Increased Tension between Moscow and the West regarding Ukraine
Image by Freepik
Last month, the tension between the West and Moscow increased, as well as the tensions between individual Western countries and Russia bilaterally – with frequent use of several classical disinformation narratives by Russia such as: the West is fighting against Russia until the last Ukrainian standing, the West is the bad guy, while Russia is defending itself from NATO expansion, the West is decadent, while Russia is defending traditional values, all the way to directly accusing the USA and the United Kingdom for giving the command for the Ukrainian missile attack on the headquarters of the Black Sea Fleet in Sevastopol
This trend started at the beginning of September, with the high-level visit of US officials to Ukraine. Russia repeated its disinformation mantra and one of its favorite narratives that the Americans will fight in Ukraine until the last Ukrainian standing. This is the comment of the official Kremlin regarding the visit of the US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, to Kyiv at the beginning of this month.
We heard multiple statements that the Americans intend to continue helping Kyiv as much as it is necessary, stated the Kremlin’s spokesperson, Dmitry Peskov in front of journalists. In other words, they will continue supporting Ukraine in war conditions and fighting until the last Ukrainian standing, without sparing any money for that. That is how we understand it, how we see it. That will not affect the course of the special military operation, he concluded.
More information about this disinformation narrative and the news surrounding Blinken’s visit can be found here.
Elections once again in the occupied Ukrainian territories
On 11 September 2023, the Russian authorities declared victory of Vladimir Putin’s political party in the elections organized in the occupied Ukrainian territories, stating that the party won more than 70 percent of the votes. The elections were regional and local, and they took place within three days – from Friday to Sunday (8-10 September). Moscow wanted to send the message that the government was organizing usual elections in the new territories proclaimed Russian in September 2022.
The people living in the Ukrainian areas occupied by Russia were asked to vote on – as the authorities put it – local elections. The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry called the elections “fraud”, saying that the votes will not be legally based, reported Meta.mk, citing BBC and Ukrinform. Apart from Ukraine, the elections were also condemned by the EU through the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell. The Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau came out with similar positions.
More on this topic can be found on the link here. At the same time, confirming the Russian narrative, the Kremlin’s Press Secretary, Dmitry Peskov, spoke about the Presidential elections that same day, stressing that if Vladimir Putin was a candidate, he would not have a serious counter-candidate, because the people loved him. More on this topic can be found on the link here.
Kim Jong Un “shining” with laurels for Russia and “victory in Ukraine”
Today (12.09.), accompanied by his high-level military representatives who are managing his nuclear weapon and ammunition plants, the North Korean leader Kim Jong Un arrived in Russia. The following day, (13.09.), a rare meeting with President Vladimir Putin took place. The West expressed concerns about the possibility of concluding a weapons agreement for Moscow’s war in Ukraine, reported Macedonian language online media.
On 13 September, before the meeting, Putin stated that he would discuss with Kim Jong Un all issues of mutual interest, including the North Korean space program, while Kim Jong Un stated that he would help Russia in the war with Ukraine, making the concerns of the West a reality, especially those of the White House, that warned Pyongyang two days before the visit – something that was expressly rejected by both North Korea and Russia through the spokesperson Dimitry Peskov.
Following the talks from 13.09.2023, in the Russian Vostochny Space Center, foreign agencies informed that during the lunch/dinner, Kim was toasting Putin’s health, victory of Great Russia and Korean-Russian friendship, prophesying Moscow’s victory in the holy battle with the West in the war in Ukraine.
I firmly believe that the heroic Russian Army and people will brilliantly inherit their victories and traditions and resolutely prove their noble dignity and honor on both fronts of military operations and strong nation-building, Kim said.
The Russian Army and people will surely accomplish a great victory in the holy struggle of punishing the great evil demanding hegemony and feeding on the illusion of expansionism, he added, as reported by Macedonian language media.
The next day after the talks (14.09.), apart from the info that Putin agreed to a return visit to North Korea in undetermined time, little details were reported about the talks themselves. This was also noted by Deutsche Welle in Macedonian language, quoting global agencies.
Otherwise, details about the armored train that brought Kim Jong Un to Vladivostok on his first meeting with Putin in 2019, can be found in Sloboden Pechat that published an article based on foreign sources about North Korean traditions for using an armored presidential train, but also other transportation means used by the Kim family.
Other media reported the details of the lunch/dinner of the two leaders, focusing on the menu offered, while third media published a video with details about the checks conducted by Kim’s security team just before the talks with Putin commenced, explaining that Kim does not trust even the Russian President.
Putin’s new weapons threat again
During the meeting with the moderators of the key sessions of the 8th Eastern Economic Forum (EEC) that took place in Vladivostok, Vladimir Putin stated that Russia was developing new weaponry based on new physical properties, enabling effective security to every country.
