Analysis of the News “Scott Ritter: Ukraine is no match for an attack that would bring Russia to its knees!”

April 2023

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.

Scott Ritter: “Ukraine is no match for an attack that would bring Russia to its knees”

In addition to numerous texts dealing with the “de-dollarization” of the world market, which will lead to the United States losing its dominant economic role, and an increasing number of texts coming from China, also predicting the imminent economic collapse of the West, this week’s main topic were centered around leaking of sensitive documents from the Pentagon. While there is a controversy in expert circles about the authenticity of the documents, or at least parts of the published documents from this “leak”, Russian and pro-Russian media use this abundantly to prove that the West is also aware that Ukraine cannot win, as stated in to Scott Ritter’s analysis published by RT.

Russia Today conveys the message that the Ukrainian army is not capable of carrying out the operation and further liberating its territories. Scott Ritter, a retired intelligence officer, expresses his opinion in the context of leaked documents in the Pentagon. Scott talks about the situation at the front, more precisely at the Bakhmut line, and refers to leaked documents claiming that due to the outflow of military equipment and resources at Bakhmut (which has been the epicenter of war for many months) any other operation by the Ukrainian military forces will be impossible, and that unprepared soldiers will be diverted to the “meat grinder.”

Although we are reading for months about the unprepared Ukrainian army, insufficient military resources and weapons, the situation on the front does not change. Scott does not mention in his analysis that Russian army has been trying to occupy Bakhmut, which is a small town in Ukraine, for almost 9 months. Victims on the Russian side are not mentioned at all, and they represent a very important part of the leaked documents from the Pentagon. Namely, the documents discover that between 189,500 and 223,000 Russian soldiers died up till now. Accordingly, the situation may be even worse than the Western media predicted, given that the third round of mobilization is currently being undertaken in Russia, and an additional 400,000 soldiers will be sent to the front in Ukraine. These soldiers have roughly few months to prepare for the front, while in Ritter’s analysis we read about the disorganized regrouping of the Ukrainian forces, which is the product of his personal conclusions based on leaked documents.

In the following part of his analysis, Ritter talks about the poor state of the stockpile of air defense missiles, as well as the Soviet-era systems that are the backbone of Ukraine’s air defense. It is expected that the Ukrainians will soon exhaust their supplies, and that despite assistance from Washington and Western services, they will have no other choice but to leave the skies open to Russian forces for air operations. Even though it is true that certain weapons are inherited from the Soviet Union era, they are often referred to as weapons of crucial importance, which is very inaccurate. Ukraine, in contrast to Russia, is arming itself with the most modern weapons, the supply is provided by the whole of Europe and the Western world. Also, information related to Soviet weapons is often associated with Russia, which is also wrong because Ukraine, like the other former USSR states, took important part in the development and manufacturing of military equipment, which today through disinformation narratives is perceived as stolen.

The Webtribune portal, in its article that analyzes the “disaster” that follows in Europe, as well as in the USA, conveys the opinion of another former officer, this time Byron King, who was part of the US Navy. King, like Ritter, refers to leaked documents from the Pentagon, claiming that based on the summarized information, it can be concluded that the US will experience new “Vietnam or Afghanistan.” It is not quite clear on the basis of what information King came to the above-mentioned conclusion, however, he notes that Ukraine is about to be defeated, and therefore the USA, NATO, and then the rest of Europe.

The internet media Srbin info, in its article, focuses in the context of leaked documents on very important information concerning the export of Serbian weapons to Ukraine. A possible arming of Ukraine with Serbian weapons, as one of the more intriguing pieces of information found within the document itself, stirred up the public both in Serbia and in Russia. Regarding this part of the document, Rotislav Ishchenko, a historian, journalist and former Ukrainian official who moved to Russia after 2014, expressed his opinion. He claims that Serbia is between the hamil and the anvil, and that it is unlikely that this information is incorrect, adding that Serbia is a poor country and that it is enough for the EU to close its borders to cause absolute state collapse. Consequently, Russia cannot help Serbia unless it fights against the whole of NATO.

Judging by the opinion of Rotislav Ishchenko, one would assume that Serbia is forced to European integration, that an orderly and democratic society is a punishment for the Serbian people, and that Russia will save us from the jaws of cooperation with orderly states by going to war with everyone. Since 2013, Serbia has officially been on the path to European integration, and as a candidate for membership, it receives hundreds of millions of euros from the European Union’s accession funds on an annual basis. Also, the closing of the borders with Serbia was never mentioned, nor was there any reason for such a step to be the subject of any discussion. What is more, Serbia, like other members of the Open Balkans, is continuously working on opening the borders. We accepted the initiative to open the borders for a certain period of time in order to bring the tangible benefits of life within the European Union as close as possible to the citizens.

Along with Ishchenko, director of the Institute for Political Studies Sergey Markov shares a similar attitude. Markov goes a step further and comments that Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić would be ready to join the West, but he knows that people would not forgive him, and that it would be suicidal because there are factions that would assasinate him in the given case. Although the information about the arms export was interpreted by multiple sides as an interesting development in relations between Russia and Serbia, it was also denied by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ivica Dačić. Dacic hinted that such decisions must go through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and that this one specifically, did not happen. Certainly, in addition to the fact that Markov’s statement could be characterized as a call for assasination of the President, it also directly threatens, and disables the sovereign decision-making, placing Serbia under the patronage of Russia and the Kremlin.

Authors: Đorđe Terek, Tanja Plavšić