Russia stages another "Ukraine ceasefire violation" show in Donbas
When Russian journalists cover any Ukraine-related issues, there are always elements of propaganda present. Russian propaganda masterminds have several approaches to reporting on Ukraine. In one case, once some incident occurs, a camera crew arrives at the scene and "adds some things up" to make their case. In another scenario, Russian journalists seem to have been well-prepared in advance for some of such incidents. Recall the downed MH17, where Russian journalists suddenly emerged near the site where a Buk rocket launcher was used. When a Russian proxy militant warlord Girkin announced that they had shot down another aircraft [a Ukrainian military cargo plane, they apparently thought at the time], Russian reporters were first on the scene to shoot their report. However, when they figured out that in fact a civilian aircraft had been shot down, they started deleting video material, while some of their footage had already been aired on TV by that time. Russian reporters swarmed to try and explain the incident to the audience in a way suitable for propaganda purposes.
The recent incident with Russian MP Zhuravlev, who went on a visit to the occupied part of Donbas and allegedly came under mortar fire, just a day after the ceasefire had been announced, is also a typical staged story. Now the Russian media will spin reports claiming that the Ukrainian military violated the newly-agreed ceasefire. It appears that their usual reports on the aftermath of shellings of residential neighborhoods have ceased to be of any interest to their audience, therefore lost their effectiveness. Therefore, they engaged a more high-profile "target of Ukrainian atrocities", a Russian people's deputy. So this upgraded propaganda story was thoroughly directed, shot, and aired. There's nothing else here.
The recent incident with Russian MP Zhuravlev, who went on a visit to the occupied part of Donbas and allegedly came under mortar fire, just a day after the ceasefire had been announced, is also a typical staged story.
We are forced to analyze and dissect such situations, showing that these are merely elements of Russian propaganda. It is necessary to fight for the truth, because Russia's huge propaganda machine employs truly powerful means of disinformation, while astonishing amounts of money are being invested in information warfare. So the story with Zhuravlev is merely a staged show, timed to coincide with the first day of the truce, or rather, timed to disrupt said truce. After all, Russian proxies started shelling Ukrainian positions almost immediately, just a couple of hours after a ceasefire declaration.
So the story with Zhuravlev is merely a staged show, timed to coincide with the first day of the truce, or rather, timed to disrupt said truce
All this suggests that Putin did not make a principled decision to ensure ceasefire in Donbas. It was only the Tripartite Contact Group who agreed on the truce, which is the lowest "floor" of negotiating players: the Normandy Four are the top "floor", above which there are also direct talks between Americans and Russians under the Volker-Surkov scheme. So, the TCG is the lowest level. In Russia, any moves by Moscow toward any concessions to Ukraine would be regarded as weakness. Ahead of the presidential elections, this would be unacceptable for Vladimir Putin.
Ihor Romanenko is a Ukrainian Army Lt. Gen (Rtd), Candidate of Military Sciences, Doctor of Technical Sciences, Professor, ex-Deputy Chief of the General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces