Dmytro Kuleba, the Ukrainian foreign minister, claimed on Tuesday that Russian claims that a missile from the Ukrainian forces may have exploded in Poland’s border village of Przewodow killing two were a ‘conspiracy theory’.
“Russia now promotes a conspiracy theory that it was allegedly a missile of Ukrainian air defence that fell on the Polish theory. Which is not true. No one should buy Russian propaganda or amplify its messages. This lesson should have been long learnt since the downing of #MH17,” Kuleba tweeted.
Before the Associated Press broke the news that the missile may have fired from Ukrainian soldiers in an attempt to thwart a Russian missile which landed in Poland, news agency the Guardian also said that the missile could be part of the S-300 missile system that Ukraine uses.
It must be noted that the Ukrainian arsenal does have Soviet-era weapons. It may have added HIMARS and other American or European modern weapons but Soviet-era weapons and even fighter planes continue to be used. Soviet-era weapons are not uncommon in eastern Europe which was once under Soviet rule.
Russia now promotes a conspiracy theory that it was allegedly a missile of Ukrainian air defense that fell on the Polish theory. Which is not true. No one should buy Russian propaganda or amplify its messages. This lesson should have been long learnt since the downing of #MH17.— Dmytro Kuleba (@DmytroKuleba) November 15, 2022
Kuleba also referred to the MH17 flight crash. Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was shot down via a Buk surface-to-air missile near the Ukrainian border in July 2014. It must be noted that the 2022 Russo-Ukrainian war’s roots lie in 2014 when Crimea in March voted to join the Russian Federation, triggering the conflict between both nations.
Joint German and Dutch investigations accused pro-Russian separatist forces of downing the flight and the Russians claimed that Ukrainian air force shot down the flight. All 283 passengers and 15 crew died. Passengers belonged to Malaysia, Netherlands, Australia and seven other countries.
Ukraine still blames Russia for downing the passenger plane.
However, Kuleba’s claim was contested once more later in the day when ally US said it is ‘unlikely’ that the missile was fired from Russia.
The French also warned that “utmost caution" must be exercised before concluding the origin of the missile strike on NATO member Poland, warning “many countries have the same kind of weapons, so identifying the type of missile won’t necessarily identify who is behind it", according to news agency AFP.
What was evident was the Ukrainian leadership was quick to blame the Russians and call for a response. Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky also said that Russian President Vladimir Putin will not stop in Ukraine but continue to push towards eastern Europe and Baltic states.
It also shows that the Biden administration faces a challenge when it comes to de-escalating tensions. Last month, Biden’s national security advisor Jake Sullivan spoke to counterpart Nikolai Patrushev in order to keep communication lines open but also told the Ukrainian leadership to show that they are ready for peaceful dialogue.
The Biden leadership told its Ukrainian counterparts that they should not look intransigent when it comes to peace talks. It will be a challenge for the Biden administration to steer the Ukrainian leadership from the path of war as nationalist sentiments are running high in the country which now perceives Russia as a threat to its existence.
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