Not a word in my morning paper today about Ukraine, as far as I could detect. That could be a good sign since the journalists so far have seemed to cherish every symptom of the conflict worsening. Are we approaching a lasting peace, perhaps?
An odd phenomenon media since long has highlighted is the recurring statements from Ukrainian leaders about Russiaâ€™s evil intentions. Recently Prime Minister Yatsenjuk claimed that Putin intended to conquer the whole of Ukraine. This was presented here as some kind of news, with the statement headlined (identical in New York Times, incidentally). The only thing a critical reader would have liked to know was absent, namely what kind of factual support Yatsenjuk had for his allegation.
Was he a mind reader, or what (thus perhaps a scientologist after all)? There were not even any speculations by any reporter, let alone any questions put to Yatsenjuk about the foundations for his rather sensational utterance.
This habit of presenting unsubstantiated assertions by Ukrainian politicians as â€œnewsâ€ has gone on since the war started. Perhaps it is thought to have some propagandistic effect, who knows. But it could as well have the opposite effect since the claims sometimes have been more naÃ¯ve than credible. But the sources have obviously rest assured that whatever they say, it would be published in western media.
Some days ago one allegation by a Ukrainian official reached a level of ridicule that obviously was too much even for our media (thus it was reported by rt.com). On a trip to Poland the Defense minister, Valery Geletey, told a reporter that the loss of the Luhansk airport was due to the Russians using tactical nuclear weapons.
Geleteyâ€™s colleague, Interior Minister Arsen Avakov, commented this blackout on his Facebook page: â€œWhy would anyone make such statements that can be easily checked and proven false?â€, continuing: â€œIn the end Russia and the whole world will now ridicule us. Too bad, itâ€™s nothing new to us.â€
If this latest debacle hampers the flow of more or less fabricated announcements by Ukrainian officials, obviously intended to increase tensions between parties, itâ€™s a good thing. Now it should be peace and nothing else on the agenda, the keys to which aren’t far-fetched but rather obvious.