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Pentagon: US ready to defend NATO territory

“We (US) will defend every inch of NATO,” Pentagon spokesperson Sabrina Singh said following Russian cruise missile briefly entered Polish airspace on 24 March
Pentagon spokesperson Sabrina Singh.
Pentagon spokesperson Sabrina Singh. Credit: DVIDS
Pentagon: US ready to defend NATO territory

The United States is ready to fulfill its obligations to defend NATO, including Russian missile attacks that could threaten Poland, Pentagon spokesperson Sabrina Singh said at a press briefing on 26 March.

The Pentagon spokesperson’s statement followed the statement of Polish Deputy Foreign Minister Andrzej Szejna on 26 March, saying NATO is considering shooting down Russian missiles when they are heading toward the territory of the North Atlantic Alliance.

Singh said that according to the administration, “we (US) will defend every inch of NATO.”

“Should the NATO ally be attacked — we certainly don’t want to see that — but we will defend every inch of NATO,” the Pentagon spokesperson said when asked about the Polish official’s statement.

The Polish Operational Command reported on the morning of 24 March that during the Russian night attack on Ukraine, one cruise missile flew into Polish air space and stayed there for 39 seconds The missile entered Poland’s airspace in a village in the Lublin Voyevodstvo, but Polish military radar systems tracked it without taking action as it headed back toward Ukraine, according to Polish military.

Polish Defense Minister Vladislav Kosiniak-Kamysz said that Poland would have shot down a Russian missile if there were signs that it was heading towards a target on Polish territory.

Poland’s Foreign Ministry summoned Russia’s ambassador to Poland, Sergei Andreev, for an explanation. However, Andreev failed to attend the Polish Foreign Ministry in Warsaw on 25 March.

Polish Deputy Foreign Minister Andrzej Szejna said that the violation of Polish airspace by a Russian missile was a test of the strength of the defense and vigilance of the Polish Armed Forces. According to him, “The Russian Federation did not want to provoke anything, as the Russians knew that if the missile penetrated deeper into Poland, it would be shot down.”

He said that NATO is analyzing various concepts of the possibility of shooting down Russian missiles.

“Such missiles could be shot down when they are very close to the NATO border – but this should be cooperated with the Ukrainian side and taking into account international consequences. Then NATO missiles would hit Russian missiles outside the area covered by the Treaty (of the Alliance. – Ed.),” Szejna said.

He also said that Russia should not impose any rules on the Alliance. “Russia must realize the NATO, democratic states, the EU, will start setting a certain tone when it comes to resolving the conflict in Ukraine,” Szejna said.

“We take Putin’s threats very seriously. Putin showed that he is capable of anything. So far, in addition to hundreds of thousands of wounded and killed on both sides, he has achieved the accession of Sweden and Finland to NATO. In July, there will be another NATO summit. We have the consolidation of EU countries and the Weimar Triangle revival,” he said.

Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis said that the North Atlantic Alliance should shoot down Russian air targets that enter the airspace of NATO member countries.

It was not the first Russian missile to violate Polish airspace. The previous breach of Polish airspace by a Russian missile directed toward Ukraine occurred on 29 December 2023, also in the Lublin region. Back then, General Maciej Klisz, the Operational Commander of the Polish Armed Forces, reported that the object spent less than three minutes within Polish airspace and exited promptly.

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