each other. It stipulates that a “armed attack on one or more [parties] should be considered as an attack aimed at everyone.. Therefore, “if such an attack occurs, each of them (…) must assist the party or parties being attacked to immediately take (…) actions deemed necessary, including the use of armed force ».
However, many heads of state and government immediately called for caution and restraint. Mao Ning, spokesperson for China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, especially prayed “all related parties” from “keep Calm and [de] restraint to avoid escalation”. Paris also advocated “biggest caution”, “multiple countries” area with the same type of missile, warning against “significant escalation risk”. He is “very important to avoid escalation of war in Ukraine”meanwhile underlined the Secretary General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, called for a “thorough investigation”.