What is Article 4? Poland mulls invoking NATO article after 2 killed in alleged Russian missile strike

An investigation is underway to determine whether the blast in the village of Przewodow resulted from stray Russian missiles

What is Article 4? Poland mulls invoking NATO article after 2 killed in alleged Russian missile strike
A smoke plume is seen near the village of Przewodów in Poland (@WaldemarKowall/Twitter and Leon Neal/Getty Images)
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WARSAW, POLAND: Poland is reportedly considering invoking Article 4 of the NATO military alliance treaty, a government spokesman said on Tuesday, November 15. This comes after a report that a blast killed two people near the Ukrainian border was caused by stray Russian missiles.

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According to the United States and Western allies, an investigation is underway to determine whether the blast in the village of Przewodow resulted from stray Russian missiles. Russia's defence ministry, however, denied it. "A moment ago we decided to verify whether there are grounds to launch procedures under Article 4 of the North Atlantic Treaty," government spokesman Piotr Muller told reporters, according to US News

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Muller added, "It was decided a moment ago to increase the readiness of some combat military units in Poland and to increase the combat readiness of other units of uniformed services in our country."


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What is Article 4?

Article 4 allows members of NATO to bring issues of concern, especially those related to security, for discussion at the North Atlantic Council. According to NATO's website, "In Article 4 of NATO’s founding treaty, members can bring any issue of concern, especially related to the security of a member country, to the table for discussion within the North Atlantic Council. Since the Alliance’s creation in 1949, Article 4 has been invoked several times, for instance by Türkiye."

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Many tend to get confused about the difference between Articles 4 and 5. As opposed to Article 4, NATO’s founding document says, Article 5 says any attack on a NATO member in Europe or North America “shall be considered an attack against them all.” NATO invoked Article 5 for the first time after the 9/11 attack against the United States.

Many took to social media to discuss the fact that Article 4 is being invoked, with one saying, "My sense is this is not an intentional Russian attack. Either a malfunction or the results of Ukrainians shooting down a Russian missile. But a clear reminder of Russia's reckless willingness to shoot too close to Polish/NATO/EU border. Article 4 Consultations seem appropriate." "Poland should invoke article 4. It’s clear that NATO allies have already discussed this scenario, although it’ll send a warning to Putin. My thoughts are with Poland and their murdered civilians tonight," another user wrote. 

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"Every single rocket launched today from russia is a terrorist act and should be seen as direct threat to NATO, not just these two that hit Poland. russia is trying to create a humanitarian catastrophe of massive scale in Ukraine. Article 4 consultation is long overdue," one user said, while another wrote, "Poland has every right to ask immediate consultations by Article 4 among NATO allies." One user wrote, "This is more likely and preferable to article 5. Cool heads are needed before the world walks into a catastrophe that it can’t get out of."

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This article contains remarks made on the Internet by individual people and organizations. MEAWW cannot confirm them independently and does not support claims or opinions being made online.

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