What has now been identified as a Russian-made, but Ukrainian-launched S-300 air defense missile, landed in the village of Przewodow in eastern Poland on Tuesday, 15 miles from the Ukrainian border. The errant missile landed on a grain silo and the explosion killed 2 people.
Immediately following the incident, Polish Prime Minister, Mateusz Morawiecki called an urgent meeting with the government committee for national security and defense affairs while Poland’s foreign ministry issued a statement saying that a “Russia-made” missile had landed on the border with Ukraine and summoned the Russian ambassador for a meeting.
The Russian Defense Ministry issued a statement saying that the country had not engaged in “strikes against targets near the Ukrainian-Polish border” as Polish sources had claimed. The Russian statement went on to accuse Poland of attempting to escalate the situation. While the Pentagon said that it could not corroborate the reports at the time, a senior U.S. intelligence official told reporters that Russian missiles crossed into Poland, killing two people and a Pentagon spokesperson said that the U.S. was ready to “defend every inch of NATO territory.”
Meanwhile, U.S. President, Joe Biden, offered his condolences to Polish President, Andrzej Duda.
While NATO and Poland decided to invoke Article 4, which calls for “consultations” if a NATO member is threatened, instead of invoking the Article 5 collective defense treaty, Ukraine immediately took to blaming Russia for the errant missile in Poland calling the incident an “attack on collective security” and a “very significant escalation.” NATO and the U.S. began an investigation into who launched the missile.
As social media accounts began to post unconfirmed photos of the missile that landed in Poland, doubts quickly began to arise that the projectile was in fact not a Russian missile at all, but rather a Ukrainian S-300 air defense missile which looks unmistakably different than the Russian missiles used in recent strikes against Ukraine.
With the facts coming into the public light, Ukraine began to accuse Russia of promoting a conspiracy theory that a Ukrainian missile fell on Poland territory which a Ukrainian official said, “is not true” and that “No one should buy Russian propaganda or amplify its messages.”
Hours after top U.S. officials accused Russia of firing missiles into Poland, Joe Biden walked back previous statements made by officials and told reporters at the G-20 summit in Bali that it was “unlikely” that the missile that struck Poland was launched from Russia. Biden went on to say, “There is preliminary information that contests that. I don’t want to say that until we completely investigate, but… it is unlikely in the lines of the trajectory that it was fired from Russia.”
While it is becoming clear that all the countries involved, and NATO, were aware from the beginning that the missile that landed in Poland was not launched by the Russians, it makes one wonder why the U.S., Poland, and NATO would initially claim that it was. Accusing Russia of engaging in missile attacks on a NATO member state is clearly an act that Russia could easily interpret as an escalation and could lead to a new conflict.
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Given that people on social media were able to tell the distinction between the Ukrainian S-300 air defense missile that landed in Poland and the Kaibre cruise missiles Russia has used in its attacks on Ukraine, surely NATO and its allies knew from the beginning that Russia was not involved. What then could have been the reason to paint an errant air defense missile from Ukraine as a Russian cruise missile deliberately fired into Poland?
Perhaps it was seized as a moment of opportunity for the Biden administration to pass another multi-billion dollar aid package it claims is in support of Zelensky and the Ukrainian people, when really much of the aid packages have been laundered back into Democrats’ pockets through the now-bankrupt FTX cryptocurrency company. It could also be an easy excuse for the Democrats to push through one last aid package on their agenda during the lame-duck session for Congress before Republicans take control of the House.
While the reasons for the false stories, misinformation, and unsupported accusations may not be fully known at this time, it is clear that two old maxims ring true. First, that “a lie can travel halfway around the world before the truth puts on its shoes” and lastly, as the world continues to witness the lies surrounding the war in Ukraine, that “truth is the first casualty in war.”
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