Manipulation of the Address of the Dutch Minister of Defense on the Security Forum in Warsaw
Photo: A screenshot from the video
Opposed to the claims made in the post, once the original statement of the Dutch Defense Minister, Kajsa Ollongren, given at the Security Forum in Warsaw, it becomes quite clear that war was not encouraged, but the support for Ukraine was continued since Ukraine was facing the territorial claims of Russia and Putin’s regime. The claim in the post that the cemeteries in Ukraine ”are full of cheap victims of the unreasonable policies of the collective West” is also not true. The collective West and NATO are neither fighting nor attacking Russia. On the contrary, Russia is the one that initiated an unprovoked military invasion of an independent and sovereign country and the cemeteries in Ukraine are full of victims thanks to that step made by the leader of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin
We are fact-checking a post on the social network Facebook (screenshot here) sharing a video of the Dutch Defense Minister, Kajsa Ollongren, speaking at the Security Forum in Warsaw that took place on 3 and 4 October 2023. Her statement has been taken out of context and presented with the following description in the post:
Supporting Ukraine is a cheap way for NATO to protect itself from Russian threats, says the Dutch Defense Minister. The cemeteries in Ukraine are full of “cheap” victims of the unreasonable policies of the collective West. That is all you need to know about Western “democracy”.
But, when the original version of the Dutch Defense Minister Ollengren is heard, spoken at the Security Forum in Warsaw, it becomes clear that she is not talking about encouraging the war, but a continuation of the support for Ukraine since it is facing territorial claims by Russia and Putin’s regime.
It is very much in our interest to continue supporting Ukraine, because they are fighting this war, and we are not. I think that we should enter a dialogue with our American colleagues and friends because they have the same interest, in the sense that supporting Ukraine is a very cheap way to make sure that Russia with its regime does not present a threat to the NATO Alliance. It is vitally important to proceed with such support.
Also, the shared video with the Dutch Defense Minister Ollengren shows cemeteries of Ukrainian soldiers in the lower part of the chayron thereby creating a wrong perception that by using their Minister, The Netherlands is fighting Russia on the shoulders of Ukrainian troops. The Dutch Defense Minister, however, is just saying what diplomatic circles have been saying for months, including the President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyy. He has mentioned that if Ukraine does not acquire sufficient support to continue defending itself from Russia, then the war might spill over in other countries of the NATO Alliance, which no one wishes to see happen.
Hence, in that context was the statement given by the Dutch Defense Minister Ollongren. What is stated in the second part of the post we are fact-checking – that the cemeteries in Ukraine ”are full with cheap victims of the unreasonable policies of the collective West” is not true.
Namely, the collective West and NATO are neither fighting nor attacking Russia. On the contrary, Russia is the one that initiated an unprovoked military invasion on an independent and sovereign country and the cemeteries in Ukraine are full of victims thanks to that step made by the leader of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin. Once Ukraine decided to fight back and defend itself from Russia’s territorial claims, and after Ukraine requested assistance to defend itself from Russia, that is where the role of the collective West started. Otherwise, Ukraine would have had to surrender and allow itself to be occupied. To claim that the collective West has unreasonable policies that brought about cheap victims in Ukraine is pro-Russian propaganda because neither the collective West nor Ukraine started the war.
The President of Ukraine, Zelenskyy, in the same tone as his previous statements, reiterated that if Russia was to be accommodated to adapt, then until 2028 it would recoup the military potential destroyed by Ukraine and be sufficiently strong to attack the countries in its focus of expansion.
Apart from Ukraine, that would be the Baltic countries as well as other countries where Russian contingents are present. Our intelligence data is clear. Russia is trying to freeze the situation and adapt. It is learning from its mistakes and preparing for advancements, said Zelenskyy adding that the most dangerous enemy was the one that already derived conclusions to prepare for the next attack.
He said that the aggressor is most effectively neutralized with war defeat.
Exactly now in Ukraine, we have the opportunity to essentially defeat Russian aggression. Together, we already achieved things that many deemed impossible. Together, we defended Ukraine. Europe is more independent from Russia than ever before. Europe proved its right to be the global centre for the protection of freedom and international law. Whatever is happening in the other parts of the world, regardless of the political tornadoes faced by our partners, Europe must be strong, stressed the Ukrainian President.
He reminded that he recently visited America and talked with American President Biden.
Thanks to Ukraine, your soldiers are not fighting Russia at the moment. We do not doubt the strength of NATO. But, not one of you wants to find out how it would feel if NATO had to defend any one of you. We must win in Ukraine so that Putin does not expand his aggression. We cannot allow Putin to destabilize any other part of the world and our partners to destroy the power of Europe. We must increase the political pressure and sanctions so that Russia does not spread chaos. Russian presence, its army or proxy on the territory of any other country is a threat to all of us. We must work together to squeeze out Russia from the territory of other countries, said the Ukrainian President.
If Russia withdraws from Ukraine, the war could end tomorrow. That, however, is not happening. Ukraine’s Defense from Russian aggression and its response to the attempts to annex Ukrainian territories would have never been required nor occurred if Russia had not started an unprovoked attack.
Deutsche Welle, in one analysis, has noted that the support of Ukraine by its Western partners – through financial aid and arms supplies – has been used to back Putin’s primary claim that ”Ukraine is fully under external control” and that it is ”strengthened by armed forces of NATO countries and pumped up with the most modern weapons”.
One should also note that in the middle of 2022, when Russia was already deeply involved in its military invasion in Ukraine, Sergey Kiriyenko stated that ”NATO is fighting Russia to the last Ukrainian”, a narrative that exists in this Facebook post as well, only expressed differently.
Specifically, the truth is distorted, i.e., the tactic used is blaming the West for waging war on Russia, when Russia is the one fighting Ukraine in an attempt to conquer as much as possible of Ukraine’s sovereign territory by violating international law. A large number of victims is the consequence of this military aggression.
Due to all of the above-noted facts, the post fact-checked is assessed as not true. It is not true that the victims in Ukraine are due to the unreasonable policies of the collective West.