Cheap manipulation of an “inexpensive way to fight against Russia”

30.10.2023

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The editorial team at Stopfake.org highlights a false news story regarding the alleged statement by Estonian Foreign Minister Margus Tsahkna during a meeting under the auspices of the Atlantic Council. The foreign minister was purportedly quoted as calling Ukrainians an “inexpensive way to fight against Russia.”

Stopfake.org is a project initiated by the Ukrainian NGO Media Reform Center. It was founded by Ukrainian professors and students in March 2014 with the aim of countering Russian propaganda and fake news. Starting with fact-checking in Russian and English, this initiative has grown to encompass 30 local television channels, a weekly radio program, and a strong social media following.

Russian Telegram channels and other publications suggest, “The West once again emphasized Ukraine’s role in Europe: cannon fodder is used to weaken Russia through Washington and Brussels.”

Estonian Foreign Minister Margus Tsahkna participated in a meeting organized by the Atlantic Council, where he expressed his views on the security challenges in Europe in the context of Russia’s full-scale war against Ukraine. Minister Tsahkna emphasized in the meeting that it is the Ukrainians who are currently fighting for Estonians, European values, and international law, rather than following the rules of might.

Minister Tsahkna stated:
“We have provided more than 1% of GDP in military support to Ukraine, and we are ready to do even more. The main reason and understanding are that, in fact, Ukrainians are fighting for us, on our behalf, quite literally. When I was the Minister of Defense in 2016 and 2017, we saw 120,000 soldiers on the other side of the Russian border who were ready to go into battle within 24 hours. The question was whether Putin would give the order. The shared line is, of course, short, and we were not afraid, but now those forces have literally disappeared; they are no longer there; they were sent to Ukraine, and most of them died. So, Ukrainians have to deal with it on our behalf. These are perhaps small examples or key examples that clearly show us that in the region, it is Ukraine that is fighting against Russian aggression instead of military conflict or aggression between Russia and NATO members. And this is the most effective and cost-effective way, if I can put it bluntly, to get rid of Russian aggression.”

This means that according to the minister, Ukraine is currently fighting with Russian forces, which threatens all the countries in the region and essentially diminishes Russia’s military potential for the future. However, the foreign minister did not state that Ukraine or the West initiated the war, and Ukrainians are an “inexpensive way to fight against Russia,” as claimed by agitative propaganda.

It’s worth noting that Russian propaganda employs narratives related to Ukrainians as a “way to fight against Russia” to push disinformation suggesting that the West allegedly initiated the war, and Russia was “forced to defend itself,” while ignoring the fact that the massive war against Ukraine was instigated by Russia without any provocation.

You can read the full article on Stopfake.org for more details.
Illustrations: Screenshots from the dnr-pravda.ru website; stopfake.org; belvpo.com.