Looking at the security sphere, weaponry with new physical properties will ensure the security of every country in close historic perspective. We understand that very well and we are working on it, stated Putin, as reported by Macedonian language online media, citing Reuters.
Developing weaponry based on new physical properties includes the use of new technologies and action principles. Such weaponry includes laser, ultrasound, radio-frequency weaponry etc., according to the State News Agency TASS.
In the same discussion, Putin stated that sending tanks to Hungary and Czechoslovakia during the Cold War was a mistake made by Moscow. However, there is no information whether an analogy was made with the invasion of Ukraine date February 2022.
V. Putin in the Forum. Photo: kremlin.ru
”That was a mistake”, said Putin when asked whether Russia can be deemed colonial power for its sending tanks in Budapest back in 1956 and in Prague in 1968.
It is not okay to do anything in external policy that is detrimental to the interests of other peoples, added Putin, more than 18 months since he had initiated the invasion of Ukraine that turned into the biggest war in Europe after the Second World War.
Putin, practically, uttered two Russian disinformation narratives, used especially after the aggression in Ukraine from last year: we have/work on new weaponry that no one in the world has; the West/USA are the negative characters in the international area, while Russia entered Ukraine to protect its interests and the Russian people. More details on this can be found in the brief analysis by “Truthmeter”.
UN as a field for crisscrossing the (dis)information narratives – Lavrov “a champion”
The annual session of the UN General Assembly that took place 17-24 September was used as a field for crisscrossing and spreading both information and disinformation about several global issues, but mostly regarding the war in Ukraine. According to the contents transmitted in the Macedonian language media, the disinformation narrative “champion” proved to be the chief of Russian diplomacy Sergey Lavrov.
Appearing for the first time in the United Nations after the Russian invasion, Lavrov addressed the Security Council during the session dedicated to Ukraine by expressing a series of Russian disinformation narratives, thereby accusing Ukraine for the absence of peace, because it interrupted the negotiations; the West, especially the USA, for supplying arms to Kyiv; as well as for violating the right to self-determination of the regions under Russian control, and augmenting its support after the independence referenda and the annexation by Russia in September last year. A small number of Macedonian language media presented in detail Lavrov’s points, and we quote the article of Racin.mk.
Otherwise, Lavrov holds the same position as the UN Secretary-General António Guterres, that the global threat from geopolitical divisions and disruptions of the regional and global security are raising, except that Guterres is clearly defining that these processes have been happening after the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The opinion of Guterres was published by some of the Macedonian language media.
The other details of the Russian-Ukrainian duel in the UN, that started with the address of the first lady of Ukraine, Olena Zelenska, about the kidnapped Ukrainian children, then Volodymir Zelenskyy’s request to strip Russia of veto power and the duel between the Russian ambassador in the UN and the Albanian Prime Minister, Edi Rama, who chaired the session and allowed Zelenskyy a second address – can be found on the link of aggregated news here.
Ukraine refuses negotiations, the resolution will be accomplished on the battlefield
At the end of his stay in the UN, Sergey Lavrov, yet again and more clearly, repeated the Russian disinformation mantra that the West was fighting Russia in Ukraine, reported the media in the Macedonian language on 24.09.2023.
The fact that they are actually fighting us by using the Ukrainians, I think is well-known to all here interested in the situation in Ukraine… that the Americans, Brits and others are fighting, above all, to supply more and more arms, stated the head of the Russian diplomacy.
He also said that the Ukrainian 10-point peace plan was unrealistic and that the West knew that and for that very reason, Kyiv and its Western allies persisted on that same position, ”the conflict will be settled on the battled field”.
In the press conference after the session of the UN General Assembly, Lavrov repeated the Russian disinformation narrative that the West was the one that forced Zelenskyy to terminate the talks in 2022 and subsequently, they can talk about Ukraine, but without a ceasefire:
Talks took place in March and April 2022 and everything was initialized. However, two days after that, Bucha happened, because, I think, someone in London or Washington does not want this war to end, said the first man of Russian diplomacy in the press conference following the 78-th session of the UN General Assembly.
Subsequently, when talks are mentioned now, President Putin when commenting the talks, clearly said: yes, we are ready for talks, but no ceasefire arrangements will be considered because you already fooled us once, Lavrov said.
He also said that Russia recognizes the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine, but only in context of the Independence Declaration from 1991:
One of the main points for us in the Independence Declaration was that Ukraine will be a non-aligned state and will not be party of any military alliance. In that respect, and under these conditions, we support the territorial integrity of Ukraine, Lavrov said.
How Vucic’s words caused a “thunderstorm” in the UN?
Another UN address significantly attracted the attention of the Macedonian language media, and that was the address of the Serbian President, Aleksandar Vucic, who accused the West and the great powers for duplicity and violations of the UN Charter related to Kosovo.
