Analysis of the News: “BREAKING: Ukraine will be divided, reformatted, Zelensky removed and Moscow’s ultimatum fulfilled”

November 2023.

As part of the program Regional Initiative for combating disinformation “Western Balkans Combatting disinformation Center: Exposing malicious influences through fact-checking and Analytical Journalism“, we present you a new analysis of fake news and disinformation narratives.

BREAKING: Ukraine will be divided, reformatted, Zelensky removed and Moscow’s ultimatum fulfilled

This week, as part of our analysis, we highlight the statement of Ukrainian businessman Andrei Palchevsky, which was published in an almost identical form on dozens of pro-Russian portals and advertisers. What makes this phenomenon interesting is the fact that the aforementioned statement by Palčevski, which is very complicated to trace (we assume that it was made in a live show or on the radio), simultaneously becomes official news, not an opinion, and gains outstanding reach throughout the pro- Russian media space. Although Palchevesky is not considered a person of public importance, nor did he present documents or evidence as such that would attract the attention of the media, his statements became headlines and the basis for the further use of disinformation.

The article itself, which was almost identically transmitted on the portals Webtribune, Informer, Intermagazin, and, under the title “Ukraine will be divided, reformatted, Zelensky removed and Moscow’s ultimatum fulfilled”, discusses the plans of the USA, which seeks to divide Ukraine into two parts (along the Dnieper River). It is further mentioned that since Zelensky is not suitable for signing an agreement with Russia and handing over territories, he will be replaced by a new president who will fulfill what the US has set out. The new president will “sign a cease-fire agreement, stop the war, come to an agreement and convince the Ukrainians that there is nothing wrong with the fact that they have already lost 23% of the territory and will lose a couple more,” mentions Palchevski. After all, he will agree to reorganize Ukraine in a new way at the request of Russia. After all, Russia will not stop.”

In certain cases that we have analyzed in previous articles, one would speculate on unverified evidence or leaked papers that also fall into the domains of irrelevant sources. However, this time absolutely nothing is offered as a subject of debate except the statement of the Ukrainian businessman, in this regard there is no need to refute the facts or present credible sources. We will only note that in the part of the text which claims that the USA is limiting the weapon delivery, and that Ukraine did not receive support such as Israel, Palchevski is factually wrong, which is very easy to verify. The US has provided over $44 billion in aid since the Russian invasion began on February 24, 2022.

The entire statement remains in the domain of Palchevsky’s personal opinion, while it remains very indicative that pro-Russian media use this statement in most of their propaganda newsletters.

Interpretations can be different, such as framing the United States as an exploiter of the Ukrainian people (even though Russia is invading a sovereign state), or simply, Russian supremacy over Ukraine. Certainly, these interpretations are not the subject of discussion, but how this statement serves Russian propaganda and disinformation purposes.

One of the messages is that the collective West accepts the defeat of Ukraine. By misrepresenting the facts and promoting Palchevsky’s opinion, pro-Russian disinformation channels are trying to distort reality. This is another attempt to portray support for Ukraine as a lost cause and Western powers abandoning Ukraine consequently, as suggested in the text.

Author: Đorđe Terek