Video of Ukrainian Hostages! Human Shield for Azov or Russian Provocation?
The video in the link below is being circulated in the Telegram groups. It clearly shows soldiers with Azov patches, and then hostages lying on the floor.
As you may recall, Azov is a branch of the Ukrainian military, infamous and ever-present in the disputed regions of Ukraine. They have been accused of being neo-Nazis, but best I can tell that is more propaganda than reality.
The video (and the pictures below) clearly shows Azov soldiers keeping hostages, the accusation is that Azov is keeping these people as human shields against the Russian attacks. Ukraine says that these soldiers are a Russian terrorist cell.
Now we have to decide what is real and what is not.
I’m going with Russian terrorist cell on this one for the following reasons.
1. It would be very easy and practical for the Russians to get Azov patches and pretend to be Azov.
2. A human shield doesn’t make sense for Azov since the Russians don’t care much about civilians. And for it to be useful, they would have to let the Russians know where they are and what they have. Not too practical. More practical to lose the hostages and be more mobile.
3. This video seems to be pretty well staged, a dramatic performance, a bit too evil, too callous. Panning from the simple innocent piano playing, past the Azov patch and then to the hostages? And it just happens to show the perfect view of an Azov patch? Seems too much like stage work, just too “on the nose” for me. Almost … corny?
And this is the difficulty of getting information out of a war zone. The Russians know the value of propaganda in presenting their case for war to the rest of the world. And remember they have had 10 years to set this up. They have ample means for releasing staged information into the social media streams. And hungry media outlets (like us) are scouring them for interesting stuff.
Are the Azov soldiers the good guys? I don’t know. I doubt they are ALL good guys. But I do know that when you search for evidence of Neo-Nazi-ism, it quickly devolves into shouting, crying and gratuitous statements.
But I’m calling this one out as B.S.
P.S. You may also hear that Azov had a headquarters in the theater that was bombed (no doubt it was bombed), while civilians were sheltered above. But given that so little information has come out of that situation in the time since, I’m smelling essence of rat there as well. We may never know the truth.