Prominent Russia’s state broadcaster and propagandist Yevgeny Popov claims Ukraine along with NATO and the West have been “destroying” Russia since the war broke out in Ukraine’s war-torn region of Donbas in 2014 – a narrative and worldview relayed by Vladimir Putin and his allies to justify Ukraine’s invasion. In a televised address to the Russian people, Vladimir Putin said NATO’s eastward expansion had made the situation “worse and more dangerous” for Russia, calling it “unacceptable” and prompting him to launch a full-blown military invasion of Ukraine.
Mr Popov joined the chorus of propagandists’ voices in denouncing NATO’s expansion, telling BBC Sounds: “You have destroyed my country where I was born.
When asked ‘how’, he retorted between chuckles: “How?!
“You’re asking me: how?! I live in a great country which before was the greatest power in the world, which has excellent education system, excellent health system, excellent.
“I’m not an old guy but I remember it. But now my country is divided for fifteen or sixteen camps, right? And of course, you did that.”
“Of course, military intervention or war – whatever you call it – it’s a tragedy for many, many families”, Mr Popov said.
“But Ukraine and Ukrainian allies, which were along the east as well, are threatening Russians for the last dozen years to move NATO to our borders to cancel our culture.
“They bullied us for many, many years.”
Mr Popov is referring to the Donbas war, which erupted in 2014 after Russian-backed separatist groups tried to seize government buildings throughout the Donbas region in March of that year. Ukraine responded to the attacks by launching a military counter-offensive in April 2014. The war has since been raging on and has now expanded to other parts of the country with Putin’s invasion of Ukraine in late February.
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Three weeks after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in the Hague said it had not seen any evidence to support the Kremlin’s justification for the war, that Ukraine was committing genocide against Russian speakers in the east of the country.
Upon hearing the statement, Mr Popov laughed it off, saying: “I’ve seen it with my own eyes, with my own eyes. I’ve seen a lot of times how Ukrainian forces bombed Ukrainian regions. It was huge military operations in 2014, in 2015, even in 2016.
“And as you remember, there was some Minsk agreement, which was signed by Ukrainian, French and German sides.”
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In 2014, France and Germany acted as mediators to end the war in the Donbas with a series of international agreements drafted and signed by Russia, Ukraine and the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). The repeated attempts to implement a ceasefire failed to stop the fighting in the region and were followed by another failed agreement.
Mr Popov claimed: “But Kyiv did nothing to implement it, did nothing – zero
“That’s why I blame the Western world and the Ukrainian power in this war.”