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Quest Means Business
Reports: Two People Killed after Rockets or Missiles Hit Poland. Aired 3-4p ET
Aired November 15, 2022 - 15:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN Breaking News.
ISA SOARES, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Hello, everyone. I'm Isa Soares in London.
We begin this hour with major breaking news: Two rockets or missiles have reportedly struck inside Poland, a NATO, of course and EU country and
reportedly killed two people and it comes on a day of what has been relentless Russian strikes right across Ukraine. Strikes that have targeted
cities and regions right there, as you can see on your map, really including residential neighborhoods in Kyiv.
Poland is now holding I am being told an emergency meeting. The Pentagon says it is aware of the report. Our Christiane Amanpour joins me now from
So Christiane, a lot we still do not know. So, just bring us up to date with what we do know at this hour?
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Well, the truth is we don't. We know perhaps that two people have been killed by some kind of debris
missile, whatever it is, but we really do not know what actually it is. We have called the Polish government. They have told us we are trying to
confirm what it is, we're investigating.
We know from calling around to various NATO bordering countries who we speak to regularly on our show in Foreign Ministries, Defense Ministries,
that everyone is trying to find out exactly what happened.
We know that other countries, for instance, the Baltics have said, if it is the worst case scenario, that there was an attack, then that would mean
that we stand fully shoulder-to-shoulder with our NATO ally, Poland, and we will do what NATO or what Poland asks us to do.
So the reason everybody is getting very anxious, and rightly so about this is because any deliberate attack on a NATO nation would in fact, trigger
Article V, if the attacked nation was to ask for that to be triggered, which would then trigger a response from all the other NATO nations because
that is the doctrine.
However, we do not know what happened as of this time. Neither The Pentagon is saying that it knows what happened, nor the British Defense Ministry,
nor in the countries around, and Poland, the country in which something happened is currently investigating it.
What needs to happen, and you just talked to a former NATO Ambassador, Kurt Volker is that Russia needs to immediately clarify what it did or didn't do
and what its intentions were.
There is also a possibility, and we don't know this, but we do know that what the Ukrainians claimed to have been 90 missiles that were fired across
the country by Russia today. They say their anti-missile defense, the air defense systems shot down 70 of those.
Now, is it possible that some of those were shot down in a border region? Is it possible that there was some debris from shooting down these Russian
missiles that were targeting Ukrainian infrastructure and civilian targets, could that have been part of the cause? Again, we don't know.
But all of these are possibilities, and therefore we have to hear from Russia and we have to hear from Poland. And, you know, the United States
has massive Intelligence capabilities and it has probably -- obviously deploying all of that. And as I said, many of these countries are talking
to each other, calling each other, trying to figure out what's going on.
And you can imagine, NATO also is -- the headquarters in Brussels is also engaged in first and foremost, trying to understand what happened.
SOARES: Yes, and speaking of allies, the Czech Prime Minister -- Republic Prime Minister, Petr Fiala said that it stands firmly, I'm quoting here ".
firmly behind EU and NATO ally Poland as it awaits confirmation from Polish authorities regarding reports that rockets or missiles landed in the
country. If Poland confirms that the missiles also hit its territory, this will be further escalation by Russia. We stand firmly behind our EU and
And then went on to say and this is something that you can talk about, Christiane, today's massive missile attacks by the Russian army on Ukraine
clearly showed that Russia wants to further terrorize its people and destroy the country.
And of course, it's coming on the day that we've seen a barrage as we saw that map there of missiles across Ukraine.
AMANPOUR: While the last bit is absolutely correct. It has been Russian strategy or tactic since the downing of the bridge at Crimea, the Crimea
Bridge by the Ukrainians. It's been Russia's aim to punish Ukraine for that by punishing the Ukrainian people, by punishing Ukrainian civilians, by
attacking civilian targets and we've seen that.
SOARES: Apologies, I want to interrupt because I believe the State Department I am being told is speaking right now, let's just listen in.
VEDANT PATEL, STATE DEPARTMENT PRINCIPAL DEPUTY SPOKESPERSON: . I am happy to see if we have a sort of sequencing to share with you. But again,
I want to be very, very careful about not getting ahead of hypotheticals here as we continue to take time.
QUESTION: Have you reached out to Polish officials? Do you have any communication with them?
PATEL: Like I said, I don't have any -- like I said to Matt, I don't have any calls to read out at this point. But of course, Poland is an
important ally and partner. And like I said, we are working with them to determine what happened and assess next steps as well.
QUESTION: And a broader context there, what is your confidence level that it is not targeting NATO, given this NATO statement?
