Poland missile launch was Russian ‘test for NATO’, warns expert

Poland: Missile unlikely to be Russian provocation says expert

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The missile launch into Poland’s border with Ukraine demonstrated Russia’s “readiness to lie and use anything” to forward their “agenda”, an expert has said. Stepan Stepanenko, a senior research fellow at the Henry Jackson Society, has said that, in spite of whether or not the missile was launch by Russia, the country was ultimately the reason why it “went astray” and found its way into Poland. He explained that major allies of Ukraine outside of Eastern Europe failed to make strong, decisive statements of support for Poland in the wake of the crisis. This silence, he says, will give Russia the “green light” to violate neighbouring territories.

It comes after the rockets landed in the NATO state following Russia’s mass bombardment of Ukrainian cities earlier on Tuesday, which saw over 100 rockets launched.

Just this morning, NATO, Warsaw and the US all said they believed the missile was “likely” fired by Ukraine in order to defend themselves against Russian missiles.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in response he had “no doubt” the missile was not of Ukrainian origin.

Speaking to Express.co.uk, Mr Stepanenko said: “The missile that hit Poland , whether it was launched by Russia or not, was a test of NATO.

“Even if it was a surface to air missile used to protect Ukrainian infrastructure and people from Russian terror, the reason for it going astray was Russia. That day, circa 100 missiles were launched at Ukraine, in the largest single day barrage of the conflict.

“Those missiles that did make it through Ukrainian air defence caused the greatest amount of damage to energy and electrical infrastructure so far in single day.

“With Ukrainians scrambling all they had to protect civilian targets from the Russian barrage – any misfires were no fault of the Ukrainians.

“Had Russia not been trying to eliminate Ukraine – this incident would have never occurred.”

The expert went on to describe the way the way in which the blame shifted was a tactic of Russian media manipulation.

He said: “The Polish tragedy was also a great example of the Russian readiness to lie and use anything to push their agenda.

“In an obvious attempt to capitalise and win back some wavering Russians, in the absence of good news from the front, the head of the Russian propaganda channel, RT, commented that at least Russia now knows how weak the NATO air defence is.

“At the same time, Russian Telegram channels were spinning ridiculous story after ridiculous story, saying that it was a grain dust explosion or work of British intelligence.”

He is adamant that any kind of silence by Western nations gives way to Russia feeling as if they have free rein over its neighbouring territories.

Mr Stepanenko said: “Looking on with interest and anticipation, the Kremlin was eyeing up its chances for escalation.

“The response from those who know Russia was decisive. Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia were quick to make statements of support for Poland and any decision it makes, obviously referring to but not referencing article 5 and the collective defence of a NATO member state.

“The “big boys” – US, UK, Germany and France dithered. It would have been right to issue similar statements and await investigation, but the silence that lasted so many hours was deafening and gave Moscow a green light to further violate the territory of countries not directly involved in the war.”

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