Ukraine has been accused of “openly lying” about a missile that hit Poland killing two civilians, earlier this week, the Financial Times reported on Thursday citing an unnamed diplomat from a NATO country.
By Countercurrents Collective
Ukraine rushed to pin the blame on Moscow, while the Russian Ministry of Defense stated that footage from the site showed “elements of a missile from an S-300 air defense system used by the Air Force Of Ukraine.”
“This is getting ridiculous,” the official told the outlet on Wednesday. “The Ukrainians are destroying our confidence and they are openly lying. This is more destructive than the missile,” the source reportedly said.
The comments come in response to President Vladimir Zelensky claiming that Ukraine had nothing to do with the missile that struck Przewodow, Poland, on Tuesday, insisting that it was Russia that launched the weapon.
Zelensky has insisted that Ukrainian investigators be given access to the crash site, stating that if it turns out that it was indeed a Ukrainian rocket then Kiev would have to apologize. “but, sorry, first I want an investigation, access, the data you have – we want to have this,” Zelensky said, addressing his Western partners.
NATO, the US and Poland have stated that there is no evidence to suggest Russia’s direct involvement in the incident. Polish President Andrzej Duda has indicated that the projectile was likely a Ukrainian air defense missile – an opinion that was seconded by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and US Defense secretary Lloyd Austin.
Moscow, meanwhile, has condemned efforts to paint it as the perpetrator, saying such statements could only be seen as an attempt to trigger a direct clash between Russia and NATO.
After several media outlets as well as Ukrainian and Polish officials initially blamed Russia for the attack, Moscow’s permanent representative to the United Nations, Vassily Nebenzia, stated that if it had not been for the evidence in the form of photos from the scene, “all facts would have been concealed from the public, and Russia would have been proclaimed the guilty side.”
Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov has also stated that the initial claims made by Kiev and other Western officials were “yet another hysterical, rabidly Russophobic reaction that was not based on any real information.”
U.S. Reprimands Ukraine
U.S. President Joe Biden did not speak to his Ukrainian counterpart Vladimir Zelensky about the missile incident in Poland, CNN reported on Thursday, citing multiple anonymous sources. Instead, his national security adviser Jake Sullivan phoned Zelensky’s office, urging Ukrainian officials to “tread more carefully,” after Kiev accused Moscow of striking the village of Przewodow and killing two civilians.
Biden and his Secretary of State Antony Blinken were in Bali, Indonesia for the G20 summit when aides woke them up in the middle of the night with news of the missile incident, according to CNN.
The U.S. president was on the phone with his Polish counterpart Andrzej Duda by 5:30am local time, with Blinken and Sullivan joining the call later. Between the information coming from Poland and U.S. “satellite-based intelligence,” CNN said, it became clear that the missile “appeared to have been launched by Ukraine.”
Zelensky had already accused Russia, however, describing it as an attack on NATO and demanding a response. Sullivan then “quickly called Zelensky’s office” and “urged officials to tread more carefully with how they were speaking about the incident,” according to sources familiar with the call.
Though AP had cited an anonymous U.S. official to say the missile had been Russian – which the agency later retracted – Biden himself came out to say it was not. Pentagon spokesman General Patrick Ryder also told reports that the U.S. military had no information that could corroborate Kiev’s claims.
General Mark Milley, who chairs the Joint Chiefs of Staff, meanwhile, called his counterparts in Poland and Ukraine and also tried reaching Russia’s chief of the General Staff, General Valery Gerasimov, but “the two never spoke Tuesday night.”
A Call That Did Not Happen
Another call that did not happen was between Biden and Zelensky, despite the Ukrainian leader’s repeated requests, according to a source familiar with the matter. Biden had spoken with Duda, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, and leaders at the G20, but “had still not spoken directly with Zelensky by Wednesday afternoon,” CNN claimed.
The Przewodow incident has “created some cracks in the West’s alliance with Ukraine,” according to the outlet. Polish officials were described as “frustrated” by Zelensky continuing to insist the missile had not been Ukrainian, even after both Warsaw and Washington had publicly said otherwise.
He only backtracked on Thursday – after the publication of the CNN story – by saying he “does not know 100%” what actually happened.
It Was Ukrainian Missile, Says Top Security Official
Evidence gathered by Poland, the U.S., and NATO suggests that it was a Ukrainian missile that killed two people on Polish territory not far from Ukraine’s border this week, the head of the country’s National Security Bureau (BBN), Jacek Siewiera, told the local RMF FM radio broadcaster on Thursday.
Earlier, Polish President Andrzej Duda said that the missile was likely a Ukrainian one. Washington, meanwhile, admitted it had no evidence that would contradict Duda’s assessment, while Kiev rushed to blame the incident on Moscow.
