The Guardian reports: Ukraine’s leaders have shown unusual restraint in the face of multiple Russian provocations during and since last month’s seizure of Crimea. But their restraint is unlikely to survive an attempt by Moscow to provoke a similar separatist insurrection in south-east Ukraine, which officials in Kiev believe may already be under way. An escalating confrontation in the east could in turn draw in the western powers.
On Tuesday, Ukraine’s fightback began. The acting interior minister, Arsen Avakov, deployed police special forces to eastern cities where pro-Russian activists have occupied government buildings and appealed for Russian military intervention. And yet even now Kiev is exhibiting extraordinary self-control. Demonstrators in Kharkiv were arrested but protests in Lugansk, Mariupol and Donetsk were allowed to continue unmolested.
Ukraine’s calibrated approach contrasts with that of Moscow, which quickly denounced the arrests in Kharkiv as confrontational. The official news agency Ria Novosti claimed that the official Ukrainian deployments included Right Sector radical nationalists and freelance American Blackwater (Greystone) mercenaries. There was no independent confirmation of this claim. [Continue reading…]
As shameless practitioners in disseminating disinformation, the Russians know exactly what they are doing. Promote the story about Greystone (which is actually the rebirth of an earlier conspiracy theory), knowing that it will prompt a swift denial:
“We do not have anyone working in Ukraine nor do we have any plans to deploy anyone to the region,” said Coreena Taylor, a Greystone representative at the company’s headquarters in Chesapeake, Va.
Those who are receptive to the idea that the U.S. might be intervening in Ukraine in this way, will of course dismiss Greystone’s statement. Likewise any statements from the State Department will be disregarded.
A resolute unwillingness to believe anything coming from any American speaking in an official capacity, now gets coupled with a stunning willingness to take seriously virtually any claim coming from Russia.
Are Greystone mercenaries operating in southeastern Ukraine? http://t.co/yEsGQyyAlC
— Katrina vandenHeuvel (@KatrinaNation) April 8, 2014
No doubt the representatives of Western governments bear the primary responsibility for the fact that they have come to be viewed with such suspicion, but everyone is responsible for sustaining and refining their own critical awareness.
There’s no value in learning how not to be fooled by your own government if you then easily get fooled by another government.