Putin Ally Posts Ominous Message About U.S. Conflict With Russia

Putin ally Margarita Simonyan posted an ominous message on Tuesday, making a nod to the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962—a confrontation between the U.S. and then-Soviet Union that almost catapulted a full-scale nuclear war.

In a post shared to her Telegram channel, all Simonyan wrote was "Good evening, 1962."

Her remarks came just hours after Russia launched one of the broadest aerial strikes on Ukraine since the war began—an attack that reportedly included two missiles that spilled into neighboring Poland, killing two people in the NATO country. The attack also affected Moldova, which suffered a massive power outage after a key power line was knocked out by the strike.

Shortly after Tuesday's attack, Simonyan, who heads state-run media outlet RT, casted doubt as to whether the incident on the Polish side involved a missile from Russia, saying, "Before you accuse a country capable of erasing Poland into nuclear ashes, take the trouble to present evidence."

In her social media post, she insisted that there was a "much higher probability" that the warhead came from Ukraine, saying the chance that a "modern" Russian missile would go off course was "about the same as meeting a living dinosaur on the street."

According to her calculations, Simonyan said it was much more likely that the strikes in Poland were "either a Ukrainian mistake or a Polish provocation. Or British."

Tuesday's missile crossover into Poland marked the first time in the war that Russia's missiles allegedly launched into a NATO country, raising tremendous concern about how the incident may escalate the conflict and whether the war in Ukraine would officially become an international crisis.

Under Article 5 of the NATO treaty, "An armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all."

Putin Ally Missile Crisis
Russian President Vladimir Putin presents flowers to the editor-in-chief of Russian broadcaster RT, Margarita Simonyan, during a ceremony at the Kremlin in Moscow on May 23, 2019. Simonyan made a reference to the Cuban Missile Crisis in an ominous social media post on Tuesday. Evgenia Novozhenina/AFP

The 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis is the last time an international crisis unfolded as the result of a U.S.-Russia standoff. The U.S. State Department describes it as "the moment when the two superpowers came closest to nuclear conflict" during the Cold War.

On Tuesday, Simonyan also slammed Poland for being "badly protected," saying that its weak national defense allows the country to be "accidentally thrashed by anyone with anything and all of NATO will not even know who thrashed it, with what and why."

She compared the situation to the attacks that Belogrod has seen as a Russian city near the border of Ukraine. "Now Poland has its own Belgorod region. What did you want?" Simonyan said.

Her doubts over who launched the missiles that fell into Polish territory echo comments from senior Kremlin officials and from Russia's defense ministry, which said, "The Russian army has not carried out missile strikes on targets near the Polish-Ukrainian border," according to Russian newspaper Izvestia.

Ukrainian officials, on the other hand, have disputed the Kremlin's denial of involvement. In his daily address, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky warned that "the terror is not limited to our national borders."