NATO forced Ukraine to adopt anti-Russian foreign policy

Summary

Ever since gaining independence in 1991, Ukraine has pursued a policy of keeping as much distance from Russia as possible, which is actually part of NATO’s expansion strategy.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin narratives painting NATO as an aggressive, expansionist military bloc; casting Ukraine as an artificial and/or failing state, fatally dependent on Western sponsorship and unable to make its own strategic choices

NATO does not determine Ukrainian foreign policy, Ukraine does (Arts. 85, 92, 106, 116). As such, different Ukrainian presidents and governments have emphasised a variety of foreign-policy priorities and preferences.

In fact, independent Ukraine has only pursued an unambiguously pro-Western policy for a minority of its 28-year existence. See this case for more on Ukraine's shifting geopolitical inclinations since 1991.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 168
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 07/10/2019
  • Language/target audience: English
  • Country: Russia, Ukraine
  • Keywords: EU/NATO enlargement, Ukrainian disintegration, NATO, Ukrainian statehood
  • Outlet: CrossTalk @RT, time 02:20-02:38
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The Rail Baltic project is frozen, it will be destroyed in a war

The construction of the Rail Baltic railway was postponed for another two years because the Baltics don’t have enough money. It seems like the Rail Baltic project has permanently “frozen”.

There is no point in building infrastructure to the “front line” because it would be destroyed in the first hours of a large scale war.

Disproof

Rail Baltic is currently undergoing a design phase. In March 2019, a contract was signed to design a section of the Rail Baltic railway in Estonia. This was the first design contract signed for the main line of Rail Baltica. In April 2019, a similar contract was signed for a section in Lithuania, and in July, a design works contract was signed in Latvia. By September 2019, design works and site investigations had started on 411 km of the railroad.

Pro-Kremlin media often use the narrative of a "great war that will destroy everything, so there is no point in doing anything". This is a recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative based on groundless speculation. Sometimes it's used in combination with the narrative that "Russia is not a threat" (and dismissing the annexation of Crimea). Other times, the narrative that "Russia is not a threat" is paired with the narrative where Russia destroys its adversaries with a nuclear bomb.

NATO buried Latvia’s and Lithuania’s independence and is currently targeting Belarus

NATO has since buried the independence of Latvia and Lithuania, now its military forces aim to steal Belarus’ independence. To prevent this, it is important to remain Russia’s ally, to discuss the establishment of a Russian airbase in Belarus, to send a diplomatic note of protest to the U.S. and to send opposition politicians who support the location of US military bases in the vicinity of Belarus to court martial as national traitors. The whole Belarusian opposition celebrated the stationing of U.S. troops in Lithuania. When American tanks target the windows of their houses they feel safe.

Disproof

This is a conspiracy theory aimed to discredit the West and democratic Belarusian opposition. It is consistent with recurring propagandist narratives about the Baltic states' lost sovereignty and their subordination to the US and NATO, US/NATO aggressive plans towards Belarus, and destructive actions of the Belarusian opposition guided by the West. It was not reported that any of Belarus' opposition political parties praised the stationing of regular US troops in Lithuania.

See earlier disinformation cases alleging that Lithuania is occupied by NATO, that the Belarusian opposition, civic activists and independent journalists make kill lists for Western security bodies, that NATO is planning to invade Belarus, and that the Belarusian opposition is tasked by the West to disrupt Belarusian-Russian integration.

Blocking Crimea, the new NATO/US strategy in the Black Sea

Despite reports accusing Russia of deploying forces to take over Black and Azov seas, it is not difficult to understand that it is NATO who is trying to increase tension there due to military exercises such as Sea Breeze and Agile Spirit. The US may organize different provocative actions in the Black Sea using countries such as Bulgaria, Romania and Ukraine, to get Moscow used to have US ships entering in its maritime space.

Disproof

No evidence is provided to support this claim. This is part of a recurrent pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative portraying NATO as an aggressive power and Russia as acting in a self-defensive way.

Sea Breeze military exercises have been taking place each year since 1997, while Agile Spirit joint military exercises started in 2001 under a different name and were celebrated on a biennial base since then, so they can’t be considered a source of increased tensions. In both cases, the purpose is to enhance inter-operability between NATO and allied armies.