Last week, the U.S. embassy in Ukraine left Kyiv for Lviv as the region and the world braces for a potential Russian invasion. Monday night, it relocated to Poland. Tuesday morning, as Russian troops have begun crossing into Ukraine, the U.S. embassy is shitposting memes on Twitter.
The “U.S. Embassy Kyiv,” which, again, is now relocating to Poland, posted this:
This meme, besides being a shitpost, is an attempt to portray Ukraine—and Kyiv—as significantly preceding modern Moscow as an established city and culture, ostensibly to show that Ukraine has its own identity as being separate from Russia. This is seemingly a response to Vladimir Putin’s Monday speech in which he said Ukraine was historically Russian and should become a part of Russia again: “Modern Ukraine was entirely created by Russia, more precisely, Bolshevik, communist Russia. This process began immediately after the revolution of 1917,” Putin said. “Ukraine has never had a tradition of genuine statehood.”
Besides this tweet being generally pathetic and broadly unhelpful, many—including experts in the region—are pointing out that the tweet can be seen as broadly supporting Putin’s general view that Ukraine is part of Russia's storied history. It also supports a line of thinking held by many right-wing Ukrainian nationalists who say that historically Ukraine was an established civilization and Russia was a backwater, and wades into useless and dangerous "ethno-medieval territory," according to Atlantic Council senior fellow Ben Judah.
This is far from the first time we’ve seen official government social media accounts share terrible posts in the middle of a crisis. The Israeli government’s attempts to win hearts and minds over social media as it bombs Gaza often backfire, and Russia has a long history of shitposting on Twitter, including during this most recent crisis in Ukraine.