Analysis of the News: “RUSSIA AND NATO ARE NOW IN DIRECT CONFLICT: The Kremlin announced on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the founding of the Alliance”

April 2024.

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.

RUSSIA AND NATO ARE NOW IN DIRECT CONFLICT: The Kremlin announced on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the founding of the Alliance

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization was founded in 1949 and recently celebrated its 75th anniversary. On that occasion, Russian officials spoke out, presenting already existing disinformation narratives about the NATO pact and the alleged conflict between the Russian Federation and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. In light of the current events in Ukraine, many theorists have found the source of the conflict precisely in the relationship between NATO and Russia, citing the security dilemma as the primary reason for the Russian invasion.

The fact is that NATO was formed to respond to Soviet expansionist aspirations in Europe after World War II. However, this military-political bloc was also created to reduce nationalist aspirations in Europe; today, we know that it succeeded. According to Deutsche Welle, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization is the oldest military Alliance made up of democratic states.

At its core, the organization acts as a collective security alliance to provide mutual defence by military and political means if a foreign state threatens a member state. As the Kurir reports, the current US President Joe Biden emphasizes that the wording mentioned above from Article 5 of the NATO Charter is “sacred and inviolable”. Based on that article, an attack on one member is an attack on all.

After Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said NATO had returned to a “Cold War mindset,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters that “relations between Russia and NATO have fallen to the level of direct conflict.” If we are talking about the Cold War period, it is important to note that the goal of the democratic states that signed the North Atlantic Treaty was and remains a collective defence, both against threats from the East and against the spread of the communist ideology of the Soviet Union. Collective defence is clearly described in Article 5 of the NATO Charter. Peskov is obviously not familiar with the scenario that would happen if NATO were in direct conflict with Russia and activated the mentioned inviolable article of the Charter.

As reported by the Kurir portal, while NATO claims to help Ukraine by supplying it with weapons, Russia claims that NATO has defacto become a party to the conflict. This argument is hard to accept, given that China and North Korea have been supplying Russia with military equipment since the beginning of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict. However, nowhere in the pro-Russian media did we see that China and North Korea were declared parties to the conflict.

In the media, we can notice frequent headlines about how “NATO is sending weapons to Ukraine.” It is essential to point out that NATO does not do this, but the member states, where we notice that there is a constant desire to present NATO as an independent multilateral player on the international stage, while the fact is that NATO is still a military-political alliance, which the Russian media ascribes a much more significant role than it actually has.

The Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Aleksandar Gruško, went a step further and declared that NATO had launched a hybrid war against Russia. There seems to be no line that Russian officials are not willing to cross to divert attention from the fact that they invaded Ukraine on February 24th. As usual, Russian propaganda and the search for guilt in Western countries or alliances continue to take up the media space, which is mainly followed by sensationalist headlines, all for the purpose of a distorted reality where Russia is the victim and the West is the aggressor.

Author: Nataša Stanojević