Polish military chief says Russia is stepping up on NATO border

HALIFAX, Canada — Russia’s war against Ukraine is becoming increasingly dangerous for Poland and other NATO allies on Ukraine’s border, Polish military chief General Rajmund Andrzejczak said following ‘a debris strike in his country that killed two citizens this week.

“The conclusion [is] let Russia step up,” Andrzejczak said. “…It’s getting closer and closer to NATO borders. I would say winter is coming, not necessarily just within the season, but in a much broader sense: winter is coming to borders.

Russia fired nearly 100 missiles into Ukraine on Wednesday, destroying key parts of the power grid. President Joe Biden, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and Polish officials said the missile debris that fell was likely the result of Ukrainian air defenses attempting to intercept Russian missiles.

Ukrainian leaders have not yet accepted this conclusion, but are using the incident to demand a more advanced air defense system, integrated with other European allies. Andrii Yermak, chief of staff to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, said on Saturday Ukraine was now consulting with allies on an air shield deal, but gave few other details.

“Ukraine, together with its closest allies, has begun the development of the Joint Ukrainian Air Shield Statement,” Yermak said, in a speech delivered virtually at the International Security Forum in Halifax, Canada.

“While Russian attacks on Ukrainian cities and critical infrastructure will continue, Ukraine desperately needs an effective, high-speed missile defense system before the onset of winter. Effective protection of our skies is an important component of guaranteeing security… This is why we aim to build a complex, multi-level anti-aircraft and anti-missile defense system. It will contribute to overall European air safety.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky initially insisted that the debris came from a Russian strike. On Saturday, Yermak said, “It won’t be fair to say it’s a…Ukrainian rocket” until the investigation is complete.

Although the Polish and Ukrainian governments disagree on the origin of the missile, they are aligned on Ukraine’s continued need for support, especially for air defenses.

Said Andrzejczak, “I would say that we need a more developed discussion at the strategic level to realize if we, if we [are] help enough with Ukraine… Ukraine must win. And there is the question for us: is it enough, what we are doing? »

Shortly after, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin delivered a keynote address at the conference, answering that question with a strong call for continued Western support for Ukraine. austin wednesday hosted the latest virtual meeting of Ukrainian ministers of the 50-nation Defense Contact Group, which resulted in new pledges of weapons and equipment, and a sense of hope that winter could bring negotiation space end the fighting, that some supporters of Ukraine have criticized.

“The outcome of the war in Ukraine will help determine the course of global security in this young century. And those of us in North America don’t have the ability to drop this one,” Austin said Saturday. “I believe that our support for the forces of freedom in Ukraine will hold firm, in any season or in any storm.”

Kevin Baron contributed to this report from Halifax.

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