Letter to the Editor: Who Is Actually Behind the Odessa Tragedy?

To the Editor:

Re the article: “Horror in Odessa as Fire Shatters Jewel of Czarist Russia” (May 8):

We know and highly respect Bloomberg as an influential and unbiased major international agency whose reporting has always presented a clear and thorough analysis of the events. Therefore, we were surprised to read this article.

We consider it unbalanced, editorialized, one-sided and such that presents the situation in Odessa only from the point of view of the Kremlin propaganda whose lies have been refuted countless times, including by the U.S. Government.

Beginning with the name of the article which mentions Odessa, for some unknown reason, not as a city in Ukraine, but a "Jewel of Czarist Russia," there are a number of elements that put into question its objectivity:

  • The article describes the May 2 events in Odessa based solely on comments of senior Russian officials such as President Putin, speaker of Russia’s lower house of parliament Sergei Naryshkin, and pro-Kremlin experts such as Head of the Moscow- based Institute of CIS K. Zatulin, well known for his anti-Ukrainian rhetoric (whose advice that "Instead of sending in the Russian army, Putin should provide significant military aid to the rebels and fighting will spread south" is quoted in the article).
  • The second paragraph of the article mentions that May 2 events "culminated in the deaths of at least 40 pro-Russian activists"; however, it does not say a single word that up to six participants of the peaceful pro-Ukrainian rally were killed with automatic weapons used by the separatists before the tragic events in the House of Trade Unions.
  • Even though the overwhelming majority of people, including in Odessa, stand for united Ukraine (as has been proved by a number of polls, including by the IRI) and condemn Russia's aggression, military annexation of Crimea and direct support with weapons and Russian special forces of the terrorists claiming to be separatists, the article uses the words of Putin and Naryshkin describing the actions of the Ukrainian Government as "fascists" targeting ethnic Russians in eastern and southern Ukraine for "genocide".
  • The authors of the article did not explain what happened before the pro-Russian activists were chased to Kulikove Pole Square, namely, that several participants of the peaceful Ukraine’s Unity rally were killed with automatic weapons by the separatists.
  • None of Ukrainian officials with their reaction to the tragic events in Odessa was mentioned; though, Ukraine's acting President immediately signed into law a two-day mourning in the country for those killed in Odessa and criminal investigation was launched.
  • The authors of the article several times refer to the situation in Ukraine to the one in Yugoslavia and propagate the idea of Ukraine's federalization heavily promoted by Russia and significantly opposed by the vast majority of Ukrainians including in the East and South of the country.
  • Yet another talking point of the Kremlin propaganda, namely distrust to the current legitimate Government of Ukraine, has been widely exploited in the article.
  • The word "pogroms," used in the article, is not even of Ukrainian origin, in the context of the current events in Ukraine it should be associated with the separatists; moreover, this word came into being as a result of Russian imperial Czarist policy.

These and other elements in the article present the situation in a grossly distorted way and mislead the audience as to the actual events unfolding in Ukraine.

We would appreciate your presenting all pertinent facts and an unbiased analysis of the situation in Ukraine, whose development will have a profound effect on European and global security.

Olexander Motsyk,

Ambassador of Ukraine to the U.S.

May 8, 2014

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