Over the past 24 hours, the Western media have been fueling allegations that Russia committed mass killings of civilians in the Ukrainian city of Bucha as footage has shown city streets strewn with bodies. The Russian Defence Ministry dismissed the accusations, underscoring that the footage is nothing short of yet another provocation.
With Kiev quickly accusing Russia of “genocide” and “massacre” in Bucha, Western media seems eager to automatically criminalise Moscow without a full investigation – and it looks like the media is a tool for the West to make up for frustrations caused by the failures of its own propaganda, experts have stated.
Doubts were cast at allegations that Russia is behind the purported “war crimes” in Bucha shortly after a video posted by one of the Kiev territorial defence battalion leaders resurfaced online. In the video, titled “BOATSMAN BOYS’ work in Bucha”, fighters are heard asking whether they can shoot people without blue armbands (an identifier of the Ukrainian forces) – and receiving “F***, of course!” in response.
Vanessa Beeley, an independent investigative journalist, points at how “NATO-aligned” media plays its role to “protect their ‘side’ from repercussions for the war crimes they have been committing for decades“, while also highlighting inconsistencies in the Western-promoted narrative.
Commenting on the “BOATSMAN BOYS” video, Beeley says that they are a division of the Azov battalion – “the same Azov battalion that is responsible for mass graves in Donetsk and Lughansk for 8 years, the same Azov battalion whose ancestors carried out one of the worst massacres of the second world war, executing 33, 771 Jews in Babi Yar, Kiev in 1941.”
“Yet we are supposed to believe that a Russian army withdrawing to preserve civilian lives as it has done consistently during its military campaign in Ukraine – is responsible for the execution of Ukrainian civilians including Russian speakers, whose protection was one of the main triggers for this incursion into Ukraine to ‘Denazify’ the territory,” Beeley says.
The sentiment is echoed by Joe Quinn, political commentator and author, who says that it was “entirely plausible” that Ukrainian military policy was to shoot anyone on the street that did not have a blue armband, and in particular those with a white armband – a sign recognized as an identifier of the Russian military. According to Quinn, it was possible that some of the Bucha civilians wore white bandages as a sign of friendliness towards the Russian military, prompting the Ukrainians to assume that everyone with that bandage was somehow aligned with the Russian forces.
“Another interesting possibility is that at least some of the dead on the street were killed by artillery fire,” he continues. “Several of the bodies are close to evidence of artillery, of missile strikes. If some, or all, of the dead were killed by artillery strikes, then they can only have been killed by artillery fire from Ukrainian positions in the forested area south of Bucha.”
Quinn notes that this is not the first time when Ukrainian forces have fired at civilians, recalling the case of Mariupol when “the Ukrainian military fired on humanitarian corridors set up by the Russians in an attempt to kill Russian soldiers, prevent civilians from leaving, and killing civilians in the process.”
“On March 26, the Russian military in Bucha established a corridor for civilians to leave towards Belarus. Were the civilians on the street in Bucha killed at that time or in the following days by Ukrainian artillery fire? It is certainly a more plausible explanation than the irrational claim that retreating Russian soldiers decided to indiscriminately ‘shoot’ civilians on the street in Bucha,” Quinn says.
More ‘False Flags’ to Come?
The Western media push to stick to the Russia-blaming narrative can be explained by the West’s frustration over its propaganda “falling on deaf ears”, according to Adriel Kasonta, a London-based foreign affairs analyst and former chairman of the International Affairs Committee at the Bow Group think tank.
“They will do whatever it takes, including propaganda, to smear Russia to somehow destroy the good name of Russia,” Kasonta suggests, saying that such efforts can stem from the West’s opposition to the idea of someone in Kiev being in favour of a peace agreement with Russia.
He also said that it can relate to the fact that Russia has made significant steps towards financial and economic independence from the West and stronger ties with China and India, which “is causing a huge frustration” in the West. Amid intense efforts to fuel the anti-Russia narrative, Kasonta says, more incidents similar to that in Bucha can be expected to occur – along with “many more accusations from the so-called reputable institutions like Human Rights Watch and others.”
“I think that there will be a lot of false flag operations, a lot of poking, so to speak, the so-called Russian bear in the eye and trying to provoke Russia to make a mistake,” Kasonta says.