by Xavier Connolly, 16 November 2021
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is doing some belated backtracking after his prior false and highly dangerous claims that Russia launched a missile attack against NATO member Poland, killing two Polish citizens Tuesday.
As of Thursday Zelensky says he's not sure about what happened. "I don’t know 100 percent — I think the world also doesn’t 100 percent know what happened," he said. "We can’t say specifically that this was the air defense of Ukraine."
This after everyone from NATO Secretary Jens Stoltenberg to Poland's president to US President Joe Biden assessed it was most likely a Ukrainian anti-air missile that errantly struck the Polish border town of Przewodow. A flurry of accusations from Western officials and media ensued, with fears dominating Tuesday into Wednesday of the potential to spark WWIII.
"Zelensky previously insisted that the rocket was not Ukrainian and wanted evidence if Ukraine’s air defense was responsible," The Hill writes. "But he softened his position at Bloomberg’s New Economy Forum in Singapore on Thursday, saying that Ukrainian military leaders told him that the crater from the blast site suggested that a Ukrainian anti-air rocket could not be solely responsible."
According to more via The Hill:
Polish President Andrzej Duda said on Wednesday that it was “highly probable” that the strike resulted from Ukrainian air defense and appeared to be an accident.
Zelensky said in the interview that he was "sure" that it was a Russian missile but also knew that Ukraine launched weapons to defend against the Russian attack.
Recall that Tuesday night, almost immediately following the explosion on the Polish border and without evidence, Zelensky had demanded "action" from the West over the supposed brazen aggression against a NATO member.
"Hitting NATO territory with missiles… This is a Russian missile attack on collective security! This is a really significant escalation. Action is needed," Zelensky said his Tuesday night video address.
In referencing "collective security" of NATO he was attempting to convince Brussels that military intervention was needed against Russia in defense of Poland. But now it seems with world opinion diverging from Ukraine's blanket assertions for once, Zelensky is slowly backing off his initial claims.
CNN subsequently cited Ukrainian military sources who are belatedly admitting the likelihood that it was their own missile. "The Ukrainian military told the US and allies that it attempted to intercept a Russian missile in that timeframe and near the location of the Poland missile strike, a US official told CNN," the report says. "It’s not clear that this air defense missile is the same missile that struck Poland, but this information has informed the ongoing US assessment of the strike."