This week, a missile landed in Poland. The strike killed two people—and set the entire world on edge. Poland declared the attack an accident, but some world leaders still want to assign blame.
Russian missiles bombarded Ukraine’s power facilities on Tuesday. The attack plunged millions of Ukrainian homes into darkness. But in the village of Przewodow, Poland—just west of Ukraine—it looked like a normal day.
Then the missile struck. An explosion rocked the town. Two men died in the blast.
News of the tragedy spread around the world. Many arrived at same conclusion: A Russian missile had crossed into Poland.
Poland’s leaders entered an emergency meeting. Around the world, people waited anxiously.
Why? Because Poland is a member of NATO.
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) formed in the wake of World War II. It includes 30 nations across Europe and North America. NATO nations commit themselves to each other’s defense. If a NATO member comes under attack, it can invoke Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty. According to that section, an attack against one NATO nation is an attack against all.
Now a missile had exploded in Poland—a NATO nation. If Poland declared the incident a Russian attack, NATO would have no choice. Every NATO nation would come to Poland’s defense.
Many people sensed eerie similarities to the start of World War II. Germany’s 1939 invasion of Poland had triggered the world’s involvement in that war. Would an attack on Poland once again spark international conflict?
When Poland’s leaders emerged from their emergency meetings, they didn’t bear a declaration of war. Instead, they brought new information: The missile strike hadn’t come from Russia at all. More likely, it came from Ukraine’s own air defenses—an accident in the midst of chaos.
“Ukraine’s defense was launching their missiles in various directions, and it is highly probable that one of these missiles unfortunately fell on Polish territory,” says Polish President Andrzej Duda. “There is nothing, absolutely nothing, to suggest that it was an intentional attack on Poland.”
NATO officials agree, but some world leaders protest. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy wants Ukraine to perform its own investigation. Other leaders point out that, even if the missile came from Ukraine, it’s only because of Russia’s attacks.
The Bible tells us that life and death are in the power of the tongue. (Proverbs 18:21) This week, Poland’s leaders felt the weight of that truth. Their words could have sparked an international conflict. They could have demanded vengeance. Instead, they chose to speak peace.
If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. — Romans 12:18
(Police officers search for missile wreckage in a field near Przewodow, Poland. AP/Evgeniy Maloletka)