Russian armoured vehicles in Ukraine (Picture: REUTERS Alexander Ermochenko via Alamy Stock Phot).
Russian armoured vehicles in Ukraine (Picture: REUTERS Alexander Ermochenko via Alamy Stock Phot).
NATO

Nato: No sign Russia is preparing military action against Western allies

Russian armoured vehicles in Ukraine (Picture: REUTERS Alexander Ermochenko via Alamy Stock Phot).
Russian armoured vehicles in Ukraine (Picture: REUTERS Alexander Ermochenko via Alamy Stock Phot).

Nato's secretary general says there is no indication that Russia is preparing offensive military action against member states.

Speaking at a press conference after a meeting of the North Atlantic Council on Wednesday, Jens Stoltenberg said the missile that hit Poland and killed two people on Tuesday evening was likely Ukrainian.

He echoed Poland's president Andrzej Duda who said the incident was not an attack on his country by Russia and that there was a "high probability" that it had been operated by Ukrainian defence forces.

Mr Stoltenberg told reporters that Nato is also handling the situation in a "firm, calm, resolute way" to prevent further escalation.

"We have no indication that this was the result of a deliberate attack," he said.

"I have no indication that Russia is preparing offensive military action against Nato.

"Our preliminary analysis suggests that the incident was likely caused by a Ukrainian air defence missile fired to defend Ukrainian territory against Russian cruise missile attacks.

"But let me be clear, this is not Ukraine’s fault.

"Russia bears ultimate responsibility as it continues its illegal war against Ukraine."

Asked if Nato would be providing more air defence on the eastern border after the incident in Poland, Mr Stoltenberg said: "We are constantly assessing our presence in the eastern part of the alliance.

"We have significantly increased our presence on land and sea and in the air and that has significantly increased our air defence capabilities, especially in the eastern part of the alliance.

"At the same time, we have no indication that this incident was a result of a deliberate attack on Nato territory and we have no indications that Russia is planning offensive military actions against Nato allies.

"I think this demonstrates the dangers connected to the ongoing war in Ukraine but hasn’t changed our fundamental assessment of the threat against Nato allies."

Continuing to comment on the incident in Poland on Tuesday, Mr Stoltenberg said: "Of course, we were concerned when we got the reports yesterday, and especially we were saddened by the fact that there were two casualties.

"But at the same time, we are monitoring, we are following very closely and therefore we are prepared to handle situations like this in a firm, calm, resolute way, but also in a way that will prevent further escalation."

Mr Stoltenberg said the war in Ukraine will "most likely" end at the negotiating table.

He told the press conference that any negotiations will be "linked to the strength of the battle" and that the best way Nato allies can maximise the possibility of peace, is to "support Ukrainians on the battlefield".