President of the United States Joe Biden during the press conference on the final day of the NATO Summit in Madrid, Spain on June 30, 2022.

A top US defense official repeated that the US would “defend every inch of NATO territory” after reports surfaced that Russian missiles killed two people in Poland on Tuesday.

“When it comes to our security commitments and Article 5 we’ve been crystal clear that we will defend every inch of NATO territory,” Pentagon Press Secretary Brig. Gen. Patrick Ryder told reporters during a Tuesday briefing, not long after local sources in Poland reported that Russian missiles landed inside the territory of Poland, a NATO ally. 

Ryder said the Pentagon was aware of the reports but couldn’t confirm them; he added the US is looking into the situation. 

His remarks about Article 5 — the clause of NATO’s alliance that compels its members to defend one another — mirror those that President Joe Biden has made repeatedly throughout Russia’s unprovoked war in Ukraine as the US and its allies have warned Moscow for months that an attack on NATO territory would draw a harsh response.

“We have a sacred obligation under Article 5 to defend each and every inch of NATO territory with the full force of our collective power,” Biden said on March 26, just one month after the conflict began. 

It was not immediately whether the missiles which landed in Poland near the Ukrainian border were downed into Poland intentionally or by accident. But Tuesday’s incident immediately drew concern from neighboring countries. 

“My condolences to our Polish brothers in arms. Criminal Russian regime fired missiles which target not only Ukrainian civilians but also landed on NATO territory in Poland. Latvia fully stands with Polish friends and condemns this crime,” Latvia’s defense minister Artis Pabriks said on Twitter. 

In a statement, Estonia’s foreign ministry said the news is “most concerning,” and added that the country is working closely with Poland and its allies. “Estonia is ready to defend every inch of NATO territory. We’re in full solidarity with our close ally Poland,” it said. 

This story is developing. Please check back for updates.

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The Pentagon says the US would ‘defend every inch of NATO territory’ after reports that Russian missiles killed 2 people in Poland

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