Wednesday (November 16th): Duda’s collateral damage

Andrzej Duda
Andrzej Duda

Name? Andrzej Duda 

Westphalian identity? Polish

Age? 50

Why is he in the news? Last night, two missiles fell into Polish territory along its southern border with Ukraine, killing two civilians. This led to late-night communication between Polish president Andrzej Duda with NATO allies, including NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg over the fear of a Russian attack.

Why do we care? Well — it turns out that the most likely origin of the missiles is from Ukrainian defence systems, just as the Kremlin had insisted yesterday. There is also no intelligence evidence to suggest that Russia is planning any attacks on NATO members any time soon. We care mainly because this incident did not cause a rapid and uninformed response from NATO and Duda. Because if it were up to the media, Article 5 of NATO, common defence, had been voted on already.

Why should you care? Relations between NATO and Russia are tenser now than in decades. Yet this incident showed – on Russian and Western sides — that there is little desire nor political will for the escalation of conflict besides the armament of Ukraine in defence of Russia’s invasion. Just this Monday, CIA director Burns met with his Russian counterpart, Sergey Naryshkin, in Ankara to establish lines of communication. You should care 7/10 about the first bits of communication between Russia and the US. 

Who else cares? Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy was the first to denounce the missile strikes as a Russian attack on Poland, a NATO member. This is not the first time that Zelenskyy rushed ahead in the rhetorical war with Russia, and with this push NATO towards involvement in the conflict. Something President Duda was wise enough to avoid.

Any further comments? This picture was taken of US president Joe Biden, Chancellor Olaf Scholz of Germany, President Emmanuel Macron of France, PM Pedro Sanchez of Spain and PM Rishi Sunak of the UK discussing the missiles into Poland.

Francia Morales

Editor in Chief for Research and Analysis