I think I’m going to have to stop commenting on this story because it is too weird to deal with the levels of self-delusion Western political leaders and their media buddies seem willing to impose on themselves. But this is one example, from the Guardian:
- Monitors at the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe reported “multiple shelling incidents” in eastern Ukraine, where government forces have faced Moscow-backed separatists since 2014.
- The Kremlin accused Ukraine of firing first, while Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelenskiy called the shelling of the nursery school “a big provocation”.
- Western leaders accused Moscow of attempting to stage a pretext for war. US President Joe Biden said he believed an attack would happen in “the next several days” and that a false flag operation was underway. UK prime minister Boris Johnson shared this assessment, saying the aim was to discredit Ukraine’s government. Meanwhile Nato secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg said the alliance was concerned that Russia was “trying to stage a pretext for an armed attack against Ukraine”
Apparently there has been an exchange of fire along the contact line in Donbass. The OSCE who monitors the ceasefire, for reasons best known to themselves, just publish reports about observations e.g. “explosion noted at 5km East of such and such a village” without commenting on who was responsible. Still, looking at details such as recorded direction of flight, location of explosions etc. one can in at least some cases make an educated guess as to who was firing. This is the latest report from the OSCE monitoring mission in Ukraine. It appears to show violations of the ceasefire from both sides.
The Guardian of course uses the emotive picture of a primary school allegedly shelled by the DNR or LNR militias.
The key point about the text is Zelenskiy’s remark “this is a big provocation”. That would mean he is saying “we are being provoked; we are restraining ourselves, but maybe we will not continue to do so”. US President Biden and the Guardian spin this as a planned ‘false flag’ operation by Russia. That is 180 degrees the opposite of what the news they report says. It is Kiev (Zelenskiy) who is talking about provocations and thus licensing themselves to start a new war. It is the Western media who is printing the emotive image of a shelled primary school. (This reminds me of babies and incubators – the false flag story that justified the US attack on Iraq in 1990 ). It is absolutely standard when the West gears up for war that they start accusing their target of precisely what they themselves are doing. (As the US prepared its illegal and violent invasion of Iraq in 2003 the media ran a continual stream of fake stories about Iraqi aggression, illegality and military threats).
There is only one danger in Ukraine. Kiev will attack Donbass leading to a Russian operation to protect the largely Russian speaking and Russian leaning citizens of Donbass. There is no doubt the Kremlin would prefer for this not to happen – it will be costly in terms of lives and materials and they will gain little except another unstable and contested protectorate. This is why they would prefer to resolve the situation in Donbass by implementation of the Minsk agreements. Furthermore; while they won’t allow sanctions threats to influence what they believe to the right course of action they can hardly be unaware of the threat to their economy from sanctions.
Meanwhile Wednesday’s promised invasion day has been and gone, and now, without embarrassment, they are telling us that “Biden thinks Russian attack will happen in ‘next days'”. This is like some weird sect who keeps saying “the end is nigh” and then has to continually revise the date when the end of the world does not materialise.
[Update: 27-2-22: obviously I was wrong. I did not expect that Russia would invade Ukraine and try to force regime change. In my ‘defence’ a lot of Russians also did not expect this move. I thought that they would stop at occupying Donbas. Still I should be more careful in making predictions].
I found the link below  while searching for a reference to confirm that the Kuwait baby-incubators story which was used to justify the 1990 intervention against Iraq was false. Interestingly the author of that piece (printed in the Guardian in 2001 – would they even print such dissidence today?) offers an analysis of the stages by which the West (political-media apparatus) prepares their populations for war. These are the steps:
The way wars are reported in the western media follows a depressingly predictable pattern: stage one, the crisis; stage two, the demonisation of the enemy’s leader; stage three, the demonisation of the enemy as individuals; and stage four, atrocities.
Clearly we are at the “crisis” stage. The political-media apparatus has been screaming “imminent Russian invasion” for several weeks now. Here is an example of the demonization of the enemy’s leader; a Telegraph article explaining that Putin is not just a “thug” , he is also a “fanatic”. We don’t seem to have reached (if this analysis is correct) the stage of ‘demonization of the enemy as individuals’. Though it has recently become acceptable to attack Russian businessmen based in London who are collectively assumed to be “close to Putin” and involved in “dirty money”. (In my view this stage is usually reached once war starts. For example in the Afghan war the BBC started talking about “dead Taliban” as if they weren’t even human). The images of the shelled primary school look like a standard atrocity story.
I can’t help wondering if it isn’t the case that NATO/the US has already decided to have a war with Russia over Ukraine. (A proxy war). This would weaken Russia militarily and economically, destroy Russia’s reputation in the world, give the US an excuse to block Nord Stream 2 and maybe even other gas pipelines and thus replace Russia as a supplier of gas to Europe, give the US an excuse to pump Europe full of forces without appearing to be the aggressor, make Europe even more dependent on the US, and distract the US population from Biden’s disastrous domestic performance and ratings. The US would not have to commit any troops; just supply Ukraine with weapons and financial support. It could be a delayed reaction to being outwitted over Crimea. It means they are ready to sacrifice Ukraine to teach Russia a lesson but that is quite possible. They are without doubt that cynical. This would explain why they are a) trying to goad Russia into war and b) producing the constant narrative about an invasion by Russia, so that if Russia is dragged into a war by Kiev this can be presented as the ‘Russian invasion’ their “intelligence” has been “warning” about for weeks.
Update – forcing war
The MOD has published on Twitter an “intelligence” document showing “Putin’s possible axis of invasion”. The general idea of all this seems to be to create a win-win for NATO out of Russia’s gambit to force negotiations on (as they see it) European security. If Russia doesn’t invade now they are completely humiliated – a win (as they see it) for the West. If they do invade, also a win, as (as per the above) Russia will then get involved in a costly war which will drain their military strength as well as creating an excuse for sanctioning their gas exports, forcing Europe to switch to US suppliers. It looks to me like Russia underestimated (once again) the level of evil they are up against.