Estonian defense minister: Situation in Poland is very serious

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Hanno Pevkur
Hanno Pevkur Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

There is little information so far about the possible Russian missiles which fell in Poland but the situation is serious, Minister of Defense Hanno Pevkur (Reform) said on Tuesday night. Estonia is still awaiting clarification from Poland.

The minister stressed to ERR that more information is needed. It has not been confirmed that the blast which killed two people was caused by a Russian missile.

"Unfortunately, there is very little information at the moment, but the situation is certainly very serious. If it was a missile sent by the Russians to Ukraine that landed on Polish territory, on NATO territory, then the situation is very serious," Pevkur said.

Estonia and Poland are in close contact over the situation he said. The Estonian defense ministry's crisis committee is also on standby and ready to meet if necessary.

The minister said the information reported so far seems to confirm the missile landed in Poland.

"Surely the Polish prime minister would not convene the National Defense Council for nothing. There are certainly very serious reasons for this, but we need more information," said Pevkur.

While there is so little information, the next steps are unclear, he said. It will depend if the Poles believe the incident was "accidental" or "deliberate" and how the government wants to proceed.

"Whether to initiate Article 4 consultations in NATO, whether to convene the European Union's defense ministers — there are plenty of options, but we need a bit more information," the minister said.  

NATO's Article 4 allows any member to trigger discussions with other Allies.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Urmas Reinslau (Isamaa) also said the situation is "extremely serious".

"We are in active communication with Poland to find out more details about today's events. Understandably, NATO will defend every inch of its territory and Estonia's commitment to collective defense is unwavering. We are consulting with our Allies about a united and resolute response," he said in a statement.

On Tuesday afternoon, Associated Press reported that a US intelligence official confirmed Russian missiles crossed into Poland, killing two people. The Polish government has not yet confirmed the incident.

Polish government confirms death of two citizens, discussing Article 4

Estonia and NATO flags. Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

The Polish government on Tuesday night confirmed that there had been an explosion in the Hrubieszow region, close to its border with Ukraine, that killed two Polish citizens.

The investigation is ongoing. It is not yet known who fired the missile.

Spokesman Piotr Muller said the country is raising the readiness of its military units and checking if Article 4 discussions with NATO allies should be launched.

The text of Article 4 follows in full: "The Parties will consult together whenever, in the opinion of any of them, the territorial integrity, political independence or security of any of the Parties is threatened."

The explosion occurred after Russia fired missiles at cities across Ukraine on Tuesday. Some hit the western city of Lviv, less than 80 km from the border with Poland.

Editor's note: This article was updated at 11.22 p.m. to add confirmation of the deaths of two Polish citizens and explain NATO Article 4.


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Editor: Barbara Oja, Helen Wright

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