PATEL: I'm just not going to try and speculate, or trying to get in the mind of President Putin or his intentions. What we do know is that this war
has been one that is unjust, it's been brutal. It has affected millions of lives, not just in Ukraine, but across the world as well.
And as you guys saw, in response to President Zelenskyy's speech at the G 20. What President Putin did, was he met Ukraine with another round of
cruel attacks that killed civilians and destroyed infrastructure.
So what we're going to do is we're going to continue to stand with the government and the people of Ukraine who have stayed strong in the face of
Russia's brutal and needless onslaught for months, and we will continue to support Ukraine. Aquila (ph)?
QUESTION: When you say you're working with, obviously with the Polish government and allies and partners, can you confirm that this Department is
speaking to the Ukrainian officials and trying to get more insight from them as to what this might have been and whether or not they have responded
PATEL: No. We're talking to a range of partners. But like I said, this just transpired, so I don't have specific calls or line item actions to
read out for you.
But again, I want to assure that we will get to the bottom of what is happening and we will determine what has happened and determine appropriate
next step. Liam (ph)?
QUESTION: Before Article V is Article IV, which is on emergency consultations with the United States. Are we ready to call for emergency
consultations on this issue?
PATEL: Look, Liam, we of course, are ready to stand with our NATO allies and partners. But I want to again, be very clear that we do not want to get
ahead of hypotheticals.
We do not know what has happened yet. We have seen the reports out of Poland. They of course, are incredibly concerning and we are working with
our partners in the Polish government and our NATO partners to get more information and to assess what has happened. And we will make that
determination, and we will determine appropriate next steps as well.
QUESTION: Just as a follow up, certain media are quoting US Intelligence officials on their story. So, I'm assuming that we are in contact them.
PATEL: What I can say from this podium in front of you all on camera and on the record is that we've seen these reports and that we are working with
the Polish government and other partners to assess and get more information.
We cannot confirm the reports of what has happened or the details, but we are working through that process to determine what happened and determine
appropriate next steps.
In the back.
QUESTION: (INAUDIBLE) Warner Bros. Discovery from Poland. So you repeated a few times that you are working with the Polish government on this issue.
Who are you talking with, and at what level if you don't want to give any specific names? And also, if this is confirmed, should this trigger an
immediate increase of the numbers of US boots on the ground in Poland? Maybe sending additional Patriot batteries fortifying the Eastern flank?
PATEL: I'm starting to sound like a broken record here, but again, I do not want to get ahead of hypotheticals or get into a tit-for-tat of
What I can say is that we will determine what happened and we will determine what appropriate next steps to take. We are engaging directly
with our partners in the Polish government. I don't have specifics to offer in terms of who and at what level.
But like I said, Poland is an important partner, an important NATO ally, and so we're continuing to work through this process and engage on this.
QUESTION: Follow up with Secretary Blinken wanting to talk to Minister Rau, you know, is a contact at this level possibly?
PATEL: I don't have any calls to preview or your readout yet, for that matter. So, I'm just not going to get ahead of that process.
In the back.
QUESTION: So not getting into hypotheticals. But, you know, President Biden did say and Secretary Blinken also have repeatedly said that you know, the
US is going to defend every inch of NATO territory.
So can you just repeat this today, as in principle, and do you have any reaction to just the overall attack? The barrage from Russia today? It's
been recorded as the largest one so far, largest missile attack. Do you have any reaction to that?
PATEL: Yes, I think I spoke to this a little bit in responding to Alex's question. But first, to your first question. Of course, we stand by NATO
and our NATO allies and partners. This administration views NATO as one of the most important transatlantic defensive alliances out there.
But again, I'm not going to get ahead of hypotheticals as we continue to work through this process and determine what's happened and determine
appropriate next steps.
On the barrage of strikes that we saw take place in Kyiv. As I said, while President Zelenskyy spoke at the G20, about a path to a just peace and for
ending this war, what we saw was Russia unleashed a barrage of attacks that have killed civilians and destroyed critical infrastructure.
And it is no surprise that after the Ukrainian liberation of Kherson, that Russia has gone down the path of attempting yet again to plunge Ukrainian
civilians into darkness, but what the United States is going to do is going to continue to stand by the government and the people of Ukraine and our
commitment to our Ukrainian partners, is unwavering.
QUESTION: I know you don't want to get ahead of us, but Russia is already trying to spin the situation here with the Defense Minister putting out a
short statement saying that the reports of Russian missiles landing in Poland are "a deliberate provocation aimed to escalate the situation." Do
you have a response to what they're saying about this right now?
