Eastward NATO Marches as Ukraine Accuses Russia of 'Invasion'

The Kiev government in Ukraine accused the Russian army of invading its eastern border on Wednesday, even though no media outlets reporting on the claims appeared able to independently verify the accusations.

Though it can routinely be difficult to verify facts inside a war zone, there has been a pattern of errant reporting—including a consistent deference to the U.S. government’s narrative of events—in the western press when it comes to the crisis in Ukraine, especially regarding Russia’s role.

According to Reuters:

The  New York Times reporting on the fighting Wednesday said that Ukraine and U.S. officials characterized the fighting as a “stealth invasion.” Citing those officials, the newspaper reported that “tanks, artillery and infantry have crossed from Russia into an unbreached part of eastern Ukraine in recent days, attacking Ukrainian forces and causing panic and wholesale retreat not only in this small border town but also a wide section of territory[…]” However, even the reporting from the ground offered no concrete evidence to verify that the advance or shelling witnessed was, in fact, coming from Russian troops who crossed the international border.

In Washington, D.C., State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki said evidence indicates that “a Russian-directed counteroffensive is likely underway,” but offered journalists no concrete evidence to support the claims. Senior “American officials” reportedly showed the New York Times images of what they claimed were Russian artillery units inside Ukraine, but have yet to make such documents public.

In separate but related developments that began on Tuesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin met with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in the city of Minsk, Belarus in their first face-to-face meeting since Poroshenko was elected earlier this year. Meanwhile, as the meeting in Minsk was getting underway, the head of NATO took the opportunity to voice plans by the European alliance to expand its military footprint in the Baltics and other countries in eastern Europe.