Russia is spending more on propaganda justifying its aggressive moves than ever before, and Vladimir Putin is certainly getting imaginative work for his money.
When Ukraine announced yesterday it had captured ten Russian paratroopers in camouflaged fatigues from the 98th Airborne Division a full 15 miles inside Ukraine, it reported that interviews conducted with the men revealed they were on a “special mission.” Not so, reported Russian news agencies, who quoted military sources saying the soldiers had crossed the border by mistake.
“The soldiers were really taking part in patrolling a section of the Russian–Ukrainian border, they crossed it most likely by accident, on an unequipped, unmarked section,” a defense-ministry source was quoted as saying.
That’s not quite what the Russian paratroopers say. Ivan Melchyakov, who was interviewed on Ukrainian television, said, “They just told us we were going on a 70-kilometer [45-mile] march over three days. Everything is different here, not like they show it on television. We’ve come as cannon fodder.”
Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko and Russian leader Vladimir Putin are meeting for “peace talks” that include European Union officials in Belarus. One can only imagine how the Russia’s Twilight Zone media will cover the likely failure of those talks.