Concerns of the start of World War III were shared over Twitter on Tuesday as reports emerged that a Russian missile struck a Polish village, killing two people.
The strike was confirmed by a U.S. official to the Associated Press on Tuesday afternoon, although most details are still unknown. Polish authorities held an emergency meeting due to a “crisis situation,” and Polish media reported that two people were killed in the strike in the village of Przewodów, near the Poland-Ukraine border.
Since Poland is a member state of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), it can invoke Article 5 in the event of an attack, bringing in an international response from other NATO members, including the U.S..
Amid these reports, “WWIII” began trending on Twitter, as some worried about a potential military response, even though Poland has not invoked Article 5.
Colorado Sun reporter Jesse Aaron Paul tweeted, “I didn't have WWIII on my list of existential crises this week.”
“World war 3 is maybe breaking out and I am here clicking on accounts' verified checks to see whether they're officials or twitter blue subscribers,” posted Buzzfeed reporter David Mack.
These strikes are the first to hit a NATO member state since Russian President Vladimir Putin first invaded Ukraine in February. Pentagon Press Secretary Patrick Ryder said Tuesday that U.S. defense officials are aware of the reports and that the U.S. will defend NATO, stating that “when it comes to our security commitments and Article 5, we've been crystal clear that we will defend every inch of NATO territory.”
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