PATEL: Well, the United States is certainly not trying to escalate or incite the situation at all. And like I said, we have seen the same reports
that you all have, and we are working with the Polish government to gather more information and we are not at a point where we can confirm some of
these reports that we're seeing, and that's why I'm telling you that we will determine what exactly has transpired and we will determine
appropriate next steps as well.
SOARES: All right, you have been listening there to a State Department official. He said that he seen reports of missiles or rockets hitting
Poland, but he says he is trying to assess -- the US is trying to assess what happened and appropriate next steps what they should be.
He said didn't want to go ahead of hypotheticals, the report incredibly concerning. They didn't want to speculate. Going on to say that Poland is
an important ally, as well as partner and is working with Polish government and allies to try and ascertain really what has happened.
I want to go to CNN's Christiane Amanpour who is with me.
And Cristiane, as we were listening in to the US State Department there, we are seeing, I believe the first response from the Russian Defense Ministry.
What does Russia say? What is Russia saying here?
AMANPOUR: Well, yes. It is and actually, they asked the State Department spokesman about that, and Russia basically says, and, again, to your point
that you were talking to Kurt Volker, the former NATO Ambassador from the United States, need to hear Russia's intent.
So this is what the Defense Ministry in Moscow has put out. "There were no strikes made on targets near the Ukrainian-Polish State border." And then
they continue with their spin, which is that these reports, according to the Defense Ministry are a deliberate provocation.
The statements of the Polish media and officials about the alleged fall of "Russian missiles," in the area of that settlement is a deliberate
provocation in order to escalate the situation.
So from that, you get the impression that they want the world to know that they haven't actually done something deliberately. We will again, wait to
see what the Pols come up with in terms of their investigation.
But it is absolutely vital to know what happened before you can actually talk about what might happen in response and I'm just struck by how even an
hour later or more since these, you know, reports first started, all the capitals that we're talking about, all the spokespeople from the Pentagon
to the NSC in the United States to the State Department and in the countries surrounding, for instance, you know, Finland and others,
Czechoslovakia, all those places while saying that they will defend a fellow NATO member if it's necessary, they are all waiting to know exactly
AMANPOUR: And you know, it comes at a time when it would seem -- it would seem extraordinary that the Russians would deliberately want to take on
NATO at this particular time, given the fact that they are on the backfoot against the Ukrainians in Ukraine.
We know that they did out of, you know, a repeat show of their anger over Ukraine having taken back Kherson, President Zelenskyy having addressed the
G20 saying that he was not going to back down, that if there was to be a peace plan, there were 10 points that he said had to be taken into account,
including the removal of Russian forces from the territory of Ukraine.
We have seen several times in the last 10 days or so, two weeks, where Russia has responded to this seeming poking by Ukraine, that's my word,
with barrages of missiles against civilian targets. And we know that today according to the Ukrainian officials, there was some 90 -- that's their
number -- Russian missiles, rockets, projectiles targeted at places all over the country and at civilian infrastructure, including, of course, the
electric grid, the energy grid.
We hear Ukrainian officials say today that today, because of the attack, seven million Ukrainians are without power and that is what has been going
on, and any number of those could have been intercepted. The Ukrainian say they intercepted 70 of them. It could have happened near the border. Again,
we have to wait to know what exactly went down there.
It is farmland from as far as I can ascertain. It's not anywhere near NATO weapons, depots or NATO transport lines into Ukraine.
SOARES: Yeah, and this is something exactly that could have been intercepted, it is something that Colonel Cedric Leighton mentioned to me
in the last hour. So, that is a possibility. But of course, we just don't know at this stage.
I want to bring in CNN Russian affairs contributor, Jill Dougherty. Cristiane, do stay with us.
And what we have been hearing really from the Russian side of the reports, they say reports of missiles in Poland and deliberate provocation. Of
course, at this hour, Jill, we do not know if it's an accident or if it's deliberate, and that -- it will make the difference here.
JILL DOUGHERTY, CNN RUSSIAN AFFAIRS CONTRIBUTOR: Well, that's true, and I think Christiane has been making a very good point, that at this point, we
don't have any official statement from NATO or members of NATO, as to what happened.
However, I'd have to say, you know, that area has a lot of reconnaissance being carried out, certainly by NATO, and all of the countries on what is
going on in that area.
Granted, it was out in the country, but still, there was a lot of reconnaissance and data being collected about that area. So, you would
think, pretty, you know, soon, we would know, or they would know, the NATO would know, the United States would know certainly what exactly happened.
But the question is, there is a sequence here. You know, Poland has to decide, since it was on its territory, what does it want to do? And then it
will or won't or will decide to approach NATO. And then the Russians have already said, you know, that this is a provocation, that they didn't launch
However, I think with the Russian statements, you have to be very careful about precisely what they are saying, because what they are saying is, we
didn't fire any missiles there. But as has been pointed out, one of their missiles or two could have been shot down.
