The Washington Post

Canada joins the stupid Twitter war between Russia and the West


As WorldViews documented Wednesday (and earlier), some of the major regional players in Ukraine's months of crisis have engaged in a longstanding and frankly childish Twitter war on the sidelines of the conflict. There have been hashtags, subtweets and incessant trolling from both sides.

Canada, whose conservative government does not shy away from taking strong stands, rebuked Russia for its meddling in Ukraine. Kiev and allies in the West say a Russian invasion is underway. On Wednesday, Ottawa's mission to NATO in Brussels tweeted the following:

The zinger has been re-tweeted more than 23,000 times and led to a fair amount of social media chortling. Canada also announced that it will have as many as 1,000 troops deployed in Europe as NATO mobilizes to counter perceived Russian aggression.

The Russian delegation in Brussels, though, fired back on Thursday with an illustration of the facts on the ground. In March, Russia  annexed Crimea, the majority of whose population is pro-Russian. The peninsula is now de facto Russian territory and the site of various triumphalist Russian ceremonies in recent months.

WorldViews is surprised the Russians didn't choose to point out a glaring error in Canada's original snarky tweet. The Canadian geography lesson on offer failed to include the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad, perched on Poland's northeastern border. You can see it circled here:


In any event, this Twitter feuding is a sad echo of the failed diplomacy that surrounds the current crisis. Hundreds of people have died in the fighting in recent months, including civilians. The Washington Post's graphics department has produceda far more compelling map: one that charts the counteroffensive launched by Kiev's forces against pro-Russian separatists, as well as the conspicuous escalations this week that have raised the specter of a full-blown war.

Ishaan Tharoor writes about foreign affairs for The Washington Post. He previously was a senior editor at TIME, based first in Hong Kong and later in New York.



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