US officials said Tuesday that they were aware of reports that Russian missiles landed inside Poland but could not verify the information.
“We have no information to corroborate that there has been a missile strike,” Pentagon Press Secretary Pat Ryder said during a news conference.
He added that the Defense Department was looking into the reports.
Ryder’s comments came shortly after US intelligence officials were quoted telling The Associated Press that two people were killed after Russian missiles landed inside Poland.
National Security Council Spokesperson Adrienne Watson said the White House was gathering more information and looking into the next steps. “We cannot confirm the reports or any of the details at this time. We will determine what happened and what the appropriate next steps would be,” she said in a tweet.
We've seen these reports out of Poland and are working with the Polish government to gather more information. We cannot confirm the reports or any of the details at this time. We will determine what happened and what the appropriate next steps would be.— Adrienne Watson (@NSC_Spox) November 15, 2022
Without confirming the missile strikes, the State Department called the reports “incredibly concerning.”
Meanwhile, the Polish government called for an emergency meeting of its national security council, and neighboring Estonia said it was prepared to defend NATO territories.
Article 5 of the NATO Treaty says that an attack on one member state constitutes an attack on all member states. Ryder doubled down on Washington’s security commitments and Article 5. “We will defend every inch of NATO territory,” he said. Asked about invoking Article 5, Ryder said: “Let’s get the facts and then we’ll go from there.”
It is worth noting that the Ukraine Defense Contact Group is scheduled to meet tomorrow, a date set before Tuesday’s developments.
The shelling was reported after Russia carried out a barrage of missile strikes inside Ukraine, including on the capital of Kyiv, leaving much of the areas without electricity.
National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan condemned the missile strikes inside Ukraine and said despite world leaders being in Bali for the G-20 summit, it is “not lost on us” that Russia was threatening the lives and livelihoods of people around the world.
Sullivan commended the resilience and courage of the Ukrainian people to defend their sovereignty and democracy and said the US would continue to provide Kyiv with the air defense systems and other support needed to defend itself. “We will stand with Ukraine for as long as it takes.”
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