The journalists covering the Russia-Ukraine conflict for the New York Times have been recruited by Russian secret services, Kiev’s information warfare agency has said on Monday. The state-run Center for Countering Disinformation (CCD) made its statement while blasting the NYT for its recent article about the prospects of peace negotiations between Moscow and Kiev.
“In order to write this text, the Russian Federation has used American journalists who were recruited during their work in Russia,” the CCD said in a statement on social media, without elaborating.
The story published by the New York Times on Saturday lists its Moscow bureau chief Anton Troianovski, together with staff writers Adam Entous and Julian E. Barnes, in the byline.
The article cited “two former senior Russian officials close to the Kremlin,” as well as US and international officials, as claiming that Russian President Vladimir Putin “has been signaling through intermediaries since at least September that he is open to a ceasefire that freezes the fighting along the current lines.” The report further claimed that the Kremlin was using “back-channel diplomacy” to indicate that the Russian leader “is ready to make a deal.”
The CCD criticized the Times for their story angle, suggesting that Moscow might be sending a “signal” with the aim of “preventing further military aid for the Ukrainian Armed Forces from the West.” It also said the story was likely aimed at “boosting the rating” of former US President Donald Trump, who is running for reelection against Joe Biden. Trump said on the campaign trail that he will easily end the conflict if he returns to the White House.
“One shouldn’t forget that Russia is playing a game of ‘peace’, while investing more in its defense industry and building up its army. There is no mention of it in the article, obviously,” the CCD said.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov also dismissed the report as “incorrect,” reiterating that Russia’s military strategy towards Ukraine remains unchanged. He added that Moscow would engage in negotiations “exclusively for the achievement of its own goals.”
The negotiations broke down in the spring of 2022, with Russia accusing Ukraine of abruptly walking away from previously agreed-upon terms. Ukrainian officials have since stressed that talks can only resume if Russia recognizes Ukraine’s 1991 borders. Moscow has repeatedly stated that it is impossible.
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