Sorting Out Ukraine Conflict’s History

Exclusive: The U.S. mainstream media’s narrative of the Ukraine crisis – hailing the 2014 Maidan uprising and blaming the ensuing conflict on Russia – is facing challenge in some early historical accounts, writes James W. Carden.

By James W. Carden

While the good folks of the Washington establishment have been keeping themselves busy trying to invent new ways to cripple and delegitimize the presidency of Donald J. Trump, the war in Ukraine, now entering its fourth year, has, of late, gone largely unremarked upon.

President Barack Obama talks with President Petro Poroshenko of Ukraine and Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker following a bilateral meeting in the Oval Office, Sept. 18, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Yet it continues. A report by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights published on June 13 finds that over the past three months there have been ceasefire violations committed by both parties to the conflict. According to the report, the “routine use of small arms and light and heavy weapons in the conflict zone” has resulted in “damage to critical infrastructure, including schools, hospitals and water facilities.” To date, over 10,000 people, including roughly 3,000 civilians, have been killed since the conflict began in 2014.

This past February marked the three-year anniversary of Euro-Maidan uprising, which saw Ukraine’s democratically elected President Viktor Yanukovych overthrown and replaced by a pro-Western coalition government made up of his political opponents.

As the drama played out, a small but influential coterie of Western journalists, who had previously shown themselves susceptible to the charms of regime-change wars, by and large shaped what became the mainstream narrative of the Ukraine crisis.

The narrative boils down to this: had it not been for the actions of Vladimir Putin following the glories of the Euro-Maidan protests, Ukraine would have, peacefully and in due course, joined the European family of nations. But Putin, so the story goes, was infuriated that Ukraine rejected his vision of a neo-Soviet Eurasian Economic Union, and took revenge by annexing Crimea….

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