So again, this is a very subtle thing with grave implications, if taken to the extreme. So it will be a very delicate situation right now.
SOARES: Indeed. And really, of course, we're waiting for the official lines that we get, of course, not just from Poland meeting underway, but also
from NATO. And like you said, Jill, from Russia in terms of explaining what has unfolded.
We have heard, though, from Ukrainian President Zelenskyy in his daily nightly address, and he says that the terror is not limited to our national
borders. Saying that Russian missiles hit Poland on Tuesday.
This is what we are hearing. I mean, it comes of course in a day where we have seen, I think, it's fair to say a barrage of missiles across the
So, if it was an accident, that's a possibility, told me, the Colonel, Colonel Cedric Leighton. But what we have seen is just a barrage of
missiles in Ukraine today, following of course, from them losing Kherson.
DOUGHERTY: And this, of course, is, is something that people have been predicting could exactly happen, both militarily, you could have something
like this, a rocket goes astray, goes over a border, and even you know, when you get into the nuclear issue. There has always been concern that
things could happen that weren't intended, or you know, there was a chain reaction, probably not a good expression to use with nuclear issues, but
something could happen that would trigger an action or a reaction.
So this is, again, a very highly dangerous situation at this point, and I think that the care and the caution that you're seeing right now is
indicative of what the stakes are.
SOARES: And we -- and just talk to us very quickly, Jill, about the importance, the strategic importance here, the symbolic importance of
Kherson, to Putin here, to Russia.
DOUGHERTY: Well, you had just a few weeks ago, obviously, this is Ukrainian territory, and just a few weeks ago, Russia annexes that area, Kherson
being the capital of that region, and says now, it is part of Russia.
So you have the dramatic situation that the Ukrainians took it back. And in fact, just, I believe, it was yesterday, President Zelenskyy goes to
Kherson, walks the streets, listens to the Ukrainian National Anthem being played on the streets of Kherson, which the Russians still claim, and the
Russians had no true answer for that. All they could say was, well, it's still -- we consider it Russian territory.
So this is really, again, a dramatic moment where militarily and politically, President Putin has been embarrassed, that's the minimum of
really to see that debacle of leaving it.
Now the Russians say, we're going to go back, we're going to retake it. But if you watch the Russian media and see the reaction coming on social media
as well, there is a lot of consternation among Russians for how that could ever have happened.
SOARES: Jill Dougherty, thank you very much. I know we'll touch base with you in the next hour or so, but just before we go to break we've heard from
the Belgian Prime Minister on social media, I'm going to read out the tweet from the Belgian Prime Minister, saying: "Belgium strongly condemns the
incident on Polish territory. It sends his deepest condolences to the family of the victims and to the people of Poland. Belgium stands with
"We are all part," he went on to say, "Of the NATO family that is more than ever united and equipped to protect us all."
We'll take you live to Ukraine after this short break.
SOARES: If you're just joining us, let me bring you up to date with our breaking news. In the past hour and a half or so, two rockets or missiles
have reportedly struck inside Poland as you can see there on Przejazdowo, a NATO and EU country, and killed two people. It comes on a day of relentless
Russian strikes on Ukraine targeting cities and regions right across the country.
President Zelenskyy speaking in the last hour, said "Terror is not limited to our national borders."
Sam Kiley is in Ukraine, in the City of Kryvyi Rih who saw some of those relentless strikes today. And Sam, there is, a lot, of course we do not
know. We're waiting for a meeting from the Polish side. We are also waiting to hear from the US or that the State Department has said in the last half
an hour or so that they are working with Polish government and allies, but didn't want to go -- they didn't want to speculate and they didn't want to
-- they are waiting for answers on what happened to then take appropriate response.
However, we have heard from NATO. NATO says it is closely coordinating with Poland following reports that rockets or missiles landed.
I suppose the question now becomes: Is this an accident? Was this deliberate? What are we hearing from the Russian side?
SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the Russians have already put out a flat denial of Polish media reports they say, saying,
suggesting that these could have been some kind of Russian projectile, saying that they were not conducting any kind of missile operations in the
area of the Ukraine-Poland border.
Now that is flat out untrue. We know that to be the case, because the city of Lviv, which is close to that border has itself come under attack from
missiles, some of which have been shot down. This is a very wide -- nationwide series of attacks right across the country from north, south,
east, and west, extending to Mykolaiv in the South, Kharkiv in the North, Lviv in the West, and that is critical because there were Russian missiles
flying around in that area.
