“Ukrainians – Cannon Fodder” Is Moscow’s disinformation about American aid for Ukraine

Published on:

The passing of the bill on American aid for Ukraine, Taiwan, and Israel, first in the House of Representatives and then in the United States Senate, was the main motive for Moscow’s response to the old disinformation narratives. This event, Iran’s assault on Israel, including, undoubtedly, the elections in our country, contributed to the increase of disinformation distributed by the media in the form of statements or completely fabricated fake news disseminated on social networks 

 

At the end of April, the US Congress passed the foreign aid bill for Ukraine, Taiwan, and Israel, first in the House of Representatives, and then in the United States Senate, and it was the main motive for Moscow’s response containing the old disinformation narratives. The package aiming to secure aid for Ukraine was approximately 61 billion Dollars – assistance that Kyiv was impatiently awaiting to stop the new Russian onslaught on some of the fronts and the strategic bombing of Ukrainian energy and telecommunication infrastructure. 

Bad day and bad news for Putin, wrote Ukrainian Minister of Foreign Affairs Dmytro Kuleba on the social network Х, commenting on the American aid package for Ukraine worth 61 billion Dollars. President Volodymyr Zelenskyy expressed his gratitude and said that the aid will be able to stop the Russian offensive and defeat Russia, reported national media. Sometime later, Kuleba stated in an interview for the Guardian that “no package can stop the Russians. What will stop the Russians though is a united front throughout Ukraine and all of its partners” informed some of the media in the Macedonian language. 

The media also reported that this time the military aid from the Americans will be significant, containing modern anti-aircraft defense systems and armored transportation vehicles. Some media also informed about tanks as part of their headlines. 

 

“Cannon Fodder” or “Meat Grinder”, Moscow’s terms for Ukrainians 

Russia’s response was expected, with – as specified above – repeating some old disinformation narratives. First to respond immediately after the vote in the House of Representatives was Maria Zakharova, spokesperson of the Russian MFA, who sent a message with an assessment that the adoption of the aid package for Ukraine, Taiwan, and Israel was directly deteriorating the situation in Ukraine and Israel and interfering with China’s internal affairs, informed the media in Macedonian language. 

Maria Zakharova (2023). Photo: MFA of RF/web

By providing several billion Dollars of aid, the American government is forcing Kyiv to fight until the last Ukrainian standinghoping that Zelenskyy’s regime will last until the November elections to preserve the image of Joe Bidenstates the announcement of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 

– Interestingly, the White House is no longer relying on the mythical victory of the controlled Kyiv regime, but on the fact that Ukrainian armed forces will last at least until the November elections without obliterating Joe Biden’s image. In fact, that is the reason why the agony of Zelenskyy and his company has been extended, while ordinary Ukrainians are slaughtered as “cannon fodder” – stated the spokesperson of the department Maria Zakharova. 

“The deeper and deeper involvement of Washington in the hybrid war against Russia will turn into a vocal and humiliating fiasco for the USA like Vietnam or Afghanistan”, said Zakharova as informed by another Macedonian language medium. Russia ”will respond unconditionally and resolutely” to the American decision to get more involved in the Ukrainian war, she added. 

Deputy Russian Ambassador to the UN, Dmitry Polyanski, stated that “there was nothing to celebrate”. He wrote that the war would proceed and that “more money will end up in people’s pockets, more weapons will be stolen, and tens of thousands of Ukrainians will end up in the meat grinder”. He added that Ukraine’s defeat was “inevitable”. 

In that context and within the same disinformation narrative, following the vote in the Senate, the Kremlin’s spokesperson Dmitry Peskov responded by saying that the weapons and the ammunition that the US and its allies were sending to Kyiv would not change the “dynamics of the front line” where the Russian forces achieved significant advances in the last few weeks. The only thing that the latest American aid will do is kill more Ukrainians, said Peskov, informed the Macedonian language media. 

