As the romanticization of war with Zelensky’s Vogue cover photoshoot fades into the West’s rearview mirror of infatuation with Ukraine, the U.S., NATO, and European onlookers are telegraphing signals that their affair is on the brink of failure and a scapegoat is afoot. China’s escalation in response to Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan launched a geopolitical crisis that the media focused on this week, but that diversion is likely short-lived since Ukraine’s efforts to tame a righteous bear are devastating its military, collapsing its government, realigning its borders, and goodwill from the hands that support Ukraine in the conflict is fading. The fog of war in Ukraine was thick with propaganda and strategic goals that surfaced on many occasions after the ground war commenced in late February. One among many examples is the “Ghost of Kyiv” fighter pilot fantasy that governments and media publicized until it could no longer be sustained.
How Ukraine’s ‘Ghost of Kyiv’ legendary pilot was born… “This hero is said to have downed as many as 40 enemy planes – an incredible feat in an arena where Russia controls the skies. But now the Ukraine Air Force Command has warned on Facebook that the ‘Ghost of Kyiv is a superhero-legend whose character was created by Ukrainians!’… Ukrainian military historian Mikhail Zhirohov described the story as ‘propaganda for raising morale’…The Ukrainian authorities fueled the legend just days into the war. Ukraine Security Service (SBU) showed a fighter pilot on the Telegram messaging service, with a caption calling the ‘Ghost of Kyiv’ an ‘angel’ for downing Russian planes.” – BBC, May 1, 2022
Embellishment in propaganda that’s intended to boost morale in a country’s military and citizens is reasonable, but accusing an enemy of war crimes when your own trespasses are verified is not the publicity that allies want to be associated with. One example is the video evidence from late March that showed Russian POWs being summarily shot in the legs by Ukrainian troops and left to bleed out next to their brothers in arms. Another example is official OSCE reports that document the bombing of civilians for years in the Donbas region by Ukraine’s neo-Nazi Azov Regiment and their heavy shelling that started nine days before Russia’s special military operation was launched. Stories that conveniently disappear from the mainstream press are usually those that demand introspection and fall short of the official narrative. The Nuremberg trials that followed World War II are a glaring example of when actions on the battlefield don’t equate to the idiom that “all is fair in love and war.”
(NPR) Whitewashing Ukraine’s Corruption and Authoritarianism – Jimmy Dore, Jul. 24
A damning Amnesty International report came to light yesterday that focused its examination of human rights violations on Ukraine’s military. That moment of clarity sparked a wave of criticism from its allies and flag-waving sycophants. Kyiv officials immediately went on the offensive and described Amnesty’s report as “unfair.” Zelensky accused the human rights group of supporting Russia and was “trying to shift the responsibility from the aggressor to the victim.”
Ukraine: military endangering civilians by locating forces in residential areas… “The Ukrainian military has endangered Ukrainian civilians by establishing bases and operating weapons systems in residential areas – including in schools and hospitals – as it has sought to repel the Russian invasion. Ukraine’s tactics have violated international humanitarian law as they’ve turned civilian objects into military targets. The ensuing Russian strikes in populated areas have killed civilians and destroyed civilian infrastructure… Amnesty found evidence of Ukrainian forces launching strikes from within residential areas as well as basing themselves in civilian buildings in 19 towns and villages in the regions. Amnesty’s Crisis Evidence Lab analyzed satellite imagery to further corroborate some of these incidents. Most residential areas where soldiers located themselves were miles away from front lines and viable alternatives were available that would not have endangered civilians – such as military bases, densely-wooded areas or other structures further from residential areas.” – Amnesty International, Aug. 4
“Being in a defensive position does not exempt the Ukrainian military from respecting international humanitarian law.” – Secretary General of Amnesty International Agnès Callamard
Strategic Security Analysis: Addressing the Use of Human Shields… ”Using human shields is a violation of international humanitarian law (IHL) and a war crime under the 1998 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court and customary international law. Armed forces confronted with human shields are faced with the dilemma between causing civil casualties that may undermine the legitimacy of their operations and refraining from attack which results in military disadvantages.” – GCSP, Dec. 2019
Russia confirms Amnesty’s report on Ukraine using ‘human shields’… “The Kremlin, meanwhile, said the report confirms what Russia has been saying for a long time. Spokesperson Maria Zakharova said, ‘We’ve been talking about this constantly, calling the actions of the Ukrainian armed forces the tactics of using civilians as a ‘human shield.’” – Al Mayadeen, Aug. 4
I’ve noticed silence from the media narrative lately vs. the usual barrage of positive missives that report every word out of Kyiv and military activity on the war front. Ukraine might have been winning the war on Twitter and legacy media, but “in the real-world Kyiv is losing the fight for the Donbas.”