There were also Ukrainian anti-aircraft missiles attacking them. It is conceivable that these are projectiles that result from one of those
So it is very surprising indeed that the Russians will come out quite so quickly with an outright denial rather than a claim that they are
conducting investigations. But we've seen that pattern from the Russians throughout. They deny attacking civilian targets here. They deny the
murders and tortures that have been uncovered across the country in Irpin, Bucha, Kharkiv, and now in Kherson 400 war crimes are now being
investigated by the Ukrainians following their victory in the City of Kherson just in the last few days.
So I think that what is really important that we do know about the geostrategic developments pointed out by President Zelenskyy is that
Moldova has also now suffered significant loss of electricity as a consequence of automatic disconnection between it and Ukraine, and that has
come. You can see it's very, very dark here. There's a very great shortage of electricity now across this country.
There are sirens now blaring here in Kryvyi Rih as I speak to you, warning of more potential air raids against the electric and other critical
infrastructure of the Ukraine.
So, this has been a day perhaps, the heaviest day of bombardments of these nature for many, many weeks and there were intense bombardments along the
SOARES: Yes, intense bombardments, like the point that you made clarifying, of course what we've heard from Russia, Lviv was one of those cities that
did see also those strikes, and we are hearing sirens where you are. Of course, you're saying you're fine to stay on with us, I believe Sam.
Let me just ask you, really, you know, this comes of course, at the same time as G20 leaders are meeting. It comes on the heels of Russia being
forced, pushed back out of Kherson, the significance of this you think or the timing of this. I should say.
KILEY: Well, the timing of the wide attacks across Ukraine could be seen as a response to President Zelenskyy's 10 point plan for negotiations,
which essentially boils down to, "get out of my country, bring my people back and pay for the damage that you've done and we can talk."
And this has been the Russian response. But I think then also it would be a mistake sometimes to see this as a conversation. This is a military
campaign, in which the Russians, arguably should, from day one, have gone after the critical national infrastructure.
If you want to destroy a country's administrative capability, its ability to wage war, you go after its electrical circuits pretty much on day one.
That is something that they have stepped up in a very significant way.
The problem now is that what everybody has been fearing from day one of this campaign waged by the Russians, is that it is spilling over into
Moldova in terms of civilian effects and now, in some kind of violent way, into Polish territory. That is a serious danger much more widely.
SOARES: Thanks very much, Sam Kiley for us in Kryvyi Rih in Ukraine. Of course, we will follow NATO members rallying around Poland in the wake of
this incident. We are staying on top of this story. We will update you with the latest after this very short break, stay right here.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): This is CNN breaking news.
SOARES: A return to tonight's top story, missiles have reportedly landed in Poland near its border with Ukraine, killing two people. Poland, of
course, as you know, is a part of NATO. That is prompting responses from other member nations, including the United States.
The Pentagon press secretary says they are aware of the reports; Pat Ryder outlined the current U.S. reaction.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PAT RYDER, PENTAGON PRESS SECRETARY: When it comes to our security commitments and Article V, we've been crystal clear that we will defend
every inch of NATO territory. When it comes to force protection, we always take the safety and security of our troops, no matter where they are
serving, very seriously.
And so we are very confident in any force protection measures that we take, whether it be Poland or elsewhere. But again, we are not going to get ahead
of ourselves here. We are going to get the facts. And when we have more to provide, we will.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SOARES: Alex Marquardt is in Washington, D.C., for us.
Alex, that very much, what we heard from the State Department official in the last 20 minutes or so, waiting for the facts, trying to assess what
happened before appropriate steps are being taken, just bring us up to date on that.
ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that is exactly right. That's what we hear from the State Department, what we are
hearing from the National Security Council at the White House, that they are essentially waiting and watching.
Of course, we will be looking to their Polish allies to get the latest information. In fact, my colleague, Oren Liebermann, at the Pentagon, and I
have just confirmed that the U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin will be speaking with his Polish counterpart in the coming hours.
We have been told by Polish government officials that they have been holding an emergency national security meeting. In speaking with both
American and other foreign officials here in Washington, D.C., everyone is now looking to Warsaw for any indication of what may have happened here.
The only two countries that seem to be making any sort of firm statement about what they believe to have happened are Ukraine and Russia. Russia is
denying it all, essentially saying that this is a deliberate provocation.
Meanwhile, we have heard from President Zelenskyy of Ukraine tonight. He is saying in no uncertain terms that these were Russian missiles that landed
on the territory of Poland.
So now, the question becomes, was this intentional?
We have been discussing it over the course of the past few hours, whether Russia would tell the rest of the world that we made a mistake. It doesn't
appear to be that way because now we've heard from the Russian defense ministry, denying it.
