A DIFFERENT PICTURE SLIPS THROUGH THE PROPAGANDA

Diarmuid Breatnach

(Reading time: 5 mins.)

We are being constantly reminded by the western press on a daily basis, quite rightly, of civilians being killed in the Ukraine conflict1. On the Ukrainian side. Somehow, the Ukrainian military never fire at the Russian side – or if they do, they somehow never manage to kill civilians.

Amazing, really, in a war which the media keeps telling us is ferocious.

The Russian side is rarely quoted but when it is, its statements are dismissed. They say that the Ukrainian military plant themselves among civilian housing and fire artillery from there. Well, they would say that, wouldn’t they and anyway, the Ukrainian State denies it.

The Russian military are, according to the Ukrainian State, not so much careless about the the targets of their bombardment but deliberately aiming at civilian structures.

Why they would do that when, according to the same sources, they want to extend the Russian empire there, is not explained. It’s all about terrorism, according to Zelensky, the Ukrainian premier and media figure.

The Russian State story, not so easy to come by, is that they never target civilian areas deliberately, unless the Ukrainian military are using them to fire from – which according to the Ukrainian State, quoted without question by the western media, the Ukrainian military never do.

BOMBARDMENT AND CIVILIANS

Yesterday’s issue of Breaking News Ireland carried a very unusual photo. It was unusual because it was taken during actual military action, whereas we normally only get photos of damaged buildings and occasionally Ukrainian military standing firm.

Ukrainian Soldiers run after missile strike in residential area of Kramatorsk, Donetsk Region, Eastern Ukraine (posted 13 July) (Cred: Nariman El-Mofty/AP)

But the photo was more unusual than that because it showed Ukrainian soldiers running for cover after a Russian artillery strike, naturally enough but a less-than heroic image for public consumption. The caption tells us it’s in a civilian area in the Donetsk region.

WAIT A MINUTE! In a civilian area? So the Ukrainian military were in a civilian area and got fired on by Russian artillery? Doesn’t that coincide with what the Russians have been saying? Were those Ukrainian military perhaps even firing from that area? We don’t know.

We don’t know because we get hardly any western media coverage from the actual battlefronts, just quotations from the Ukrainian State and, from time to time, commentary from US/ NATO sources. And never any detail from the Russian side.

If we want a more realistic picture, we have to go to sources banned or at least not promoted in the West.

One of those sources is Patrick Lancaster, reporting on the war. In a recent video, he interviewed wounded civilians in a hospital in Izium, Kharkiv region, an area the Ukrainian military left a couple of days earlier and which is now under Russian military occupation.

So refreshing to watch.

Some interviewees blame the Russian State, some blame the Ukrainian State, some seem impartial or keep their own counsel – as one might expect, really, if one thought about it past the propaganda line, which is that everyone there — except the “Russian separatists” — blames the Russians.

And actually, the Breaking News article reported the reluctance of many to leave Sloviansk and Kramatorsk as they are being publicly encouraged to do by the Ukrainian Donetsk Governor, presumably as those areas are going to be pounded by artillery (but by Ukrainian or by Russian?)

This too is interesting, because even anti-Ukrainian State or pro-Russia interviewees (not always the same thing) interviewed by Patrick Lancaster in the Izium town, said that the Russian artillery had hit their town “very hard”.

But then some also stated that Marchenko, the pro-Ukrainian Mayor of the city had announced publicly that the city had been evacuated. All lies, according to one, “only five buses here …. and 50 taxis (but) from Kramatorsk.”

So if the advancing Russian military believed that only Ukrainian military remained in the city …..?

This is a military conflict and of course both sides are firing and, as well as soldiers, civilians are being inevitably killed on both sides. When that happens, is it likely that either side is killing civilians deliberately?

Certainly less likely by the Russians in the Donetsk area, which is a largely Russian-speaking region that has been attacked by Ukrainian right-wing military since that state’s abrupt change of government in 20142.

By the Ukrainian military side, probably more likely on the basis of the previous eight years, or at least of being more careless.

The article I’ve quoted showed a range of attitudes to the call of Pavlo Kyrylenko, Ukrainian State’s Governor of the Donetsk region, for civilians to leave and to head into Ukrainian State-held territory — and also of different attitudes to the forthcoming Russian occupation.

Some are going, including a teacher of Russian, which is interesting, because another doesn’t want to go precisely because of the anti-Russian-speakers attitude of the State (and even more so of some of the Ukrainian military).

Some just don’t want to give up their homes and/ or be jobless (or elderly without support) in Ukrainian State territory. Some think they’ll be ok under the Russians while others think they’ll be no better off on the Ukrainian State side.

So, naturally enough a mixed picture but certainly very different to the one being projected day in, day out by the western media. How this article and photo slipped through that blockade is certainly curious.

DOES IT MATTER?

But at the end of the day, does it really matter much to us here in Ireland whether we are being subjected to inaccurate propaganda about the conflict in Ukraine?

Well, if that conflict was sparked by the expansion towards Russia’s borders of the NATO military alliance3, then it does.

If that conflict is part of the shaping up by US/NATO for a war against Russia and China (and possibly India), then it certainly does. Not just because all of those on both sides are nuclear powers and radiation can end up anywhere.

But also because the ruling elite of the British colony in Ireland is part of NATO and the ruling class of the Gombeen state is trying to push it into NATO — or at least into an EU military alliance, which would of course soon enough line up with NATO.

I don’t believe either side in this conflict without proof and analysis. But I do resent the completely one-sided propaganda coming from the western media. Maybe it’s the same in Russia with their own propaganda.

Maybe, but isn’t it the boast of the West that their democracies are superior, with free speech and press?

And if the western media is following the same propaganda line in its reporting out of common interest with US/NATO and EU, is the end result any different from the media in Russia saying what they are told to say?

End.

FOOTNOTES

1Would that they would equally well inform us of those beling killed by the Saudi proxy war in the Sudan or by the numbers of migrants being killed on a regular basis as they try to access safety or just a better life in western states – the same states that are usually responsible for their plight in the first place.

2Yes, eight years prior to the Russian invasion. On the rare occasions when the western media refers to this (they did in the Breaking News Ireland article) it is always portrayed as a problem caused by “pro-Russian separatists” without recording that those areas were attacked as Russian-speaking by Ukrainian fascist and far-Right military units, including the Azov Battalion and the people organised themselves in defence, then received Russian supplies and now, eight years later, a Russian invasion. The origin of the Crimea situation is a similar story.

3For those who think this is a ridiculous claim, type “NATO states in Europe map” into a search engine. Also look up “Minsk Agreement”.

SOURCES

Breaking News Ireland report: https://www.breakingnews.ie/ukraine/why-should-i-leave-some-ukrainians-refuse-to-flee-areas-caught-up-in-war-1334032.html

Patrick Lancaster reporting from Izum, Kharkiv region, 120 Km/ 75 miles southeast of Kharkiv city (random civilian interviews + civilians wounded in hospital): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3iFv5jxInOc

From Sirotino, Luhansk, now controlled by Russian an Luhansk People’s Militia (interviews with residents): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DRKNBYqb5DQ

Patrick Lancaster, December 2016 (yes, SIX YEARS AGO) in Luhansk People’s Militia trench, under Ukrainian shelling (breaking Minsk Agreement): https://youtu.be/DAo7go-4l0g

Senior Irish politicians thinking about joining a military alliance: https://www.irishtimes.com/world/europe/2022/06/08/ireland-would-not-need-referendum-to-join-nato-says-taoiseach/

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