The Malta Independent 4 October 2022, Tuesday
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TMIS Editorial: The reality in Ukraine and Russian propaganda

Sunday, 10 April 2022, 10:00 Last update: about 7 months ago

The entire world now knows that the Russian armed forces have committed war crimes in Ukraine. The conflict has been ongoing for more than six weeks now, but it was only a few days ago that proof of civilian killings emerged.

Thousands of foreign journalists are in Ukraine and have documented the violence committed against innocent civilians. The Malta Independent was also there and witnessed first-hand the crimes committed in villages around the Ukrainian capital Kyiv.

Yet the Russian propaganda machine, directed from Moscow, denies that anything of the sort happened. Russian ambassadors around the world have carried on Vladimir Putin’s message and tried to discredit the images coming out from Ukraine, describing the murder of civilians as “fake,” “staged” and an “elaborate hoax.”

It is beyond belief that the Russian government can try to belie facts that have been so widely documented, and which are anything but fake.

We went to Irpin and Bucha. We saw the corpses with our own eyes. We saw the two men who were shot in the face at point blank range, fragments of their skull and brain matter spattered all over the grass in the garden they were hiding in.

The operation to locate dead civilians was still in full swing two days after Bucha was liberated, and bodies were being found all over the place. People who were summarily shot where they stood, in their homes and gardens.

We saw the mass grave behind the Bucha church, filled to the brim with bodies of women and children, many of whom were just trying to escape the fighting and reach the relative safety if Kiev. We saw the grieving relatives who could not yet believe that their loved ones had been butchered. We can assure you that none of it was fake. Corpses and human emotion cannot be faked.

While we were in Bucha, another mass grave was located close by, in a forest. The number of dead found there is still unknown.

We saw the wanton destruction, passing through towns were every single car that was parked on the street was flattened by Russian tanks, for no apparent reason.

And this did not only happen in Irpin and Bucha. A few hours after we left, similar atrocities were uncovered in Borodyanka and other places close by.

And on Friday, over fifty people were killed in Kramatorsk when the Russians fired missiles at a train station packed with refugees. These were innocent families who were trying to escape to safety. There was no military target nearby. Over a thousand people were waiting to be evacuated on the platforms when the missiles landed among them, causing carnage and destruction.

It is true that atrocities were carried out by both sides. Video footage has emerged showing a Russian prisoner of war being shot by Ukrainians. But at least Kyiv has acknowledged that there might have been some cases of misconduct by its troops and pledged to investigate.

Russia, on the other hand, continues to deny that its soldiers killed and raped innocent civilians, despite the mounting evidence of such crimes. This is reminiscent of past conflicts and dictatorships, only that we are now living in the 21st century and the truth cannot be so easily hidden.

Only a few believe the Russian propaganda, yet Moscow continues to plead innocence, saying that its troops are only trying to ‘liberate’ and ‘de-Nazify’ Ukraine. It does not even acknowledge that its own battle groups have been decimated in the western part of the country, proof of which we have seen plenty of. It does not admit that its military machine has killed thousands of civilians in eastern cities like Mariupol, despite the harrowing accounts that refugees escaping from that city have shared with this newsroom.

There are two tragedies occurring in Ukraine right now. The first is the actual war, which has brough death and destruction upon a peaceful people. The second is the obscene attempt to hide the truth by the Russian government. Yet, despite all the denials, the world knows full well what Russia has done to Ukraine, and no amount of propaganda can erase the horrible atrocities that have been committed during this terrible conflict. The world will not forget.


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