Were these Russian missiles that were shot out of the sky by Ukrainian air defenses?
Was this some kind of probe to see what kind of response there would be from NATO?
Is this a response to Ukraine taking back Kherson from the Russians?
Or the CIA director Bill Burns, meeting with his Russian counterpart yesterday in Turkiye, and issuing some kind of warning about the use of
These are all major questions. What is very clear here is that there is a potential for a significant escalation. Poland, of course, a member of
So once they have come to some kind of conclusion, will they take this to the rest of NATO?
The first thing that came to mind when we heard about this incident today was Article V. Of course, that is the article that is the foundation of
NATO. If one country is attacked, all the other NATO countries rally to their side. It's only been invoked once after 9/11.
That is a long process that is has to be agreed upon unanimously.
The question now, is this conflict spilling beyond the borders of Ukraine?
You were showing that map there a second ago, that small Polish town, about the same distance as the Russian border is to Lviv in Western Ukraine. Of
course, many people are going to be hoping that this is an accident and not a deliberate escalation of this war in Ukraine that could spread beyond
SOARES: Indeed, we will wait to hear from the Polish side, from NATO and the U.S. as soon as we have more information. Alex, thank you very much. We
We heard from President Zelenskyy; this is a little part of it, his nightly address.
He said, "What happened today is what we have long warned about." He said, "We talked about it, terror is not limited to our state borders. It is
already spreading to the territory in Moldova. And today Russian missiles hit Poland."
He goes on to talk about how hitting NATO territory with missiles is a Russian strike against collective security. He says it's a very significant
escalation. This is President Zelenskyy here.
"We have to act," and he went on to say, "I want to say now to all of our Polish brothers and sisters, Ukraine will always support you. Terror will
not break free people."
Of course, this is part of President Zelenskyy's nightly address, where he addressed what we are hearing today of those two strikes in missiles in
Poland, on the border there between Ukraine and Poland. Of course, once we have that, we will, of course, bring that to you.
But as you heard from Alex, NATO allies have been reacting over the past 1.5 hours. Estonia's foreign ministry calls these reports "most
concerning," as you can see there. It said in a tweet, "Estonia is ready to defend every inch of NATO territory."
Fabrice Pothier worked as NATO's director of policy planning. He joins us now.
Fabrice, great to have you on the show. First of all, your reaction to the reports that we've been seeing in the past hour or so.
FABRICE POTHIER, FORMER DIRECTOR OF POLICY PLANNING, NATO: I think the bottom line is, we have seen a major escalation today by Russia, launching
something like 80 missiles and rockets over key population centers in Ukraine.
So even if the two rockets or missiles that landed in Polish territory were not intended to do so, I think it is part of the major escalation that
Russia has decided to undertake following the loss of Kherson.
And I think after what the end of the G20 (ph). So in that sense, even though we still need to do forensic and to determine what kind of rocket,
why they would've landed on Polish territory, I think there is ground right now for Poland to Invoke Article IV, which essentially, when one member of
the alliance wishes to consult with the other members when it thinks its territorial integrity is under threat.
So not only the attack but the threat that I think (INAUDIBLE).
SOARES: And we have heard from Dmytro Kuleba, the minister of foreign affairs of Ukraine, and he touched on this point. Ukrainian (INAUDIBLE)
solidarity with Poland and stands ready to provide any necessary support.
Collective response, he went on to say, to Russian actions must be tough and principled. Among immediate actions, a NATO summit with Ukraine's
participation to craft further joint actions.
He went on to say, which will force Russia to change its course on escalation, providing Ukraine with modern aircraft, F-15s and F-16s, as
well as air defense systems so that we can intercept any Russian missiles.
Today, protecting Ukraine's skies means protecting NATO.
So in terms of NATO action, you were talking there of Article IV, of the emergency consultations.
Does this change at all if it was an accident or if it was deliberate, does it change the way that NATO, that Poland and its allies see this and deal
POTHIER: Yes, it does because if it is an intended attack against a NATO ally, you have something much more serious here and you are dealing
possibly with an Article V scenario.
So mutual defense (ph) scenario, where NATO would be obliged to not only defend its own territory but also possibly go after some Russian assets and
(INAUDIBLE). However, I think, again, there has not been a burden of proof to go to war (INAUDIBLE). But it is enough to evoke Article IV, which again
is not something that is consultation.
I think here NATO needs to do two things. One is to speak and to speak with one voice and one clear voice, that the NATO territory should not be
touched by any Russian weapons system or any Russian action.
