The strike was part of Russia’s missile barrage that targeted at least seven cities across Ukraine, marking the end of a lull in such attacks that had slowed since the start of November. Western parts of Ukraine have largely been shielded from the direct battleground, though the area has remained within striking distance of Russia’s aerial arsenal.
Poland is a member of NATO, and the killing of two of its civilians could bring the country and the entire alliance into direct conflict with Russia. Polish government spokesman Piotr Mueller said top leaders were holding an emergency meeting due to a “crisis situation,” though he did not address the details specifically.
Pentagon spokesperson Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder told reporters that they were “aware” of the reports but could not corroborate the details shortly after the news broke about the Russian strikes.
President Joe Biden has repeatedly said during Russia’s war in Ukraine that the U.S. would defend “every inch” of NATO territory. Ryder reiterated that point during Tuesday’s briefing, when asked about the fallout of this strike that erroneously hit Poland. It’s unclear if Tuesday’s strike would invoke NATO’s Article 5, a clause within the alliance that declares an attack on one of its members an attack on all of them. Article 5 has only been involved once and that was following the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
The U.S. has troops in Poland and it’s unclear how the strike could impact their position there.