Russia lies. Civilians die. As late as yesterday, Putin continued to deny being the aggressor in his invasion of Ukraine. Or that civilians were killed. Even as the world watched villages, cities, and towns around the country burn. Men, women, and children fleeing their homes amid a hail of gunfire and bombs.
For a year, Russia steadily increased its military presence along the border it shares with Ukraine. A move the western world saw as aggression, Putin dismissed. His justification for being there? Protection and peace. Biden didn’t believe him. Zelensky didn’t believe him. The world didn’t believe him. The same words were used prior to invading independent Georgia and Ukraine via Crimea. But Putin didn’t care. Gaslighting is what he does best.
US intelligence consistently contradicted him. Warning of a potential attack. Russia dismissed the intelligence as paranoia. In January, US Joint Chiefs of StaffGeneral Mark Milley said:
The Russian Federation has amassed upwards, at this time over 100,000 ground forces, air forces, naval forces, special forces, cyber, electronic warfare, command and control logistics, engineers and other capabilities along the Ukraine border.
Last week, military convoys crossed into Northern Ukraine. Yet the Russian Ambassador to the United States, Anatoly Antonov in a television interview continued to assert that Russia was not planning to invade. He declared falsely:
“Russia has publicly decided, declared, its readiness to continue the diplomatic efforts to resolve all outstanding issues. Russian troops are on a sovereign Russian territory. We don’t threaten anyone.”
Then Russia attacked. From day one, civilians were targeted. With rockets and missiles striking apartment buildings in the northern neighborhood of Saltivka.
Chilling video of tanks rolling through the streets, gunfire. Buildings ablaze. Mass evacuations. Video after video of defiant civilians standing their ground. Using their bodies as barriers between their homes and the Russian military. Throwing homemade Molotov cocktails.
The Russian military pounced on Ukraine’s capital of Kyiv. A non-stop barrage of bombings, shillings. Even with video proof widely circulating, Putin and Russian spokespeople continued to lie to the world. Their ambassador Antonov again said:
“Russian troops are not bombing cities. No civilian deaths.”
Translation: Don’t believe your lying eyes. Don’t believe it when Russia lies either.
As more videos and reports surfaced and the world began coming together in condemnation of the unprovoked attack, Russia’s ambassador to the United Nations Vasily Nebenzya went before the NATO Security Council to lie and deny a statement by a permanent resident of France on bombings and deaths. Russia lies once again in his official statement:
“That is untrue. Troops are not bombing Ukrainian cities. And we said they are not threatened by anything. There is no verifiable confirmation whatsoever about the deaths of civilians. The permanent representative of the UK I would note what you are portraying, alleging that the Russia military are targeting civilians. I saw the reports today and I would like to report that this, you can see from the videos that this is a heavy tank. Uh…uh, peace.”
French President Emmanuel Macron made a public plea for Putin to a ceasefire. Not to harm civilians, infrastructure or impede travel roads. After a call with Putin on Monday, Macron’s office said:
“President Putin confirmed his willingness to commit on these three points.”
Tuesday, Putin bombs Kharkiv Central Square. Ukraine’s Interior Minister has said ‘dozens’ had been killed.
Since the start of Putin’s war, which started only a week ago, 87 homes and apt blocks have been hit with rockets and cannon shells.
Putin lies. Civilians die.
Below are just a few examples of why we shouldn’t be surprised when Russia lies or employs deception which is known as maskirova in Russian, and why he shouldn’t be believed again:
Kosovo – A day after President Clinton declared the end of the Kosovo war and said a peaceful resolution was in the works, 186 Russian ‘peacekeepers’ moved into Kosovo on then Russian National Security Advisor Putin’s, orders. Intending to get to the city before NATO’s 50,000 troops arrived. The US was concerned by this as they were preparing to leave Moscow, but Putin continued to deny he had any bad intentions. Lying, even as he asked Ukraine and Hungary for permission to use their airspace. Hungary was ready to oblige, but Ukraine was rightfully apprehensive. The delays were enough to keep Putin from getting a foothold in Kosovo.
Georgia – Georgia, like Ukraine had declared itself independent as Russia began to lose its grip on power in the region amidst a failed political and economic system. Georgia tried to be peaceful. In 2008 Georgia accused Russia of crossing their shared border illegally. Russia (shocker), denied it. Shortly after they launched what was called a ‘peacekeeping’ mission (sound familiar). in Georgia with land and airstrikes in Ossetia. 20% of Georgia is occupied by Russian troops since the war.
Crimea – Russia launched a full-scale military attack in Crimea in 2014. Putin falsely claims it was to liberate them from Ukraine. He declared Crimea independent and sovereign. Right before annexing them anyway. Crimea is now a part of the Russian Federation.
Even with crippling sanctions, Putin has forged ahead. More aggressively, with no end in sight. He is a man on a mission. Maximum casualty and destruction.
Since before he was President, Putin’s agenda was clear. Return Russia to its former glory. Delusions of USSR grandeur. Call it arrogance, call it greed. Call it delusion. But when it comes to Putin one thing is clear, when people show you who they are, believe them the first time.
Follow Ty Ross on Twitter @cooltxchick.