Dmitry Medvedev. Photo: Duma.gov.ru

Russia again with the “Russophobia” 

The most vocal Russian propagandist, former President Dmitry Medvedev, also responded by saying that such a move was based on Russophobia. 

“We, of course, will be the winners regardless of the bloody 61 billion Dollars, which will mainly be consumed by their insatiable military industrial complex”, wrote Medvedev on Telegram. 

Medvedev’s statement reiterated the Russian disinformation narrative that the Western civilization hates the Russian civilization because it defends traditional values thereby developing Russophobia with the ultimate goal to destroy Russia. Last April, on the other hand, Zakharova repeated for the second time the Russian false narrative that the USA and the West were waging a proxy war against Russia by using Ukraine and the Ukrainians as cannon fodder. The purpose of this narrative was to conceal the occupation and annexation motives of large parts of Ukrainian territory after the Russian invasion on the 24th of February, 2022. The only difference that can be seen in Moscow’s narratives is the application of the term “hybrid war”, apart from “proxy war” or “war via intermediaries”, something constantly used as a catch-phrase since 2022. 

Mobilization, Moscow’s excuse for fabricating lies about Ukraine 

Yet again, it became clear that Moscow was constantly implementing a disinformation campaign related to Ukraine with the new stricter mobilization law adopted by the Ukrainian Parliament in the middle of the month. Once Ukrainian President Zelenskyy signed the law on military mobilization enabling those over 25 years old to be sent to the front, official Moscow conveyed a disinformation message that Zelenskyy and the leadership in Kyiv did not love their people. 

The spokesperson of the Russian MFA, Maria Zakharova, stated that Zelenskyy, with the new mobilization law, will finish the Ukrainians. ”He wants to finish the Ukrainians”, she specified on Telegram, which was reported by one Macedonian language media. This narrative is just building onto Moscow’s disinformation narrative that Ukraine and the West were fighting a proxy war “until the last Ukrainian standing”, which was reiterated and renewed when the USA finally committed the aid for Ukraine ten days after the mobilization law. 

Even though a more restrictive law was passed the second time around after reviewing more than 4000 amendments, the fact remains that it was adopted due to the lack of troops on the front lines, especially after Russia started offensives on several parts of the front. Zelenskyy constantly spoke of the ammunition shortage, especially anti-aircraft defense missiles. 

Photo: Zelenskyy on the Day of the Ukrainian Defence and Industrial Facility, 13.04.2024/president.gov.ua

The evening Iran attacked Israel, he stated that the weak effects of Iranian missiles were a good indicator that the allies protected Israel, while Ukraine had been waiting for American aid for months. He also added that contemporary air defense systems were saving lives, clarifying how the Russians managed to wreck the large thermal power plant near Kyiv due to the lack of anti-aircraft missiles: 

“They attacked with 11 missiles. We destroyed the first seven, but four of them wrecked the facility ‘Tripilia’. Why? Because there were no more anti-aircraft missiles. We had no more missiles to defend ‘Tripilia’“, stated Zelenskyy, reported Macedonian media. 

Zelenskyy reiterated the request for aid from Western allies, following the Russian missile attack on Chernihiv when 13 people were killed. 

 

Iran attacked Israel – Moscow will defend Tehran 

After days of Iran threatening to respond to the Israeli attack on the Iranian consulate, on the night between the 13th and 14th of April, Iran launched a massive air strike, with minimal effect. Those narratives, however, were used by Moscow to intimidate the West, similar to the other frequently used narrative threatening the possible use of nuclear weapons. 

As reported by Macedonian language media, the strike involved hundreds of drones, the same as those Russia was purchasing from Iran for attacking Ukrainian positions, including the two types of missiles – medium-range ballistic and cruise. The spokesman of the Israeli Army, Daniel Hagari stated that 99 percent of approximately 300 missiles fired from Iran at Israel during the night were intercepted by the air defense. Later, this number went down to 97 percent and apparently, seven missiles penetrated the anti-aircraft defense, falling in two military airports and causing minimum damage. 

