Deadly explosion in Poland shows heightened risk of escalation

Tuesday night’s intense reaction to the probable false alarm of a Russian missile hitting NATO ally Poland was a sobering reminder – if it were needed – of the risks that an already brutal conflict in Ukraine could escalate into a larger war that brings Russia and NATO into a military confrontation.

There are basically two concerns. The first is that a long and bitter war with forces fighting on the ground, and missiles and shells flying through the air, will create accidents and incidents that can become something bigger – for example, if it were clear that Russia had struck a NATO country, albeit by accident, as was the initial fear Tuesday night.

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