Debunking Disinformation: Former NATO Commander’s Words Twisted in Russian Propaganda Blitz

18.12.2023

“Former NATO commander acknowledges the strength of the Russian Army and casts doubt on the Ukrainian Armed Forces,” states the article title in Russian media.

StopFake.org reports that several Russian channels have disseminated a distorted statement attributed to the former NATO Commander. The fabricated opinion falsely claims that the commander “acknowledges the strength of the Russian Army and casts doubt on the Ukrainian Armed Forces.”

Former NATO Commander of European Forces,  James G. Stavridis, did not state that the Russian army significantly surpasses the Ukrainian one, let alone “cast doubt on the Ukrainian Armed Forces.” He merely mentioned that, currently, the Russian army has a significant advantage in aviation. In his column on the Bloomberg website, Stavridis emphasizes the importance of continued military support from its Western partners for Ukraine. The former military commander also notes that Ukraine “at the very least will be able to restrain further significant Russian advances on land with sufficient resources.”

James Stavridis only pointed out Russia’s superiority in aviation but did not state that the “Ukrainian Armed Forces significantly lag behind the Russian army.” The article “Congress Pressures Zelensky—and the U.S. Comes out on the Losing End” was published on the Bloomberg website on December 14, 2023. The main idea of this text is the need for continuous military support for Ukraine from its Western partners. Stavridis primarily criticizes the American establishment for diminishing interest in the Russia-Ukraine war and delaying decisions on further military support for Ukraine.

Later in the text, retired US Navy Admiral Stavridis notes: “It can be said with confidence that if the US and Europeans continue to increase military aid to Kyiv for $100 billion (a small sum compared to their combined defense budget of over $1.2 trillion), then Ukraine, at the very least, will be able to restrain further significant Russian advances on land. Especially considering that by spring, American F-16 fighters will arrive in Kyiv, more modern missile systems (ATACMS and HIMARS) will appear, and a sufficient stock of basic weapons will be created, Ukrainians will be able to stand firmly on their current front lines.”

In his column, Stavridis concludes that avoiding a warlock can be achieved by “satisfying relatively modest requests from Zelenskyy—not about Western troops, but about the instruments of war to defend his country.”

Russian propaganda primarily targets Russians in Russia and Russian speakers in the West who consume Russian-language media and hold a pro-Russian stance in the ongoing conflict. The main goal is to create the illusion of the West abandoning Ukraine and portraying a Russian victory as imminent. This messaging aims to shape opinions, fostering a sense of success and inevitability in Russian military actions. The propaganda strategy includes undermining Western support for Ukraine, boosting Russian morale, diverting attention from the realities of the war, and influencing Russian-speaking communities in the West.

The used images are screenshots from the referenced pages.