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Irresponsible Coverage of Ukraine War Helps No One
Last night a missile hit a farm in a remote area of Poland near the Ukrainian border, killing two people.
Before anyone had the opportunity to investigate what had actually happened, some Western media outlets ran panic-inducing pieces suggesting Putin was testing NATO’s boundaries.
The Express ran a story quoting a Ukrainian MP who suggested the same. It is perfectly understandable that many Ukrainians whose country is being ravaged by war want help and are likely to see any events that occur through that lens. In their place, most of us would do the same. But for Western media to engage in this sort of scare-mongering is completely irresponsible.
At the time these reports were published, there was no evidence that this was a deliberate Russian attack on Polish soil. What kind of moron begins a military campaign against NATO by bombing a remote farm? Even the Poles themselves, whose country was actually attacked and whose citizens were killed, were careful to describe this as a “Russian-made missile” (not to be picky, but it was quite possibly a Soviet-made missile - more on that later) to avoid assigning responsibility to a specific country while investigations were ongoing.
President Biden has since confirmed that the missile was “unlikely to have been fired from Russia” and this morning the President of Poland confirmed that there is no indication that the missile attack was deliberate.
What actually happened, as I said at the time, was almost certainly an accident.
There are two possibilities:
The missile in question appears to be an S-300 which is a long-range surface-to-air missile designed and manufactured in the Soviet Union and later Russia. As a former member state of the Soviet Union, Ukraine has significant stockpiles and uses them to shoot down Russian aircraft and missiles. As has been claimed this morning by numerous parties, it is likely this missile was a Ukrainian attempt to shoot down a Russian missile which went awry.
While originally designed to be a surface-to-air missile, there have been reports of Russia modifying S-300s to make them surface-to-surface missiles. It is possible that a modified Russian S-300 was fired at a target in Ukraine and hit Poland by accident instead. This is less likely and there is some debate about whether previous surface-to-surface S-300 strikes may in fact be misfires of Ukrainian air defences as may have happened here.
In any event, there was and is absolutely no evidence that this was a deliberate provocation and I am glad Western political leaders have acted responsibly in addressing this tragedy. Two people were killed and this was a serious incident.
But irresponsible coverage of this nature from Western media is deeply unhelpful. I am against Putin’s war. I am against his attempt to build a new world order as explained here by me or here by Putin himself. But we don’t support Ukraine by starting WW3. I know the slowly-dying mainstream media need clicks but perhaps for once they can think about the impact they’re having on the world as well?
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