Russia Reportedly Unreachable Following Poland Missile Strike

Russia Reportedly Unreachable Following Poland Missile Strike
Smoke rising after Russian missile strikes on Lviv, Ukraine, about two hours south of the Polish village that was reportedly struck by a Russian projectile. | Image by Getty Images

A top U.S. military officer alleges that he tried to reach out to his Russian counterpart following the missile explosions in Poland last week but did not receive an answer.

Army General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said his staff tried to get ahold of Russia’s top-ranking military official General Valery Gerasimov on the phone to discuss the incident but was unsuccessful, according to AP News.

As The Dallas Express previously reported, the missile reportedly landed 15 miles from the Ukrainian border and killed two Polish citizens. The United States and other top leaders have since said that they believe Ukrainian air defenses probably launched the strike to defend against a Russian missile bombardment, although uncertainty persists.

Rather than being an isolated incident, according to many U.S. defense officials, it was not unusual for Gerasimov out of reach.

John Tierney, executive director of the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation in Washington, said open lines of communication “are vital to avoid the risk of a conflict caused by misconception, miscalculations or mistake.”

For this reason, he explained, “it is unsettling to learn from General Milley that his counterpart was unreachable or not willing to engage when an explosion occurred in Poland.”

The reported lack of communication between top-level U.S.-Russian contacts during a crisis is concerning given the potential implications of the strike, Tierney told AP News. Had it turned out that Russia had launched the strike on Poland, a NATO member, then a far larger conflict might have been ignited.

While General Milley had no luck with Russia, he was able to reach his military counterparts in Ukraine and Poland. Both governments worked quickly to assess whether the missile that struck Poland had been launched by Russia or Ukraine, according to AP News.

The missile that struck Poland came amid what U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin called the “largest wave of missiles that we’ve seen since the beginning of the war” during a Pentagon briefing last Wednesday. Russia had launched as many as one hundred missiles at Ukraine, reflecting an intensification of airstrikes by Moscow following significant ground losses.

During that same briefing, Milley said that he sees Russia’s recent defeat in the critical southern city of Kherson and a possible slowdown of military operations in the winter as a possible opportunity to negotiate peace.

“You want to negotiate at a time when you’re at your strength, and your opponent is at weakness,” Milley explained. “The Russian military is suffering tremendously,” he said, citing the substantial losses of Russian tanks, fighting vehicles, fighter jets, and helicopters.

Milley said that could become “a window” for talks about a political solution if the fighting begins to pare back.

Milley and Austin said that they expect Ukraine to keep fighting through the winter. Similarly, the U.S. and its allies will continue to provide more support and weapons. However, they added that it would be up to Ukraine to determine any negotiation plans.

“We’ve said repeatedly that the Ukrainians are going to decide that and not us. And we will support them for as long as it takes,” said Austin.

Milley asserted that it is far-fetched that either side can gain a military victory quickly. He explained that the chance of Russia, which currently controls roughly 20% of Ukraine, overruling the entire country “is close to zero.”

Yet he also said that the “task of militarily kicking the Russians physically out of Ukraine is a very difficult task. And it’s not going to happen in the next couple of weeks unless the Russian army completely collapses, which is unlikely.”

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