(INAUDIBLE) Article IV can also lead to some defensive action. For example, the location (ph) of the Polish air defense system but also and importantly
what Minister Kuleba was alluding to this, the augmenting of the Ukrainian air defenses.
Because again, Ukraine is our first line of defense here. So if you want to have a proper defense from NATO, we need to help Ukraine do that.
SOARES: But first, I'm guessing we need to hear from Russia. We have heard from Russian defense ministry, saying that the reports of Russian missiles
landing in Poland, a deliberate provocation.
So if it denies this, where do you go, if this is already the statement we are getting?
Where does NATO go from that?
POTHIER: Well, I think you have to put out what are the known facts and not the twisted false statement from the Kremlin. And the know facts so far
are, today, we have seen I think the largest missile strike ever coming from Russia and from Russian systems against Ukraine operations centers
Secondly, (INAUDIBLE) there are two missiles or warheads that have hit the Polish territory and even killed two people. So I think these are not facts
strong enough to again show that there has been (INAUDIBLE) directly linked to the Russian campaign today. And that I think leads to some clear
statement and some clear action by NATO.
SOARES: Clear statement, clear action by NATO. Of course, we are waiting to hear from NATO. We are also waiting to hear from Poland. They are having
an emergency meeting as we understand.
We heard from the State Department official in the last hour. So I'm guessing this is NATO. We heard from NATO basically it is coordinating with
Poland to investigate reports.
The images you are looking at now, that is from Warsaw, of course. You see microphones waiting there. I'm guessing many journalists are waiting for
this emergency meeting to hit, waiting to hear what Poland has, what it has to say.
We have heard from the State Department. They said they have seen the reports. But they need time to assess what has actually happened and they
are working with Polish government and allies.
And just as I have you here, Charles Michel, the president of the European Council, has tweeted, he said, "Shocked by the news of the missile or other
munition having killed people in Polish territory. My condolences to the families. We stand with Poland."
He tweets, "I'm in contact with Polish authorities, members of the European Council and other allies."
As the State Department was talking in the last half an hour, 40 minutes, apologies, I've lost track of time, we heard one question that it was
whether this perhaps would trigger increase of troops or fortify the eastern flank.
What are your thoughts here?
How may NATO react to this regardless of whether it's a accident or deliberate?
POTHIER: I think a minimum reaction would be to amend Polish and some other eastern members' air defense systems because clearly, we don't want
this to happen again. Even because it was not intended to reach Polish soil, given the (INAUDIBLE) escalation Russia is engaging in.
So you need to strike some of (ph) the Polish air defense system. And I think, as I mentioned again, the best defense for NATO is also (INAUDIBLE)
Ukrainian defense. So you need to provide the Ukrainians with the fighter aircraft but also the air defense system that can basically deny those
missiles and rockets to reach their target.
SOARES: Can I just clarify something?
If you are NATO, if you are a Baltic state -- and you know we have seen some of the statements just before we came to you from some of the leaders.
They would have been incredibly worried about what reportedly has occurred.
Is an apology from Russia, is that enough, do you think?
POTHIER: I think Putin's regime is not the kind of regime that engages in apologies or (INAUDIBLE). What clearly the Russians (INAUDIBLE) right now
is to create this kind of blurred picture so to see if indeed NATO is going to act and speak with one voice or whether NATO is going to be divided or
unsure about its message and action.
So I think the Russians, we should not expect any formal apology or clarity from the Russians. They want to see if we are responding with clarity or if
we are basically (INAUDIBLE) confusion.
And even again, if it is not intended, it is the result of the major Russian escalation against Ukraine. And as such, NATO needs to respond.
SOARES: Indeed, that point there of being united, this is something we will see, once we hear from Poland and the rest of the NATO allies. Fabrice
Pothier, we really appreciate you taking the time.
We will have much more on this breaking news story after this short break.
SOARES: Our breaking news this hour: the U.S. says it is looking into reports from Poland which say, two people have been killed in some form of
rocket or missile strike. The U.S. State Department says, it cannot yet confirm that Moscow denies Russian missiles are to blame, saying, it is a
The defense ministry, calling this a deliberate provocation of reports of Russian missiles in Poland, a deliberate provocation. This happening in the
last 45 minutes or so. Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, meanwhile, called the incident in Poland, "a significant escalation" in his nightly
address on Tuesday. Have a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): Today happened, what we warned about a long time ago. This terror is not limited
to our national border. His threat to the territory of Moldova and, today, Russian missiles hit Poland.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SOARES: We are waiting, as you can see right there, images from Warsaw in Poland. That is the Polish office of national security. We know that the
Poland side has been meeting, security meeting. That has been happening, what, since (INAUDIBLE) I came on air at 7 o'clock London time. So almost
two hours now. As soon as we hear from them, as soon as that gets underway, of course, we will bring it to you.
