December 7, 2020
On December 4, the TV channel NASH, owned by Yevhen Murayev, Ukrainian pro-Russian politician, the leader of Nashi (Ours) party and former member of the Opposition Bloc, aired a talk show about the implementation of the Minsk Agreements. During the show, the channel provided floor (via video call) to Rodion Miroshnik, the representative of the so-called “Luhansk People’s Republic” in the Trilateral Contact Group. Meanwhile, the channel did not ask any Ukrainian representative in the Trilateral Contact Group to join the talk show.
Rodion Miroshnik was on the air for some twenty-five minutes. During this time, he spread several Kremlin propaganda narratives:
1.”Ukraine is the side of the conflict which fuels the war, as Ukraine does nothing to implement the Minsk Agreements.” At the same time, Miroshnik denied Russia’s involvement in the war. He also argued that “Donbas is not Ukraine.” This statement itself goes against the Minsk Agreements.
2.”70% of the people of Donbas do not want to come back to Ukraine.” There is no way to prove this statement.
3.”Ukraine did not give the people of Donbas a chance to vote for Ukraine’s President and MPs.”
Maks Nazarov, a host on the NASH TV channel, who was moderating the talk show, commented about this on his Telegram channel. Nazarov wrote that the invited Miroshnik “refused to act by the playbook in which Putin is a bad person, while Poroshenko is great, and [people in] Donetsk and Luhansk are hopeless due to their sick mentality.”
It is worth noting that this is not the first case of “talking to the other side.” On November 17, the YouTube channel Klymenko Time published an interview with Natalia Nikonorova, “the foreign policy minister” of the so-called “Donetsk People’s Republic.” In this interview, Nikonorova shared the very same Kremlin narratives Miroshnik did.
These two cases indicate a worrying tendency of pro-Russian politicians in Ukraine using media they control to legitimise the Russia-backed militants of the so-called “LPR” and “DPR” in Ukraine’s information space.
Vitalii Rybak, analyst and journalist at Ukraine World and Internews Ukraine