Diplomatic Briefing

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Newsline: Russian diplomats use sarcasm as weapon in Ukraine crisis

As the U.S. and other NATO members warn of the potential for a devastating war, Russia is not countering with bombs or olive branches — but with sarcasm. “Wars in Europe rarely start on a Wednesday.” That’s how a top Russian diplomat brushed off speculation in the West that Russia could invade neighboring Ukraine as soon as Wednesday, Feb. 16. As worries mushroomed that Wednesday could be the day President Vladimir Putin launches an invasion of Ukraine, Russian officials ridiculed them. In a Facebook post, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova asked the “mass media of disinformation” in the West “to reveal the schedule of our ‘invasions’ for the upcoming year. I’d like to plan my vacations.” (https://www.wsls.com/news/world/2022/02/16/how-russia-uses-sarcasm-as-weapon-in-ukraine-crisis/) Sarcasm is a tool that officials in Moscow have long used to belittle their rivals and to deflect attention from actions seen as threatening to the West or Russia’s neighbors. Laconic quips dovetail with the Kremlin’s domestic agenda by making Russia and its all-powerful president look more cool-headed and clever than countries in the panicky, democratic West.

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