Analysis of the News: “The world is starting to burn, the fate of Ukraine depends on the events in the Middle East”

October 2023.

As part of the program Regional Initiative to Combat Disinformation “Western Balkans Anti-Disinformation Hub: Exposing Malign Influences through Watchdog Journalism”, we present you a new analysis of fake news and disinformation narratives.

The world is starting to burn, the fate of Ukraine depends on the events in the Middle East

“How much patience and money the West will have for Ukraine will largely depend on the geopolitical situation and events in the Middle East, everywhere is starting to burn at the same time, and that is a big problem for the United States, but Russia – in any case – should be ready to a long-term conflict”, believes Russian expert Konstantin Blohin, reports Sputnik.

In the text published on Sputnik, it is stated that both in Europe and in Washington, there is a growing rift over the further provision of aid to Ukraine. “Those who believe that Joe Biden is obliged to explain to the American people what specific goals the United States has in Ukraine are becoming more and more vocal. There are opinions that the time has come for Biden to stop supporting Kyiv under the ‘as long as it takes’ system, but that he should present the real state of affairs and decide on Washington’s further actions,” writes Sputnik.

Almost since the beginning of the war in Ukraine, the pro-Russian media in Serbia have been publishing articles with the narrative that the West will soon stop sending aid to Ukraine. The conflict in Israel served as another occasion for reporting with this narrative.

“The USA is now in a difficult situation because it has dissolved on two fronts – on one side Ukraine, on the other – Israel, and there is a possibility that a third front will be opened. A conflict between China and Taiwan is still possible,” says the Sputnik analyst.

Pro-Russian portal Webtribune is using the same narrative, which reports the statement of the American diplomat Chas Freeman that the President of Ukraine, Zelensky, was wrong, believing that the West would defend him to the end. As a result of being left in the lurch, the portal writes that Ukraine will be “wounded, with smaller territories and a significantly smaller number of inhabitants.” The designation of 2,000 American soldiers for the preparation of support for Israel is why this portal published an article entitled “Goodbye Ukraine – The US is preparing soldiers: Entering Israel?”. Although the text conveys the news of Fox News about the preparation of American soldiers, with the very title, the portal reverses the narrative that Ukraine will be left without aid.

Then, when Ukraine is left without help from the West, the portal writes that bankruptcy will follow. The portal reports the statement of Leonid Kuchma’s former adviser, Oleg Soskin, who claims that the situation is worsening and that the Ukrainian counter-offensive has failed. “Ukraine’s economy has been destroyed, and we must prepare for famine. There is a process of impoverishment,” says Soskin, adding that Kyiv does not have the means to close the budget deficit at the end of the year and that the state will not be able to pay pensions, military salaries and benefits to people with disabilities. All these portals do not mention that the American president, regardless of the defeat in Congress regarding the budget vote, promised to continue helping Ukraine. “Under no circumstances can we allow support for Ukraine to end.” I assure Ukraine that it will be so,” said Biden, shortly before the Hamas attack on Israel, and regarding the continuation of funding for Ukraine.

And in an address to the nation held on Thursday, October 19, Biden appealed to Americans to support Ukraine and Israel. “This moment in history marks the struggle between democracies and autocracies.” These two countries face existential threats. Hamas and Vladimir Putin are different threats, but they have one thing in common – they want to eradicate the democracy next to them completely,” said Biden.

According to data from the Kiel Institute for the World Economy, the USA sent funds for weapons and equipment to Ukraine in the amount of 46.6 billion dollars until August 2023. You can see the allocated funds of other Western partners of Ukraine in the graph below.

In addition, although the US has persistently rejected Ukrainian requests to send fighters, in May, the US president announced that he would approve the sending of advanced fighter jets to Ukraine, such as the American-made F-16, and support the training of Ukrainian pilots to be able to manage them.

In addition to the facts that show the amount of funds the West allocates for Ukraine and the rhetoric that the aid will not be given up, there are also warnings that the Western military forces are running out of ammunition they can give Ukraine to defend against the Russian invasion. Ukraine fires thousands of shells daily, which come mainly from NATO members. British Defense Minister James Heappey said at the NATO Defense Ministers Forum that Western military supplies look “a bit thin” and called on NATO allies to allocate two per cent of their gross domestic product to defense, as they have committed to.

The analyzed texts about Western aid to Ukraine fail to mention that autocratic states like Russia can more easily finance military ventures, especially without an official declaration of war. Unlike Putin’s regime in Russia, democratic states in the West must be in a legally defined state of war or emergency to put their military economy into entire operation, which is not the case now. It only means that if the Western countries were directly and in total capacity involved in a conventional war with Russia, only then the effect of the Western economy and the power of the military industry will be visible.

Author: Sofija Popović