Aaron Maté, a leftist Canadian who writes for the fringe conspiracy-theory website Grayzone, has recently become a favorite source for the far-right fringe of the MAGA universe, the fringe that prefers to “Make America Guilty Again.”

Don’t buy it.

Maté just produced a long-read article on Ukraine for RealClearPolitics. Because of RCP’s credibility, his error-riddled “investigation” into the origins of the war in Ukraine is gaining a readership, even in congressional circles.

Indde, Maté’s polemic is full of distortions.

His central claim: The Russia-Ukraine war is the spawn of intervention by the Obama-Biden administration, which supported and directed a coup in 2014 by Ukraine’s “far-right” — a claim that echoes the most persistent theme of Russia’s propaganda machine.

The truth: As anyone in Kyiv during those turbulent months (as I was) knows, the Maidan protests of 2013-2014 were led and directed by democratic, pro-European politicians and supported by the mass protests of hundreds of thousands of ordinary middle-class citizens from Kyiv and around the country.

Fringe far-right groups were present at the Maidan, but their ranks numbered in the hundreds.

Eighty protesters and 12 militia men were killed during a government assault on the Maidan Square on Feb. 20, 2014, killings Maté claims were orchestrated by the far-right.

While several far-right protesters were lightly armed, and there’s some evidence of snipers shooting at both sides, it is highly likely that the mass killings were a provocation orchestrated by Russia’s security services and their Ukrainian minions, who had significantly infiltrated far-right Ukrainian groups over the years.

As the violence and mayhem escalated, Russian Federal Security Bureau officials headed by Gen. Sergei Beseda were in Kyiv officially to “secure [Russian] diplomatic facilities” but in reality to offer support to Ukraine’s state security and police forces.

Top Putin aide Vladyslav Surkov was also in Kyiv to press then-President Viktor Yanukovych to crush the protesters.

On Feb. 20, the day of the mass killings, Ukraine’s three main opposition parties called for “talks with the regime” to prevent further bloodshed.

The next day, Yanukovych negotiated with the opposition on de-escalation and declared a national day of mourning.

Late that night, however, Yanukovych abruptly fled the capital, as all evidence of a police and security presence disappeared.

Notably, a medal issued by the Russian Ministry of Defense “for the return of Crimea” bears the date of the operation as beginning on Feb. 20.

The timing reveals that Russia ditched Yanukovych while he was in office to annex Crimea and initiate a long-planned takeover Ukraine’s East and South by force in a violent “Russian Spring.”

Contrary to what Maté writes, what occurred was hardly a far-right coup. Instead, on Feb. 22, a constitutional majority of Ukraine’s deputies — 328 lawmakers out of the 450-seat parliament — voted to remove Yanukovych for abandoning his office.

On the eve of new elections, President Vladimir Putin vowed to “respect the choice of the Ukrainian people.”

Maté’s distortions are hardly surprising. His main source is Andriy Telizhenko.

After Volodymyr Zelensky was elected, After Volodymyr Zelensky was elected, Telizhenko bragged that he would have a major role in the new government. When that pipedream failed to materialize, Telizhenko turned on Zelensky.

Maté clearly knows little of Ukraine’s history since its independence in 1991, and he denies Ukrainians agency by suggesting they’re the tools of the United States.

My three decades of engagement with Ukraine’s government, business and NGO sectors have taught me one big thing: Ukrainians alone are determining and shaping their democratic destiny — something they have shown in numerous mass movements and in their fierce resistance to Russian aggression.

Yet Maté’ is right on one thing: Ukraine is the victim of massive outside intervention — only it’s one orchestrated by Russia and its imperialist leaders.

There is only one person to blame for the war: Vladimir Putin, a man Aaron Maté and far too many MAGA politicians are attempting to whitewash and justify.

How sad that this transparent whitewashing has been given a platform by as credible a source as RealClearPolitics.

Adrian Karatnycky, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, is the author of a new history, “Battleground Ukraine: From Independence to the War with Russia.”

Read More