“All the evidence that has been collected on the NATO, American and our sides indicates that we are dealing with an S-300 missile launched by the Ukrainian anti-aircraft defense,” Siewiera said on Thursday, without offering details on the information gathered by investigators. According to the BBN chief, the Polish Prosecutor’s Office is now leading the probe into the incident.
Warsaw would not object to Ukrainian “observers” joining the investigation, Siewiera said, adding that the Polish president in particular “sees no obstacles” for this if all legal requirements are met.
Zelensky insisted the missile was Russian and backtracked on this claim only after it was disputed by U.S. President Joe Biden. Later, Zelensky maintained that no one can know for sure whose missile killed the two Poles. On Tuesday, Russia said it did not strike any targets closer than 35 kilometers (21.7 miles) from the border with Poland.
When asked why Polish air defenses did not intercept the missile, Siewiera admitted that no air defense system was impenetrable. “It is one thing to se an interceptor and another to shoot it down,” he said, adding that the Polish military also believed the missile was launched to intercept an airborne target “over the territory of Ukraine” and expected it to “perform its task.”
The Missile Strike Is A Good Story, Says Zelensky Aide
The senior aide to Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky, Mikhail Podolyak, has hailed the recent missile strike in Poland as a good way of reminding NATO members that the ongoing conflict in Ukraine will inevitably spillover to the territories of other nations. In an interview published on the “FREEДОМ” (Freedom) Youtube channel on Thursday, Podolyak stated that the incident, which resulted in the death of two civilians, was a “good story.”
He added that it would enable NATO states to “develop a tougher attitude in terms of protecting their territories.”
Not The First Time
Podolyak noted that this was not the first time a rocket from the Russian-Ukrainian battlefield had flown into the territory of a nearby country, apparently referring to when missile debris drifted into Moldova last month. He added that a conflict in a country as big as Ukraine was bound to affect the territories of other nations.
Podolyak’s statement comes after what appears to have been an air defense missile landed in the Polish town of Przewodow near the Ukrainian border on Tuesday.
Within hours of the incident, a number of Polish and Ukrainian government officials, including Zelensky, claimed that the rocket belonged to Moscow and that the strike constituted a direct attack on NATO territory. He urged the U.S.-led military bloc to enact Article 5 and retaliate.
Warsaw, however, has since conceded that the rocket was most likely a Ukrainian air defense missile that went astray – a position that has also been echoed by NATO and Washington.
Zelensky, meanwhile, has insisted on an investigation of the incident that included Ukrainian specialists. Later, Polish President Andrzej Duda stated that, for now, Kiev can only become familiar with the investigation, but cannot participate in it. Although the Ukrainian leader has admitted that he is not “100% sure” who the rocket belongs to, he maintains that Russia is still ultimately to blame for the incident.
The Russian military has said it didn’t attack any site near the location of the village and that images of the crash site, which were published by Polish media outlets, clearly identified the projectile as a Ukrainian S-300 air defense missile.
U.S. General Warns Of Ground Reality In Ukraine
Ukraine’s chances of a near-term military victory over Russia are not high, top US general Mark Milley has cautioned. He noted that despite Kiev’s recent advances on the battlefield and the capture of the city of Kherson, Moscow still has a significant combat presence in the country.
Speaking at a news conference at the Pentagon on Wednesday, Milley stated that “the probability of a Ukrainian military victory defined as kicking the Russians out of all Ukraine to include what they define or what the claim is Crimea, the probability of that happening anytime soon is not high, militarily.”
The U.S. general noted that there was a possibility of a “political solution” that would see Russia withdraw from territories Ukraine claims as its own, adding that Russia “is on its back” right now and that Ukraine needs to negotiate from a “position of strength.”
U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin also took part in the press conference.
Russia, meanwhile, says it will continue its military operation until all the goals are met. Moscow says it ordered its forces to enter the country in late February in order to protect the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, which had been under constant attack from Kiev’s forces since 2014 when a coup overthrew the nation’s elected government.
In October, the Donbass republics as well as the former Ukrainian regions of Kherson and Zaporozhye officially joined the Russian Federation after a referendum. President Vladimir Putin vowed to consider the residents of these regions as Russian citizens “forever” and promised to protect the territories “with all of Russia’s strength and resources.”
Zelensky Is Lying To Drag U.S. Into WW3, Says U.S. News Host
Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky could be “lying on purpose to get us into a war,” Fox News host Tucker Carlson declared on Wednesday night. Zelensky’s refusal to admit that a Ukrainian missile caused a fatal explosion in Poland makes him “not worth supporting,” Carlson suggested.
Zelensky “was commanding the U.S. to lead the Third World War immediately” after the blast, Carlson told his viewers. “The only problem is that it was completely and utterly wrong.”
Zelensky doubled down. “I have no doubt that this is not our missile,” he said in a video address. “I believe that it was a Russian missile, based on our military reports.”
“That is not only untrue,” Carlson said. “It is a lie that could get millions of Americans killed. So you have to ask yourself, is it time to stop backing this guy? Could the risk be too high? He is lying to get us into a war?”
