Stoltenberg: There is no indication that the Missiles that fell in Poland were Result of Deliberate Attack

World | November 16, 2022, Wednesday // 19:13|  views

According to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, there is no indication that the missiles that fell in eastern Poland were the result of a deliberate attack or that Russia is preparing offensive actions against NATO.

"Rather, the incident was caused by a Ukrainian missile that was trying to neutralize a Russian one," he added. However, Stoltenberg stressed that it was not Ukraine's fault, and that Russia bears full responsibility for the war.

Stoltenberg gave a briefing after the meeting of the ambassadors of the Alliance on the occasion of the incident. The ambassadors agreed that a meeting under Art. 4, which states that the parties to the treaty shall consult together whenever, in the opinion of any of them, a threat has arisen to the territorial integrity, political independence or security of any of them. When asked if the Alliance had expected such a turn of events, Stoltenberg replied that it was prepared for such situations, and that if they did happen, he had to ensure that they would not get out of control.

Stoltenberg said at the press briefing that the incident shows that the war in Ukraine continues to create "dangerous situations" across the region.

"Let me be clear, this is not Ukraine's fault," Stoltenberg said, adding: "Russia bears responsibility for what happened yesterday in Poland because it is a direct result of the ongoing war and the wave of attacks by Russia against Ukraine yesterday."

Stoltenberg also said the incident proved the risks of the war in Ukraine, but did not change the alliance's military assessment of the threat against its members.

"The investigation into this incident is ongoing and we have to wait for its outcome. But we have no indication that this was the result of a deliberate attack and we have no indication that Russia is preparing offensive military action against NATO," he said.

"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."

Stoltenberg welcomed that more members of the Alliance had said they were ready to provide air defense assets. He announced that no immediate action would be taken by NATO, but said a contact group on Ukraine would meet later in the day with a primary focus on air defense.

Meanwhile, a German defense ministry spokesman said Berlin would offer support to Polish air defenses, while Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda said NATO should deploy more air defenses on the alliance's eastern flank, Reuters reported.

"I hope that by the time of the NATO summit in Vilnius next year, we will be able to make progress, as the situation confirms that this is the right decision and needs to be implemented quickly," Nauseda said.

Ground-based air defense systems like Raytheon's Patriot are in short supply in many Western countries, which have been reluctant to invest too much money in military capabilities like those since the end of the Cold War.

Read more from the 266th day of the war in Ukraine.

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Tags: NATO, Russia, Poland, Stoltenberg


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