Staunton, December 25 – It is a fool’s errand to try to document and then denounce all the lies the Russian government and media have committed over the last year about Ukraine: Each day brings a fresh crop. But some are so egregious, so dangerous to the international system, and so likely to become precedents that they must be exposed.
Sometimes they are shown to be that by virtue of internal inconsistency or total implausibility. At others, they can be shown to be untrue by the careful examination of evidence provided by those who are Moscow’s victims. But on occasion, they are confirmed as false by the Russians themselves, an act of shamelessness that in and of itself constitutes an indictment.
This week one of the most appalling lies about what Russia has done in Ukraine was revealed as such by a Russian with close links to that country’s security agencies. In an interview, Vladimir Yefimov said he had helped Russian militants get into Ukraine by hiding in one of the humanitarian convoys Moscow sent there.
That Moscow had abused the trust of the international community in this way had long been known by those closely following the situation in Ukraine. Indeed, Moscow’s misuse of such convoys in support of its military goals had even become the subject of Western political cartoons.
Now, thanks to Yefimov, a Russian has confirmed what Russia has done, and the level of detail he provides, the photographs of those involved, and the reproductions of the forms he and his comrades use leave little doubt that Yefimov is now telling at least most of the truth when he said that Russians who volunteered to fight in Ukraine “went under the guise of the Red Cross.”
The international community needs to hold Moscow accountable for this as well as for its other violations of international law in Ukraine, and now that a Russian source has provided the evidence of one such violation, Western governments have no excuse for not denouncing what Moscow has done and demanding that those directly involved by held responsible.