Meanwhile back at the Ukrainian ranch…
What has happened to CNN? I tuned in for three hours in a row to try and garner some news from the front in the Ukraine. Barely touched on it, but over and over and over were panels and commentaries on Michael Sam and Donald Sterling. I say hooray and good luck to Sam and I don’t care whom he kisses. Sterling has been well known as a sleaze for years. And with good reason. But to devote such time to these two events borders on the salacious.
Meanwhile back at the Ukrainian ranch, so to say, the controversial referendum elections were held in several cities in eastern Ukraine. Most notable of these is the region of Donetsk, which has been proclaimed by some as independent of Ukraine following the vote. Pro-Russian separatists threatened “that all Ukrainian troops in the region would be viewed as occupying forces and should leave.” Denis Pushilin, a leader of the pro-Russian forces, asked Russia “to “absorb Donetsk region.” Elevating the stakes, seven Ukrainian soldiers, reportedly, were ambushed and killed in the eastern part of the Donetsk region. The ambush was said to have been carried out by a“heavily armed” force estimated to number thirty rebels. One rebel was reported killed.
While we have have heard Donald Sterling proclaim his being misunderstood and vilified by most of the rest of those interested in the subject, and viewed and reviewed Michael Sam’s “The Kiss,” the Ukranian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said that Russia had crossed “red lines.”
In Luhansk region, next to Donetsk regio, Valery Bolotov, the separatist self-proclaimed Governor, was shot and lost “a lot of blood,” according to the spokesman for the “Luhansk Peoples Republic.”
Meanwhile the key element, which is the movement or lack of same of Russian troops, which have been massed on the eastern Ukrainian border, is going nearly unreported given the dominance of Donald Sterling and Michael Sam with a little left-over for the missing Malaysian Airlines flight. When CNN last was heard of on the subject, Putin was claiming withdrawal of troops from the border and the U.S. was claiming “not so.”
Putin, for his part, was putting a different kind of pressure on Ukraine. The Russian state energy run Gazprom said that they might halt natural gas deliveries to Ukraine on June 3, because of past gas debts. They now demand prepayment for any gas supplies shipped to the Ukraine. The West, no doubt, will be expected to find a way to supply Ukraine with any cut-off gas. How this will be accomplished and at what cost, is unknown at this time.
U.S. perception of how serious the crisis in Ukraine is, seems to be a function of how much time the media appropriates to it. That this has little correspondence to events on the ground seems to be of no great consequence, at least to those who decide what goes in to the news broadcasts.