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Russian Media Needs a Scarecrow, But Why Is It Always Ukraine?
6 February, 2017
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The conversation between President Poroshenko and President Trump did not receive much airplay in Russia, from what Matt Kupfer has seen so far, he hasn’t seen very much media coverage. From the readouts about this phone call it doesn’t seem to be saying very much, it’s a standard readout from the Presidential administration of Ukraine, plus a very short one from the White House with bizarre phrasing which refers to working with Russia and Ukraine to restore peace on the border, which is not very tactful and not very accurate and perhaps it shows that the Trump administration does not understand what’s going on in eastern Ukraine.

One of the things with Russian media really does not reflect Reality.

Hromadske spoke to Matt Kupfer, news reporter at the Moscow Times on February, 5th via Skype.

 

Christian Borys: You published a roundup of the Sunday column on the news that’s coming out of Russia. What is the viewpoint on Ukraine after this most recent escalation?

Matt Kupfer: What I saw was that Ukraine was allegedly trying to involve itself with the US electoral campaign. And with Dmitry Kiselev referring it to something like Watergate. It seemed strange and didn’t seem to make much sense. Although we have heard of this before, there was also coverage of Putin’s visit to Hungary and the protesters wearing Ukrainian flags, it was not really clear who these protesters were, there was a suggestion they were Ukrainians who fled to Hungary, but in an interview one of the protesters I spoke to didn’t seem to have a native language of Ukrainian. But I would say the topic of Ukraine has become a secondary one, it is not as big a topic as it used to be. But on the news they seem to use it as a scarecrow effect and they also seem to use other topics on the news in the west, for instance today they used a political article about Timoshenko who allegedly had a conversation with Donald Trump at the National Prayer Breakfast. But the rebuttal from the Poroshenko Admin that it was not really a meeting. And reportedly did not show the fact that Trump rang Timoshenko to talk about the fact that US would not remove sanctions with Russia unless progress was made with Ukraine.

Hromadske spoke to Matt Kupfer, news reporter at the Moscow Times on February, 5th via Skype.

 

Avdiivka, Ukraine, 01/02/2017

Christian Borys: What about the conversation between President Poroshenko and President Trump? Did that receive much airplay in Russia?

Matt Kupfer: From what I have seen so far, I haven’t seen very much of it. From the readouts I have seen from this phone call it doesn’t strike me as very telling, it’s a standard readout from the Presidential Administration of Ukraine, It’s a very short one from the white house with bizarre phrasing which refers to working with Russia and Ukraine to restore peace on the border, perhaps just a shorthand way of describing the situation which is not very tactful and not very accurate or perhaps it shows that the Trump Admin does not understand what’s going on in eastern Ukraine which normally I would say the former but with the Trump admin I could probably see the latter.

 

 

Christian Borys: We asked this question to Lucian, with regards to Ukraine's neighbors to the north Belarus, there are some interesting things being mentioned by Lukashenka with regards to Putin, can you explain what is being said in the media with regards to what Lukashenko said.

Matt Kupfer:  I didn’t see that much, but it is possible more was said. I wouldn’t take what Lukashenko said as being too meaningful with regards to Russian-Belarus relations, it's not the first stab they have had and how they see the border with Russia. Belarus extended the visa regime as there is no formal border with Russia. I think it's also an issue with trying to jokey itself to be a region between the East and West. And this has become more of an issue with the Ukrainian crisis. It seems that the crisis with Ukraine and Russia has been beneficial for Belarus as it is now able to come to the negotiation table with US to aid and lift sanctions with Belarus as he can position himself because of the Minsk process and has been able to mark its independence from Russia, and there is no doubt that they are concerned with the situation in Ukraine.

 

Aleksandr Lukashenko, the President of Belarus, 21/09/2016. Source: publika.md

Christian Borys: What have you heard in the Russian media that is under-reported about what is happening in the west?

Matt Kupfer: One of the things with Russian media really does not reflect Reality, I followed reports about Trump and the reactions from the Ultra Russian patriots. It seems the media is very pro-Trump but the Ultra patriots where original very pro-Trump mainly to see if the Trump administration was in anyway going to lift sanctions, The media seems to be very pro-Trump defend Trump and his administration, But from what I can take from all of this is that the administration of Russia seems to say there may be a chance to lift sanctions but it’s very sure. With everything I have heard about the Trump administration leaning towards the lifting of sanctions etc. my advice to Ukraine would be, don’t take Trump at his word. 

And my advice for Russia would be don’t necessarily assume that you cannot take Trump at his word when he says he will lift sanctions unless there are progress on eastern Ukraine and Crimea.

I don’t think we know what is going to happen as the first two weeks has been very chaotic, The situation with Ukraine and Russia will be a work in Progress and I would not draw any conclusions from Russian media as it does not reflect reality.