Ukraine bus attack: ‘Kiev throws accusations, West blindly follows narrative’

RIA Novosti / Michail Parkhomenko
It’s not justified to conclude anything from the Ukrainian bus tragedy before the investigation is over, says Dmitry Babich, political analyst for Voice of Russia. It’s also not clear why the rebels would attack a bus with people from the Donbass region.

RT:The bus shelling, which subsequently grabbed so much attention, including outside Ukraine, took place on the opening day of the European Parliament session - and Ukraine's President was quick to draw parallels with the terror attack in Paris. Is it fair to compare the two?

Dmitry Babich: Well, before the investigation to make such conclusions is certainly not justified, but Mr. Poroshenko has been known for his, I would say, not very balanced comparisons of the civil war in his own country. I can remind you of the story how speaking to the US Congress he said that the war in the East of Ukraine is not, I quote, “a war of civilization, it’s a war of civilization against barbarity.” By “barbarity” he obviously meant his opponents who simply don’t want to live under the new regime in Ukraine. Even the Western press admitted that the East of Ukraine was very different from the West of Ukraine in its political opinions. Mr. Poroshenko only represents a minority, actually, a minority of Ukrainians but he speaks as if he was the whole Ukrainian people.

RT:Kiev maintains the bus was hit by the rebels' rocket. There’s footage of a bus hit by such a rocket in the past. As you can see, the vehicle is completely obliterated, while in the footage of the latest bus attack there is much less damage. Why is there so much difference?

DB: The first bus, as far as I could understand, was hit by a missile and the second one is the one with which this terrible story happened just recently. Well you see that, you know, the claims by the Ukrainian side, that this second bus was hit by a missile, they don’t stand up to any kind of critique because it’s quiet clear what happens to buses, civilian buses, when shells or missiles hit them. There are different theories on what happened to the second bus. Some people say it was fired upon but then there would be witnesses, because when you have people shooting automatic weapons it is heard at a pretty wide range. Some experts say that the bus could incidentally hit a landmine or be damaged by a landmine because the Ukrainian forces put landmines next to their checkpoints. And [the incident with] this particular bus happened right near a Ukrainian check-point.

Municipal workers restore a gas pipeline in Petrovsky District of Donetsk damaged in the result of shelling by Ukrainian army. (RIA Novosti / Igor Maslov)

Anyway I don’t understand why the insurgents would fire at the bus caring their people, people from the Donbass region, travelling to the rest of Ukraine obviously most likely to pick up their pensions. And also people forget why people travel by such buses in the war zone - because Mr. Poroshenko cut all banking activity in the rebellious regions. People can’t get their salaries, people can’t get their pensions where they live, so they have to travel to other cities by bus, they have to cross the frontlines and anything may happen including these terrible tragedies.

RT:Kiev's reaction to the attacks was instant: a criminal case was opened, and accusations hurled without the prosecutors even seeing the scene. That's a stark contrast with the multiple other cases of civilian deaths in the Ukrainian conflict. Why is there such a difference?

DB: Well, let’s remember that right on that day the European Parliament was meeting to discuss the situation in Ukraine. Let me remind you of that when the MH17 Malaysian plane was shot down also immediately the Western nations accused Russia or the so-called Pro-Russian rebels and they imposed the so-called sectoral sanctions on Russia. Now there is almost no news about this investigation, this investigation seems to fade away, but the sanctions are still there. So I think this is the tactics of the Ukrainian authorities: immediately after a new tragedy they accuse the opposing side, they open criminal proceedings as if this was already a court decision and the West blindly follows this narrative. You know the whole tragedy of the conflict in Ukraine is that the West, and by the West I mean the United States and the European Union, instead of being a force for compromise as it had been for decades and centuries, now the West supports the most radical movements, the most radical solutions, not only in Ukraine but also in Syria, in Libya, in other countries. This is a very dangerous development.

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