Jake Sullivan, the national security advisor to US President Joe Biden, has warned Russia that NATO would go “full force” if any strike is recorded on NATO territory – intentional or not – after Moscow attacked a Ukrainian military base near the Polish border.
In an appearance on CBS’ ‘Face the Nation’ on Sunday, Sullivan was asked by host Margaret Brennan whether the current US policy was “that any strike into Polish territory or airspace, intentional or unintentional” would be considered an attack on NATO.
“The president has been clear repeatedly that the United States will work with our allies to defend every inch of NATO territory, and that means every inch,” Sullivan responded, explaining that “if there is a military attack on NATO territory, it would cause the invocation of Article Five, and we would bring the full force of the NATO alliance to bear in responding to it.”
Asked whether NATO would go “full force” against Russia even if such a strike was accidental, Sullivan said, “Look, all I will say is that if Russia attacks, fires upon, takes a shot at NATO territory, the NATO alliance would respond to that.”
Russian forces conducted an airstrike against the Yavoriv military range, also known as the International Center for Peacekeeping and Security, roughly 10 miles away from the Polish border on Sunday. Kiev said that 35 were killed and 130 injured in the attack, while the Russian military claimed that “up to 180 foreign fighters” were killed in a strike carried out by “high-precision” weapons. Kiev rejected that claim.
Responding to the incident, Poland’s deputy foreign minister called for more NATO troops and equipment to be placed on its border with Ukraine in an effort “to show Russia that we are strong enough to deter.”
Washington’s warning comes several days after a reconnaissance drone flew all the way from Ukraine and crash-landed in Zagreb, Croatia, prompting the country to accuse the US-led military alliance of a slow response. Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic called the incident, which did not lead to any damage or casualties, a “pure and clear threat.”
The origin of the drone is unclear, however, and both Ukraine and Russia denied launching it. Croatia has been a NATO member since 2009.