Deadly soldier attack fuels conspiracy theories in nervous Ukraine


Jhe shooting at the Makarov Yuzhny Machine-Building Plant in Dnipro was shocking and deadly. A young conscript suddenly opened fire with his AK-47 military rifle, killing five soldiers and wounding five others.

The shooter, Artem Ryabchuk, 21, fled. He was arrested a few hours later. The motives for his actions were unclear, authorities say. Ukrainian Deputy Interior Minister Anton Gerashchenko said investigators would look into how the conscript had passed a medical commission allowing him access to weapons.

But there was immediate traffic on social media from people who had apparently seen “evidence” that the young man was a Russian agent. Some claimed it was the first mission in a campaign of murders that would follow.

This kind of social media reaction is perhaps unsurprising in today’s uncertain and volatile scenario, with daily warnings of impending war.

But the story of a ‘hidden hand’ sowing violence and discord, creating ‘provocation’ was very present during the Maidan protests in 2014, the separatist war that followed and the outbreaks of conflict that took place. afterwards.

US and UK officials have argued in the current confrontation that the Russians would stage “false flag” attacks to justify military action. This theme is now diverted and enthusiastically taken up by the Russians: in certain blogs, but also in the mainstream media.

The disinformation campaign quickly gained popularity. Semyon Pegov, a blogger with 179,000 followers on the WarGonzo site, on Telegram messaging, “revealed” that 150 British special forces personnel have arrived for action in Kramatorsk in Donbass.

“British specialists arrived at the military airport about a week ago, local residents often see them in the city, the British do not hide their affiliation”, he reported: “We have received information that Ukraine forms panels. There are six. The British are directly involved with them as instructors.

Mr Pegov then ‘exposed’ Perfidious Albion’s incendiary activities, with his material now picked up by the Russian broadcaster. RT. British undercover troops, he said, planned to sabotage social facilities and chemical plants in the breakaway republics of Donetsk and Luhansk.

The operation, as described, would be somewhat convoluted. The British would carry out the attacks, according to an RT report, disguising themselves as Russian Spetznaz (special forces), film themselves, then broadcast the footage while a separatist defector, in reality an actor, told Western media that the Russians had carried out the provocation “.

Another website, Red Spring, considered Recep Tayyep Erdogan to be one of the orchestrators of the secret war. Turkish secret agents, he said, along with British troops, are part of the clandestine mission.

The Turks are currently in the crosshairs of the Kremlin. Ankara has sold TB2 drones to Kiev and there is an agreement for their production in Ukraine. The drones, which had been very effective for Azerbaijan in its war against Moscow’s ally Armenia, have already been used by the Ukrainians in the Donbass to destroy the artillery of separatist forces.

Reports of a British role in the clandestine conflict are perhaps, at least in part, due to British ministers and part of the media, repeatedly stating that “British troops have been sent to Ukraine”.

In reality, a small number of soldiers are there to train the Ukrainian forces, particularly in the use of the 2,000 short-range missiles, NLAW (Next Generation Light Anti-Tank Weapon) that Britain has sent to Ukraine – this for which Ukrainians are sincerely grateful in their hour of need.

This, however, is not the only time that the role of ‘secret’ British forces has emerged in the Ukrainian conflict. An example from the past occurred six years ago in the town of Andrievka in the Donbass, when I was told with great certainty that British snipers were at work against separatist fighters.

“The snipers on that hill were British. People have seen them. It could be seen in their uniforms,” said local resident Vitali Nelovich. “They were near the TV tower. But even before they were stationed, there were others who came by helicopter. They had very dark skin.

Another, Alexei Viktorovich, was also adamant: “Dark-skinned men were very professional, I was in the army myself, so I could tell. They didn’t stay long, came and went.

Russian main battle tanks T-72B3


The dark skins of the men, which the two men were holding, were obviously legacies of the British Empire.

Prosecution evidence produced to prove British involvement was a combat jacket with a Union Jack on the sleeve, as well as a panther head badge, something I remember seeing while covering the operation Panther’s Claw in Helmand, Afghanistan in 2009.

“What is it? How can you explain that?” asked a separatist fighter, I pointed out to him that one of his comrades was wearing a Manchester United shirt, and asked them to consider whether a mercenary was really likely to wear his national colors. The combat jacket had somehow, I suggested, ended up there after a long trip through army surplus stores.

The same combat jacket, however, later appeared on a YouTube video. A man in a balaclava showing it off exclaims, “Look at that chevron, a white lion!” Another man corrected him: “No, it’s a panther, an English panther.” The first man continued: “Yes, that’s it, the English panthers; they are very close to [Ukrainian] nationalists. They are very well trained. They came to kill us, but don’t worry, we’ll protect the public.


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