NV debunks fake news about Ukraine's ‘attack’, ‘fratricide’, and ‘danger’ of joining NATO
Radio NV’s Manipulators show analyzed the top fake news being spread by Russian propaganda: Claims that Ukraine is going to "attack" Russia, why there is no a "fratricidal" war in Donbas, and how NATO membership is a threat to Ukraine.
Radio NV’s Manipulators show host Dmytro Tuzov and Olga Yurkova, co-founder of StopFake.org, an independent Ukrainian fact checking organization studied top fakes Russian propagandists spread about Ukraine. Here's what they had to say:
Russia uses fake news to construct image of ‘an aggressive Ukraine’
While bringing military hardware and tens of thousands of troops to the border with Ukraine, Russia is trying to spread the narrative that Ukraine is the party that is escalating the war in the Donbas.
"There’s only one way to break tension: it’s to understand how to insure against Kyiv's possible plans to resolve the Donbas issue by force," Russian Presidential spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said recently on Russian TV.
Putin's ally in Belarus, its self-proclaimed president Alexander Lukashenko, has also declared that Ukraine may launch an attack on Russia: “If Russia faces aggression from Ukraine, we will be closely tied to Russia, both legally, economically, politically,” Lukashenko said recently.
And Russian President Vladimir Putin continued to push a similar narrative during his video talks with U.S. President Joe Biden. The Kremlin said Putin had told Biden that he was concerned over "Kyiv's provocative actions in the Donbas."
"Those who are in the information vacuum created by Russia, believe in it, since a negative image of Ukraine has been created over many years,” said Yurkova. “The image is of a warlike, Nazi, fascist-minded people waiting for the moment to attack (the occupied part of the Donbas).”
According to the fact-checker, some international experts expect Russia to invade Ukraine, but the expert herself does not believe in such a scenario.
“We must be ready for this – various scenarios are being written, this is the military's work,” Yurkova said. “But if we compare how Russian propaganda is acting now, and remember 2014, when Russia actually did attack, Russia was not (attempting to) frighten (Ukraine) at that time, neither was there a dramatic build-up of troops seen at the borders, nor a long discussion about the topic.”
Russian propaganda repeater in Poltava
Meanwhile, Poltava Mayor Oleksandr Mamai has told the pro-Russian Nash (Our) TV channel that a fratricidal war is underway in Ukraine: “It's a shame that brother is fighting against brother,” he said.
At the same time, Mamai is voicing another narrative that can be heard on Ukraine's pro-Russian TV channels, but one that in fact contradicts his previous thesis.
"Today we are facing these hostilities: two superpowers are fighting on our territory – the United States of America and Russia," the mayor has said.
In fact, Russian servicemen have repeatedly been captured in the Donbas by Ukrainian forces. Some of them were even later swapped for Ukrainian POWs. And even former terrorist leaders have admitted many times the fact that a regular Russian army is fighting in eastern Ukraine.
"Some Russian troops are called 'people's militia corps' of the so-called 'DPR' and 'LPR' (the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk People's Republics'), others are simply referred to as the Russian army. What's the difference?" Russian State Duma Lawmaker, and former Donetsk occupation authority leader Alexander Boroday said in October 2021.
According to Yurkova, the fratricidal war propaganda thesis can be used in several contexts.
"For example, when we say that Ukraine and Russia are brotherly nations, then brother is fighting against brother. However, when a neighboring country we trusted suddenly attacks us, without declaring war, it's hard to call such a country a fraternal one after that. Obviously, here the Russian propaganda also means this is a civil war. Perhaps the mayor of Poltava meant there were citizens of Ukraine among the pro-Russian mercenaries. But this is not a civil war. And many studies have proved that."
The shooting down of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 over Ukraine, in which 298 people were killed, is more proof of Russian troops’ presence in the Donbas. The MH17 Joint Investigation Team (JIT) has concluded the plane was shot down by a missile fired from a Buk anti-aircraft missile system near the village of Snizhne, with the missile system being delivered to Ukraine from Russia.
According to Yurkova, the mayor of Poltava promotes pro-Russian propaganda themes, and helps the Russian Federation to justify its aggressive actions against Ukraine.
"They subtly hint to us that Russia is really helping, (that it) wants to bring peace to Ukraine, which was itself provoked into aggression by Western countries. Ukraine has no say in the matter at all. All recent monitoring shows the most popular propaganda thesis is that Ukraine is under external control," Yurkova said.
Would Ukraine's accession to NATO provoke war?
Among the arguments why Ukraine should not join NATO, we can hear that joining NATO would provoke a war. Such a statement was recently made by former Kremlin hostage Nadiya Savchenko: "Finland is marking Independence Day today, which they were able to preserve after World War II, without being a NATO member,” Savchenko said. “The key point is not to launch a war with Russia! They … did not join NATO. They didn't have political instability! And that's why they didn't get their land into trouble!"
Russia launched a hybrid war against Ukraine at a time when Kyiv was constitutionally neutral and non-aligned – the course toward NATO was only enshrined in the Ukrainian constitution in 2019. The amendments required a constitutional majority of parliament, i.e. over 300 votes, and some 334 lawmakers supported it.
Finland lost its territories as a result of Moscow's aggression during World War II. The debate over the country's possible accession to NATO was revived in 2014 after Russia started its occupation of Ukraine's Crimea. In September 2014, Finland was granted NATO's Enhanced Opportunities Partner status.
"If we think logically, when Ukraine does not have strong allies, accordingly, it is easier to attack it, which has already happened,” Yurkova said, commenting on Savchenko’s claims. “The very first logical flaw in this statement is that the war is already taking place. Nobody’s talking about Ukraine's accession to NATO. Ukraine might (only) get a NATO Membership Action Plan (MAP) – they’re discussing it.”
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