“The first report you always want to look at carefully and you want to make sure you get the information,” Gen. James McConville said at POLITICO’s defense summit. “You want to… talk to people, get questions answered, and then you get an idea of what happened.”
Asked how the Pentagon responded in the first minutes of the crisis, McConville said “the investigation is continuing and we will uncover the finer details, but the most important thing is to remain calm during the situation.”
McConville said his thoughts are with the victims in Poland, adding that the speed of modern warfare can magnify the impact of mistakes.
“When you have strong armies with modern capabilities, sometimes you can miscalculate or misinterpret what happened, and that can create a very, very dangerous situation,” he said. “So the best way to avoid those kinds of situations is to not have a conflict” in the first place.
A Ukrainian government adviser told POLITICO that Ukraine shot down more than 70 of the 90 Russian missiles launched on Tuesday night, using a variety of older Soviet systems and more modern air defense weapons donated by NATO partners. NATO. The latest weapon offered by the United States – the National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System – was used for the first time in the assault and felled all targets it engaged.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin spoke by phone with Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Błaszczak on Tuesday evening, underscoring Washington’s commitment to defending Ukraine.
“We have full confidence in Poland’s ability to conduct this investigation properly. Until that’s over, I think it would be premature for anyone to jump to conclusions,” Austin told reporters after the monthly meeting of the Ukrainian Defense Contact Group, noting that Ukraine had offered to help investigate.
Information collected by the United States is consistent with initial results from the Polish investigation, which found the strike likely came from a Ukrainian air defense missile, Austin said. He vowed not to get ahead of the Poles, opting to “let it play out”.
Austin also spoke with Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov about the strikes in Poland. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley also told reporters that he had spoken with his Ukrainian counterpart, Lt. Gen. Valeriy Zaluzhnyy. Neither went into detail about those conversations.
Milley’s staff tried unsuccessfully to contact his Russian counterpart, General Valery Gerasimov, to protect against an escalation, Milley said.