Zelensky backtracks on missile claims
President Vladimir 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 don’t 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.
The incident happened on Tuesday evening, as Russia was hitting targets in Ukraine with a barrage of missiles. Zelensky declared that the projectile was Russian and that its landing on Polish territory was an attack on NATO’s collective security, urging retaliation.
Warsaw has since announced that the weapon was most likely a Ukrainian air defense missile that went astray, but Zelensky’s initial reaction was to point the finger at Moscow.
The Russian military 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, clearly identified the projectile as a Ukrainian air defense missile.
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 US, 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 US citizens about the general veracity of American investigations.
“The US government doesn’t care about getting the results in an investigation,” she said. “The US government always has somebody to ‘hold responsible’ on political grounds.”