It’s always interesting when the New York Times promotes a false narrative — as it has on Ukraine by blaming the crisis all on “Russian aggression” — and then has to shift its storyline when events move in a different direction, like President Vladimir Putin’s recent peacemaking initiatives.
On Thursday, the Times explained Putin’s call for an extended ceasefire as a case of him caving in to U.S. pressure. Correspondents Andrew Roth and David S. Herszenhorn wrote:
“Faced with the threat of additional economic sanctions from Washington, President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia discussed an extension of the cease-fire, which is to expire on Friday, in a telephone call with Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, President FranÃ§ois Hollande of France and Ukraine’s new president, Petro O. Poroshenko.”
The article then continued the tough-guy, ultimatum-threatening chest-pounding that has become de rigueurfor the State Department and the mainstream U.S. news media. The Times article noted:
“The Obama administration has drawn up plans to escalate sanctions against Russia if it does not back the current peace plan by halting the flow of weapons and fighters across the Russian border. The sanctions could target some of Russia’s largest banks, or energy and defense firms.”
The Times also reported, without skepticism, the unverified allegations that the Russian government is supplying heavy weapons to the eastern Ukrainian separatists who rebelled after violent protests by western Ukrainians ousted elected President Viktor Yanukovych on Feb. 22.
The U.S. government has repeatedly made allegations about “Russian aggression” in eastern Ukraine but has failed to present any verifiable proof to support the claims. One State Department attempt, which involved getting the Times to run a lead article citing photos purportedly proving that Russian military personnel were operating in Ukraine, collapsed under scrutiny and was later retracted by the Times.