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Civilians always die in wars, but Russia deliberately targets them: military experts

Frank Ledwidge, a barrister, former military officer who has served in the Balkans, Iraq, and Afghanistan, and author of “Losing Small Wars” and “Investment in Blood”, was TVP World’s guest invited to talk about his thoughts on the tragic missile incident that occurred in eastern Poland on Tuesday.

Asked about his first thoughts and opinion when he learned about the missile that fell on Polish territory causing the death of two civilians, Mr Ledwidge recounted that his first thought was Russia may have been targeting western supply routes for Ukraine, although he discounted the notion that the missile was meant to strike Polish territory, and that simply overshot its mark.

But a second thought dawned on him very quickly, when he realised the scale of attacks carried out against Ukraine that day and thought that a stray missile fired by Ukrainian air defence was a distinct possibility. As he pointed out, this possibility has been discussed practically from the start of the war.

On the subject of Russia’s strategy of deliberately targeting civilians and key civilian infrastructure, Mr Ledwidge said, that in his own experience Western involvement in the Balkans, specifically Kosovo, and Afghanistan, they were characterised by quite a few accidents or incidents involving civilians killed.

He stressed, however, that in those cases Western militaries were trying to attack particular targets using precision weapons, but these were supposed to be military targets, and civilian deaths were not intentional, but the results of, for example, failure of weapons systems. By contrast, the Russians use their precision weapons to deliberately strike civilian targets in Ukraine.

Other matters discussed by Mr Ledwidge included: should Poland activate Article 4 of the NATO treaty; his opinion on President Zelenskyy’s adamant claim that the missile was not fired by the Ukrainian air defence; has the Western community displayed unity in the face of the situation; and is the attitude to the way of waging war shown by Russia something that will eventually get Putin indicted.

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