Russia Blames US for Damage Caused by Ukrainian-Fired Missile Shot Down by Russia

Yuri Kochetkov/Pool Photo via AP

Sunday, Ukraine launched a volley of ATACMS missiles at a target near Sevastopol in Occupied Crimea. At this point, I'm not sure what the target was or the damage inflicted on it. The Russians claim Ukraine fired five missiles, and Russian air defenses shot down four of them. One of the missiles successfully engaged by Russian air defense broke up over a beach crowded with people who decided holidaying on a beach near a naval base in a war zone was a fun idea. Four people were reported killed by Russian authorities; two of the dead were supposedly children. 

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The video makes it easy to identify the weapon as the M39A1 ATACMS, which has a warhead consisting of 300 anti-personnel/anti-materiel bomblets called DPICM. Most of the bomblets don't explode, and a lot of them land in the water. These are all hallmarks of a warhead that broke apart after interception, not of a deliberate attack.

There is nothing particularly noteworthy about this. One of the jobs of air defense is to have a vague idea of where the debris field will be after successful interceptions. The largest single loss of American life in Desert Storm happened when a Patriot missile successfully intercepted an Iraqi SCUD, but the warhead hit a barracks.

Russian responses were consistently in the rage-boy mode.

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4 people, including 2 children, killed and 144 civilians were injured as a result of the Ukrainian Armed Forces attack on Sevastopol  

Russian Defence Ministry: On Sunday, June 23, at 12.15, a terrorist missile strike by five U.S.-made ATACMS operational-tactical missiles equipped by cluster warheads was deliberately delivered at Sevastopol. 

The alerted air defence units intercepted four U.S.-made ATACMS missiles. The explosion of the fragmentation warhead of the fifth U.S.-made missile in the air led to high number of casualties among peaceful residents of Sevastopol. 

The American specialists input all flight tasks in the U.S.-made ATACMS operational-tactical missiles on the basis of data of the U.S. satellite reconnaissance.  

That is why Washington is mostly responsible for the deliberate missile strike at peaceful residents of Sevastopol by delivering this weaponry to Ukraine, as well as the Kiev regime, from the territory of which the strike was launched. 

Such actions are not going to be left unanswered.

Other Russian embassy X accounts posted the same text and video.

The attack also showed some insights into how Russian propaganda gets mainstreamed. This account seamlessly meshed the flight of a Global Hawk over the Black Sea, nearly a daily event, into the drone directing a missile attack on Sevastopol.

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This was eventually parroted by accounts that hadn't previously been noted as Russian propaganda outlets.

Dmitry "Pornstache" Peskov rolled into action.

"You should ask my colleagues in Europe, and above all in Washington, the press secretaries, why their governments are killing Russian children. Just ask them this question," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters of the attack.

Someone should ask him about the Ukrainian kids killed every night by Russian drones, missiles, and bombs and why Russians, of all people, should be exempt from the consequences of the illegal war their government is waging, especially those vacationing in warzone.

Russia summoned U.S. Ambassador Lynne Tracy to the foreign ministry where she faced accusations that Washington was "waging a hybrid war against Russia and has actually become a party to the conflict". The attack, Russia told Tracy, would "not go unpunished. Retaliatory measures will definitely follow."

The Pentagon and State Department set the right tone in their responses—this is DOD spokesman, USAF Major General Pat Ryder.

Q: Russia is accusing the United States of - well, they're blaming the United States for Ukrainian ATACM attack over the weekend that killed civilians. Do you have any comment on that? They said the U.S. was responsible for providing targets and intelligence information.

GEN. RYDER: Yes, so, you know, ultimately I'd refer you to Ukraine to talk about their operations. You know, they make their own decisions when it comes to operations and targeting. We don't have any information to indicate whether or not civilians were killed. Certainly, you know, as I understand it, that's something that we will talk to the Ukrainians about. It's - we've been very clear about, you know, we don't want to see civilian casualties.

I will say that, you know, it's important to take a look back at how we got to where we are today, which was Russia's illegal invasion of Ukraine and if they're concerned about casualties among their forces then they should stop this war immediately and return Ukraine's sovereign territory versus throwing their forces unnecessarily into this.

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This is State Department spokesman Mike Miller.

QUESTION: Back to Russia, does the department have any response to Moscow’s latest accusations as they summoned a U.S. ambassador today, saying that the U.S. is, quote/unquote, “waging a hybrid war” and is part of the war?

MR MILLER: So I’ve seen the comments from the government in Moscow. I think they pertain to the reported strike in Crimea. I will just tell you what the ambassador said when she met with the Russian foreign ministry, and that is of course that we lament any civilian loss of life in this war. We provide weapons to Ukraine so it can defend its sovereign territory against armed aggression. That includes in Crimea, which of course is part of Ukraine, and Russia could stop this war today and end the suffering caused by the war Russia launched today if it would stop its occupation of sovereign Ukrainian territory and stop launching attacks on civilians.

So now we are breathlessly awaiting Moscow's retaliation. Well, not really. Moscow is not going to retaliate against the US because it shot down a missile made in the US over an area populated by Russians. That is just bullsh** to wind up the "OMG, it's World War Three" crowd. It is also an attempt to bully the weakest links in the Biden national security apparatus into beshatting themselves and putting additional restrictions on how Ukraine can defend itself.

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BACKGROUND:

Biden Reverses Course and Permits Limited Ukrainian Strikes Inside of Russia Using American Weapons

Biden White House Establishes Sanctuaries for Russian Forces Attacking Ukraine; Does This Sound Familiar?


The Kremlin is endeavoring to paralyze the Biden administration into submission — yet, somewhat laughably, is doing so from a position of weakness.

American ATACMS arguably stalled Russia’s summer offensive in and around Kharkiv in eastern Ukraine. These weapons continue to pummel Russian-held positions in Crimea, helping to render the strategic peninsula untenable.

Yet just days after National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan told reporters Ukraine could strike targets anywhere in Russia with ATACMS, we are now told the AFU cannot strike further than 100 kilometers beyond the border, essentially providing sanctuary to the Russian airfields delivering ordnance on Ukrainian cities.

Putin knows he desperately needs to change the equation, and change it fast. His recent travels to North Korea and Vietnam, creating additional distractions in South Korea and the Sea of Japan for Washington, was one way.

Blaming the United States for the blasts in Sevastopol is just the latest.

Nuclear bluffs, threats on Western capitals and a dubious peace offer are all obvious tells Putin knows he is holding a losing hand — and yet, Biden and his national security team keep responding as if Moscow is holding four aces.

The Kremlin knows Biden fears escalation, and has seen how the administration’s fear has driven Sullivan to repeatedly submit to Russia by slow-walking or denying Ukraine what it needs for victory.

It’s time the White House found its lost backbone and quit hedging Ukraine into a forever war of attrition that it cannot win.

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Biden's national security team standing firm in the face of this shameless bluster—and to their credit, they seem to be hanging tough so far—will do more to bring this war to a just conclusion than all of Jake Sullivan's onanism about escalation ever will.


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