Thursday 1st of December 2022

frightening astrocities committed by the kiev fake news theatre of the absurd…..…..

The Russian army shelled its own detention center in the east of Ukraine. The Russian army shelled a nuclear power plant it has guarded since taking control of it last March. The Russian army wantonly shelled a maternity ward, a theater, and an art center in Mariupol last spring. The Russian army shells hospitals and apartment houses everywhere and randomly. The Russian army massacred residents of Bucha, a suburb of Kyiv, as it withdrew in the final days of March.


BY Patrick Lawrence


And last Friday we had news that the Russian army slaughtered hundreds of people in Izyum before its recent withdrawal from the city. There is a mass grave to prove it, just as Ukrainian police discovered a mass grave outside of Mariupol last spring.

“Ukrainian authorities have found a mass grave of more than 400 bodies in the eastern city of Izium that was recaptured from Russian forces, a regional police official said on Thursday…” This was what Reuters reported last Friday morning. In its third paragraph. A police investigator is quoted thus: “I can say it is one of the largest burial sites in a big town in liberated [areas]…440 bodies were buried in one place.”    

This is atrocity porn, and it is getting monotonous. So are a couple of other things.

“Ukrainian officials say,” “according to Ukrainian officials,” “senior Ukrainian officers said,” “Ukrainian troops reported,” “the Ukrainian mayor said in an interview,” “police officers say.” This is getting monotonous, too, given whatever these sources say or report or assert is played back to readers and viewers as factually so.

The absence of evidence supporting Ukrainian accounts of Russia’s responsibility for these events: This is also getting monotonous, So are vigorous assertions that there must be and will be full and impartial investigations into these matters, except that there is never any effort to conduct such investigations. The investigations of Ukrainians are treated as full and impartial. 

There is one other thing that grows monotonous as we read the work of Western correspondents working in Ukraine, most of whom cover the conflict on guided tours the Kyiv regime conducts and by quoting Ukrainian sources as if they are objective and reliable. This is Western media’s habit of appointing themselves judges in war-crimes tribunals and convicting Russian forces on all charges. This practice does not rise even to the level of the old show trials.

I have previously considered the diabolic uses to which images and language are put when the objective is to manipulate public perceptions. What the press and broadcasters offered us from Izyum last Friday is more than a case in point. It demonstrates the extraordinary extent to which the Kyiv regime and its Western supporters wage two wars. There is the war on the ground, where Ukraine has just made considerable gains, although these were achieved in a region where there was next to no resistance and they do not appear to have altered the overall course of the war. And there is the war by propaganda—the assault on our minds with the objective of occupying them. This latter war is without relent. Regrettably, its progress is in the favor of those waging it.  

“Ukraine war: Mass exhumations at Izyum forest graves site:” This is the headline on the BBC’s report, written from Izyum by Orla Guerin. The text is heavy on the atmospherics and gives prominence to a prosecutor from the Kyiv Justice Ministry:


The exhumation was conducted mostly in silence, as police and prosecutors looked on. One officer put his head in his hands. Another walked away.

Kharkiv regional prosecutor Olexander Ilyenkov says there is no doubt war crimes have been committed here.

“In the first grave, there is a civilian who has a rope over her neck. So we see the traces of torture,” he told the BBC.

He said almost everyone died because of Russian soldiers.

“Some of them were killed, some were tortured, some were killed because of Russian Federation air and artillery strikes.”


Look at the pictures. One shows nine men identified as emergency workers, standing in a forest wearing protective gear and holding shovels. Another depicts a makeshift grave marker: a wooden crucifix numbered “203” and indicating a death date in clear, unweathered script, “19.04.22.” There is a photograph of a sad-faced man named Hryhorii, whose wife, according to the BBC, was killed during an artillery strike last March. Hryhorii buried her at home, but then buried her again in August for reasons unexplained.

What do we have here? We have a surfeit of melodramatic description, rendered without much subtlety. We have the remarks of a Ukrainian official whose presence or absence in Izyum during the events in question is not noted. And then the images. They show us men with shovels in a forest, an inscribed grave marker, and a sad old man.

We are invited by way of strong inference to conclude that Russian forces committed more war crimes in Izyum during the months they held it. Do the things we have been shown and told support this?  

Not by a long way. We know nothing about the situation in Izyum in the way of chronology, causality, or responsibility. And immediately there are problems of this kind.

We are prompted to wonder about the dated crucifix, as mass graves by definition do not have markers honoring the individual dead. We wonder who was responsible for the death of Hryhorii’s wife: She was killed on March 7, and Russian forces did not take Izyum until later that month. But the BBC is not going to help us out on these points.   

The BBC urges us to convict the Russian army of the many murders it purports to show us by way of the graves and the emergency workers and a mourning survivor. But the Beeb customarily goes long on innuendo, suggestion, and implication. It is careful to put the conclusive judgment in the mouths of a prosecutor and others it quotes as witnesses.   