В.Путин. Фото: скриншот

Immediately after the attack, the great powers gave their statements, while Russia threatened to protect Iran should the US perform a military intervention on Iranian territory to support Israel. 

Russian President Vladimir Putin stated that Russia would support Iran if the USA attacked Iranian territory as a form of supporting Israel. 

”With Iran attacking Israel, Hezbollah and the Houthis, one can expect the global prices of raw material to start increasing from tomorrow. The West was misled into supporting Israel, especially after attacking Palestinians and the citizens of Gaza. ”Russia will do everything possible to avoid the possibility of a Third World War”, stated Putin. 

After the attack, official Moscow talked to Tehran several times, first on the 15th of April followed by other attempts on different levels. According to Macedonian media reports, a telephone conversation between the Russian and Iranian presidents happened on two separate occasions after the attack, however, the message conveyed from Moscow was calmer this time. 

“Vladimir Putin expressed hope that all parties will demonstrate reasonable restraint and not allow a new round of confrontation to bring about disastrous consequences for the entire region”, specified the statement following the conversation with Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi. 

 

Enhanced anti-Western and anti-NATO disinformation on the social networks 

In the last few weeks, along with the events surrounding Ukraine and the Middle East, including the election period in our country, enhanced anti-Western or anti-European and anti-NATO narratives can be noted, but also classical disinformation about Ukraine. 

A standard Truthmeter fact-check of a Facebook post determined fake use of a Western state medium in the Macedonian language, Deutsche Welle, as an alleged platform that distributed a statement of the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen – that the Union will not enlarge in the next 15 years. Although in the context of the elections and the Constitutional amendments for including the Bulgarians, it is important to note that this disinformation was disseminating Euroscepticism – no EU enlargement in the next 15 years. 

Photo: screenshot of the posts

This practice of faking Western media outlets can also be recognized in the case of abuse of BBC and France. As an illustration of fake news, the photoshopped image above of a post on the Macedonian language BBC can be noted, even though it is well known that the public service of the United Kingdom terminated the Macedonian language broadcast a dozen years ago. The narrative is the same – no European Union enlargement in the next decades, and France is to blame for that. According to the other picture, France adopted some type of resolution that stops the EU enlargement process, while Macron stated that “North Macedonia should be told that there will be no enlargement until 2040”. Both claims are disinformation that was debunked by Truthmeter fact-checkers. 

 

Smilkovo Lake murders – NATO was the organizer?! 

A post claiming that NATO was behind the organization of the massacre at Smilkovo Lake in Skopje where five boys were murdered was also noted. The post arbitrarily claims that the CIA has founded Al-Qaeda and ISIS and that NATO was behind the massacre at Smilkovo Lake. But that is not supported by any evidence. 

Smilkovo Lake – Photo: Print-screen video YouTube

 

The five murders at Smilkovo Lake were committed on the 12th of April, 2012. This case, publicly known as “Monster” was overturned and a court decision was adopted. Truthmeter fact-checked all this, revealing it to be disinformation intended to accuse the USA, spread an anti-NATO narrative, and portray the country as going on the wrong path.

NATO membership has diminished the security of North Macedonia, claimed the following disinformation: 

Due to NATO membership, this is neither Macedonian nor even a state. Instead of a sovereign country, we are now the supremacy field of all of our neighbors therefore less secure. How did that membership increase our security when we had to give up our weapons to Ukraine? This disinformation too was aimed at disseminating an anti-NATO narrative and was debunked by Truthmeter. 

In this category, we can also add the disinformation that the USA is the source or hub of evil in the world whose purpose is, again, the narrative that the country should not rely on the ways of the West and the USA as its strategic allies. The fact-checking article provides other details of the disinformation. 

 

hubmk