By New Cold War.org editors, Feb. 13, 2015
Yesterday, RT.com published an extensive report about the BBC waking up, eleven months later, to the story of the sniper fire that occurred on Maidan Square in Kyiv on Feb. 20, 2014. The sniper fire killed and injured dozens of police and civilians and caused an international uproar. Blame was laid squarely by Western media and governments on the government of President Victor Yanukovych and its police forces. The controversy gave a huge boost to the efforts by the Euromaidan movement to overthrow that elected government, and indeed, that was accomplished in the several days that followed.
BBC now reports on the growing body of evidence that the sniper fire was directed by extreme-right combatants of the Maidan movement itself. BBC calls its new report an “untold story”, but there is nothing “untold” about it at all. As the RT report (at the weblink above) explains, RT was one of several news outlets which reported that the “official version” of events was part of a staged provocation. And later in September 2014, a social researcher at the University of Ottawa in Canada, Ivan Katchanovski, published the results of his research, including at Maidan Square, which, like the new BBC story, shows that sniper fire was directed by pro-Maidan forces against police and against civilians and journalists. His research was widely read and debated at the time, including in Ukraine, but ignored by the likes of the BBC.
The RT.com report includes an interview with German freelance journalist and videographer Mark Bartalmai. He has been living and reporting from Donetsk for many months. He publishes a website, ‘War reports by Mark Bartalmai’. Among other issues discussed with RT, Bartalmai refutes the claims routinely made by Western mainstream media, including the BBC, that rebel forces in eastern Ukraine show the same disregard for the civilian population as the regime in Kyiv by shelling civilian areas and by locating their artillery and mortar weapons in civilian areas.
The “untold” BBC report is here: The untold story of the Maidan massacre, Feb 11, 2015
Comments by Russia Insider commentator Alexander Mercouris, on his Facebook page, Feb 15, 2015:
This BBC report is attracting a lot of attention and rightly so for reasons I shall touch on below. However it is worth first pointing out:
1. That the report is hedged with qualifications. In particular, it still tries to maintain the fiction that most of the protesters on Maidan were peaceful people. Anybody who observed the street fighting and violence in and around Maidan Square and on Khrushchevsky Street on 2nd and 7th December 2013, in the week following 19th January 2014, and in the week leading up to the coup on 22nd February 2014, knows that is absurd.
It is precisely because of the extraordinary level of violence that was the hallmark of the Maidan protests from the start, and the very clear fact, widely reported at the time, that many of the protesters had firearms and were using them (abundant photographic evidence of this exists and I remember Alexei Yaroshevsky of RT reporting on firefights in the hotel he was staying and showing riot police whose riot shields had gunshot holes from shots fired at them by protesters) that the likelihood has always been that most of the killings were the work of protesters.
2. That the BBC is very late reporting this story. Within days of the coup, the Estonian foreign minister was expressing doubts about the official Maidan version in a widely leaked telephone conversation with the EU’s Caroline Ashton. I remember Ashton’s incredulity and haste to change the subject. That the BBC is only now undertaking an investigation of what was already being widely reported a year ago says a great deal about the quality of the BBC’s coverage of the Ukrainian conflict. Will it ever get round to admitting that there are doubts about the story of MH17 I wonder?
Putting aside the above, it is nonetheless striking that the BBC is now, at last, finally coming round to admitting that there are doubts about this story. Given the uncritical black-and-white way it has reported the Ukrainian conflict up to now, that is striking.
It is also striking that for the first time over the last few weeks, the BBC and the British media have stopped basing their reporting of the war exclusively on what the Ukrainians say. The days when the BBC and the British media simply republished claims of fictitious Ukrainian victories have gone. We are even beginning to get some reporting of the war from the NAF side.
One shouldn’t read too much into this, but I can’t help but think that the worm of doubt has well and truly burrowed its way in and that even the most ideologically blinkered British news editors are starting to distance themselves from a story that has gone completely wrong.