Ukraine supporters have also accused Russia of trying to inflate energy and other costs for European countries dependent on Russian supplies, hoping to fuel public fatigue over the war and boost political support for sanctions against Russia and continued military aid to Ukraine.
While US officials took pains to downplay any disagreement, there were clear signs that Ukraine was angry at the public stance of its allies.
Zelenskyy pleaded for fairness and insisted Ukraine must have access to the crash site and be part of any investigation, urging allies to “please don’t jump to any final conclusions until it’s over.”
The tension comes as Kiev has also resisted suggestions from Washington that now might be a good time to sit down to negotiate with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Moscow has tried to exploit the division between Ukraine and its supporters. In the fog of war, many Western officials had initially speculated Tuesday that the missile may have been launched by Russia, an assumption Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov decried as “another hysterical, rabid Russophobic response, not based on real data.” was based”.
While US, Polish and other intelligence and military officials began the investigation, the Biden administration said little publicly, initially deferring to Polish President Andrzej Duda. He eventually said that what had hit his country was probably a “Russian-made” S-300, a Soviet-era surface-to-air missile owned by both Russia and Ukraine.
On Wednesday morning, when Biden made his first public remarks following an urgent meeting with G7 and NATO leaders on the issue, he said it was “unlikely in the mind of the trajectory that it had been fired from Russia,” prompting rare praise of the Kremlin.
“It is worth paying attention to the restrained and much more professional response from the US side and the US president,” Peskov said.
And despite Poland’s admission on Wednesday that the missile was likely Ukrainian, Russia summoned the Polish ambassador in Moscow to the foreign ministry to get dressed, presumably because Poland had not previously pointed the finger at Ukraine.
You were just one step away from catastrophe because [the Ukrainians] sucked you in, with such a disgusting method,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said.
As the US and its allies tried to cover up any disagreement that might play into Moscow’s hands, Foreign Minister Antony Blinken spoke with Ukraine’s top diplomat on Wednesday to “convey information” about what the US has learned about the strike said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. .
On Wednesday night, Ukraine’s government appeared to be softening its claim that Russia launched the missile that hit Poland.
Zelensky avoided repeating that claim during his evening speech, though he did call again for Ukrainian investigators to be allowed access to the crash site. He said he spoke to Duda to “express my condolences” for the Polish citizens killed.
Andrew S. Weiss, a former White House and State Department official who now works with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, said Russia’s previous attempts to drive a wedge between Ukraine and its Western partners have failed, and predicted that they will fail again.
“Wars are very dynamic, volatile and unpredictable and bad things naturally happen in wars. Everyone understands that,” said Weiss, whose book “Accidental Czar: The Life and Lies of Vladimir Putin” was published this month. “It doesn’t seem likely to me that this would become a meaningful source of contention.”