Pro-Russian falsehoods of Kim Dotcom, alleged mobster

On May 10, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby appeared with Fox News“Your World” host Neil Cavuto will discuss the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Cavuto mentioned US Senator Angus King of Maine, who had asked the intelligence community to do some “examination of soul” regarding their mistaken belief that Russia would quickly overrun Ukrainian forces.

“What we missed was the Ukrainians’ will to fight… and we missed it in Afghanistan as well.” king had said.

In that context, Cavuto asked Kirby if the United States could have delivered weapons and other aid to Ukraine “months ago,” before Russia launched a multi-pronged invasion on February 24.

Kirby responded that the administration of President Joe Biden had been “carrying guns long before the invasion.” He added that since 2014, when Russia first launched a proxy war in eastern Ukraine, the US. [Soviet-era]” style to one of “small unit leadership, command and control, operational maneuver”.

That prompted Kim Dotcom, a German expat facing extradition to the United States on charges of racketeering and online hacking, to spread pro-Kremlin falsehoods to his more than 815,000 Twitter followers:

“Over 14,000 ethnic Russian civilians in Donbass were killed by US-trained Ukrainian forces and @PentagonPresSec openly brags about arming and training Ukrainians for 8 YEARS. Who would have ever expected a Russian response?

The problem is that Dotcom has it backwards. The United States has long been reluctant to provide lethal military aid to Ukraine, even as Russia fomented war there for years. And as for the claim that 14,000 civilians were previously killed in eastern Ukraine?

In fact, the figure of 14,000 includes combatants and civilians, with combatants making up the majority of deaths. Many of them were Ukrainian military personnel and thus were obviously not “killed by US-trained Ukrainian forces,” as Dotcom put it. Nor were they all of “ethnic Russian.”

Dotcom’s falsehoods, however, align with one of the Kremlin’s. misleading justifications for their war, that is, that the Russian-speakers in eastern Ukraine were being chased. This is disputed around Ukraine and many Russian speakers there.

Russian state media have carried amplifying dotcom Messenger service about the war, as it often targets the United States because of the guilt.

Dotcom, a German citizen residing in New Zealand, has been fighting for a decade extradition to the united states to face charges of copyright infringement, money laundering and racketeering in connection with its Megaupload file-sharing service, which the US Department of Justice. to turn off in 2012. He denies any wrongdoing.

But going back to his tweet about US aid and the 14,000 “ethnic Russian civilians,” here are the facts:

According to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, from April 14, 2014 to December 31, 2021, 14,400 conflict-related deaths were recorded in Ukraine. That includes 3,404 civilians, 4,400 members of the Ukrainian armed forces, and 6,500 “members of armed groups,” meaning Russian-backed forces.

The death toll of the Ukrainian military and Russian-backed fighters includes deaths “resulting from reckless handling of ammunition or weapons, road incidents, illness, murder and suicide while serving in the conflict zone,” the UN says.

A road sign pierced by shrapnel stands at a new Donetsk airport terminal destroyed by shelling, in Donetsk, on Oct. 25, 2015. (Max Black/AP)

A road sign pierced by shrapnel stands at a new Donetsk airport terminal destroyed by shelling, in Donetsk, on Oct. 25, 2015. (Max Black/AP)

The United States provided aid to Ukraine after Russia’s clandestine invasion in 2014, but only in reaction to Russian aggression, not the other way around.

According According to the US Department of State, since 2014, “The United States has provided more than $6.5 billion in security assistance for training and equipment to help Ukraine preserve its territorial integrity, secure its borders, and improve interoperability with NATO”, the US-Europe defense alliance. .

Since January 2021, the United States has pumped an additional $4.5 billion into Ukraine to help it protect “sovereignty and territorial integrity.” Biden has asked the US Congress for $33 billion more, with USA Today estimating that US aid to Ukraine “could reach $53 billion.”

However, the United States has long tried to prevent such an escalation, only signing the sale of anti-tank missiles to Ukraine in March 2018, roughly four years after Russia annexed Crimea and seeded conflict in eastern Ukraine.

Like the Voice of America reported at the time, Ukraine had been asking the United States for lethal military assistance since 2014, “but the Obama administration only offered training and support equipment rather than contributing to the escalation of violence.”

While Russia has long denied that it was operating directly within Ukraine, the Buk-TELAR missile system used to shoot down Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine on July 17, 2014, was delivered to Ukraine from Kursk, Russia, by the Russian 53rd Army Anti-Aircraft Missile Brigade. (The subsequent accident killed all 298 people on board. Russia undermined the investigation.)

Ukraine maintains that nine tactical groups of the Russian army battalion intervened in the August 2014 Battle of Ilovaisk, resulting in heavy loss of life on the Ukrainian side.

Russia denied it, but researchers, journalists and open source researchers have provided evidence that Russian combat forces participated in the fight. That includes documentation showing that the military equipment deployed in the battle was only used by the Russian military.

In December 2021, the New Zealand High Court ruled that Dotcom could be extradited, but The final decision remains in the hands of the country’s Minister of Justice.

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