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The Purpose of Starting A Rumor About Ukraine Giving Territory To Poland


Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk talks to reporters after leaving a European Union leaders summit in Brussels on March 21.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk talks to reporters after leaving a European Union leaders summit in Brussels on March 21.

Is Kyiv temporarily transferring three of its western regions to Poland to wait out the current crisis?

Almost certainly not. But that hasn't stopped the spread of the rumor on Russian gossip sites.

Pravda.ru, the tabloid news site for which U.S. Senator John McCain wrote an anti-Putin opinion piece last year, splashes this headline:

"[Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy] Yatsenyuk Secretly Arranges For The Transfer Of Three Galician Regions To Poland."

Pravda cites Rex, a little-known pro-Kremlin "information agency," for this startling claim about the historical area in the northwest border region alongside Poland.

Just for context, these are currently the top two headlines on the Rex website:

"Kyiv Nazis Will Avenge Crimea And Southeastern Ukraine"

"Yatsenyuk's Government Prepares Evacuation Of Lviv"

Despite the virulently anti-Kyiv tone, the site contends that it has access to the inner circle of former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko. Here's the lede:

"An insider from Yulia Tymoshenko's inner circle reports that she has had private conversations with Arseniy Yatsenyuk. Yatsenyuk says he has become sick of the radicals -- especially [Right Sector leader Dmytro] Yarosh and [ultranationalist Oleksandr] Muzychko. He's scared of them and wants a way out of the situation. [He] has been forced to negotiate with Polish officials on the transfer to Poland of three Galician regions until the end of 2014, under the pretext of saving the population from a humanitarian catastrophe."

The crux of the article appears to be the rather absurd premise that transferring Ukrainian regions to another country would pacify nationalists.

So why construct the labyrinthine story? Apparently to manufacture another instance of Western hypocrisy.

Crimea's Prime Minister Sergei Aksyonov shared the story on Twitter with a simple "no comment," but the implication -- which both Pravda.ru and Rex advanced -- was obvious:

Western leaders condemn Russia's annexation of Crimea but are silent about the possible shifting of borders in Ukraine's northwest.

It would be a good point if it had any basis in fact. There's no evidence that it does.

--Glenn Kates

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