“May be he is not worth supporting in the first place. May be he is just another corrupt Eastern European strongman in a tracksuit, getting as rich as he can on American handout.”
Carlson has been a long-time critic of the US’ support for Zelensky, arguing that Ukraine is not democratic, and that intervening in its conflict with Russia is not in the U.S.’ national security interest.
Zelensky has toned down his claims that a Russian missile was responsible for the deaths of two people in a Polish village near the border with Ukraine.
“I do not know what happened this time. We do not know for a 100%,” Zelensky conceded on Thursday. He was responding to a question about the incident during a panel discussion at the Bloomberg New Economy forum in Singapore, which he attended via videolink.
“But I am sure that there was a Russian missile and I am sure we were launching air defense missiles,” he added.
Zelensky claimed during the Bloomberg panel that the Ukrainian military had told him that the images were not consistent with that kind of weapon. He claimed that nobody could say with full certainty what the origin of the missile was, until a full investigation had been carried out.
He also thanked Ukraine’s foreign backers, who blamed Russia for the deaths in Poland, regardless of who fired the weapon. NATO and some of its members, including the U.S., stated that Moscow was responsible because it had launched missiles at Ukraine in the first place.
Maria Zakharova, the spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry, said that Washington’s attitude may hint to U.S. citizens about the general veracity of American investigations.
“the U.S. government does not care about getting the results in an investigation,” she said. “The U.S. government always has somebody to ‘hold responsible’ on political grounds.”
Signals From West, confirms Ukraine
Zelensky has acknowledged that Kiev’s foreign backers have been speaking to him about the possibility of peace talks with Moscow.
“I had received signals from state leaders, who said: ‘We think Putin wants direct negotiations.’ And I said: ‘We will offer a public format because Russia is waging a public war against Ukraine,” Zelensky told journalists on Wednesday.
“I am ready to recommend such a format. I will discuss with my colleagues how to do it,” he said, adding that he does not want to have any “backstage contact” with Russia.
Public Negotiation Does Not Exist
Kremlin Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Thursday that “it’s hard to imagine public negotiations. Such a thing does not exist.”
“One thing is obvious: the Ukrainian side does not want any talks,” and that is why Russia’s military operation in the neighboring country will continue until all of its goals are achieved, Peskov said.
Recent media reports indicate that Washington has been privately pushing Kiev to drop its uncompromising rejection of the peace process with Moscow. These reports were ignored by some analysts. Last week, the chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley, suggested that a Ukrainian military victory might be unachievable and that winter could provide an opportunity to begin talks with Russia.
The statement follows talks between the head of Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR), Sergey Naryshkin, and CIA Director William Burns, which took place in Türkiye earlier this week. Both the Kremlin and the White House confirmed the meeting, with the U.S. side saying that it was aimed at keeping channels of communication open, and that a Ukrainian settlement was not on the agenda.
Zelensky has been sending mixed messages about the possibility of peace talks with Moscow throughout the conflict, even signing a decree in October that officially made it impossible for him to negotiate with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov reacted to the Zelensky’s speech at the G-20 summit by saying that Russia is ready for talks, unlike Ukraine, which puts forward “invariably unrealistic and inadequate” terms for dialogue. According to Lavrov, Zelensky’s address was full of “militant, Russophobic and aggressive rhetoric.”
Days Of Endless Cash And Military Aid To Ukraine Are Numbered
U.S Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) said the days of endless financial and security aid for Ukraine are numbered after the Republicans won a majority in the lower chamber of Congress.
“I am here as a member of the House Armed Services Committee to say that the days of endless cash and military materiel to Ukraine are numbered,” Gaetz said on Thursday. “They are numbered in the days that are required to act on Congresswoman [Marjorie Taylor] Greene’s well thought out resolution of inquiry and they are numbered when we get into the majority.”
Gaetz vowed not to vote for one more dollar or one more piece of military equipment for Ukraine. The congressman from Florida said the United States is far too entangled in the Ukraine conflict and has effectively extended it.
Gaetz also called on the U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin to declassify the Inspector General’s report on compliance with the existing regulations regarding the chain of custody of material going to Ukraine.
On Thursday, Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene said she is introducing legislation alongside other U.S. House Republicans to audit funding provided to Ukraine. “We are asking for everything to do with military, civilian and financial aid. We want it all,” she remarked at a conference.
Aside from Greene and Gaetz, House Reps. Thomas Massie (R-KY) and Matt Rosendale (R-MT) have co-signed the move to undertake audits of funds appropriated by Congress.
Green has stated that if the resolution is struck down, she intends to reintroduce the measure in the new year once the new Congress is brought in. “For next year, absolutely I’ll introduce this resolution again, but I’ll also be calling for a full audit. That’s what we want, we want to audit Ukraine,” she said.