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Eurotopics – Missile Explosion in Poland: What Comes Next?


Avoid escalation

Nothing suggests Russia is deliberately attacking Nato territory, the BBC reassures its readers:

“What matters here is what the intended target was, whoever fired the missile. And so far there is no indication that Russia was intentionally targeting anywhere beyond Ukraine’s borders. The Kremlin knows that such a move would potentially trigger Article 5 of Nato’s constitution, theoretically bringing the entire alliance to Poland’s defence. That is not a place Nato wants to be in, especially just a day after Russia and America’s spy chiefs have just been meeting to discuss how to avoid unnecessary escalation in this war.”

Half-hearted response the most likely

If Russia is responsible, Tygodnik Powszechny sees three different scenarios:

“The first: pretend that nothing happened. … The second, half-hearted option: we make good on our declarations with limited action, for example moving parts of Poland’s air defence closer to the border. … We use the situation to up the pressure on the allies to supply Ukraine with effective air defence systems more quickly and on a larger scale. … And finally the third option: we use the situation to change the policy towards Russian aggression and take a truly resolute stance. … Of these three options, the second seems the most likely today.”

The missile defence system failed

Poland is more vulnerable than it has been led to believe, Onet worries:

“We still don’t know whether it was a Russian or a Ukrainian missile that fell on Polish territory. … Be that as it may, the Nato missile defence system has now been tested. … Our biggest problem at the moment is that the system didn’t work, and that the Russians know it. In March, US President Joe Biden declared in Warsaw that the Atlantic Alliance would protect every inch of Nato territory. Today it has become clear that, for the time being, this protection has failed across the board.”

Time for peace

Once again we must push for negotiations, Avvenire urges:

“If we were really dealing with a deliberate Russian attack, a targeted provocation, we would be plunged into the nightmare that only yesterday the signals from the US-Chinese summit in Bali seemed to avert. The other two hypotheses – error or coincidence – could, if the political protagonists are up to the task of these dramatic circumstances, even strengthen the effort to find a negotiated way out of a war that brings us to the brink of Armageddon. … For nine months now we have remained on this insane brink while weapons are sent and death and devastation are sown. It is time to bring about peace.”

Neither routine nor an emergency

Commenting on Poland’s request to convene a Nato meeting on the basis of Article 4 rather than Article 5 of the defence case, La Stampa says:

“Poland has asked for a meeting of the Atlantic Council, but within the framework of Article 4, which provides for consultations in situations of potential security threats. It is not a day-to-day matter, but neither is it an emergency. … This is a sign that Warsaw, while blaming Moscow for the incident, does not feel it has been militarily attacked. Nato’s collective defence [set out in Article 5] is not triggered automatically. It must be requested and unanimously approved by all allies. This is not the case today. This does not change the fact that Moscow is playing with fire.”

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