Addressing the UN General Assembly, the President of Serbia, Vucic, accused the Western countries for ”brutally violating the United Nations Charter and Resolution 1244”, with the recognition of Kosovo, as well as for ”negating all principles that they are defending today”.
He also accused of double standards in international politics, stressing that the same countries that supported Kosovo’s secession do not recognize the secession of parts of Ukraine. Despite that, he added, Serbia, as a matter of principle, still supports the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine, regardless of the traditional friendship with Russia.
Four days after that, some of the Macedonian media, quoting the Serbian medium Novosti, informed that Sergey Lavrov, apparently, had said to Vucic after his address that ”the West will never forgive him for his speech”.
Zaharova: Warsaw is pushing Kyiv to the bottom
On 20.09.2023, much to the surprise of the general public, Poland announced that it would not supply arms to Ukraine any longer, a move justified by official Warsaw with the excuse that it would focus its attention on strengthening and developing of its own army. This was the result of a direct dispute between both countries related to the ban on imports of Ukrainian agricultural produce, mainly grains, news widely spread in Macedonian language media on 21.09.2023.
Since the beginning of the war, Warsaw has been one of the biggest supporters and suppliers of arms to Ukraine. Announcing the termination of the arms supply happened a few hours after Warsaw delivered a protest note to the Ukrainian ambassador due to the statements made by the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in the United Nations related to the export of grains, reported Deutsche Welle in Macedonian language.
In the meantime, in his UN address, Polish President Andrzej Duda called for greater solidarity in opposing Moscow, comparing Ukraine to a drowning person. The spokesperson of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Maria Zakharova responded to this by saying that she agreed with him completely, but also asked him to remind himself who contributed to bringing Ukraine to that position.
I have never agreed more with Duda than after this statement. Everything is just like that. However, a small, but very important detail is missing. Official Warsaw helped in “pushing Kyiv to the bottom”, because it regularly participated in the regime change in that country – specified Zakharova on her Telegram channel, published the Macedonian language media.
Nazi in the Canadian Parliament, excuse for a new threat by Russia
On the 24th and the 25th of September, Canada was apologizing for the error done in the Parliament during Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s visit, when the 98-year-old Yaroslav Hunka, who in the Second World War fought on the side of the Nazis in a division of volunteers, was presented and appraised as a Canadian and Ukrainian hero. The speaker of the House of Commons, Anthony Rota (who resigned afterward), apologized to both the Canadian people and the Jews worldwide, as well as to the entire public for making the mistake of inviting Hunka to be present in the hall during the addresses of Zelenskyy and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
However, admitting the mistake and the apology were not enough for Russia, which used this event for new threats and new disinformation narratives, this time disseminated through Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesperson, Maria Zakharova:
Giving tribute to Nazis in the Canadian Parliament is a farce that will end in a global-scale tragedy. The entire Western world is now shouting Nazi slogans and glorifying “heroes” who were Nazi collaborators, stressed Zakharova, adding that it will be concluded with a tragic end of global scale. The West made a fool of Zelenskyy, she emphasized…(The news and responses to this event can be found here).
The following day the Speaker of the House of Commons of the Canadian Parliament resigned, and Zakharova deemed that:
Speaker Anthony Rota served as a scapegoat by resigning to protect Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his collaborators, but also the same inglorious future awaits those worldwide who support Galicia, Nazi torchlight processions, Bandera followers, and the rest of the Nazi garbage.
London and Washington fired rockets at Sevastopol!?
A new confrontation between Moscow and the West happened on 27 September. Maria Zakharova accused London and Washington for ordering Ukraine to execute the attack from the other day which destroyed the headquarters of the Russian Black Sea Fleet in Sevastopol.
On 22 September, Sevastopol was attacked again and there is no doubt that the attack was previously planned through Western intelligence means, NATO satellite equipment, and reconnaissance aircraft and executed upon the initiative and in close cooperation with the American and British intelligence services, she said in the briefing with journalists. More information can be found here.
Two Russian “fakes” that made their way into Macedonian media
In the course of September, penetration of Russian “fake” news can be noted. They made their way into the Macedonian language media, above all, because the facts were not checked, as the journalist profession demands.
The first case is drastic – fake news about Zelenskyy being greeted in New York with a digital billboard saying “Glory to Urine” instead of “Glory to Ukraine” before his address in the UN (see here).
The second case was when some of the media published a piece of news from the Russian media Sputnik and RIA Novosti without checking, or even retracting the article the following day, about a Russian reconnaissance unit destroying a German-made tank “Leopard” with a German tank crew. Truthmeter fact-checked both cases that spread on Facebook pages of the media, as well (see here), along with many other disinformation narratives and foreign influence in the media and social network area that can be found in the Fact-checking section.