Putin ➠ Russian Troops Are Not In Ukraine ➠ Russian Soldiers Taking Selfies In Ukraine Beg To Differ!
Via Vice News:
According to Vladimir Putin, there are no Russian soldiers fighting in Ukraine. The Russian government draws a distinction between what it calls volunteers from Russia — fighters with military experience who are not currently enlisted in the Russian armed forces but are fighting in Ukraine by choice — and active servicemen who could only be in Ukraine if the Russian military ordered them to go.
It’s an important distinction for the Russian government for a couple of reasons. First of all, Russia’s Federation Council, an otherwise powerless chamber of parliament, would have to approve a military intervention in Ukraine. It hasn’t.
Secondly, by refusing to admit that it has a direct role in the conflict, the Kremlin can and does regularly claim that Western economic sanctions against Russia are unprovoked and aggressive — and most Russians believe this. It would be much harder for Putin to blame his country’s economic problems on the West if it were clear that his government is engaged in an unprovoked aggressive war against its neighbor.
But the truth is that the evidence for Russia’s active role in the war in Ukraine is everywhere — on the ground in Ukraine’s east, which has been littered with the bodies of Russian citizens and Russian weapons, and on the internet, where thousands of photographs of Russia’s military intervention in Ukraine have been posted, often by Russian soldiers themselves. […]
The trickery is such that many people end up not believing anything that comes up in their newsfeed. And with so many fakes floating around, why should they?
Luckily there are people out there who go out of their way to verify these photos, like citizen journalists Eliot Higgins and Aric Toler. They were both enlisted by the Atlantic Council — a non-partisan think tank in Washington, DC, that promotes relations between the US and Europe — to help produce a report using open source information to investigate web posts and track Russian military activity in Ukraine. The 33-page report, Hiding in Plain Sight, shows the extent of Russia’s involvement by verifying the location of photos of Russian soldiers and equipment by extrapolating from data that is openly available to anyone.
The Kremlin-run media, no surprise, were unimpressed. One fully state-funded outlet, Sputnik News, questioned the objectivity of the Atlantic Council’s report, saying, “it’s hard to imagine that the think tank doesn’t have some form of an agenda, especially when it comes to Russia.” More