There are only a handful of Western journalists on the ground in Donbass, while the Western mainstream press is rubber-stamping fake news about the Ukrainian crisis using the same templates it previously exploited in Iraq, Libya and Syria, says Dutch independent journalist Sonja van den Ende.
Sonja van den Ende, an independent journalist from Rotterdam, Netherlands, went to the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics as an embedded reporter with the Russian army to see how the special operation is unfolding with her own eyes.
The sound of shelling and explosion does not frighten her: she’s gotten used to it. Seven years ago, van den Ende worked in Syria, months before the Russians stepped in at the request of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and changed the tide. The parallels between the Western mainstream press’ coverage of the Syrian and the Ukrainian conflicts are striking, according to her.
However, this is not the only parallel, according to the Dutch journalist. She has drawn attention to Kiev’s fake reports and “false flag” operations including the Snake Island hoax, hype over Russia’s alleged “attack” on the Zaporozhye Nuclear Power Plant (NPP), the now-debunked story of Russia’s “strike” on a Mariupol hospital, and the most recent Bucha provocation, to name but a few. Van den Ende says that it resembles nothing so much as jihadists’ false flags and the White Helmet’s staged “gas attacks”. She specifically recalls the 4 April 2017 chemical provocation in Khan Sheikhun, Idlib, which was debunked by investigative reporters including Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist Seymour Hersh.
Ukrainian Neo-Nazism is No Myth
Van den Ende talked to many Ukrainian civilians while travelling across Donbass. According to her, nearly everyone condemned the Kiev government for prohibiting the Russian language and depriving them of many cultural and domestic human rights.
Ukrainian neo-Nazism is not a myth, emphasises van den Ende. When she visited the Ukrainian port city of Odessa in 2016 and 2017 she noticed the fascist sentiment which has been spreading across the nation for quite a while. Actually, Ukrainian Nazism has been there since the Second World War, says the Dutch journalist.
The ideological successors of Stepan Bandera, the Organisation of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN), the 14th SS-Volunteer Division “Galicia,” and the Nachtigall Battalion went underground during the Soviet period. However, after many years these forces are alive again with the U.S., the UK and EU using them to destabilise Ukraine, she says. Previously, these Western geopolitical actors much in the same vein used Islamists to unseat Assad, adds the journalist.
According to van den Ende, after carrying out a 2014 coup d’etat in Ukraine, the minority of neo-Nazis grabbed power and have been terrorising mainly the eastern part of the country using very vicious and cruel Nazi-style methods for eight years.
Feeling Protected at Long Last
The West is continuously trying to blame Russia for all the damage inflicted on Ukrainian villages and towns. However, Eastern Ukrainian eye-witnesses say that most of destruction in the civilian areas was caused by the retreating Ukrainian army and neo-Nazi formations, including the notorious Azov Battalions, according to the Dutch journalist. In addition to using civilian facilities as shields, the Ukrainian military are reported to have indiscriminately shelled the positions they left and cede to the Russian forces.
To illustrate her point, van den Ende describes the shelling of a hospital in Volnovakha, in the Donetsk People’s Republic. The building was not bombed from the air, but attacked with grenades and rockets, she says, citing a Volnovakha resident.
Fierce fight between the Ukrainian armed forces and neo-Nazi battalions on the one side and the Russia-backed DPR and LPR militias on the other side left many houses ruined. However, the people of Donbass have not given up, highlights the journalist.
Is Russia Losing an Information War?
Some observers suggest that Russia is losing the information war with the West. The Western Big Media machine is working day and night with the backing of Big Tech, while most Russian news outlets have been either censored or completely silenced in the Western countries.
One should bear in mind that this conflict is being fanned by the Western politicians in the first place, says the Dutch journalist. According to her, the West did completely the same in Syria but has largely lost that war.
The world is changing and the Western establishment has yet to reconcile itself with the emerging multipolar world order, according to van den Ende. She notes that Russian President Vladimir Putin outlined the beginning of this change in his 2007 Munich speech.
Although they opted to neglect his words at that time, it is becoming obvious that a unipolar world is gone for good, the journalist concludes.
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