This is a republication of a post authored by Andrew Korybko, which was first published in OneWorld. It has been adapted with full permissions obtained from the author.
Russia’s special operation to demilitarize and denazify Ukraine, as well as to bring to justice those who’ve committed crimes against civilians, entered its second day on February 25, 2022. Predictably, it has become the target of a major US-led Western Mainstream Media information warfare campaign. The purpose of this piece is to debunk the top ten infowar narratives about this conflict in order to enlighten readers about the truth of what’s really happening and why. For background context, those who are interested are encouraged to read the author’s six prior analyses below, which should bring everyone up to speed:
What comes next is a list of false narratives followed by the motivation behind them and then their concise debunking. It’ll recycle the insight shared in the above six analyses so those who don’t have the time to read them in full will still become aware of their main points. In short, this isn’t a Russian-Ukrainian conflict, but a Russian-NATO proxy war that Moscow was compelled to fight for preemptive reasons in order to avert a much larger, direct, and dangerous conflict between itself and that anti-Russian bloc that its intelligence services concluded was unavoidable as revealed by President Putin.
1. Lie: “Russia Invaded Ukraine!”
Motive: Misportray Russia as an aggressor state that blatantly violated international law.
Truth: USG encouraged Kyiv to initiate a third round of civil war hostilities against Donbass, and this prompted Russia’s intervention on humanitarian grounds as requested by the Donbass Republics that it recognized as independent earlier this week.
President Putin cited Article 51 of the UN Charter enshrining the right to self-defense for all nations as the international legal basis for his decision. In such circumstances, Russia’s ongoing special operation in Ukraine cannot accurately be described as an “invasion” but as a humanitarian intervention.
2. Lie: “Russia Wants to Restore the Soviet Union!”
Motive: Trigger memories of the Old Cold War in order to turn the targeted audience against Russia.
Truth: President Putin is fiercely anti-communist and never tires of slamming the former Communist Party for its many economic and political mistakes during Soviet times. As the world’s largest country, Russia has absolutely no interest in absorbing more territory just for the sake of it.
In fact, Ukraine was ignominiously designated by the IMF a few years ago as Europe’s poorest country. Reincorporating it back into Russia would therefore be a severe drain on the federal budget at the expense of that Eurasian Great Power’s urgent socio-economic development priorities at home.
3. Lie: “Putin is a Radical Ethno-Nationalist who Believes in the Supremacy of the Russian People!”
Motive: Prompt comparisons with Hitler in order to misportray President Putin as the world’s worst evil.
Truth: The Russian leader is far from a radical ethno-nationalist, let alone some sort of supremacist. In fact, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett praised him last October as “a very close and true friend of the State of Israel”, which he wouldn’t have done if he had any concerns about President Putin’s views.
President Putin even joined Israel’s global campaign against anti-Semitism in January 2020 when he was invited as its guest of honor during a conference on this issue. Furthermore, the author’s detailed thread from early February documents dozens of instances where he praised Islam and Russian Muslims.
4. Lie: “Putin is Nuts to Think that Ukraine is Run by Neo-Nazis When its Own President is Jewish!”
Motive: Manipulate the targeted audience into thinking that Putin is either lying or insane.
Truth: The US-backed coup in Ukraine back in early 2014 that followed the months-long spree of urban terrorism popularly known in the West as “EuroMaidan” did indeed result in the rise to power of those who glorify their former compatriots that collaborated with Nazi Germany during World War II.
Ukrainian President Zelensky is practically held hostage to the radical socio-political vision imposed upon the country by these influential forces. They regularly hold torchlit marches in the capital honoring literal fascists and war criminals such as Stepan Bandera, who was responsible for genocidal crimes.
5. Lie: “Russia Lied by Claiming that it Wouldn’t Invade All the While Secretly Preparing To Do So!”
Motive: Reduce trust in Russia and discredit all of its statements going forward.
Truth: Russia published its security guarantee requests in late December asking for legal assurances that NATO won’t expand eastward, that strike weapons be removed from Russia’s borders, and for a return to the continental military status quo enshrined in the now-defunct 1997 Russian-NATO Founding Act.
