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29 Apr, 2021 08:35

It's all propaganda! Ukrainian diplomats slam Reuters news agency for reporting on costumed ball held to mark spring in Crimea

It's all propaganda! Ukrainian diplomats slam Reuters news agency for reporting on costumed ball held to mark spring in Crimea

Footage of Russian couples waltzing among the peach trees to celebrate the end of winter might seem innocent enough, but according to Ukraine’s top diplomatic envoys, it’s proof enough that the media is dancing to Moscow’s tune.

On Tuesday, the London-based news agency Reuters published a clip showing dozens of couples frolicking to classical music in a blossom-filled garden. Ekaterina Trafodatskaya, one of the event’s organizers, told the camera crew that it had been held to “preserve the beauty” of the season in eternity.

However, the Ukrainian embassy in London has since accused the journalists behind the report of being in lockstep with the Kremlin. The diplomats were incensed that the video of the dance, held in Crimea, made no reference to its claims to the disputed territory. The peninsula was reabsorbed into Russia in 2014, after what Kiev and many governments across the world branded an illegal referendum.

“Dear Reuters,” the embassy officials wrote on Twitter, “your name does not look good on Russian propaganda.” Instead, they claimed, “Crimea is Ukraine, and was illegally occupied in an earlier ‘spring costumed ball’ of the infamous ‘green men,’” referencing forces who took control of the region during the chaos surrounding the 2014 Maidan. Apparently in the face of the criticism, Reuters appeared to backtrack on its reporting and the Tweet was made unavailable by Thursday morning.

While the happy dancers might look like they’re just enjoying the weather, Ukraine’s representatives on one of the most desirable diplomatic postings claimed the clip was part of “Russian aggression.”

Other online commentators piled on, with James Canning-Cook, who describes himself as a Modern History student at the University of Oxford, urging followers to “report and block” one of the world’s best-known newswires, presumably for not including a Kiev-approved disclaimer. Another account claimed that Russian nuclear missiles were “only a few yards away” from the peach plantation.

A Tweet from Michael MacKay, a Canadian, pro-Ukraine information warrior went even further, insisting that “Reuters is nothing but an arm of Russian information warfare against the West.”

Also on rt.com Seven years after Crimea rejoined Russia, Western leaders are fooling themselves if they hope peninsula can ever return to Ukraine

Russia maintains that Crimea is an integral part of its territory after it returned to Moscow’s control in 2014. The peninsula had previously long been part of the Russian Empire and the Russian division of the USSR, before being signed over to the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic by Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev in 1954. The move had been seen as a pure formality, given that it was still part of the union and ultimately governed from Moscow.

However, when modern-day Ukraine split from the declining communist pact in 1991, Crimea went with it, despite being home to a large number of citizens who had always been Russian. Its reabsorption by Moscow has been a continued source of conflict with the West, and the US and EU have imposed sanctions on Russia over its status.

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