Analysis of the News: “The West threatens to send troops to Ukraine: bluff or announcement of the third world war?”

Published on:

February 2024.

As part of the program Regional Initiative for combating disinformation “Western Balkans Combatting disinformation Center: Exposing malicious influences through fact-checking and Analytical Journalism“, we present you a new analysis of fake news and disinformation narratives.

The West threatens to send troops to Ukraine: bluff or announcement of the third world war?

Last week, a summit of European leaders was held in Paris, where they discussed the continuation and deepening of military support to Ukraine. In Paris, some European Union member states formed a coalition that would supply Ukraine with medium- and long-range missiles. Still, the agreement remained in the shadow of French President Emmanuel Macron’s statement about sending soldiers to Ukraine. Macron pointed out that the sending of European and NATO troops to Ukraine was discussed but that a consensus was not reached, while such a possibility should not be rejected, which caused numerous reactions and interpretations in the media.

The domestic pro-Russian media were mainly concerned with the statement, its credibility and potential repercussions, which was the reason for spreading the previously built narrative about the defeat of NATO in the confrontation with Russia in Ukraine and the possibility of a direct conflict, despite the weaknesses on the side of the Western military alliance.

Among the texts that appeared on this topic, texts published on the Russia Today (RT) portal provide an illustrative framework. It is emphasized that Macron is “hitting wake-up calls and war drums” and that is “extremist desire…sharp rhetoric that should overshadow the fact that the situation is not going according to plan and that they are losing in Ukraine.”

RT interlocutors pointed out that Emmanuel Macron’s statement is an indication that “the West is wandering and is afraid of a defeat and the military capitulation of Ukraine, which would put NATO and the EU, the biggest patrons of Kyiv, in a tough position.” On the other hand, comments were added that it is “the immorality of European politics to allow the European part of NATO to join a classic conventional war” and that “such a subservient policy would have to bear enormous consequences due to its irresponsible behaviour towards European security.”

In another text with the suggestive title “French desires and harsh reality”RT writes that, nevertheless, Emmanuel Macron “who is calling for direct intervention and the possible triggering of the third world war” should first familiarize himself “with the situation in the ranks of his country’s army,” claiming that the French army, like other European armies, unlike Russia, faces the continuous problem of reducing military personnel.

The growing speculation in the domestic media about the potential outbreak of the Third World War if Macron’s statements about sending NATO soldiers to Ukraine become a real threat to Russia is illustrated by the Web Tribune news portal “A military expert revealed the date of the entry of NATO troops into Ukraine”. The statement of a military expert who put in the same context the statement of the French president and the NATO military exercises “Zmaj-24” that are being held in Poland, with the assertion that “he does not rule out that the first ground forces of the Western armies could arrive in Ukraine already at the end of March.” At the same time, in the text, he refers to the allegations of Russian officials that sending troops to Ukraine will inevitably lead to a conflict between Russia and NATO.

The articles published on the RT and Web Tribune portals contain examples of manipulation of information to promote certain narratives. The leader’s summit that was held in Paris was aimed at finding a solution for supplying Ukraine with ammunition and weapons at a time when, due to the blockade of American aid, it was in a challenging position, and agreements were reached on concrete steps in that regard.

The French leader’s statement, although given as a confirmation of France’s firm determination to continue supporting Ukraine and prevent a possible Russian military victory in the conflict, certainly met with the disapproval of a part of the Alliance, primarily European leaders. There is agreement within NATO that ensuring weapons delivery to Ukraine is necessary. Still, the leaders do not agree on the need to send troops, with the explicit rejection of such a possibility by numerous officials, which makes speculation about NATO’s potential intention to escalate the conflict unfounded at the given moment.

On the other hand, it is necessary to point out that the military exercises that the NATO ground forces are carrying out in Poland are part of a much earlier agreed and planned program of military exercises – the largest since the end of the Cold War – throughout Europe during the spring months of 2024, which makes the reporting of the domestic media also manipulative about those military exercises as evidence of NATO’s readiness to start deploying troops in Ukraine.

Author: Igor Mirosavljević