The entire post is loaded with Russian narratives and manipulations aiming to spread propaganda and justify the Russian military aggression in Ukraine. Ukrainians are not brainwashed, as the post claims, and they are trying to defend their country from Russia. Russia is the one that initiated the war, while the Western countries are just helping Ukraine to protect itself and preserve its territorial integrity and identity, writes Truthmeter.mk.
Under the content-sharing agreement between Truthmeter.mk and Meta.mk, we republish the text below:
We are fact-checking a post on Facebook (screenshot here) disseminating a series of false information related to the war in Ukraine which, in its latest form, by means of a comprehensive military invasion, was initiated by Russia in February last year.
Most Ukrainians fighting for the Kyiv regime have been subjected to systemic brainwashing for years.
History was rewritten and a hostile outlook of Russia has been developed.
Russians, Ukrainians, and Belarusians are one people. The West is trying to divide them – not for the sake of freedom or democracy, but out of its own interests.
The same is currently happening in the West, with constant propaganda depicting Russia as our enemy forced on us with every piece of news.
Get rid of the flock mentality!, states the post we are fact-checking.
Firstly, Ukrainians are fighting to protect their country and are not subject to systematic brainwashing, as the post claims. They are defending themselves from the Russian aggression that started on 24th February 2022. The narrative that Ukrainians are brainwashed and that ”Russians, Ukrainians and Belarusians are one people” is used by the Russian President, Vladimir Putin, who has reiterated this opinion several times.
I will never give up the claim that Ukrainians and Russians are the same people. But, we are fighting against Neonazis, who have prisoners even from the Middle East. They use civilians and foreigners as human shields, stressed Putin last March at the Russian National Security Council.
Denying Ukrainian identity is something that the Russian President has been doing constantly.
Once Putin ordered troops to the two regions controlled by the rebels in Eastern Ukraine – Donetsk and Lugansk – recognizing the regions as independent, he returned to the well-known argument pushed by Kremlin for years, that Ukraine’s statehood claim is completely unfounded. In his television address to the nation (21.02.2023), Putin explicitly denied that Ukraine had ever had “actual statehood” and said that the country was an essential part of ”Russia’s own history, culture and spiritual area”.
Putin’s speech, which went on for nearly an hour, was a new twist in the long-running battle to define Ukraine’s place in the world. In it, Putin set out his belief more forcefully than ever before that Ukraine is intrinsically Russian, that its three decades as a nation-state have been incoherent, and that the country owes its existence to a series of mistakes by bumbling Soviet leaders.
In his television address, Putin reiterated his concern about the possible NATO enlargement in Ukraine, describing it as “a direct threat” to the national security of Russia and uttering provocative interpretations of Ukrainian history.
The Russian President, inter alia, claimed that “Ukraine never had a tradition of real statehood” and that the nation now known as Ukrainian was created by the Soviet leader Vladimir Ilych Lenin who “carved” this Soviet Republic out of the Russian land.
He gave similar arguments previously, for example in an essay published in 2021 titled:
On the Historic Unity of Russians and Ukrainians
There he elaborates on his claim that Ukrainians and Russians are “one people”. For example, Putin claims that Ukraine never existed as a separate country and was never a nation. Instead, he claims that the Ukrainian nationality was always part of the three-nationality: Russian, Belarusian, and Ukrainian. In addition, Putin writes that Russians, Ukrainians, and Belarusians have a common heritage in the empire known as Kyiv Russia (862–1242), which was a loose Middle Age political federation located in contemporary Belarus, Ukraine, and partly in Russia.
In 2019, Putin stated that the Russians and Ukrainians compose a single nation and that the countries should find a way to integrate. These comments were given by the Russian President in an interview with the American film director Oliver Stone on 19th June 2019. The material from the interview was used in Stone’s film on Ukraine, while the entire transcript was published by Kremlin.
I believe that Russians and Ukrainians are one people… one nation, in fact. When these lands that are now the core of Ukraine joined Russia… nobody thought of themselves as anything but Russians. In the light of this bond, we can use this as our competitive advantage during some form of integration, Putin said.
Claiming that Ukrainians, Russians, and Belarusians are one people and that ”the West was trying to divide them, not for freedom and democracy, but for its own interests”, is also part of the well-known Russian narrative that the West started the war in Ukraine, while Russia was only defending itself.
On 24th February 2022, it was Russia, not the West, which performed a fully-fledged invasion in Ukraine i.e., initiated a war with terrifying ramifications for the entire world, but mostly for Ukraine itself. Being attacked within its frontiers by foreign military forces, Ukraine as a sovereign and democratic country was forced to defend itself. The manners in which Russia is trying to justify its military aggression in Ukraine are multiple, but the facts state that Moscow is trying to implement its imperialist ambitions in Ukraine using its own weaponry and brutal tactics, including attacks on civilians. NATO is providing support to Ukraine because Ukraine has the right to self-defense as enshrined in the United Nations Charter. Individual NATO member-states proceed with the provision of military aid for Ukraine, but that does not make the Western countries “instigators” of the war that was planned and implemented by Russia.
The Kremlin has been long spreading disinformation and propaganda to achieve its objectives. It continues to disseminate lies to justify its unprovoked, unjustifiable invasion of Ukraine.
Facts, on the other hand, point out that Western leaders called upon Russia to calm the tensions and promised to support Ukraine in case of any kind of threat by Moscow back in 2021. The USA President, Joe Biden, talked to the UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the leaders of France, Italy and Germany, thereby agreeing to resort to all possible tools to prevent aggression.
USA and EU expressed great concern and on several occasions tried to prevent the attack. In the Resolution adopted in December 2021, the Members of the European Parliament demanded that the government in Moscow immediately withdraw its forces and stop threatening Ukraine. They stressed that any aggression by Moscow must come at a high economic and political price.
The entire post is full of Russian narratives and manipulations, whose purpose is to spread propaganda and justify Russian military aggression in Ukraine. The Ukrainians are not brainwashed, as the post claims, but they are trying, in all possible ways, to defend their country from Russia. Russia was the one that started the war, while the Western countries are only supporting Ukraine to defend and preserve its territorial integrity and identity. Therefore, the post fact-checked is assessed as untrue.