President Putin warned on 21 December during an “Expanded Meeting of the Defense Ministry Board” that Russia “will take appropriate reciprocal military-technical measures” if its requests aren’t met. The West didn’t negotiate in good faith or sincerity so Russia was forced to defend its red lines.
6. Lie: “Russia has No National Interests in Ukraine Except for Imperialist Ones!”
Motive: Artificially manufacture the pretext for dividing the world into “democracies” and “autocracies”.
Truth: The US’ expansion of NATO, deployment of “anti-missile systems” and strike weapons to Russia’s border, and withdrawal from arms control pacts like the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty, Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, and Open Skies Treaty destabilized Europe.
These moves threatened to eventually neutralize Russia’s nuclear second-strike capabilities, which would have then placed the country in a perpetual position of nuclear blackmail vis-à-vis the US. Russian intelligence confirmed that Ukraine was planned to be the launching pad for such future NATO attacks.
7. Lie: “Russia is Killing Civilians in Ukraine!”
Motive: Set the stage for accusing Russia of war crimes and therefore discrediting its military aims.
Truth: Russia’s precision weapons are solely targeting Ukraine’s military infrastructure, having already destroyed at least 74 such targets, including facilities that President Putin earlier warned were planned to be used by the US and NATO for a forthcoming attack against his country.
There is, unfortunately, no war without civilian casualties, which always regrettably happens, but Russia is doing its best to minimize this. Since President Putin declared that “the showdown…is unavoidable”, it’s actually humane to wage a preemptive war now than to wait for a much larger and deadlier one later.
8. Lie: “Russia Wants to Restore its Historical Sphere of Influence over Ukraine!”
Motive: Reaffirm the false narrative dividing the world into “democracies” and “autocracies”.
Truth: As the author explained in his analysis about “Spheres Of Influence, State Sovereignty, And The European Missile Crisis” from late January, it’s actually the US that carved out a regional sphere of influence at Russia’s expense and not Russia vis-à-vis anyone else.
The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s (OSCE) principles of indivisible security and prohibiting the advancement of one’s own at anyone else’s expense were blatantly violated by NATO’s eastward expansion. All Russia requests to do is for the bloc to respect its national security red lines.
9. Lie: “Russia Plans to Invade and Annex Other Countries after Ukraine!”
Motive: Scare Western societies into blindly supporting their governments’ anti-Russian policies.
Truth: British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss was among the highest-profile Western officials to spew this fake news narrative earlier in the month when she claimed that Russia might invade the Baltics and Balkans after Ukraine.
Moscow, however, would never do such a thing because it knows that this would result in the activation of NATO’s Article 5 for mutual defense and thus likely prompt a nuclear reaction from the bloc’s American leaders. Moreover, Russia has no interest in obtaining new territories and hostile populations.
10. Lie: “Putin Just Started World War III!”
Motive: Establish the false pretext for assembling a World War II-like anti-Russian coalition.
Truth: President Putin actually averted World War III by preemptively neutralizing the US and NATO’s secret military infrastructure in Ukraine that Russian intelligence confirmed was planned to be used in a forthcoming attack against their country upon the neutralization of its nuclear second-strike capabilities.
By decisively acting when he did, the Russian leader prevented a much larger and deadlier war in the future, one that could have spelled the end of the world. President Putin basically did what Stalin should have done, which was launch a preemptive strike against Hitler long before his military power matured.
The above debunking comprehensively discredits the top ten information warfare narratives being propagated against Russia’s special operation in Ukraine. It confirms that Moscow’s military moves are predicated on peaceful intentions designed to avert World War III by preemptively neutralizing the US and NATO’s secret military infrastructure in Ukraine before it could be used to attack Russia. Furthermore, observers shouldn’t forget the immediate trigger for this intervention, which was to protect the indigenous Russian people of Donbass from Kiev’s ongoing genocidal attacks.
The US-led West’s refusal to sincerely negotiate with Russia over its security guarantee requests couldn’t have helped but evoke dark memories of Hitler’s similarly insincere intentions in the run-up to World War II. Faced with an eerily similar situation, President Putin declared Thursday morning during his address to the Russian people after making such a comparison that “We will not make this mistake the second time. We have no right to do so.” Everyone must therefore urgently be made aware of these facts in order to truly understand the reality of what just happened in Ukraine and why.