Ukraine War: Russia state media prematurely declared victory, hailed ‘new world’ in now-deleted report

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Russian state-aligned media outlet RIA posted and deleted an article over the weekend that hailed Vladimir Putin for victory over Ukraine as Russia helps usher in a supposed “new world.” 

In what some have already labeled an “embarrassing and revealing” mistake, RIA pushed the article out and quickly deleted it. The article carries a date and timestamp of Feb. 26 at 8 a.m. and remains web-archived and available via the WayBack Machine to read in full. 

The report starts off by underscoring the victory as “restoring” Russia’s unity, not just geographically returning the country to its historical borders and reversing “the tragedy of 1991,” but also hailing the country’s ability to overcome “temporary division.” 

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“Russia is restoring its historical fullness, gathering the Russian world, the Russian people together – in its entirety of Great Russians, Belarusians and Little Russians,” the article said, according to a translation. “If we had abandoned this … then we would not only betray the memory of our ancestors, but would also be cursed by our descendants for allowing the disintegration of the Russian land.” 

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And the article could not miss a chance to praise Putin for his role in the war, highlighting the Russian president’s “historic responsibility.”

“Now this problem is gone – Ukraine has returned to Russia,” the article proclaims. “This does not mean that its statehood will be liquidated, but it will be reorganized, re-established and returned to its natural state of part of the Russian world.”

“In what borders, in what form will the alliance with Russia be fixed (through the CSTO and the Eurasian Union or the Union State of Russia and Belarus )?” the article muses. “This will be decided after the end is put in the history of Ukraine as anti-Russia. In any case, the period of the split of the Russian people is coming to an end.”

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The article makes the argument that Ukraine’s return was “inevitable,” asking how the “old European capitals” could “seriously believe Moscow would give up Kyiv.” 

The argument aligns with and builds on Putin’s argument presented the day before Russia launched its invasion, speaking to Ukraine’s history and basis in Russian history. 

The Ukrainian people have maintained a tenacious and staunch defense, thus far stymying the Russian army’s advance and preventing Moscow from achieving victory by Feb. 26, as the article would indicate. 

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But the war remains in its infancy and no one can yet say how long it will continue. Ukraine and Russia engaged in an initial round of peace talks on Monday, with plans to reconvene later in the week. 

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