Polish Radio
November 15, 2022

Poland puts troops on alert after two killed in blast near Ukraine border

The Polish government on Tuesday evening announced that Poland’s armed forces had been put on high alert after an explosion killed two people in the east of the country earlier in the day.

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Following an urgent meeting of Poland’s top security officials, convened by Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, [government spokesman Piotr] Müller told a media briefing: “Today there occurred an explosion in Hrubieszów county [in southeastern Poland], in which two citizens of Poland were killed….”

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Müller announced: “Due to the situation that has developed, appropriate procedures have been launched, including a decision that has just been made to raise the readiness of some combat, military units on Polish territory, as well as to raise the combat readiness of the units of uniformed services on the territory of our country.”

The government spokesman further said: “We have also just decided to verify if there are grounds to initiate procedures arising from Article 4 of the North Atlantic Treaty.”

Article 4 of the North Atlantic Treaty states that “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.”

Meanwhile, Polish President Andrzej Duda held a phone call with the NATO alliance’s secretary-general, Jens Stoltenberg, reporters were told.

Stoltenberg said in a tweet: “Spoke with President Duda about the explosion in Poland. I offered my condolences for the loss of life.”

He added: “NATO is monitoring the situation and Allies are closely consulting. Important that all facts are established.”

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Deutsche Welle
November 16, 2022

What are NATO Articles 4 and 5?

After reports of a missile strike in Poland, there had been speculation the Polish government might invoke Article 4 of the NATO treaty.

Article 4 of the NATO treaty covers the case when a member state feels threatened….The 30 member states then start formal consultations at the request of the threatened member. The talks look at whether a threat exists and how to counter it, with decisions arrived at unanimously.

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This consultation mechanism has been triggered several times in NATO’s history. For instance, by Turkey one year ago, when Turkish soldiers were killed in an attack from Syria….

How does NATO Article 4 differ from Article 5?

Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in late February, NATO members Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland triggered Article 4. Along with Slovakia, Hungary and Romania, those countries are part of the “eastern flank” of NATO, which has been reinforced with thousands of troops from NATO members.

Article 4 is different from Article 5 of the NATO Charter. The latter lays out the military assistance by the entire alliance, should one of the member states get attacked. The only time that Article 5 was used was in 2001 after the al-Qaeda attacks on the US, which killed more than 3,000 people. They became known as the 9/11 attacks. When the US then attacked Afghanistan, NATO sent a mission alongside.