A story appeared on Sky News today which almost had me in tears. Here’s the headline:
US intelligence accusing Russia of planning a fake attack to justify an invasion of Ukraine is "shocking evidence of Moscow's aggression", Liz Truss has warned.
You can put your trust into Truss of course, on her hoped-for journey to the top job, in this particular case seeking a headline at the same time as ‘Dishy’ Rishi Sunak is delivering the government’s miracle cure for rising energy costs. The ‘story’ that Truss is dutifully regurgitating from her top secret sources read as follows:
“The foreign secretary tweeted: "This is clear and shocking evidence of Russia's unprovoked aggression and underhand activity to destabilise Ukraine. This bellicose intent towards a sovereign democratic country is completely unacceptable and we condemn it in the strongest possible terms. A senior Biden administration official told Reuters that Russia is coming up with several options to give it an excuse for an invasion.
One is a fabricated video showing the graphic aftermath of an explosion, including equipment appearing to belong to Ukraine or allied nations, according to the unnamed official. In response to claims reported by The New York Times and The Washington Post, US deputy national security adviser Jonathan Finer said: "We don't know definitively that this is the route they (Russia) are going to take. But we know that this is an option under consideration - that would involve actors playing mourners for people who are killed in an event that they (Russia) would have created themselves." (emphasis added)
To help illustrate the ‘threat’ Sky News kindly accompanied the story with this photo (left).
You’d think these troops were creeping up on Ukraine in the context of this story. But you’d be wrong. The photo caption tells us they’re training in Nizhniy Novgorod. At bottom is a map which tells us where Nizhniy Novgorod is.
Yes, Nizhniy Novgorod is roughly 150 kilometres east of Moscow. Moscow is 755 kilometres from Kiev. As ever, this little story of disinformation will be liberally pedalled by our media—I notice that the Telegraph has picked it up.
By the by, in the middle of this map is the town of Vladimir, where the BBC’s Moscow correspondent went yesterday to do a vox pop. Naturally the general view is that Putin is not necessarily the bee’s knees in his namesake town. We must wait and see to discover whether there’s a village in the UK called Boris. God help us if there’s one called Truss.