U.S. General Douglas McGregor “Putin is not going to withdraw” – SkyNews
The Long Proxy War IV… “Western mainstream media take briefs from Ukrainian media who take briefs from The Ukrainian Government who take briefs from Western Intelligence Agencies. Western mainstream media have been qualifying their reports with ‘According to the Ukrainian Government…,’ a phrase that gives them an out later on while convincing readers that the truth lies other than where it is. Many may disregard that qualifier, as they hope… There will be a serious moment of cognitive dissonance when it becomes impossible to hide war outcomes (the physical remapping of The Ukraine to Russian Government terms), possibly followed by a recognition within The West that Western Media is a system of constructed lying.” – Les’s Newsletter, Jul. 30
It appears that Ukraine’s allies in the West are growing weary of Zelensky’s leadership since his bold statements and debonaire demeanor have not produced winning results on the ground with billions of dollars in humanitarian and weapons support. The meat grinder the Russian artillery relentlessly provides has resulted in the loss of roughly 20% of Ukrainian territory that’s not coming back, and the heavy loss of life in its military is no longer hidden by the mainstream press. Back in June, President Biden urged Ukraine to give Russia land that it sacrificed for on the battlefield and reach a negotiated settlement, but Zelensky’s administration ignored that advice, which came from numerous sources.
Zelensky ‘not all he’s portrayed as’ by Western media – Sky News, Jul. 30
There is a coup in the air.
“Coup in the air. Zelensky in his paranoia has fired many senior Kiev security officials and, on the other hand, Washington fears he may start talking to Moscow.” – Tim Anderson, Aug. 3
Why Pelosi’s Visit to Taiwan Is Utterly Reckless… “The timing could not be worse. Dear reader: The Ukraine war is not over. And privately, U.S. officials are a lot more concerned about Ukraine’s leadership than they are letting on. There is deep mistrust between the White House and President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine — considerably more than has been reported. And there is funny business going on in Kyiv. On July 17, Zelensky fired his country’s prosecutor general and the leader of its domestic intelligence agency — the most significant shake-up in his government since the Russian invasion in February. It would be the equivalent of Biden firing Merrick Garland and Bill Burns on the same day. But I have still not seen any reporting that convincingly explains what that was all about. It is as if we don’t want to look too closely under the hood in Kyiv for fear of what corruption or antics we might see, when we have invested so much there.” – NYT, Aug. 1
Zelensky is definitely talking, and it’s not with Moscow. He’s exhibiting signs of desperation by seeking help from China and hoping that President Xi will agree to help rebuild Ukraine.
Volodymyr Zelensky seeking ‘direct talks’ with China’s Xi Jinping to help end Russia’s invasion of Ukraine… “The Ukrainian leader has urged Beijing to use its economic and political power to press Moscow to comply with international norms. In this exclusive interview with the Post, Zelensky also says he hopes China and other countries will ‘unite’ to support Ukraine’s reconstruction.” – SCMP, Aug. 4
If you consider the latest assessment from former Russian president Dmitry Medvedev, it becomes clear why Zelensky is flailing around like a fish out of water from the Dnieper River. As the current head of Russia’s national security council, Medvedev provided two maps that illustrate his argument about where Ukraine is headed. The first map shows Ukraine’s borders prior to the U.S.-backed coup in 2014. The second map is his expectation if Ukraine continues down its current path of belligerence, which aligns with my assertion last year that an advance by Russia could extend to the Dnieper River.
If you haven’t followed Ukraine’s fall from grace, it’s explained in “The Surge of ‘Little Green Men’ and Metal is Poised to Strike” Part 1 (Twitter thread), 2 (thread), 3 (thread), and 4 (thread), and 5 (thread).
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