Washington says the US-led military alliance will ‘respond’ even to accidental Russian fire
Jake Sullivan, US President Joe Biden’s national security adviser, warned Russia that NATO would go “full power” whether a strike was recorded on NATO territory – intentional or not – after Moscow attacked a Ukrainian military base near the Polish border.
During an appearance on “Face the Nation” on CBS on Sunday, host Margaret Brennan asked Sullivan if current American politics were “that any strike on Polish territory or airspace, whether intentional or not” would be considered an attack on NATO.
“The President has repeatedly been clear that the United States will work with our allies to defend every inch of NATO territory, and that means every inch,” Sullivan responded, explaining that “If there is a military attack on NATO territory, it would trigger the invocation of Article Five, and we would call upon the full force of the NATO alliance to respond.”
Asked if NATO would go “full power” against Russia even if such a strike was accidental, Sullivan said, “Look, all I will say is if Russia attacks, fires, fires into NATO territory, the NATO alliance would react to that.”
On Sunday, Russian forces carried out an airstrike against the Yavoriv military firing range, also known as the International Center for Peacekeeping and Security, about 16 kilometers from the Polish border. Kiev said 35 people were killed and 130 injured in the attack, while the Russian military claimed that “up to 180 foreign fighters” were killed in a strike carried out by “high accuracy” weapons. Kyiv rejected this claim.
Reacting to the incident, Polish Deputy Foreign Minister called for more NATO troops and equipment to be placed on its border with Ukraine in an effort “to show Russia that we are strong enough to deter”.
Washington’s warning comes days after a reconnaissance drone flew from Ukraine and crashed in Zagreb, Croatia, prompting the country to accuse the US-led military alliance of having “slow” response. Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic described the incident, which caused no damage or casualties, as “pure and clear threat.” The origin of the drone is unclear, however, and both Ukraine and Russia have denied launching it. Croatia has been a member of NATO since 2009.