Russia may arm itself and attack Ukraine, but Ukraine may not receive arms to defend itself

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This article was first published by (North Macedonia), within the framework of Western Balkans Anti-Disinformation Project.

The post distorts facts and intentionally constructs a narrative by linking the assassination of Slovak Prime Minister Fico to the war in Ukraine, thereby manipulating the claim that America and the West desire war and are hoarding weapons in Ukraine. This Kremlin propaganda is used to justify the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The fact is that Russia is the one that started the war, which is still ongoing, by attacking Ukraine and taking over its territories. Ukraine has the right to defend itself and to defend its territorial integrity helped by the member states of NATO and the EU. The post, however, neglects to mention that Russia is also hoarding weapons for attacking and military invading Ukraine, helped by countries like North Korea, Iran, Belarus, and China 



We are fact-checking a post on Facebook sharing insinuations about the assassination of Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico, relating the event to the war in Ukraine, and stressing that Fico advocated for peace in Ukraine, while the West and the USA were just hoarding weapons. 

The assassination of the pro-Russian President of Slovakia was executed. I can presume with certainty whose action that was. It is not about the assassin. There are forces that identify and pay people to carry out executions. He was constantly advocating an end to the war between Russia and Ukraine unlike America and the West which were hoarding weapons in Ukraine all the time, states the post. 

Based on what is already known about Fico’s assassination as reported by the media, the assassin was identified as 71-year-old Juraj Cintula, a self-proclaimed writer who previously worked as a guard and who, allegedly, is connected with the pro-Russian group Slovenski Branci. 

Regarding the claim that America and the West did not want peace in Ukraine and that they were constantly hoarding weapons there, such a claim is intentional and manipulative. Firstly, the war in Ukraine was not initiated either by America or by the Western countries – the war was initiated by Russia. 

Russia attacked Ukraine and Ukraine is entitled to defend itself 

On the 24th of February 2022, Russian troops initiated an attack on Ukraine upon the command of President Vladimir Putin, who announced “a special military operation” in the early morning hours despite the warnings of global statesmen pinpointing that the attack might bring about the biggest war in Europe since 1945. 

The decision of Russian President Putin on the 21st of February 2022 to recognize the independence of the so-called People’s Republics in Donetsk and Luhansk that were under the control of pro-Russian separatists since 2014 came before the attack. This decision enabled Putin to send directly Russian military units in Eastern Ukraine where temporal clashes were already taking place between the Ukrainian Forces and the pro-Russian separatists. 

Since the beginning of the aggressive military invasion of Russia in Ukraine, the Kremlin’s propaganda has tried to twist these on many occasions, i.e. to impose a series of justifications for its attacks. The truth, however, is that Russia was the one that executed an unprovoked military invasion in Ukraine on the 24th of February 2022. Ukraine, as an independent country with territorial integrity and sovereignty, is entitled to defend itself and use all available resources such as assistance from its friends, above all from NATO and the EU. If Ukraine did not do that, then it would have to face even bigger territorial claims by Russia. 

NATO condemns 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. 

NATO helps coordinate Ukraine’s requests for assistance and supports allies in delivering humanitarian aid. Article 5 as a security guarantee enables collective defense and secures the right of the Alliance to send weapons to Ukraine without threatening its security. Furthermore, the well-established structure for common standards of the Alliance and the interoperable systems enables the Alliance to deliver equipment with the certainty that the shipments to Ukraine can be supplemented with compatible equipment from other allies. Individual NATO member countries are sending weapons, ammunition, and many types of light and heavy military equipment, including anti-tank and air defense systems, howitzers, drones, and tanks, according to NATO’s website. 

According to the latest data published by Al Jazeera citing the Kiel Institute for the World Economy, a German think tank, Western allies committed at least 75.2 billion euros ($80.5bn) in financial, humanitarian, and military aid between 24 January and 20 November 2022.  

At 47.8 billion euros (51.2 billion dollars) in commitments, the US is Ukraine’s biggest contributor, with at least 22.9 billion euros (24.5 billion dollars) going towards military pledges, 15.05 billion euros (16.1 billion dollars) in financial aid and 9.9 billion euros (10.6 billion dollars) in humanitarian assistance.  

Military assistance, as it is now, includes weapons, equipment, and financial aid for the Ukrainian military. Humanitarian relief covers medical, food, and other items for civilians, while financial assistance comes in the form of grants, loans, and guarantees. 

The USA and the Western countries continue to help Ukraine so that it can defend itself from Russian aggression. 

Russia too is hoarding weapons, but for the purpose of attacking 

What the post omitted to say, however, is that Ukraine is not the only one supplying weapons. Russia is doing the same. Russia is hoarding weapons as well as spare parts from Iran, Belarus, North Korea, and China. 

The only difference is that Ukraine needs weapons to defend itself, while Russia is purchasing weapons to attack. 

Last February, as reported by CNN quoting information from the South Korean Minister of Defence, North Korean ammunition factories were “working with full capacity” to produce weapons and shells for Russia. 

The weapons and military equipment, which include millions of rounds of artillery shells, are being delivered to Russia in exchange for shipments of food and other necessities, informed South Korean Defense Minister Shin Won-sik, as reported by CNN. 

Since August 2023, Pyongyang has shipped about 6,700 containers to Russia, according to Shin’s ministry. In the information document published in February 2024, the US Department of State revealed that since September 2023, the DPRK has delivered more than 10,000 containers of munitions or munitions-related materials to Russia. Three months ago, Reuters published that Iran was sending Russia hundreds of ballistic missiles. 

Iran’s provision of around 400 missiles includes many from the Fateh-110 family of short-range ballistic weapons, such as the Zolfaghar, three Iranian sources said to Reuters. Experts say this road-mobile missile can strike targets at a distance of between 300 and 700 km (186 and 435 miles).  

In Ukraine, Iranian “Kamikaze” Shahed drones are used as well. The European Union introduced sanctions on Iran due to the shipment of drones to Russia. 

Belarus also earned sanctions from the EU for delivering weapons to Russia. 

The EU strongly condemns the continued support provided by the Lukashenko regime to Russia’s military aggression against Ukraine and calls on Belarus to refrain from such actions and to abide by its international obligations, published the EU. 

The website of the European Council specifies the following: 

Belarus is contributing to the war of aggression against Ukraine in different ways, including by allowing Russia to fire ballistic missiles from Belarusian territory, enabling transportation of Russian military personnel and heavy weapons, tanks, and military transporters, allowing Russian military aircraft to fly over Belarusian airspace into Ukraine, providing refueling points, storing Russian armaments and military equipment in Belarus. 

In regard to China, the country was warned by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg about securing state-of-the-art technology to Russia such as semiconductors. 

Of the total quantity of electronics imported by Russia last year, 90 percent comes from China and it is used to manufacture missiles, tanks, and aircraft. In addition, China is working on securing enhanced satellite capacities and recordings for Russia, said Stoltenberg. 

You can find more information on this topic here. 

From all of the above-noted, we can conclude that the post is twisting theses, making intentional constructions by linking the assassination of the Slovak Prime Minister Fico with the war in Ukraine thereby manipulating the claim that America and the West want war and hoard weapons in Ukraine. This Kremlin propaganda is used to justify the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The fact is that Russia is the one that started the war by attacking Ukraine and taking over its territories which is still ongoing. Ukraine has the right to defend itself and to defend its territorial integrity helped by the Member-States of NATO and the EU. The post, however, neglects to mention that Russia is also hoarding weapons for attacking and military invading Ukraine, helped by countries like North Korea, Iran, Belarus, and China. Due to all of the above-noted, the fact-checked post is assessed as incorrect.