Putin’s blatant lies, media control cannot hide awful reality of invasion

No matter how hard Russian President Vladimir Putin tries to strengthen his control of media and how many nonsensical lies he tells, he cannot hide the stark fact that Russia is violating international law as it continues its invasion of Ukraine, killing and wounding innocent civilians.

Russia is adamant in its claim that the invasion of Ukraine is a “special military operation” to protect its own safety. The Russian media are not allowed to use such expressions as “invasion,” “attack” or “war.”

In addition, a law has been passed in Russia to punish anyone who spreads “fake information” about Russian military activities. It is said foreigners living in the country are also subject to the new law. This means objective reporting of the situation in Ukraine will be considered illegal in Russia.

In response, some media outlets of the United States, Britain and other countries have decided to temporarily suspend their news coverage activities in Russia.

Facebook and Twitter, which Russian citizens have been using as tools for obtaining and disseminating information, have also become subject to restrictions, such as by being blocked.

The Putin administration’s control of media is growing increasingly severe. This may be a sign of impatience with the fact that the invasion is not progressing as it expected, that Russia is facing both fierce resistance from the Ukrainian military and severe sanctions from the international community, and that anti-war voices are growing even within Russia itself.

The administration’s arguments are not penetrating the global and domestic communities because the arguments are seen through as being based on lies. Putin claims that Ukraine was trying to acquire nuclear weapons and cites this as another reason for the invasion. But there is absolutely no evidence to support the claim.

Russian forces are taking control of Ukraine’s nuclear power plants and attacking a research facility that stores nuclear materials. The move is apparently aimed at fabricating evidence of nuclear development.

No one now believes the Putin administration’s explanation that the Russian military is attacking only Ukraine’s military-related facilities. The devastation caused by the attacks on residential areas is shown with grim reality in video footage from the country.

Russian insistence that the fires at the nuclear power plants and civilian casualties were staged by Ukraine is utterly beyond the pale.

Putin’s argument that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) has broken its promise of not expanding eastward is also unconvincing.

There is no written commitment by NATO, and even if there were a verbal promise, it would not be a justification for the invasion.

From now on, what Putin will hear will be only lies, not inconvenient truths. He will probably make a series of mistakes in judgment as he ends up being deceived by his own lies.

— The original Japanese article appeared in The Yomiuri Shimbun on March 8, 2022.