Defense Department leadership is aware of press reports that Russian missiles targeting Ukrainian energy facilities crossed into Poland on Tuesday, killing two, but is not ready to confirm any details, according to a spokesman.
The unconfirmed strike hit Przewodów, a Polish village on the Ukraine border, the Associated Press reported.
“I can tell you that we don’t have any information at this time to corroborate those reports and are looking into this further,” Air Force Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder, a Pentagon spokesman, said Tuesday during a briefing.
Ryder declined to speculate — ahead of confirmation of the nature of the strike — whether it would require a military response. More than 6,500 U.S. troops are stationed in Poland and have been since earlier this year, in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
“When it comes to our security commitments, and [NATO] Article 5, we’ve been crystal clear that we will defend every inch of NATO territory,” Ryder said, echoing comments President Joe Biden made earlier this year.
There are 20,000 total mobilized troops throughout central and eastern Europe, including a chunk allocated to the NATO Response Force, a multinational organization that activated for the first time ever in February.
A spokesman for the Polish government told AP Tuesday that leaders were holding a meeting in response to a “crisis situation,” without confirming AP’s reporting from a senior U.S. intelligence official.
Ryder also couldn’t say whether there are concerns that U.S. troops activated in Poland are in danger if Russia is either purposely or errantly striking the country.
“When it comes to force protection, we always take the safety and security of our troops, no matter where they are, very seriously,” he said. “We’re very confident in any force protection measures that we take, whether it be Poland or elsewhere. But again, we don’t ―we’re not going to get ahead of ourselves here.”
Meghann Myers is the Pentagon bureau chief at Military Times. She covers operations, policy, personnel, leadership and other issues affecting service members.