On a special Newsnight programme filmed live from Warsaw as the first part of a series of special broadcasts on the war in Ukraine, Polish officials spoke to host Kirsty Wark about the repercussions of Russia’s attack on the International Centre for Peacekeeping and Security. Polish Interior Minister Bartosz Grodecki stated that the bombing “20km from Lviv” was a “provocation” from the Russian President.
He stated that Putin “is testing us – for now we remain calm, but we need to be prepared”.
Also featured on the programme was US Ambassador to Poland Mark Brezezinski who stated that NATO “is prepared for any contingency”.
He added: “We are going to defend every inch of NATO territory and that should be crystal clear to Putin. I don’t actually think that it is lost on him.
“We have the air defence assets, we have the soldiers on the ground, we have the synchronicity in terms of our military partnership with the Poles, we are prepared for any contingency.”
President Zelensky stated: “The shelling of the International Centre for Peacekeeping and Security killed 35 people and wounded 134 others.
“Nothing was happening there that could threaten the territory of the Russian Federation. And only 20 kilometres away are NATO borders.”
The Ukrainian President warned NATO: “If you do not close our sky, it is only a matter of time before Russian missiles fall on your territory. NATO territory. On the homes of citizens of NATO countries.”
The Russian air strike on Sunday was 15 miles away from the border of NATO member Poland.
Britain remarked that the incident at the peacekeeping centre was a “significant escalation” of the conflict in Ukraine and US national security adviser, Jake Sullivan warned that any attack, even accidental on NATO countries would trigger a full-blown NATO response.
The attack has caused extreme anxiety in Warsaw with queues forming at passport offices and at shops to stockpile essentials as fears rise over the war moving into Poland and supplies being cut off.
Justyna Winnicka was filmed outside the main passport office in Warsaw after filling out a passport form for her daughter due to concerns that they may need to flee.
She stated that “everybody is a little bit afraid today” after being asked about the fighting just over the border.