As Russia has ramped up its missile attacks in Ukraine, a neighbor who is a member of NATO is preparing for a potential worst-case scenario.
On Tuesday, armed forces in Poland deployed F-16 fighter jets to the eastern border it shares with Ukraine in case they are quickly needed. This comes as Russia has bombarded the two biggest cities in Ukraine, Kharkiv and Kyiv, this week.
The recent attacks left five civilians dead and injured many more. Last week, Russia targeted military and civilian infrastructure in Ukraine, and those attacks left 37 people dead.
On the social media platform X, Poland’s Operational Command posted:
“Two pairs of F-16 fighters and an allied air tanker were activated.”
This was in response to the recent attacks that Russia carried out in Ukraine.
Two of those jets were American and two were Polish, the Ministry of Defense of Poland said on Wednesday.
Once the “level of threat” had gone down, though, the military in Poland said those jets returned to their normal bases, with operations ceasing.
As the X post read:
“[Poland’s Armed Forces] monitors the situation on the territory of Ukraine on an ongoing basis and remains on constant readiness to ensure the safety of Polish airspace.”
To this point, NATO has remained out of any direct action in the war between Ukraine and Russia. However, many members of the alliance have been on high alert for the entirety of the war – with Poland perhaps being the most concerned.
Stray missiles that have been fired by both sides in the war have ended up in Poland’s territory occasionally. In fact, back in November of 2022, a missile launched by Ukraine detonated in a village in southern Poland, which resulted in two people being killed.
Then, late last week, the armed forces in Russia reported that they saw an “unidentified aerial object” that crossed into their airspace while Russia was bombarding Ukraine.
This resulted in Poland mobilizing all available forces so they could try to find the object.
Russia has, for the most part, dismissed the concerns that Polish officials have raised to this point. They’ve demanded that the country provide “hard evidence” that Russia was the source of the object that was launched.
NATO members aren’t forced to do anything at this point in relation to the Ukraine and Russia war, though many of them have provided voluntary military, humanitarian and financial aid to Ukraine.
Should Russia attack a NATO country, though, all other member nations would be required to send troops to help. That’s a big fear of many NATO countries, which for the most part don’t want to be dragged into the war.
President Joe Biden, for his part, said that the U.S. needs to continue providing Ukraine aid, as if they don’t do so, it would increase the risk “that the United States gets pulled directly” into the ongoing war.