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Zelensky Wants to End a War
Bad reporting is a deliberate choice
The Washington Post yesterday published a 1,860-word article about Ukraine and got almost everything wrong. It repeats many of the dangerous batshit memes which have been circulating in English-language media since the invasion started in 2014. Maybe that’s because Robyn is the newspaper’s Moscow Bureau Chief. Dunno.
Russia’s war against Ukraine, we are often told, is a partly a civil war involving rebels and separatists fighting the central government in Kyiv in the country’s breakaway east. Such inaccurate terms misrepresent the conflict.
The bloodletting is often talked about as if it’s entirely internal to Ukraine, a domestic affair brought on by language politics, identity clashes and historical grievances. This is crazy. This is wrong.
Calling the mess a separatist uprising serves no purpose of diplomacy or journalistic balance. It is a failure to serve the public interest. Putin’s special operation against Ukraine is a more accurate description.
The war needs to be described as it really is: a conflict instigated and sustained by Russia’s armed intervention. It was Russian troops in the spring of 2014 who seized Ukraine’s autonomous republic of Crimea.
Russia is an aggressor. Areas of Ukraine that have fallen under the Kremlin’s effective military and political control are occupied by the aggressor.
There are no separatist regions. Rinse, repeat.
Russia has invaded Ukrainian territory – Crimea, Donetsk and Luhansk so far – and attacked Ukrainian forces without a shred of plausible legal justification, bombarded Ukrainian territory and killed Ukrainian citizens and seized territory that belongs within the internationally recognized borders of Ukraine, declaring it part of Russia. These are nothing less than acts of aggression under international law.
To argue or imply that there has been any acts of “self-determination” in any part of Ukraine calling into question Ukraine’s sovereignty over its territory contradicts the highest available organised expressions of international law.
Repeating Putin’s bullshit theories while failing to point out that they are false is irresponsible. If editors and journalists substitute their own judgement of the situation, then they must explain why.