While the world media and politicians go bonkers to portray Vladimir Putin as Hitler, Genghis Khan or even Satan himself, the United Nations appears to be remaining strangely ambivalent.
The UN has forbidden staffers from calling Russia’s incursion into Ukraine an “invasion” or “war” to avoid “reputational risk.”
Or perhaps because then, they might have to do something about it?
Staff are being asked to refer to the attack, which has forced two million to flee, a “conflict” or “military offensive.”
UN staff received an email the week of March 7 from their communications overseers not to put the Ukrainian flag on personal or official accounts online. The Irish Times acquired a copy of the instructional email, which said: “Some specific examples of language to use/not use at the moment: [Use] “conflict” or “military offensive” and NOT “war” or “invasion” when referring to the situation in Ukraine.”
This was because, the message read, “we, as international civil servants, have a responsibility to be impartial.”
The Kremlin has similarly not referred to Russia’s actions in Ukraine as an invasion, but rather as a “special operation.”
Russia had blocked Facebook over “discrimination towards Russian media” in response to the social media giant banning Russia Today (RT) and Sputnik in the UK at the request of the UK government. A week after Moscow moved troops and armor into Ukraine, Russia’s media regulator Roskomnadzor announced that Facebook would be banned over “26 instances of discrimination toward Russian media.”
YouTube blocked access to state-run media channels at the request of the Ukrainian government, which Ukraine Vice Prime Minister Mykhailo Fedorov confirmed on Twitter.
This comes on the thirteenth day of Russia’s invasion, as civilians in the besieged port of Mariupol in southeast Ukraine are anxiously waiting for news of evacuation efforts as they struggle to survive in a city where bodies reportedly cannot even be removed from the streets.