Russia is '500 feet away' from triggering NATO's Article 5: Kinzinger

Former US representative Adam Kinzinger said Moscow nearly provoked a collective NATO response by firing a missile that reportedly struck near a convoy carrying the Greek prime minister and Ukrainian president.

The Illinois Republican was responding to reports of a near Russian missile attack from Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Volodymyr Zelensky on Wednesday when they met in the southern Ukrainian coastal city of Odessa.

Mitsotakis told reporters that he and his accompanying delegation “heard the sounds of sirens and explosions that occurred near us,” adding that “we did not have time to reach a shelter.”

Former Rep. Adam Kinzinger is seen at the US Capitol in Washington, D.C. on December 19, 2022. He said the missile strike in Odessa that came close to the Greek Prime Minister on Wednesday…

Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Zelensky said that Russia “[doesn’t] Pay attention to where it hits.” The Ukrainian navy said five people were killed in the attack. There were differing accounts of how close the missile came to the commanders, with Greek media saying it was 150 meters (500 feet) away, while CNN reported it was 500 metres.

Zelensky often makes trips to the front lines, but Wednesday's attack may be one of the closest invitations he has faced, especially given the attack's proximity to Mitsotakis, the leader of a NATO country.

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Kinzinger wrote on XPreviously Twitter: “Russia has come within 150 meters of Article 5, with news of strike in Odessa that nearly hit Greek PM,” referring to NATO’s charter, which states that an attack on any of its 31 members is tantamount to attacks. Attack everyone and it will cause a reaction.

While the strike occurred in Ukraine, which is not a NATO member, social media users pointed out that it was unclear whether Article 5 could be triggered due to a NATO member state being in a war zone.

Newsweek It has contacted NATO and the Russian Defense Ministry for comment.

The post by the Illinois Republican, an outspoken GOP critic of former President Donald Trump and his broader Make America Great Again (MAGA) political movement, had received more than 750,000 views by Thursday morning.

The Institute for the Study of War said in its update issued on Wednesday that Russian forces targeted port infrastructure in Odessa with an unspecified number of missiles during the leaders' visit.

While pro-Kremlin military bloggers linked the missile attack to Zelensky's visit to the city, it was not clear whether the Ukrainian president or the Greek prime minister were the targets.

The Russian Defense Ministry said Moscow forces launched a high-precision missile strike at 11.40 a.m. Wednesday on a hangar in the port used to prepare naval drones for operations.

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“The aim of the strike has been achieved. The target has been hit,” the Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement, without naming Zelensky or Mitsotakis.

Russia has intensified drone attacks on the Odessa region over the past few days, with an attack on an apartment building in the city last weekend killing 12 people, including five children, according to Ukrainian officials.