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Belarusian helicopter incident: US says NATO Article 5 is not yet on the table

Thursday, 3 August 2023, 08:49
Belarusian helicopter incident: US says NATO Article 5 is not yet on the table
Photo: ELIZA KOWALCZYK

After the recent incident with Belarusian helicopters crossing the Polish border, the United States has said it takes NATO security seriously, but the use of NATO's Article 5 is not currently under discussion.

Source: Matthew Miller, Spokesperson for the US Department of State, reported by European Pravda

Details: Miller said the United States "expects all countries to respect the sovereign air space of other countries, and we will continue to take NATO security very seriously".

"I am not going to get ahead of any announcements that we or any other NATO country might make. There is a process. There is a process that is in place for NATO countries to invoke Article 5. We are not at that stage at this point," Miller emphasised.

Answering a question of whether the US made any attempts to contact Polish officials or discuss any of NATO's articles with them, Miller noted that the US is in permanent contact with all NATO members.

NATO's Article 5 says an attack against one ally is considered as an attack against all members of the Alliance. Article 4 provides for consultations among NATO member countries whenever any of them say there is a threat to the territorial integrity, political independence or security of any of the parties.

Background: 

  • On Tuesday evening, the Polish Ministry of National Defence confirmed that two Belarusian helicopters had violated Polish airspace.
  • At first, Warsaw authorities denied the violation of airspace, but later explained that the border crossing took place near the city of Białowieża at a very low altitude, which made it difficult to detect by radar systems.
  • In response to the incident, Polish Minister of National Defence Mariusz Błaszczak ordered an increase in the number of troops at the border and a deployment of additional forces and equipment, including attack helicopters.
  • Poland summoned the Charge D'Affaires of Belarus to the Foreign Ministry to have him explain the incident. The Polish side expressed a strong protest to him.

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