RIGA - Russia bears full responsibility for the incident in Poland, as a Ukrainian air defense missile was fired to intercept Russian missiles, the director of the Latvian National Defense Academy's Security and Strategic Research Center Toms Rostoks told LETA.
According to him, as soon as the incident happened, it was clear that this case was not straightforward. If, for example, an attack had been carried out on one of the military facilities in the eastern part of Poland, near the border of Ukraine, then it could be assumed that it was really Russia.
Since the missile was most likely launched from Ukraine, in Rostoks' opinion, it will not affect the further relations of NATO members with Ukraine. The expert admitted that the incident is tragic because two people have lost their lives. However, it should also be taken into account that in the spring of this year it became clear that the war would not end so quickly and that some kind of incident could happen.
"The important thing is that both Poland and NATO are interested in preventing this incident from escalating into a more direct involvement of NATO in the ongoing war in Ukraine. The fundamentals in this conflict remain unchanged - the Ukrainian forces are doing better than the Russian armed forces. Ukraine is gradually recapturing the temporarily occupied territories and for NATO countries the goal is to help Ukraine in this process without directly getting involved in the war," said the director of the research center.
Asked what would happen if Poland proposed Article 4 of the NATO Treaty, which provides for consultations between the alliance's member states, Rostoks noted that perhaps in the current situation, consultations might not be necessary, as it seems that it was a missile from a Ukrainian air defense system that fell on the territory of Poland.
He allowed the possibility that this incident could also be closed, but Poland could also use it to discuss important issues with other members of the alliance, such as the need for more anti-aircraft defense systems in border areas or greater involvement of allies in strengthening the security of residents near the border.
As for what kind of help Ukraine might need, Rostoks emphasized that not enough is known about the real needs of Ukraine's armed forces, and there are good reasons for that. Some of the questions about the provision of military assistance are public, and some are unknown.
"Ukraine needs air defense systems, despite the fact that, in general, Ukrainian air defense units are working effectively. It is likely that Russia will not be able to continue this for a long time. Russia is trying to destroy Ukraine's critical infrastructure with missile attacks, but the second goal is to make Ukraine run out of air defense defense missiles, so the task of Western countries is to ensure that Ukraine does not run out of them," said the expert.
He emphasized that even with the current arrangement of forces, Ukraine successfully manages to move forward by recapturing territories. Rostoks admitted that the winter will not slow down the speed of the armed forces of Ukraine. On the other hand, if predicting the coming months, the cold weather will be much more dangerous for Russian soldiers.
"The condition of the Russian soldiers will be deplorable, because the Ukrainians are much more motivated and they will also be better equipped and supplied. Therefore, it is necessary to provide Ukraine with opportunities to continue to exert systematic pressure on the Russian armed forces," said the director of the Center for Security and Strategic Research.