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RT Claims 'Substantiated' In Four Tweets And A Video


A screen grab from Russia's RT TV station

A screen grab from Russia's RT TV station

The Russian government-run RT TV channel claims on its website that it "provides an alternative perspective on major global events, and acquaints international audience (sic) with the Russian viewpoint."

But the "Russian viewpoint" it provides has been harshly criticized by Western journalists -- and yesterday by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry -- as nothing short of Russian propaganda.

Using language seemingly derived directly from Moscow, the channel refers to officials in Kyiv as "coup-appointed" and armed activists who have taken journalists as hostages in eastern and southern Ukraine as peaceful "pro-federalization" protesters.

After Kerry's comments calling the channel a "propaganda bullhorn," Buzzfeed reported that Margarita Simonyan, RT's editor in chief, promised to seek "an official response from the U.S. Department of State substantiating Mr. Kerry's claims."

A quick look at some posts on Twitter over the past week from RT-linked accounts might make such a substantiation effort rather easy.

Here are just a few:

"Ukraine, R.I.P," Simonyan tweeted on April 24.

The photo below was originally taken by the channel's British contract freelancer Graham Phillips, who claimed the picture showed two snipers. He calls the government in Kyiv a "junta," but in his tweets he has said Ukrainian soldiers he has encountered are "polite" and "nice." RT, reposting his photo, used a different tone. "The Ukrainian army uses snipers against residents of the country's southeast," the channel tweeted.

After an interview with Sergei Lavrov, in which the Russian foreign minister hinted that Moscow would consider invading Ukraine, TV host Sophie Shevardnadze posted this photo:

Check out the caption used during the interview:

Here's what is said to be a spontaneous encounter during one of Phillips' stand-ups. The man on the left has also appeared recently on the Russian language LifeNews channel (at the 45-second mark), which is widely reported to have ties to Russia's security services.

The BBC's Daniel Sandford, who is also reporting from Slovyansk, questioned the veracity of the video, saying it "looks fake." Phillips said the comment was "deeply hurtful." We cannot verify either claim.

-- Glenn Kates

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