As part of the Regional Initiative in Combating Disinformation “Western Balkans Anti-Disinformation Hub: Exposing Malign Influences through Watchdog Journalism”, we present you a new monthly analyses of fake news and disinformation narratives.
„The West shows no willingness for a peaceful solution to the conflict in Ukraine“
That the European Union does not show its willingness for a peaceful solution to the conflict in Ukraine and that investing and sending military assistance only prolongs the war is one of the frequent narratives in the pro-Russian media.
At the beginning of the war, in April, the portal Happy conveyed the news “RUSSIA THUNDERS AT AMERICA: Stop arming Ukraine!” which indicates to a statement by the Russian embassy in the USA that the American authorities should stop supplying the regime in Kiev with weapons because it contributes to the increase in the number of victims.
On the portal Sputnik in Serbian language, the statement of the Russian Permanent Representative to the United Nations Vasiliy Nebenzya was transmitted, in which he points out that Ukraine has become a private military company owned by NATO, which receives money, weapons and instructions on where to shoot from Brussels. “Despite the facts and common sense, the Kiev regime has created the illusion that it can defeat Russia on the battlefield with NATO’s growing direct military assistance,” Nebenzya emphasizes.
Russian news agency TASS reports that the West’s support for Ukraine shows that it is determined to confront Russia for the long term. The spokeswoman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, Maria Zakharova, stated at the briefing that “the West is ready for a long-term confrontation with Russia”, as evidenced by Western support for the Kiev regime.
However, Western leaders have repeatedly called for dialogue and a peaceful solution to stop Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, but Moscow has ignored these efforts.
The US, the EU and some NATO member countries provide Ukraine with military assistance to repel Russian aggression. Ukraine is receiving weapons with the sole aim of regaining its territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders.
On 17 October 2022, the European Council introduced additional assistance measures under the European Peace Fund (EPF) to further support the capabilities and resilience of the Ukrainian Armed Forces. With this, the EU further strengthens its support to Ukraine in defending its sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders and protecting the civilian population from the current Russian aggression. Previous EPF aid measures for Ukraine were agreed on February 28, March 23, April 13, May 23 and July 21, 2022. “The mobilization of an additional €500 million by EU member states is further proof that we remain unwavering in our support for the Ukrainian armed forces in defending the country against escalating illegal aggression”, said Josep Borrell, High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. Since Russia started the war, the United States has invested about $24.3 billion in military aid to Ukraine.
“Red Line Has Been Crossed”
The President of the United States of America, Joseph Biden, and the German Chancellor, Olaf Scholz, spoke by phone on January 5, 2023, to exchange views on Russia’s aggressive war against Ukraine. President Biden and Chancellor Scholz expressed their mutual determination to continue providing necessary financial, humanitarian, military and diplomatic support to Ukraine as long as needed. To this end, the United States intends to supply Ukraine with Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicles, and Germany intends to provide Ukraine with Marder Infantry Fighting Vehicles.
This announcement set the ideal conditions for the further spread of Russian disinformation narratives.
The pro-Russian portal Webtribune announced that Germany is entering the war with Russia. This news is based on the statement of the former president of the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution of Germany, Hans Georg Massen. He believes that by sending heavy combat vehicles to Ukraine, Germany is becoming a belligerent against Russia. “If we don’t deliver medicine, but weapons, then of course we run the risk of becoming a participant in the conflict. You must understand that now we are a party to the conflict against Russia.” This statement and opinion of Hans Georg Massen do not represent the official position of the state of Germany, which of course did not announce its entry into the war.
The same portal quotes the statement of political scientist Dmitry Evstafiev who believes that the collective West is gradually raising the stakes in the geopolitical confrontation with Russia and that “the US and its satellites can increase the tension around Ukraine so much that the border of the military conflict zone will go along the Dniester.”
Portal Srbin info conveys the news under the title “NATO TESTS RUSSIAN PATIENCE: When Putin decides to respond, it will be too late for the West”. In this news, the statement of former Israeli intelligence officer Yakov Kedmi is reported. He states that the USA and its allies are trying to use provocations to reveal the limits of Russia’s patience. Yakov Kedmi emphasizes that “NATO countries led by the US continue to test Russian patience, teasing Moscow by participating in the Ukrainian conflict and provoking other adventures in sensitive areas and regions for the Russian Federation.”
This news and news similar to this present a recurring narrative of misinformation by the pro-Kremlin media, which claims that the West, the US and NATO are directly involved in Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine. The West is not at war with Russia or the Russians. There are no American or NATO forces present on the front lines. The West provides military aid to Ukraine, but is not involved in direct fighting.
“Western countries supply Ukraine with scrap metal and junk”
The Russian portal Sputnik in Serbian language reports the news that, according to the columnist of the Polish newspaper NDP (Niezależny Dziennik Polityczny) Jacek Tohman, Western countries are supplying Ukraine with outdated weapons in order to renew its own arsenal.
“Military assistance from the West is continuously flowing into Ukraine. It should be noted that most of the weapons are in poor technical condition. Military equipment has many problems and is actually scrap metal and junk, as confirmed by the soldiers of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. This is happening because weapons are delivered to Kiev from old military warehouses,” writes Tokhman, adding that the goal is to empty the warehouses and fill them with new weapons, which is very profitable for the West. According to him, Washington, under the mask of military assistance to Kiev, realizes its own goals and lobbies for the sale of weapons in the interests of its own military-industrial complex.
The pro-Russian portal Webtribune conveys the statement of Deputy President of the Security Council Dmitry Medvedev regarding the announcement by Polish President Andrzej Duda and Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda that Warsaw will send “Leopard” tanks to Kyiv and that Lithuania will supply anti-aircraft weapons and ammunition. The Deputy President of the Security Council emphasized that it is about modernized T-72, German Leopards, as well as some “English illiquid assets”. “All this iron, in any case, will soon become rusty scrap metal and will not save an artificial country that is falling apart”, he wrote on the Telegram channel.
This is one of the recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives about the US military-industrial complex and alleged aggressive US military plans. The claim that the Western military assistance delivered to Ukraine is made of “metal scrap and junk” is unfounded. In recent months, Ukraine has received the most advanced and modern weapons from Western countries such as Javelin and Stinger complexes, HIMARS missile complexes and dozens of other types of advanced military equipment. Also, the US announced the delivery of the Patriot air defense system and Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicles to Ukraine.
Western countries are providing military assistance to Ukraine to enable it to defend itself against Russian aggression. Claims that the West is providing this aid to “purge its military stockpiles of outdated weapons and to renew its own arsenal” tend to divert attention from the real reason: defending Ukraine against Russian aggression.
Author: Tanja Plavšić