Analysis of the News “Answer to the Ambassador of Ukraine in Belgrade: Where did you get the right?”

October 2022

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 analysis of fake news and disinformation narratives.

Answer to the Ambassador of Ukraine in Belgrade: Where did you get the right

This news was written as a response and reaction to the statement of the Ambassador of Ukraine to Serbia, Volodymyr Tolkach. In the subtitle, the statement was retold “Ambassador of Ukraine in Serbia, Volodymyr Tolkach, said that with every dead soldier and child in Ukraine, it is more difficult for his country to understand Serbia’s arguments why it does not impose sanctions on Russia. He stated that the Serbian imposition of sanctions on Russia would show that Serbia and Ukraine are fighting for the same values.”

This is only one part of the statement and although it was originally given in a friendly manner with openness to cooperation and partnership towards a common European future, the author of this news strongly criticizes the ambassador’s words.

Further, the author states in an aggressive tone that “ambassadors say what they are ordered from the top of the country that sent them to serve in other countries”, even though the description of the function of each ambassador is precisely to represent the official policy of their country in the receiving country.

In the original statement, Tolkach pointed out that Ukraine well understands the relations between Russia and Serbia and that Serbia and Ukraine have a common goal and stand for the same values, alluding to the European path of both countries. “We would like to see Serbia as a friend and ally, and it is difficult for us to understand the arguments that Serbia gives with each of our fallen soldiers, with each fallen child, and more than 300 children have died so far and many more are wounded… They are Ukrainians, as he adds, one of the few who constantly stand up for the territorial integrity of Serbia. That’s what we’ve been doing, we are doing and we will do it in the future, he added.”

The author goes back to this statement and refers to it as “a bad script by a below-average actor posing as the president” alluding to the president of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky. Also, he states that the president and his administration work for the benefit of their own popularity, and not for the well-being of their people, “more precisely, they operate within the framework of a dead acting career.” We can notice that the news, which present a response to the statement of the Ambassador of Ukraine, are full of words of insults and disparagement, although if we go back to the initial statement, we see that it is a friendly message with an invitation to cooperate. Such a message should not be surprising since Serbia’s strategic goal is joining the European Union and becoming a member state.

Nevertheless, the author states that Ukraine “operates with phrases” without specifying what exactly he means, “in order to help America in prolonging the conflict whose goal is to ignite throughout Europe.” The author does not refer to any document, statement or announcement to confirm the allegations that America aims to spread the conflict throughout Europe.

Also, based on the text, one gets the impression that Ukraine is some third, unimportant party, and not a sovereign state, which was invaded and for which territory the war started, which caused almost 7 million people to flee, and more than 17 thousand were wounded and killed.

The author further writes “what Tolkach said… is a great shame for an ambassador and the country in whose name he says it”. After looking at the original ambassador’s statement, we cannot say with certainty which part of the appeal to friendship and cooperation represents the shameful part of this statement.

“After all, how does an ambassador get the right to lecture the Serbian people about fallen soldiers and murdered children? Does Tolkach know the history of the country where he came to build a career as a diplomat?” For this very reason, taking Serbia’s experience with military aggression, civilian and innocent victims, it is strange that such a country cannot identify itself, sympathize and understand when another country and another nation are going through a similar situation.

“Does he know that the suffering of the soldiers of Ukraine is something that the regime he represents has chosen to get closer to the West and that this suffering is part of the “values” of the West that he refers to and asks us to represent it together?” The question arises as to how a sovereign state chooses the suffering of its people by choosing to lead a policy of rapprochement and accession to the EU, which is exactly the kind of policy Serbia states in all its strategic documents that it wants to lead.

The author of the news spins and introduces America, the bombing, the killing of Serbian children into the text, although the ambassador’s statement itself has nothing to do with any of the above. “Serbia cannot fight for the values of America, which bombed it, and then destroyed it economically, morally with the Dulles plan, and in every other way! Serbian people cannot fight for the values of those who killed Serbian children!” He says that Serbia cannot side with its executioners, even though the ambassador himself speaks in his statement about European values and the European future that Serbia declaratively and officially strives for.

“How can Ukraine understand Serbia if it does not understand that it is working for its own damage, and for the well-being of America?” The territory of Ukraine was invaded on February 24, 2022, since then Ukraine has been waging a defensive war and fighting to preserve its territory. That being said, it is not clear what the author means when he says that Ukraine is working for its own damage.

And finally, it is not clear how talking about the real victims that your country suffers can be considered as rude and cheap as the author of this news claims.

Author: Jovana Bogosavljević