Washington reprimanded Kiev over missile incident – CNN
US 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 US 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 US “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 US 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 reporters that the US 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.”
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 “doesn’t know 100%” what actually happened.