The ironies of Russian propaganda: U.S. training mission “could destabilize the situation” in Ukraine

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Russian propagandists have created such a world of illusions and lies, coupled with threats of further military aggression, that they can’t even see how ludicrous their propaganda and its internal contradictions have become.


(1) Reuters (Moscow/Kiev), “U.S. military trainers in Ukraine may destabilize situation: Kremlin,” Reuters, April 17, 2015 (8:12 a.m. EDT).

“The Kremlin said on Friday the arrival of about 300 U.S. paratroopers in Ukraine to train Kiev’s National Guard could destabilize the situation in the east of the country, where pro-Russian separatists are fighting Ukrainian government forces.

“The participation of instructors or specialists from third countries on Ukrainian territory, where the domestic Ukrainian conflict is unresolved … could destabilize the situation,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters in Moscow during a conference call.

“He was referring to the arrival of the U.S. paratroopers in western Ukraine this week to begin a six-month training rotation with three battalions.”

That’s right. Moscow, which has invaded and “annexed” the Crimea, which has invaded the eastern Ukraine, where according to NATO it has some 9,000-12,000 troops, which moves its troops, tanks, artillery and air-defense systems in and out of the eastern Ukraine at will, having dismantled by force the Ukrainian border posts, now complains that some 300 U.S. military trainers providing instruction at sites in the Western Ukraine, “could destabilize the situation” in the eastern Ukraine.

This is rich indeed, even if Russian propagandists remain unaware of the irony and contradictions they spew out, night and day.

Russia denies—in the face over overwheming and conclusive evidence to the contrary—that it has any forces in the eastern Ukraine.

See Mark Urban, “How many Russians are fighting in Ukraine?” BBC News, March 10, 2015.

Mark Urban is Diplomatic and defence editor, BBC Newsnight

But if that is the case, and Moscow opposes “the participation of instructors or specialists from third countries on Ukrainian territory”, who are the instructors or specialists from the second country?

What, indeed, is the name of the second country?

Could it be Russia, which Putin denies has any forces in the Donbas?

Aside from revealing to the Russian public that their President is a brazen liar, do these little contradictions make any difference?

Yes, because the absurd claims of Russian propaganda must be resisted at every step.

Yes, because any destabilization of the situation would come only from further acts of Russian military aggression, in violation of the Minsk Protocol of September 5, 2014 and the Minsk II agreement of February 12, 2015.

Yes, because this Russian propaganda in and of itself constitutes a threat of further military aggression by Putin and Russia.

The Trenchant Observer

About the Author

James Rowles
"The Trenchant Observer" is edited and published by James Rowles (aka "The Observer"), an author and international lawyer who has taught International Law, Human Rights, and Comparative Law at major U.S. universities, including Harvard, Brandeis, the University of Pittsburgh, and the University of Kansas. Dr. Rowles is a former staff attorney at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) of the Organization of American States OAS), in Wasington, D.C., , where he was in charge of Brazil, Haiti, Mexico and the United States, and also worked on complaints from and reports on other countries including Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Guatemala. As an international development expert, he has worked on Rule of Law, Human Rights, and Judicial Reform in a number of countries in Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, the Middle East, South Asia, and the Russian Federation. In the private sector, Dr. Rowles has worked as an international attorney for a leading national law firm and major global companies, on joint ventures and other matters in a number of countries in Europe (including Russia and the Ukraine), throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, and in Australia, Indonesia, Vietnam, China and Japan. The Trenchant Observer blog provides an unfiltered international perspective for news and opinion on current events, in their historical context, drawing on a daily review of leading German, French, Spanish and English newspapers as well as the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and other American newspapers, and on sources in other countries relevant to issues being analyzed. Dr. Rowles speaks fluent English, French, German, Portuguese and Spanish, and also knows other languages. He holds an S.J.D. or Doctor of Juridical Science in International Law from Harvard University, and a Doctor of Law (J.D.) and a Master of the Science of Law (J.S.M.=LL.M.), from Stanford University. As an undergraduate, he received a Bachelor of Arts degree, also from Stanford, where he graduated “With Great Distinction” (summa cum laude) and received the James Birdsall Weter Prize for the best Senior Honors Thesis in History. In addition to having taught as a Lecturer on Law at Harvard Law School, Dr. Rowles has been a Visiting Scholar at Harvard University's Center for International Affairs (CFIA). His fellowships include a Stanford Postdoctoral Fellowship in Law and Development, the Rómulo Gallegos Fellowship in International Human Rights awarded by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, and a Harvard MacArthur Fellowship in International Peace and Security. Beyond his articles in The Trenchant Observer, he is the author of two books and numerous scholarly articles on subjects of international and comparative law. Currently he is working on a manuscript drawing on some the best articles that have appeared in the blog.