Mainstream media correspondents for major US networks rarely, if ever, report from inside Crimea and certainly are nowhere near Russian-held territory in eastern Ukraine. However, this week NBC News chief international correspondent Keir Simmons went to Sevastopol, surrounded by a significant Russian military presence given it is home to the Russian Navy’s Black Sea Fleet, and in a live segment admitted that it’s not at all realistic Zelensky and Ukrainian forces can ever hope to take Crimea.
This is especially as the “the people there… view themselves as Russian.” Simmons noted that “This is the closest that any US news crew has got to the Russian Black Sea Fleet in many many years.” He explained that “Vladimir Putin will be determined to defend that port – to not have it take it away from him – he may well do pretty much anything to try to achieve that.”
“It is a very, very dangerous standoff.. it’s hard to see how you reach a negotiation over that. There’s military absolutely everywhere, it is a military town,” he continued, before saying…
“When for example Victoria Nuland talks about that at the very least we [the US] want Crimea to be demilitarized, I find myself standing there and wondering, how on earth does that happen?“
Ukrainian officials and pro-Kyiv media pundits are said to be outraged at the segment, given it repeatedly and bluntly referenced that Crimeans see themselves as Russians. Even a separate write-up filed days earlier from inside Crimea and posted to NBC’s website included the following:
This is not Russia, according to Kyiv, its Western allies and the United Nations. It was annexed by the Kremlin in 2014, with the U.N. calling on Russia to return to its “internationally recognized borders.” And following Moscow’s broader invasion launched a year ago, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has vowed Ukraine will take Crimea back.
But Praskovya Baranova, 73, speaks Russian, feels Russian and lives here.
But it appears that the NBC correspondent, once he was on the ground in a place that few Western reporters ever venture, couldn’t deny the plain truth he was seeing all around him.