Speed Reads

beating the drum

Russians are being 'barraged with claims of looming Ukrainian attacks' by state media, NBC reporter says

Messaging from Russian government sources and state media suggest that an invasion of Ukraine could begin at any moment, NBC News reporter Matthew Bodner said on Meet the Press on Sunday.

"We're seeing a very harsh increase in rhetoric here," Bodner told host Chuck Todd from Moscow. "Forty-eight hours ago we saw … the switch flipped on Russian state media, and it has been wall to wall — and I cannot emphasize this enough — since that happened, since the announcement of evacuations from [separatist-held eastern Ukraine]."

The New York Times reported that separatist leaders, claiming an attack by Ukrainian government forces was imminent, announced Friday that women and children should evacuate the areas they control and that all military-age males should register to fight.

Bodner continued, "If you tune into Russian TV right now, you open any of the state media websites, you are gonna be barraged with claims of looming Ukrainian attacks on the Russian-speaking peoples of eastern Ukraine, claims of immanent, already-occurring Ukrainian provocations. And you have the Kremlin saying that right now the situation is essentially at a breaking point … They are being prepared now for what we fear might happen."  

On Sunday afternoon, the second-most-popular story on Russia's state-owned TASS news network bore the headline "Armed Forces of Ukraine may intensify offensive on the night of February 21."