Reuters Blows Ukraine Coverage
Reuters has blown a story about a recent meeting between the Russian and Ukrainian Prime ministes so badly as to give rise to the impression that the fix might be in.
In a piece labled “analysis” by Christian Lowe, a military correspondent with no special expertise in Russia or Ukraine, Reuters claimed that a “new warmth was on show on Thursday when Tymoshenko — who two years ago accused Russia of extorting cash from Ukraine in a row over gas — had a cordial meeting with her Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin followed.” Lowe followed this with a quote from Kremlin lackey Fyodor Lukyanov, editor of the journal Russia in Global Affairs: “The tactical interests of Moscow and Tymoshenko have coincided. They have the same main opponent and that is Yushchenko.”
Oops. The Christian Science Monitor reported the actual facts:
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin charged Ukraine with supplying arms and manpower to Georgia during its recent war with Russia, and said if Ukraine’s involvement was proven, it would be a “crime.” Russian news and information agency RIA Novosti reports that Mr. Putin made the accusation Thursday during a meeting with Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko to sign a new contract on Russian natural gas exports to Ukraine.
“I don’t think there is a graver crime than supplying arms to a conflict zone,” Putin told his Ukrainian counterpart, Yulia Tymoshenko, during their meeting at the Russian premier’s residence near Moscow. He also said that he regretted “that Ukraine thought it acceptable to supply weapons to the conflict zone.” Putin also said Moscow had evidence proving that Ukrainian military experts were present in the conflict zone during the five-day war that began when Georgian forces attacked breakaway South Ossetia.
The BBC writes that Ms. Tymoshenko said she was confident that Ukraine’s involvement in the war in Georgia would not be confirmed. The BBC adds that Putin’s accusation “amounted to an attack on [Tymoshenko’s] political rival, [Ukrainian] President Viktor Yushchenko,” who sets Ukraine’s defense policy.
So Putin called Ukraine a “criminal” nation and Tymoshenko called Putin a liar. Meanwhile, using its leverage in the West, Ukraine forced Russia to sign a highly favorable energy supply deal and, as we’ve previously reported, Tymoshenko’s support for Georgia was unequivocal. Not a word about any of this in Lowe’s “analysis.”
Yulia Tymoshenko has been an ardent pro-West thorn in Russia’s side from her earliest days in politics. The fact that Russia would see her as the best alternative in the next presidential elections is sure and certain proof of how horrifically Russia’s relationship with Ukraine has been destroyed. Russia’s man in Ukraine, the corrupt secret police goon Victor Yanukovich, is hardly discussed these days, and Russia is complaining that Ukrainian forces may actually have been at war with Russia in Georgia.
Lowe’s inaccuracy is, of course, disturbingly similar to the crazy pro-Kremlin propaganda that Kim Zigfeld has documented from another similar reporter, David Axe, on Wired magazine. It looks for all the world like the Kremlin’s propaganda minions are out in force and having their effect, however limited, in undermining Western coverage of Russia.