Many insults have been hurled at Vladimir Putin since he invaded Ukraine a fortnight ago, causing chaos, grief and death. A bloodstained attacker. A Stalin of the 21st century. A total fucking asshole. Beelzebub.
“Look at Putin’s face. You will see the devil,” an American commentator said on Wednesday as a maternity hospital was bombed in the city of Mariupol.
But for Venezuelan pundit Alberto Aranguibel, Putin’s February 24 invasion was “the necessary war– the necessary war.
The Chinese academic Wang Shuo saw it as “a crisis created by the United States”. “The strategic selfishness of the United States has caused more disasters in the world,” Wang grumbled in the Global Times on Wednesday, blaming Washington’s “selfish and short-sighted action” for having plunged Ukraine into the war.
And for the editorial board of Mexican newspaper La Jornada, it was time to abandon the unnecessary fantasy that Putin’s “ambition and malice” were the only culprits and face the “hard truth” of how NATO’s eastward push had paved the way for disaster.
“The West’s horror at Putin’s actions must be seen in the context of the shameful history of involvement of Western powers in illegal wars,” said an article in the leading South African newspaper, the Daily Maverick, questioning South Africa’s perceived neutral stance on the war.
“Was the Western response to the invasion of Ukraine hypocritical? Unequivocally: yes”, argued the author, before also condemning “Putin’s unjustifiable and illegal attack on a sovereign state”.
Much of the coverage exploring Western hypocrisy has come from predictable quarters: the state media of Russia’s authoritarian allies such as Venezuela, North Korea, Syria, Cuba and China, where pro- -regime have largely avoided the word “invasion”.
“When will they sanction the United States for their crimes and invasions? Telesur correspondent in Venezuela, Madelein García, demand this week after Joe Biden announced a ban on Russian oil imports.
Chavista commentator Aranguibel portrayed Putin not as an aggressor but as the victim of “the most brutal and intense campaign of demonization ever seen”. “[The campaign is] perhaps only comparable to the one that was waged against President Nicolás Maduro for at least a decade,” Aranguibel wrote in Últimas Noticias, a pro-government tabloid, although the anti-American tone in pro-regime Venezuelan media seemed to soften after talks with Biden officials last Saturday.
The official Chinese news agency, Xinhua, calls the conflict “the situation in Ukraine”. while North Korea’s state-run KCNA agency called Western sanctions an “abuse of power”.
“The root cause of the Ukrainian crisis lies totally in the hegemonic policy of the United States and the West, which imposes itself in authoritarianism and the abuse of power against other countries,” KCNA said quoting a head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
In Taipei, meanwhile, the media questioned whether Russia’s actions set a worrying precedent for Taiwan, where the threat of an invasion by China looms. The headlines asked: “Ukraine today, Taiwan tomorrow?
Granma, the spokesman for Cuba’s Communist Party, denounced the “ruthless campaign of the Yankee Empire” against Russia while downplaying the conflict as a “desacuerdo(disagreement) between Moscow and Kiev.
In Syria, state media have fully backed Bashar al-Assad, who backed Putin’s war from the start after Russia helped him secure his own position in Syria for the past seven years.
But criticism of Western double standards has not been limited to Russian-allied state media.
An opinion piece in South Africa’s Mail & Guardian newspaper called the conflict ‘soaked in contradictions’, criticizing Western media coverage and government responses that seemed to portray the war in Ukraine as worse than other conflicts outside. from Europe.
“While we deplore the violence and loss of life in Ukraine resulting from the Russian intervention…it is worth stepping back and considering how the rest of the world may view this conflict,” he said. .
“Fear of domination, potential enemies spur Russian invasion,” reads the Guardian in Nigeria, reflecting widely held beliefs that NATO’s perceived expansionist goals in Europe are partly to blame.
Yan Boechat, a Brazilian journalist who reports on the humanitarian crisis from Kyiv, mocked the “cynical, hypocritical” tears shed by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken over the victims of the Ukrainian conflict in the face of his country’s military carnage. had caused in Iraq.
“Under Obama, the United States was just as cruel in Mosul as Putin. No one was left to mourn the dead. American planes killed them all”, Boechat tweetedrecalling how he tripped over body parts while reporting from the devastated Iraqi city six months after the war.
“Unfortunately, cruelty, barbarism and injustice are not unique to Putin and the Russians,” concluded the Brazilian journalist. “The victims are mourned depending on the aggressor. [But] they are all victims: Ukrainian, Iraqi, Syrian, Afghan civilians”.