The Polish government convened an emergency security and defense meeting on Tuesday and agreed to increase military preparedness, This was stated by the government spokesman Piotr Muellerafter an explosion two people were killed near the border with Ukraine.
According to Müller, after convening an emergency meeting, it is unclear what caused the explosion near the southeastern city of Hrubeshiv.
“Recently, a decision was made to increase the readiness of some military units in Poland and other law enforcement agencies,” he told reporters.
Unconfirmed reports that the explosions were caused by Russian missiles that hit the town a few miles from Ukraine — whether on purpose or by mistake — have sparked fears of President Vladimir Putin escalating the war.
“We have seen these reports from Poland and are working with the Polish government to gather more information,” a National Security Council spokesman said in a statement. “We cannot confirm the reports or any details at this time. We will determine what happened and what the next steps will be.”
Meanwhile, President Joe Biden discussed the unfolding crisis with his Polish counterpart, Andrzej Duda.
After that, Duda spoke with the President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyi, who expressed his support for one of his country’s staunchest allies.
“All of Europe and the world must be fully protected from terrorist Russia,” he said The President of Ukraine wrote on Twitter.
Russia denied the allegations shortly after the reports emerged.
“Statements by the Polish mass media and officials about the alleged fall of “Russian” missiles in the area of the settlement of Pshevodov are a deliberate provocation aimed at escalating the situation,” the Russian Ministry of Defense said in a Telegram message. , referring to the village that was reported to have been affected.
The situation is becoming increasingly tense as Russia launched an intense wave of airstrikes on cities across Ukraine on Tuesday, causing massive power outages and hitting residential buildings in the capital, Kyiv.
The shelling targeted key cities from Lviv in the west to Kharkiv in the northeast, destroying energy infrastructure and shutting down power to vast areas in one of the largest coordinated attacks of the war.
“It’s only a matter of time before Russian terror goes further. The longer Russia feels impunity, the more threats there will be to those who are in the range of Russian missiles,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy wrote in Telegram. “This is a Russian missile attack on collective security! This is a very significant escalation. We must act.”
The prospect that Russian missiles could hit Poland, a NATO member, has raised fears that the war in Ukraine could escalate sharply.
“We can and should do everything we can to stand up for Poland,” US Senator Chris Coons, deputy chairman, told NBC News. “I hope the Russians will immediately take responsibility, admit it was a mistake, if it really is a mistake, provide compensation and commit to no more strikes within some border buffer.”
In theory, Poland is covered by NATO’s Article 5, a principle that requires all allies, including the US, to come to the aid of any member under attack.
Jens Stoltenberg, NATO’s secretary general, tweeted that he “expressed my condolences for the loss” of the Polish leaders and that NATO was “monitoring the situation and allies in close consultation.”
Some members of the alliance also expressed their support for Poland and said they are in contact with the country’s leadership.
Gitanas Nauseda, the president of Lithuania, which borders Poland, tweeted that “every inch of NATO territory must be defended!”
Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala responded on Twitter that “if Poland confirms that the missiles also hit its territory, it will be a further escalation from Russia.” We strongly support our EU and NATO ally.”
NATO member Estonia, which was part of the Soviet Union for decades and has warned of Russian expansionism in recent years, called the news “most disturbing.”
“We are closely consulting with Poland and other allies. Estonia is ready to defend every inch of NATO territory,” the country’s foreign minister said on Twitter. “We stand in full solidarity with our close ally Poland.”
Sahil Kapoor, Kelly O’Donnell, Reuters and Eva Halytsia contributed to.