Five Manipulative Anti-NATO Narratives about the War in Ukraine


A series of anti-NATO narratives related to the Russian military aggression of Ukraine exist online in order to create justification for the aggression by blaming the Alliance for the military actions. Arguments for five such narratives distorting the truth and related to the responsibility of the Russian aggression of Ukraine, including the role of NATO in Europe and wider in the world, are analyzed here


A series of anti-NATO narratives related to the Russian military aggression of Ukraine exist online in order to create justification for the aggression by blaming the Alliance for the military actions. Arguments for five such narratives distorting the truth and related to the responsibility of the Russian aggression of Ukraine, including the role of NATO in Europe and wider in the world, are analyzed here


Author: Miroslava Simonovska

1. NATO is a threat to world peace
NATO is a defense alliance whose purpose is to protect its member states. Every country that joins NATO undertakes to uphold its principles and policies. This includes the commitment that “NATO does not seek confrontation and poses no threat to Russia”, as reaffirmed at the Brussels Summit.

NATO enlargement is not directed against Russia. Every sovereign nation has the right to choose its own security arrangements. After the end of the Cold War, Russia committed to building an inclusive European security architecture, through the establishment of OSCE, the creation of the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council and other institutions.

As specified on NATO’s website, NATO did not invade Georgia; NATO did not invade Ukraine. Russia did.

NАТО has reached out to Russia consistently and publicly over the past 30 years. We worked together on issues ranging from counter-narcotics and counter-terrorism to submarine rescue and civil emergency planning even during periods of NATO enlargement. However, in 2014, in response to Russia’s aggressive actions against Ukraine, NATO suspended practical cooperation with Russia. We do not seek confrontation, but we can’t ignore Russia breaking international rules, undermining our stability and security, says NATO.

In response to Russia’s use of military force against Ukraine, NATO deployed four multinational battlegroups to the Baltic States and Poland in 2016.

Before Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea, there were no Allied troops in the Eastern part of the Alliance. In response to Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in 2022, NATO has significantly reinforced its deterrance and defence posture, including with four new battlegroups in the Eastern part of the Alliance. At the NATO Summit in Madrid, Allies agreed that Russia is the most significant and direct threat to their security and to peace and stability in the Euro-Atlantic area. Allies also agreed to further strengthen NATO’s posture. However, Allies remain willing to keep open channels of communication with Moscow to manage and mitigate risks, prevent escalation and increase transparency, states the website of the Alliance listing the facts about the NATO-Russia relations.

NATO was founded in 1949 after the Second World War. The purpose of its establishment was to secure peace in Europe and promote cooperation between the member states and to preserve their freedom, all within the context of opposing the threat coming from the Soviet Union at the time. The Founding Act of NATO obligates the allies to democracy, individual freedoms and rule of law, as well as peaceful conflict resolution. In addition, the foundation of the collective defence concept was planted meaning that the attack of one ally is treated as an attack of all allies. Since the establishment of NATO up to date, world peace has never been threatened as it is today, ever since Russia attacked Ukraine.

2. NATO mercilessly bombed Serbia and Syria
The United States, France and the United Kingdom informed the Allies on their joint military action on 14th April. They briefed that a significant body of information indicated that the Syrian regime was responsible for the attack against civilians in Douma on 7 April and that their military action was limited to the Syrian regime facilities enabling the production and employment of chemical weapons. The three Allies emphasized that there was no practical alternative to the use of force.

Allies expressed their full support for this action intended to degrade the Syrian regime’s chemical weapons capability and deter further chemical weapon attacks against the people of Syria. Chemical weapons cannot be used with impunity or become normalized. They are an immediate danger to the Syrian people and to NATO’s collective security.

Allies strongly condemn the repeated use of chemical weapons by the Syrian regime and called for those responsible to be held to account. Allies also called on the Syrian regime and its backers to allow rapid, sustained and unhindered humanitarian access. Despite sustained diplomatic efforts, the Syrian regime’s repeated use of chemical weapons against civilians has contributed to appalling human suffering since the start of the conflict in 2011. The use of such weapons is in flagrant violation of international standards and non-proliferation norms, multiple UN Security Council Resolutions and the Chemical Weapons Convention, which Syria ratified in 2013. NATO considers any use of chemical weapons by State or non-State actors to be a threat to international peace and security, specifies the statement of the North-Atlantic Council on the actions undertaken against the use of chemical weapons in Syria at the time.

The former Yugoslavia did not break up because of NATO. The Alliance did not use military force to change borders in the former Yugoslavia. From 1992 to 1995, NATO conducted several military operations in Bosnia, activities mandated by the United Nations Security Council, of which Russia was a member.

Russia did not oppose NATO’s operation in Libya in 2011. NATO’s operation in Kosovo in 1999 followed over a year of intense diplomatic efforts by the UN and the Contact Group, of which Russia was a member, to end the conflict. The UN Security Council repeatedly branded the ethnic cleansing in Kosovo and the mounting number of refugees as a threat to international peace and security. NATO’s mission helped to end large-scale and sustained violations of human rights and the killing of civilians, notes NATO’s website.

