Many many people in the west want to tell you there are ‘Russian tanks in Ukraine’. Russia wants to tell you there aren’t, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov in recent comments.
Why are my thoughts on the matter relevant? Well, I’ve spent most of the last 3 years in Donbass, reporting from Donbass. And I’m the guy they often use in screengrabbed photos to try to show that there are ‘Russian tanks in Ukraine’. Apparently I’m some sort of ‘Russian propagandist’, who would have been mortified to ‘accidentally reveal this’ etc etc.
Actually, I’m an independent British journalist, and I would have been absolutely fine about showing ‘Russian tanks’ in Donbass, if they were there. Actually it would have been a real scoop, an exclusive.
However, to actually prove a tank is a ‘Russian tank’, takes a lot more than the various screenshots retweeted about. It would take a proper examination of the tank, especially with modifications to tanks commonplace, meaning one derivation of, say, a T-72, can easily be made to look like another.
But, then, even to prove it’s a Russian tank is entirely academic, there are hundreds upon hundreds of Russian tanks in Ukraine, around a thousand (mainly Russian-manufactured) T-72s in Ukraine, even.
To say there are ‘Russian tanks in Ukraine’, in the way the west throws the words – of great significance yet with casual irresponsibility – around, would take something quite clear: evidence of tanks crossing the border from Russia, in the time since early 2014.
Yet, all this satellite imagery we have access to, and still there’s no actual evidence at all of ‘Russian tanks in Ukraine’. All there is, is photos, screenshots, often featuring me, used to prop up a load of fake news, which a load of western governments want you to believe, because it fits what they want you to go along with – them sending more weapons to Ukraine.