It's important, of course, that we hear directly from Poland. We have yet to hear from them. I want to bring in now former NATO Supreme Allied
Commander General Wesley Clark, joins me from Little Rock, Arkansas.
General, thank you very much for joining us. Of course, as we've just outlined there, we're still waiting to hear from the Polish side. We've
seen the State Department also waiting for clarification from the Poles. We have heard from the Russians, though, saying the reports of missiles in
Poland, a deliberate provocation.
Your initial thoughts as we wait, of course, for further clarification here?
GEN. WESLEY CLARK, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Probably a mistake by the Russian commanders who are organizing this, this strike; something probably went
But the fact that it's not being apologized for leads me to believe that the Russians were likely to take advantage of it anyway, as an
intimidation, as a tweak to check whether NATO was going to respond on this very small infringement of NATO territory. So it has to be responded to.
And the first thing we need to do, of course, validate that it happened. Now we should be asking the Patriot batteries that are in Poland, where
they're deployed, is there any radar traced, did we track this?
If the Patriot radar batteries are not in position close enough to the border to secure the border, then probably we need to look at repositioning
or even deploying additional assets there.
So it's clear you can't just defend at the border. You've got to have your range envelope extending into Ukraine if you are going to stop this kind of
thing. So that's the sort of the minimum military response that should be taking place.
SOARES: And of course, we are waiting for word from the Polish side. Our previous guest, talking to me just before you, was talking about how this -
- you hinted at how the intimidation from the Russian side, how this could be Putin perhaps testing NATO, trying to divide NATO in those Baltic
countries and perhaps want a stronger response.
What should be -- what should NATO be saying?
What should NATO be wanting to hear from Russia?
Is that something that Russia even does?
CLARK: Well, I don't know if Russia will apologize. Certainly, they should apologize. But I don't know whether it means anything or not. Really what
NATO has to do is go through the consultation process.
And so, NATO, first of all, has to do its own homework, has to be brought to NATO. NATO has to look at the evidence, has weigh this through these
discussions and then decide some response. You could have an -- escalated economic sanctions; you could have an option that would deploy the Patriot
batteries closer to the border.
You could have an option that would say, no, Western Ukraine, there is no fighting there. But just to be sure Poland's safe, we're going to deploy
air defense inside Ukraine so that it's not possible for an errant missile to penetrate into Polish territory.
So there are three sort of alternatives there. At least you've got to have some military response of moving those Patriot batteries closer to the
border, so that this can't happen again. That is the minimum.
But really, the larger question is, where is this going to go?
How long does it drag on?
So the United States has modulated the assistance that we've given to Ukraine. They don't have fighter planes; they don't have the long range
missiles; they don't have the loitering drones that they've asked for.
They don't have sufficient armored vehicles and so forth because, obviously, we would all like to see the Russians realize they made a
mistake and pull back.
Now President Zelenskyy has been very forthcoming today and what those appropriate conditions are for negotiation. And I think all the Western
nations would back those conditions (INAUDIBLE). Russia has to leave.
But in the absence of Russia deciding to leave, it's in everyone's in the West's interest to get this over with as rapidly as possible. So we really
need to ramp up the support, military support, that we are giving to Ukraine.
The best way to end this is to drive the Russian forces out of Ukraine. And yes, there is risks and there's bad weather and so forth. But let's not let
this drag on into the summer of 2023. Let's get it over with. If Russia doesn't want to negotiate, fine. Push them out militarily.
SOARES: And we have heard from President Zelenskyy, who said that today happened, what we warned about a long time ago, General. This is something
that I've heard time and time again in the last few hours.
CLARK: That's right and the thing about this is that, if Putin is still planning on his regional game plan, exhaust the Ukrainians; if he gets a
military victory in Ukraine, fine. If he does not, split NATO; he tries to go after the United States political system, that did not quite work.
I think the United States is going to be able to very strongly continue to support Ukraine in this. So that didn't work. He hasn't succeeded in
splitting NATO. So one way to interpret these two missiles is perhaps this was a sort of tweak.
Let's ramp up the pressure a little bit, let's see what NATO does. And then it's always deniable. So we don't know how to interpret that. But from the
NATO perspective, it's important to show resolve. So we've got to have a response.
SOARES: And we shall wait for that response from Poland and from NATO. General Wesley Clark, really appreciate you taking the time to speak to us.
And that does it for this hour of breaking news coverage. I'm Isa Soares in London. Do say right here because our coverage continues next hour on "THE
LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER."