The U.S. Army’s top general on Wednesday warned against jumping to conclusions during wartime, a day after reports indicated missiles struck Poland, killing two.
Several European defense ministers and Ukrainian officials, including Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, blamed Russia shortly after the initial reporting. In a video message late Tuesday night, Zelenskyy stated, “Russian missiles hit Poland” and that it was an “attack on collective security.” Russia’s Foreign Ministry denied the claim.
Wednesday morning, the Polish government announced the missiles were likely errant Ukrainian air defense missiles launched to intercept Russian cruise missiles targeting Ukrainian civilian infrastructure.
“The first report, you always want to take a hard look at, and you want to make sure you get the information,” Gen. James McConville said at Politico’s Defense Summit. “You want to … talk to people, get the questions answered, and then you’ve got an idea of what happened.”
“When you have strong militaries with modern capabilities, sometimes you can miscalculate, or you can misconstrue what happened, and that can make for a very, very dangerous situation,” he said. “So the best way to avoid these situations is not to have a conflict” to begin with.
An adviser to the Ukrainian government told Politico that Ukraine shot down over 70 of the 90 missiles launched Tuesday night by Russia.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin spoke with Poland’s Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak on Tuesday night, focusing on America’s commitment to defending Ukraine.
“We have full confidence in Poland’s ability to conduct this investigation in a proper way. Until that’s complete, I think it would be premature for anybody to jump to conclusions,” said Austin after the monthly Ukraine Defense Contact Group meeting. He also noted that Ukraine would offer help in investigating the attack.
Austin spoke with Ukraine Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov about the two missile strikes in Poland. Joint Chiefs Chair Gen. Mark Milley told reporters he talked to Ukrainian Lt. Gen. Valeriy Zaluzhnyy without going into detail.
According to Milley, his staff could not reach Russian Gen. Valery Gerasimov to prevent further escalation.
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