Analysis comment

NATO diplomat accuses ‘ridiculous’ Zelenskyy government of ‘openly lying’

President’s continued insistence that missile that killed two in Poland originated in Russia ‘destroying our confidence’ in Ukrainian claims

Image by Middle East Monitor (Creative Commons Attribution-4.0 International License)

A NATO diplomat has hammered Ukrainian president Volodimir Zelenskyy’s credibility after Ukraine continued to claim the missile that killed two farm workers in Poland was fired by Russia, according to the Financial Times.

Western media had widely and tamely repeated the claims until NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg admitted that the explosion was caused by a Ukrainian air defence missile. Remarkably, Stoltenberg still insisted that Ukraine was ‘not to blame’ for the deaths.

According to the FT, a NATO diplomat described Ukraine’s behaviour as ‘ridiculous’, but also indicated that this was perceived as part of a pattern that was destroying the Ukrainian government’s credibility even in NATO eyes:

“This is getting ridiculous. The Ukrainians are destroying [our] confidence in them. Nobody is
blaming Ukraine, and they are openly lying.

This is more destructive than the missile [which killed two in Poland]”.

Ukrainian claims that a bucket of teeth displayed in a village formerly occupied by Russians were evidence of torture by Vladimir Putin’s forces were discredited when a local Ukrainian dentist told the German Bund newspaper that the teeth were from his collection of molars extracted in more than three decades of dentistry and had been pilfered from his home.

Missile strikes on civilian buildings in Ukraine have also been attributed to Ukrainian forces and claims of massacres and other war crimes have been disputed, with some reporting that civilians had been killed in retribution by far-right Ukrainian troops for perceived collaboration with Russian troops.

Skwawkbox view:

The truth is murky and no side’s claims can be trusted without scrutiny, but western media have u-turned on Ukraine since the Russian invasion, from reporting with concern about the rise of nazism in Ukraine and years of alleged genocide in Russian-adjacent areas to brushing aside nazification of the Ukrainian military, sweeping extremist right-wing conduct of the Ukrainian government under the carpet and failing to correct even discredited claims.

As the saying goes, the first casualty of war is truth – and journalists such as John Pilger and Peter Oborne have commented on the extreme levels of propaganda being presented as news.

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