Serbian government estimates that at least 2,500 people died and 12,500 were injured during the NATO campaign in 1999, although the exact death toll remains unclear. According to the data published by Humanitarian Law Centre, 756 people died during the air strikes. It has been confirmed that 8,101 civilians have died since the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine up to 26 February 2023, out of which 488 are children. The number of the injured is 13,479 persons. The actual numbers might be higher, but not even close to so many casualties coming from NATO’s actions compared to the air strikes of Russia in Ukraine.

3. NATO is an aggressor organization
NATO has never annexed someone else’s territory, unlike Russia which has occupied parts of Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine since 1993.

NATO is a defensive alliance. Ukraine’s decision to join NATO is individual. Russia cannot intervene or veto this sovereign process. Russia aims to confuse and exhaust the public to not be able to distinguish between facts and fiction. Russian campaigns aim to increase geopolitical tensions between Moscow and the West and to portray NATO as the enemy.

Ukraine is quite precise that military aggression is just one element of the Russian hybrid warfare against Ukraine. The other elements are propaganda based on lies and falsifications, trade and economic pressure, energy blockade, terror and intimidation of Ukrainian citizens, cyber-attacks, strong denial of the very fact of war against Ukraine despite the large scope of irrefutable evidence, use of pro-Russian forces and satellite states in its own interest and blaming the other side for its crimes.

In 2019, the website of the Ukrainian Foreign Affairs Ministry published that the Russian aggression against Ukraine has led to large humanitarian disasters, with 9,940 people killed and up to 23,455 wounded. This number includes 80 children killed as a result of a terrorist attack on 17th July 2014. Approximately 1,584,000 from Donbas and Crimea are internally displaced persons, having been forced to leave their homes.

NATO condemns in the strongest possible terms Russia’s brutal and unprovoked war of aggression against Ukraine – which is an independent, peaceful and democratic country and a close NATO partner. NATO and Allies continue to provide Ukraine with unprecedented levels of support, helping to uphold its fundamental right to self-defense.

Since Russia’s illegal and illegitimate annexation of Crimea thereby destabilizing Eastern Ukraine in 2014, NATO adopted a strong posture for fully supporting Ukrainian soverignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders. The Allies condemn and will never recognize the illegal and illegitimate annexed Crimea, states NATO’s website.

NATO also condemns Russia’s illegal attempts to annex four regions of Ukraine – Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia, and Kherson in September 2022, which is the largest attempted annexation of European territory by force since the Second World War.

The sham referenda in these regions were engineered in Moscow and imposed on Ukraine. They have no legitimacy and NATO will not recognize them. These lands are Ukraine and will always be Ukraine. The overwhelming vote in the United Nations General Assembly condemning Russia’s attempted annexations sent a clear and strong message that Russia is isolated and that the world stands with Ukraine, NATO stated.

4. Via NATO, the West wants to turn the whole world into slaves of its interests and economy
The economic policy of the West in terms of globalization, brought about enormous progress and economic growth throughout the World. The number of people living in extreme poverty has drastically decreased. That is an indicator that enslaving is not the name of the game. If one wants to enslave someone economically, then economic development would not be an option at all.

Russian aggression in Ukraine triggered a massive shock to global economy, especially to energy and food markets, pushing up prices. Compared with other economic regions, the Euro area has been particularly vulnerable to the economic consequences of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. This is mainly because the Euro area depends very strongly on energy imports from Russia, while Russia and Ukraine together played a large role in the export of foodstuffs before the Russian invasion.

Last April (2022), the World Trade Organization warned that the invasion of Ukraine – apart from causing extensive human suffering – damaged the global economy, which will hit the poorest countries the most.

5. The war in Ukraine is resistance against NATO’s military advancement
There is no military advancement of NATO, especially not in and around Ukraine. NATO is not at war with Russia and is not seeking confrontation with Russia. What NATO does is support Ukraine in its right to self-defence, as enshrined in the UN Charter. NATO undertakes strictly defensive measures to increase the presence of NATO troops in the Eastern part of the Alliance.

This ensures that there is no room for misunderstanding in Moscow about readiness to protect and defend all Allies. Our core task is to keep our thirty nations safe. We have a responsibility to ensure the conflict does not escalate and spread beyond Ukraine because that would be even more devastating and more dangerous…
Our exercises are not directed towards Russia or any other country, according to NATO’s website.

This myth also ignores geography. Only 6 percent of Russia’s land borders touch NATO countries. Russia has land borders with 14 countries. Only five of them are NATO members. Outside NATO territory, the Alliance only has a military presence in Kosovo and Iraq. NATO’s non-combat mission in Iraq contributes to the fight against terrorism and is carried out at the request of the Iraqi government, with full respect for Iraq’s sovereignty. In contrast, Russia has military bases and soldiers in three countries – Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine – without the consent of their governments. Moreover, Russia’s war against Ukraine has shattered peace in Europe, undermining international security and stability.


This article was produced within the framework of the project “Promoting Access to Reliable News to Counter Disinformation”, implemented by the Metamorphosis Foundation. The article, which has been published on the Macedonian-language version of Truthmeter, was produced with the support of the American non-profit foundation NED (National Endowment for Democracy). The contents of the article is the responsibility of the author and do not always reflect the positions of Metamorphosis Foundation, NED or their partners.

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