A German – Russian Donbas ‘Humanitarian’ Con
Gehrcke (left) and Hunko [’DNR’ website]
Two German MPs have yet again visited areas under Kremlin-backed militant control, providing both aid in the form of medication and dollops of pro-Russian, anti-Ukrainian propaganda. Their visit coincided with the 45th Russian humanitarian convoy to have entered and left Ukraine without permission or proper checks of what they are carrying. Neither the German MPs, nor Russia have expressed any criticism of the so-called ‘‘Donetsk and Luhansk people’s republics’ [‘DNR’ and ‘LNR’] who over the last months have expelled western NGOs, thus stopping them from bringing critically needed aid to Donbas.
In fact, the ‘social disorientation’ which the Kremlin’s proxies claimed they were seeking to prevent by expelling western aid organizations appears to be ideological. It is Russia and its allies, including German deputies from the left-wing, who are presented as tackling the mounting humanitarian crisis caused by Russia’s hybrid warfare.
The deputies – Wolfgang Gehrcke and Andrej Hunko, both from Germany’s De Linke party, appeared in militant-controlled Horlivka on Nov 19, apparently bringing 130 thousand EUR worth of medicines for the local children’s hospital (and, seemingly, other hospitals) Hunko
On both occasions their visit was used for maximum propaganda purpose. On Nov 20, for example, the ‘DNR’ official website
Does it matter?
We do not much care if celebrities use charity shows as a form of PR, and if urgently needed medication reaches people in Horlivka, then perhaps we should overlook the clear breach of Ukrainian law with the German MPs having entered Ukraine illegally via the militant-controlled part of the border with Russia.
It is harder to find the MPs’ willingness to engage in overt lying and propaganda acceptable. The German newspaper Tagesspiegel
Both Hunko and Gehrcke provided pro-Russian propaganda together with their aid. They were silent about crucial reasons for the dire situation in Donbas, which includes the fact that in September ‘LNR’ ordered Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) and all but one western aid organization to leave the Luhansk oblast. A month later, ‘DNR’ did the same, claiming that MSF, a Nobel prize-winning NGO, had been banned “because of its participation in gathering defence date and illegal supplies of psychotropic substances”. They are also alleged to have carried out “psychological training among the population of front-line regions knowingly causing social disorientation”.
While it is to be hoped that specific aid will reach those most in need, there have been repeated reports over the last year that ‘humanitarian aid’ ends up being sold to those who have the money.
Russia’s so-called ‘humanitarian convoys’ have long ceased to arouse interest in the west, but each of the 45 or so has been used for propaganda purposes by the ‘republics’’ official websites.
Realna Gazeta recently
Some of the purposes have emerged over the last year.