NATO to focus more on air defense after Poland incident – Lithuanian ambassador

  • 2022-11-16
  • LETA/BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS – NATO will pay more attention to air defense after a Russian-made missile fell in Poland on Tuesday, Deividas Matulionis, Lithuania's ambassador to the Alliance, said on Wednesday. 

"There will be more focus on air defense; this was confirmed," the diplomat told BNS after a meeting of NATO ambassadors with the Alliance's chief, Jens Stoltenberg.

"We will pay a considerable amount of attention to this matter before (NATO's) Vilnius summit as well," he added.

It is not clear yet if the missile, which killed two people in a Polish border village, came from Russia or Ukraine.

"It was stated that it was not a deliberate act," Matulionis said. "Neither our intelligence services nor our member states have any information indicating that this was a deliberate attack."

Based on the available information, it was an S-300 type missile, the ambassador said.

"It is believed that there were two (missiles), but the debris from only one (missile) has been found so far," he said, adding that the investigation was still ongoing.

According to Matulionis, even if it  was a stray Ukrainian missile, "this does not change the substance of the matter".

"The responsibility for the war and all the consequences lies primarily with Russia," he said, noting that "all sorts of technical incidents happen" when a country defends itself.  

Matulionis said that certain additional NATO measures had been activated after the incident.

"However, I cannot comment in detail", he said.

Commenting on the meeting of NATO ambassadors, the Lithuanian diplomat stressed that Poland had not yet requested consultations under the Alliance's Article Four.  

"But this does not change the substance. There was really an Article Four-level consultation," he said. "Perhaps the Poles will ask (for formal consultations) later when they formulate their requests more precisely."

Lithuanian leaders said earlier that they would support Poland if it decided to invoke Article Four, which says that member states "will consult together whenever, in the opinion of any of them, the territorial integrity, political independence or security" of another member is threatened.