As part of the program Regional Initiative to Combat Disinformation, we present you a new analyses of fake news and disinformation narratives.
„End of Russian Federation: US General Names NATO Target in Ukraine Conflict“
At the beginning of September, the media close to the government reported the statement of a former American general who said that the goal of the West should be “de-imperialization of Russia”. Hodges’ tweet was conveyed by the Serbian media from the Polish source, i.e. the website niezalezna.pl.
Retired US Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges tweeted that it seems that we are seeing “the beginning of the end of the Russian Federation” as it looks today. “We need to be prepared for this…we were not prepared for the end of the USSR,” Hodges said.
Seven days later, the portal Vaseljenska.net reports Hodges’ statement, but writes that America’s goal is the destruction and the end of Russia. “The goal of the US and NATO countries in the conflict in Ukraine is to destroy the Russian Federation”, Vaseljenska.net writes, although that sentence was not in Hodges’ original Tweet.
The portal also writes that Hodges noticed that NATO countries should be ready to achieve the goal of “destruction of Russia to the end, and not limit themselves to half-measures, as in the destruction of the Soviet Union.”
This text is a fake news because the words of the former American general were added, which were not written in the specific Tweet to which the text refers. Modified statement by the former US military member further strengthens anti-Western narrative of the text by saying that the West’s goal is the complete destruction of Russia, which was not a part of Hodges’ opinion.
The text contains fake news due to the fact that unnamed journalist of the Vaseljenska.net portal added something to Hodges’ statement that was not part of the integral tweet. Bearing in mind that this media is pro-Russian oriented, conveying the statement of the former American general was intended to further strengthen the anti-American narrative. On the other hand, through texts like these, it can be concluded that Russia’s war in Ukraine is defensive because it is NATO and the Western countries that are threatening Russia’s security by wanting to destroy it.
US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin confirmed that the goal of the USA and NATO is not the destruction of Russia. He said that it would be dangerous to make predictions about the duration or outcome of the war in Ukraine and that NATO is “not looking for a conflict with Russia, it can only work as it did before, by helping Ukraine as long as it needs to strengthen its position on the battlefield and in some future peace negotiations”.
The American official emphasized that NATO does not seek a conflict with Russia, nor does it want to pose a threat to it. “But our defense alliance will defend every inch of NATO territory,” Austin said, adding that the US, together with its allies, will defend the right of Ukrainians to live in freedom and build their own future that Russia cannot dictate.