– There are no indications that this was the result of a deliberate attack. We have no indications that Russia is preparing to carry out offensive military operations against NATO,” Stoltenberg said at a press conference at NATO headquarters in Brussels on Wednesday.
On the same morning, NATO held an ambassadorial crisis meeting on the incident in Poland on Tuesday where a missile hit the rural town of Przyodo, six kilometers from the border with Ukraine. Two people lost their lives.
According to Stoltenberg, initial investigations show that it was likely a Ukrainian missile that caused the explosion, but he clearly does not place the blame on Ukraine.
Let me be clear: This is not Ukraine’s fault. Russia bears responsibility for this as it continues its illegal war against Ukraine.
NATO Secretary General noted that the explosion in Poland occurred at the same time that Russia launched a new wave of missile attacks on Ukrainian cities on Tuesday.
– This in itself is a dangerous situation, he says.
Article 4 is not triggered
Poland has also concluded that Tuesday’s explosion was most likely an accident, not a deliberate attack, said the country’s president, Andrzej Duda, shortly before Stoltenberg’s press conference.
Duda said on Tuesday that Poland is considering activating Article 4 of the NATO pact, which says NATO countries must consult each other when a country’s security is threatened.
Stoltenberg confirmed at a news conference on Wednesday that Poland had not asked for it.
He pointed out that preliminary investigations indicate that the explosion was a Ukrainian anti-aircraft missile fired to protect against Russian attacks.
Stoltenberg says he was concerned when he heard of the explosions in Poland on Tuesday.
– We were anxious when we received the letters yesterday, and above all, we were sorry for the death of two people.
At the same time, he stresses that NATO is ready to deal with such situations.
– Stoltenberg said that we are training and preparing for such incidents and accidents, primarily to prevent their occurrence, but also to avoid escalation.
The NATO chief received several questions about whether NATO would boost air defense in or around Poland or Ukraine as a result of the explosion.
Stoltenberg stressed that NATO is not part of the conflict in Ukraine, and noted that the alliance has strengthened its presence on the eastern flank since the outbreak of the war.
– This incident shows how serious the war in Ukraine is, but it does not change our assessment of the threat to NATO allies.
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