A missile of uncertain origin touches down in Poland. It kills two civilians. Promptly Ukraine's president Zelensky calls this a significant escalation of Russia's aggression.
For some time Zelensky plus officials in Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia have been warning us of something like this. They claim that Russia's ruthless invasion of Ukraine was just the first expression of its territorial ambition. Next Putin would move further into Europe. That means totally defeating Putin in Ukraine is the only way to stop him.
There's no doubt that Putin's horrific war against Ukraine must be stopped. But as US chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff just suggested, it's not likely to happen anytime soon. Said Reuters, "Top US general plays down probability of near-term Ukraine military victory." He opined that now might be an advantageous time for Ukraine to seek a negotiated peace settlement.
But listening to Zelensky's frantic rhetoric, it seems that's not likely to happen anytime soon either.
The missile that hit Poland is now in the forefront of concern. Headlines about it have evolved from Zelensky's excited description to the assertion that it was just an errant missile fired by Ukraine for defensive purposes against a Russian missile attack. It was just a mistake with no intention of hitting Poland.
That sounds reasonable, but the "defensive purposes" part could just be a political tactic.
The sequence as I saw it through the media coverage was:
(1) a missile explosion in Poland kills two,
(2) Reuters reported, "Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Tuesday, without producing evidence, that Russian missiles had hit Poland, a Nato country, in what he called a 'significant escalation' of the conflict."
(3) New York Times reported, "Poland, a Nato member, also said it would most likely invoke Article 4..."
(4) Russia claims to have ID'd the missile to be one in Ukraine's inventory, not Russia's. Says Tass, "Missile wreckage in Polish photos identified as Ukraine's S-300."
(5) Biden quickly takes a view, as reported by AP, "Biden: 'Unlikely' missile that hit Poland fired from Russia."
(6) Then and only then did the "defensive missile" story arise. Now, according to CNN, "Poland, Nato say missile that killed two likely fired by Ukraine defending against Russian attack."
(7) Whereupon Zelensky said "no way" to that theory. CNN quoted him, "I have no doubt that it was not our missile."
(8) But, "US President Joe Biden refuted Volodymyr Zelensky's claim that the missile that struck Poland and killed two people was not from Ukraine" according to the Times of India.
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