Former Congressman Ron Paul defended the Russian government on Sunday and slammed Western leaders for spreading "propaganda" after a Malaysian Airlines plane was allegedly shot down by Kremlin-backed separatists in Ukraine.
"Western politicians and media joined together to gain the maximum propaganda value from the disaster. It had to be Russia; it had to be Putin, they said," the former presidential candidate wrote. "While western media outlets rush to repeat government propaganda on the event, there are a few things they will not report."
One of those unreported things, Paul claimed in his weekly "Texas Straight Talk" column, was the United States' own responsibility for destabilizing the region. Ukraine is currently embroiled in violent conflict between the Ukrainian government and the pro-Russian separatists.
"They will not report that the crisis in Ukraine started late last year, when EU and US-supported protesters plotted the overthrow of the elected Ukrainian president, Viktor Yanukovych. Without US-sponsored 'regime change,' it is unlikely that hundreds would have been killed in the unrest that followed. Nor would the Malaysian Airlines crash have happened," Paul wrote.
The U.S. government has said its intelligence suggests the plane was shot down by the separatists with weapons supplied by the Russian government. But Paul, echoing Russia's own line of defense, insinuated the Ukrainian government is to blame.
"They will not report that neither Russia nor the separatists in eastern Ukraine have anything to gain but everything to lose by shooting down a passenger liner full of civilians. They will not report that the Ukrainian government has much to gain by pinning the attack on Russia, and that the Ukrainian prime minister has already expressed his pleasure that Russia is being blamed for the attack," he continued.
Paul, who still maintains a sizable following among libertarian-minded activists, ticked off a number of other things he said the media will not report on, including Ukraine's ability to have shot down the plane, and that Russia "has killed no one in Ukraine, and the separatists have struck largely military, not civilian, targets."
However, at the end of his column, Paul admitted he could be wrong about the whole matter.
"Of course it is entirely possible that the Obama administration and the US media has it right this time, and Russia or the separatists in eastern Ukraine either purposely or inadvertently shot down this aircraft," he wrote. "The real point is, it's very difficult to get accurate information so everybody engages in propaganda."
Paul's son, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) is widely seen as a possible presidential candidate in 2016. Business Insider reached out to Paul's office to ask if he agreed with his father's take on the plane crash. As of this writing, we have not received a response.
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