The New York Times covered the mass-grave story along with the BBC. For once The Times’s correpondents acknowledged that Ukrainian officials shepherded them and other Western media to the site in the Izyum forest. And The Times is equally careful in its rendering of judgments, letting people it puts forward as witnesses articulate them. But in the matter of pictures, it is more extravagant than the Beeb, as is its new mode in much of its foreign reporting.

The Times report was first published in its “Live update” format under the headline, “Russian Invasion of Ukraine: As Investigators Exhume the Dead in Izium, a Ruined City Reels From Loss.” I read the version available at 11:39 am Friday morning. Readers may find that the link I have provided leads to later versions of The Times’s report.

“Ukrainian investigators on Friday began exhuming hundreds of bodies found after Russian forces fled the city of Izium in disarray last weekend.” This is how Andrew Kramer begins his report. The attribution that follows as Kramer describes what happened is familiar to us: It is “Ukrainian officials said.” He writes, properly if in his eighth paragraph, that he is witnessing what these officials “claimed was evidence of more atrocities by Russian soldiers.”

Kramer quotes Dmytro Lubinets, the Kyiv legislature’s commissioner for human rights, who tells him the bodies of Ukrainian soldiers were “heaped into a bunch and buried.” Lubinets elaborates, “The world should see this place. For us, it shows the Russians made a crime, and not only a crime but genocide of the Ukrainian population. In this place we see women and children.”

Kramer lets the remarks of Lubinets, who seems to be one of the officials making claims, stand without qualification. Further in, we have Raisa Derevianko, a retiree “who lived across the street from the grave site [and] said that the Russians would bring the dead to the forest nearly every night.” Raisa Derevianko continues, “We didn’t see who they were burying. One huge hole was stinking.”

And then The Times’s pictures. One shows three workers in protective suits placing a white body bag in a row with numerous others. Another shows dozens of the emergency workers with shovels we saw in the BBC report. There are several pictures of white-suited workers digging along a long, broad trench. There is one that shows an area cordoned off with police tape, behind which are many rows of the wooden crucifixes of the kind we saw in the BBC’s photographs.

What has The Times told us and shown us? We know from The Times not much more, if anything more, than what we learned from the BBC report. We have images, and we have words and quotations used to create more images. It is again hopelessly inconclusive.

But we think we know the Russians have once again behaved cruelly and viciously. And this is what we are supposed to think we know as we go about our days.

Some Western correspondents have reported from Izyum as if they wear the black robes of jurists. Reuters has been especially reckless, in all likelihood because it works closely with M.I.6 to spread anti–Russian propaganda, a relationship that is well-documented—as is the BBC’s, for that matter. Reuters reports of a mass grave of 440 bodies are completely untrue. Later on Friday the agency reported that many of the bodies found at the “mass burial site”—it is no longer a mass grave—were disinterred with ropes around their necks. Reuters withdrew that story within hours.

A short while later The Telegraph reported that its correspondent had found no evidence to support Ukrainian claims of large body counts—one official asserted they had found 1,000 bodies—and none indicating that any of the victims had been tortured.

The New York Times and the BBC are not typically so cautious in their assertions and attributions of responsibility as they have so far proven in Izyum. The Times is on the record in one of its “special reports” as documenting Russian war crimes in the Bucha case when it has done no such thing and as there has been no impartial investigation of events there last spring. 

As it turns out, The Times and the Beeb have reason to be careful this time. What appears to have occurred in Izyum during Russia’s occupation and what is now being discovered stand in direct contradiction to the assertions of the Ukrainians they quote to establish a clear version of events without putting their names to it.

An Associated Press video shot in Izyum during the Ukrainian authorities’ guided tour last week reports there is a single mass grave containing the bodies of 17 Ukrainian soldiers, not civilians and not hundreds or a thousand. “It was surrounded by hundreds of individual graves,” The AP notes in a superimposed caption.

This starts to resemble the scam the Ukrainians attempted to put over when, last spring, they led Western media to a mass grave outside of Mariupol that was supposed to contain 9,000 bodies. As Eva Bartlett has ably established, the mass grave was nothing more than an orderly, undisturbed cemetery.

As to the 17 Ukrainian soldiers, Russian media reported months ago that Russian forces proposed several times to establish safe-passage corridors allowing the Armed Forces of Ukraine to collect their dead and give them proper burials. The AFU refused all such offers and declined to remove the corpses of its fallen, according to these media. Russian forces, in consequence, interred the 17 soldiers in a cemetery with, by the most reliable count, roughly 200 individual graves.

This report from a Russian news site includes Russian-language text covering these events and video that appears to show Russian soldiers preparing the 17 bodies for burial.