Accessibility links

The Daily Vertical: Playing Putin's Border Game (Transcript)

  • Brian Whitmore

The views expressed in this commentary do not necessarily reflect the views of RFE/RL.

OK, here's a memo to everybody.

The fighting in Donbas is not taking place on Ukraine's "border."

On the contrary, the escalation in Avdiyvka is happening deep inside Ukraine's internationally recognized borders.

The front line in a conflict separating land seized by Moscow and its proxies from land controlled by Ukraine's legitimate authorities is not a "border."

All the recent talk about fighting on Ukraine's border is reminiscent of Moscow's allegation last year that Ukraine had sent saboteurs across the "border" with Crimea.

Ukraine, of course, doesn't have a border with Crimea.

Crimea is an internationally recognized part of Ukraine that is illegally occupied by Russia.

WATCH Today's Daily Vertical

Language matters and the Kremlin has been masterful at getting everybody to frame issues like this to Moscow's liking.

And not just in Ukraine.

When Moscow-backed separatists in Georgia's South Ossetia region periodically grab a few kilometer of additional territory building fences in the dead of night, it is routinely described as "moving the border."

Repeat after me: Georgia does not have a border with South Ossetia.

South Ossetia is an internationally recognized part of Georgia.

Now, Vladimir Putin has famously said that "Russia's borders don't end anywhere."

And when we describe the front lines in Russia's manufactured wars as borders, we validate this sentiment -- and bring it closer to reality.

Keep telling me what you think on The Power Vertical's Twitter feed and on our Facebook page.

XS
SM
MD
LG