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Russian invasion is no time for UK ministers' clumsy messaging | The Guardian - Feb. 28, 2022 |

Over the past three days, some careless talk at the top of government has served to underline how difficult it is in a modern war for ministers to get their messaging right.

Run of the mill ministerial blunders in domestic politics can be tidied up with little consequence, but in a propaganda battle such as this, minor errors and misspeaks can be ruthlessly exploited by Moscow to justify escalation or to sow division.

That requires ministers to stick to the broad government script while trying to sound more diverting than an answerphone message.


In an interview on BBC One's Sunday Morning programme, the UK foreign secretary had replied "absolutely" when asked whether she would back anyone wanting to volunteer to help the Ukrainians fighting for their freedom.

It took the defence secretary Ben Wallace 24 hours to point out Truss's own department's travel advice urges British citizens not to travel to Ukraine, and if British people wanted to help, it would be better either to donate financially or even enlist to join the British army.

The messaging became worse when the prime minister's official spokesperson said western sanctions "are to bring down the Putin regime" at a daily briefing on Monday.
He said:

    "The measures we are introducing, that large parts of the world are introducing, are to bring down the Putin regime."

    "We have introduced widespread sanctions, we aim to inflict financial pain on Putin and his regime to stymie the Russian war machine as it attempts to subjugate a democratic European country."

Downing Street quickly explained the spokesperson had misspoken, explaining: "We're not seeking anything in terms of regime change. What we're talking about here clearly is how we stop Russia seeking to subjugate a democratic country."

'Sapere aude'
by Oui (Oui) on Sun Apr 30th, 2023 at 10:18:05 AM EST
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