We are justified in saying the worlds media tends to ignore Russia’s on-going occupation of eastern Ukraine & Crimea. So, it’s refreshing when major news agencies get around to covering the conflict, no matter how fleetingly. This photo of a Ukrainian soldier sitting in his bunker playing the violin made the Agence France-Presse (AFP) news agency Pictures of the week (Dec 19 to 25). The location near Russian occupied town of Horlivka in Ukraine’s Donetsk Oblast (province). Link to AFP website.
The picture tells us more about the media than it does the undoubted musical talents of Ukrainian soldiers. It’s clear the Kremlin tactic is to have its Russia-led forces in Ukraine keep their front line firing ticking over, but not substantial enough to capture the attention of the worlds media. The deaths of a few Ukrainians every month is no longer news worthy, even if those Ukrainians live in Europe.
No longer news worthy because today we live in a 24/7 interconnected world, one where major events happen everyday. This means news organisations such as the BBC must prioritise where their journalists go and what they spend time reporting on. The media needs fresh news, something to capture their readers and viewers attention; a new angle – hence a violin playing soldier makes the news.
Last year saw 55 Ukrainian soldiers killed and over 300 wounded, along with almost certainly a far larger number of Russia’s forces casualties. For those civilians living on the front line, their misery and pain has continued unchecked since 2014. But, after almost 7 years, the conflict in eastern Ukraine has become passé, no longer fashionable; out of date. The challenge for Ukraine and those who care about the country must be to do far more to reawaken interest in Russia’s on-going occupation of eastern Ukraine and Crimea. Because silence is Putin’s best friend.
But hey, at least we know Ukrainian soldiers can play the violin.