Missiles for Poland Raise Questions on NATO Stance in Ukraine War

When a missile slammed into a Polish village just a few miles from Ukraine last week and killed two local residents, fears surged that Russia had attacked a NATO country and threatened a global conflagration — until it turned out that it was probably a wayward Ukrainian air defense missile that had fallen into Poland by accident.

Just how risky the situation remains, however, was put into focus this week when Poland announced that it had accepted a German offer of Patriot air defense systems and would deploy them “near the border” with Ukraine.

Poland, like the United States, has provided steadfast support to Ukraine since Russia invaded in February, supplying weapons and unwavering diplomatic backing, but it has no desire to get into a war with Moscow.

Still, even though the new missiles from Germany will not be fully operational for years, by which time the war in Ukraine may well be over, Poland’s plans to deploy them close to the conflict zone signals growing worries that its own security may be at risk, and that the war next door could spread, by accident or by design.

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