Zelensky aide brushes off fake missile claims
A senior aide to Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky, Mikhail Podolyak, has hailed this week's missile strike in Poland as a good way of reminding NATO members that the ongoing conflict in Ukraine will inevitably spillover to the territories of other nations.
In an interview published on the “FREEДОМ” (Freedom) Youtube channel on Thursday, Podolyak stated that the incident, which resulted in the deaths of two civilians, was a “good story.”
He added that it would enable NATO states to “develop a tougher attitude in terms of protecting their territories.”
Podolyak noted that this was not the first time a rocket from the Russian-Ukrainian battlefield had flown into the territory of a nearby country, apparently referring to when missile debris drifted into Moldova last month. He added that a conflict in a country as big as Ukraine was bound to affect the territories of other nations.
Podolyak’s statement comes after what appears to have been an air defense missile landed in the Polish town of Przewodow near the Ukrainian border on Tuesday.
Within hours of the incident, a number of Polish and Ukrainian government officials, including Zelensky, claimed that the rocket belonged to Moscow and that the strike constituted a direct attack on NATO territory. He urged the US-led military bloc to enact Article 5 and retaliate.
Warsaw, however, has since conceded that the rocket was most likely a Ukrainian air defense missile that went astray – a position that has also been echoed by NATO and Washington.
Zelensky, meanwhile, has insisted on an investigation of the incident that included Ukrainian specialists. Later, Polish President Andrzej Duda stated that, for now, Kiev can only become familiar with the investigation, but cannot participate in it. Although the Ukrainian leader has admitted that he isn’t “100% sure” who the rocket belongs to, he maintains that Russia is still ultimately to blame for the incident.
The Russian military has 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 outlets, clearly identified the projectile as a Ukrainian S-300 air defense missile.
Moscow has blasted accusations of being responsible for the attack as an attempt to trigger a direct clash between Russia and NATO. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov described the initial claims made by Kiev and other Western officials as “yet another hysterical, rabidly Russophobic reaction that was not based on any real information.”