How can a newspaper make sure an outrageous claim without even being sure of it? Apparently, the Moscow-respected (that’s how the Mirror put it) news agency, Regnum reported that Samantha Lethwaite, also known as the White Widow, was killed two weeks after joining the Aidar battalion. Whitehall has said the reports are “acknowledged” but “unverifiable”.
There’s a very slight chance, by slight I mean a minute chance that this could be true. Russia, of course, oppresses its Muslim population in the Caucuses, ruling over them with a heavy hand. Recently, Russia has “acquired” Crimea and many of the native Tatars, who are pro-Ukrainian, are being subjected to similar treatment as their Muslim brothers in Dagestan and Chechnya. Nevertheless, I think it’s a case of Russia spinning a web around its sphere of influence, making it clear to the rest of the world that only it will deal with issues in its sphere of influence.
Stories like this should never be published as a headline unless the editor is more or less sure about the facts. Russia is clearly busy fighting on all fronts, not only on the ground in Ukraine but also through a huge media offensive.