“we are evaluating article 4 of NATO”
“The procedures expected in such a situation have been implemented, increasing the combat readiness of some military units and services.” So Piotr Miller, the government spokesman, on Twitter after the meeting of the Security Committee which met tonight in Warsaw following the fall of missiles in Poland, on the border with Ukraine. “There was an explosion in the Hrubieszów district, which killed two Polish citizens. The authorities are clarifying the matter,” he said.
Miller then let it be known that “we are evaluating the procedures referred to in Article 4 of the Atlantic Pact”. “Polish President Andrzej Duda has just finished speaking with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. We are verifying the premises of NATO Article 4. We are in contact with our allies and expect talks with the American side”.
NATO Treaty, article 4: what it says
“The parties will consult each other whenever, in the opinion of either of them, the territorial integrity, political independence or security of one of the parties is threatened”.
Article 4 of the NATO treaty therefore covers a scenario in which a member state feels threatened by another country or a terrorist organization.
Alliance members are therefore required to initiate consultations at the request of the member who feels threatened, to assess whether this threat exists and how to counter it. Decisions must be reached unanimously. Therefore, the article does not provide for direct pressure to act. In the past, the article has been triggered several times, for example a year ago when Turkish soldiers were killed in an attack in Syria. In that case, NATO decided to consult but took no action.