Analysis of the News “Bad news for Kiev – Ukraine has disappeared from the radar: Western tabloids suddenly fall silent about the war in Donbass, experts reveal the cause!”

August 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.

Bad news for Kiev – Ukraine has disappeared from the radar:  Western tabloids suddenly fall silent about the war in Donbass, experts reveal the cause!

The Internet portal Republika published an article in which it is claimed, according to this portal’s research, that the West has reduced reporting on the war in Ukraine to a minimum and that the Ukrainian crisis has disappeared from the media’s focus. The reason for that, as the interlocutors of the Republika explain, “lies in the fact that things on the ground are not going the way the West imagined.” The interlocutors of the Republika portal are Dragomir Anđelković, a geopolitical analyst, and Zoran Spasić, an expert in international relations.

“The Western media are now much less concerned with Ukraine, because things are going badly in the West”, says Dragomir Anđelković and adds “the West has more damage today from the sanctions, so now it is preparing the ground for a compromise with Russia, and they have to put the whole topic aside, so that it would not appear that they were wrong.”

“What we could see lately is that more and more politicians, as well as a large number of parties, are openly opposed to the further sending of weapons to Ukraine, and this is happening because each country is turning to its national interests. Europe is facing rising inflation, falling of industrial production, rising unemployment, and in addition, it has to fight for energy sources, oil and gas,” says Zoran Spasić.

The narrative that the European Union, due to the decision to impose sanctions on the regime in the Kremlin, is becoming weaker, and that Russia, despite the sanctions, is getting stronger economically is the frequent one in the Serbian media. International sanctions as an instrument of pressure cannot immediately affect Russia; they need a longer period of time to show results. However, the media in Serbia report and overemphasize the unfavorable economic situation of the EU and the USA as a consequence of the war in Ukraine, but avoid showing the shrinking of the Russian economy. These narratives have a special importance in Serbia, where public opinion is largely pro-Russian, because this is the easiest way to glorify Russia and suggest to citizens that Serbia should distance itself from the West and turn towards Russia.

Spasić states that the media that are controlled by Western countries are beginning to reduce reporting on the subject of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, as well as writing analyzes at the moment when the Russians begin to take strategic steps.

However, Western and pro-Western media continue to report on the war in Ukraine and to provide humanitarian and military aid to Ukraine.

He concludes that “the West sees that sending weapons to Ukraine does not provide results, it only leads to the prolongation of the war, the casualties and losses only increase, and this does not benefit anyone. That’s why the media are starting to redirect to other topics and other issues.”

Narratives that Russia is overwhelmingly winning on the ground in Ukraine and that the West is only prolonging the war by sending weapons and military aid to Ukraine are widespread in the pro-Russian media. Representation of such narratives creates a negative perception of the West, which significantly affects the attitudes of citizens and internal politics of Serbia.