Nov 16, 2022

US intelligence believes Ukraine fired missile that landed in Poland Transcript

US intelligence believes Ukraine fired missile that landed in Poland Transcript
RevBlogTranscriptsMissileUS intelligence believes Ukraine fired missile that landed in Poland Transcript

Two officials briefed on initial US assessments said it appears the missile that killed two people in eastern Poland Wednesday originated in Ukraine, even though it was Russian-made. Read the transcript here.

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Caitlin (00:00):

But we begin this morning with the breaking news. We are now learning it was not Russia that fired a missile into Poland that killed two people overnight. Obviously, Poland is a member of the military Alliance known as NATO, but instead initial US assessments are that it likely came from Ukrainian forces. This development comes as NATO ambassadors are holding an emergency meeting this morning to discuss the deadly explosion. CNN’s Kevin Liptak is live for CNN this morning in Bali, Indonesia, where the president just left a few hours ago. Kevin, what’s your reporting this morning?

Kevin (00:32):

Yeah, two officials who are familiar with this initial US assessment say this assessment says that the missile did not originate in Russia, but that it originated in Ukraine. And we do know that Ukraine uses Russian made missiles in its air defense systems. And it does seem as if this is what President Biden was alluding to when he emerged after crisis talks here at the G20 and said that it was unlikely that this missile originated in Russia. Of course, he wanted to say that he wanted to be definitive. He wants to look at all of the intelligence first before he come out and say with any certainty where this missile originated. And I think that’s because of the implications that are at stake here. Poland, of course, is a member of NATO. You have Article five, which is a common defense treaty and attack against one is an attack against all.

And certainly President Biden and other Western leaders want to be absolutely sure that they know where this missile originated before they come out and say so definitively. Now, we do know that this assessment was a topic of discussion among the leaders when President Biden convened them at his hotel here in Bali, members of the G7, some members of NATO states. We also understand that it will be discussed in Brussels today as NATO members begin talking about a way forward, talking about this analysis. Now, the National Security Council spokesman said is that the US will support Poland’s ongoing investigation, and this is still being investigated. They’re sort of breaking out the pieces of this missile, putting it back together, trying to figure out where it came from. And we also heard from an advisor to the Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who did not deny reports that dismissal originated in Ukraine, but essentially said that any casualties in this were are the responsibility of Russia because it began this conflict. Caitlin.

Caitlin (02:22):

Great reporting. Kevin Liptak. Thank you.

Speaker 3 (02:24):

All right. Now let’s bring in our colleague Matthew Chance who is live for CNN this morning in the Polish village of Przewodów where the blast happened. Matthew, I wonder this morning, have you heard from Polish officials since we had learned that news that this missile likely originated in Ukraine?

Matthew Chancey (02:41):

Not this morning so far though we are expecting a statement over the next few minutes after the president and the prime minister of the country formulate what their latest position is. Of course, there’s been high level meetings taking place in the country. As you can see behind me, these are Polish military vehicles heading to the scene of the explosion of that missile where those two people were killed, polish citizens, of course, on Polish territory because there’s an ongoing investigation underway on the ground, which is likely to include experts from the United States as well, although it’s not clear whether they’ve actually arrived yet. They may have, the police tell me there’s lots of people on the scene, which is a few hundred yards away from where we’re allowed to go, the road has been blocked off. But it is, as Kevin was saying in his last report, it is so crucial for the polls, the NATO alliance to get to the bottom of who actually fired this missile.

Because if it was the Russians and the Russians, categorically deny it, that’s one course of action that’s potential and potentially a very serious one given Article five of the NATO treaty, which means an attack on one alliance member is an attack on all of them. And if it’s the Ukrainians as it’s possible, that’s a very different set of consequences. I think you have to remember the context in which this missile strike or this explosion actually took place. It was at a time when there were nearly a hundred cruise missiles being fired at various targets inside Ukraine by the Russians and the Ukrainians desperately trying to intercept them with their Russian made interceptors. So you can easily see it could have been the Russians or the Ukrainians that are responsible for this.

Speaker 3 (04:23):

You certainly can Matthew Chance, thank you so much to you and your team there in that village. Don.

Don (04:27):

So let’s get some analysis on all of this. I want to bring in now retired US Army major, Mike Lyons. Good morning to you. Thank you so much for joining. Very simple question, Was it a mistake?

Mike (04:38):

Yeah. It looks like it’s a terrible mistake because of the Ukraine air defense platform. So they’re deployed in depth across Ukraine in such a way to protect the major cities and the infrastructure. And what happened is for the past 24 hours, Russia has been firing hundreds of missiles in here. And as one gets close to leave here, for example, one of these air defense systems is a chaser, hits it from behind, likely gets it close to the border, and then pushes that debris right over the border. It’s only four kilometers. So the target makes no sense from Russia’s perspective. Again, you look at what happened on the ground, it looks like it was remnants from air defense systems.

Don (05:11):

Having been there in Lviv. I mean, this is pretty close to the Polish border. It’s a way that most people come into the country now because usually they would possibly going through Russia, but now this is really far west for this to happen. Rockets are going this far into Ukraine now.

Mike (05:25):

And a lot of it has to do with the fact that Russian troops have deployed in this area here to save them from a tactical perspective. So strategically now you’re going to see long range bombing, long range missile attacks into the west, knowing that’s where the supply lines are, infrastructure is. Ukraine is looking to have a very tough winter. Russia is going to try to turn the lights on, turn the lights out of Ukraine and give them as much hardship as they can. Real terrorist type attacks here.

Don (05:51):

So then the next question is, now what? Now what happens? Because Russia will obviously use this for propaganda, right?

Mike (05:57):

So NATO looks like they’re going to have an Article four, which will have a meeting to discuss it, not Article five. Article five would be an escalation. We don’t want to do that. I think NATO’s got to come up with a better political solution here. Possibly give Ukraine more weapons, knowing full well that they’re going to need help in this wintertime as Russia has dug in at this point, maybe longer range attack missiles themselves. The problem is we haven’t given them in the past because we don’t want those missiles to be fired inside of Russia. We don’t want to give them that kind of capacity.

Don (06:22):

So article four is basically to meet and discuss this. Article five is actually when there is some action taken.

Mike (06:27):

In Article five, right? The NATO members would decide what to do. It still doesn’t trigger war. It doesn’t necessarily mean it’s an automatic world war III. It means some countries will respond. Article fives been triggered only once September 12th, 2001, the day after 9/11 when the countries got together and what they did was they put an Air Force squadrant together in order to respond. That was it.

Don (06:48):

So as we look at the information about what Article four is and what happens, But again, there’s no official calling for Article four. They’re just looking into the possibility and that’s just a meeting to discuss.

Mike (07:00):

Right. Article four is a meeting and there’ll be political pressure on Poland not to go article five.

Don (07:03):

So then what happens to Zelenskyy now? How is he going to respond to this?

Mike (07:08):

Well, I mean, he’s going to continue to have strong rhetoric with regard to this war. He wants more support from the west that keeps coming. And Western countries have got to again decide, maybe this meeting will determine, and with an article four will determine that he will get more support. He still needs to figure out a way how he’s going to get through this winter. That’s the kind of help he needs right now.

Don (07:25):

He is going to say, even though it was a sad consequence of the war, and therefore we still need your help with this.

Mike (07:31):

Yeah, absolutely. And better air defense platforms. And in some ways, when you saw the damage on the ground, they were the older Russian made air defense systems.

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