WAR PROPAGANDA: Russia needs a buffer-zone to protect itself from Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) and Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev (R) walk prior to a traditional meeting ahead of the New Year with Government members in Moscow, Russia, 26 December 2018.
© EPA-EFE/DMITRY ASTAKHOV / SPUTNIK / GOVERNMENT PRESS SERVICE POOL   |   Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) and Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev (R) walk prior to a traditional meeting ahead of the New Year with Government members in Moscow, Russia, 26 December 2018.

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Russia will create a buffer zone on Ukrainian territory to protect its civilians from Kyiv's bombings, according to pro-Kremlin media developing an idea voiced by the Russian leader Vladimir Putin.

Propaganda: Russia will have to create a buffer zone on the territory of Ukraine to enhance its security

NEWS: [...] The buffer zone on the territory of Ukraine will allow the protection of the regions near the Russian borders from attacks by subversives and bombings, says the military expert, reserve commander Vasili Dandikin, explaining the Russian President Vladimir Putin’s initiative. According to the specialist, it is about the districts that will enhance Russia's security and which must be located along the border between the two countries.

"It is about the Chernigov and Sumy regions, which border our territories: Belgorod, Kursk and Bryansk. The border is hundreds of kilometers long and with very different landscapes - forest-steppe, forests and swamps" [...] (Lenta.ru).

[...] The head of the DNR, Denis Pushilin, was among the first to comment on Putin's statement. He absolutely rightly mentioned that the buffer zone must be so deep that Ukraine cannot bomb Donbas with the weapons it has. That’s correct! Why do we need a buffer zone if shells will continue to hit residential neighborhoods [...] (Ukraina.ru)?

[...] At the moment this goal cannot be achieved through negotiations because of the regime in Kyiv, which is not adequate, which means that the buffer zone must be created through military actions on Ukrainian soil, including the regions abandoned by the Russian army in the first months of the special operation [...] (Pravda).

NARRATIVE: Russia needs a buffer zone to protect its population from Ukrainian attacks

Reality: Russia's creation of a buffer zone is a justification for the continuation of the war of annexation of Ukraine

CONTEXT: The idea of ​​a buffer zone was voiced by the Russian leader Vladimir Putin, who recently said that “I am not ready to talk now about what, how and when we should annex. But I do not rule out that, taking into account the tragic events that are taking place today, we will be forced at some point - when we consider it appropriate –  to create a buffer zone in the current territories subordinated to the Kyiv regime".

The leader of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic, Denis Pushilin, praised Vladimir Putin's initiative, saying that Donbas is under attack by Ukrainian troops, and they must be driven to the west of the country.

Pro-Kremlin comments say the buffer zone should start from Russia's borders as defined by it - that is, including the Ukrainian regions of Kherson, Donetsk, Luhansk and Zaporizhzhia, which are partly under Russian occupation and illegally annexed by Moscow. The buffer zone would extend over a sufficiently large area so that Ukraine could no longer hit those regions, which basically means that only a fraction of Ukraine's current territory would not be included

The buffer zone narrative is in line with those launched by Russia to victimize itself and justify the invasion of Ukraine (to prevent a NATO aggression or the triumph of fascism, to protect Russians from Ukrainian attacks, etc.) and is launched in the context in which Ukraine is experiencing difficulties on the front, and Vladimir Putin has consolidated his power following the so-called elections recently held in Russia.

WHY THE NARRATIVE IS FALSE: The "buffer zone" is actually a justification used by Russia to keep seizing pieces of the Ukrainian territory.  Pravda admits that "the buffer zone must be created by military actions on Ukrainian territories", that is, Russia will expand the war to remove the front zone from the regions it considers its own.

In this false narrative, Russia's large-scale offensive on Ukraine is bracketed as if it never happened. The Russian media portrays the Ukrainian military as a group of extremists who attack civilians, ignoring the fact that it is the Russian military that is in Ukraine and launched a wave of bombings into Ukraine, bombings that continue to this day and significantly exceed in terms of intensity, the damage caused and the impact on civilians, those with which Ukraine is responding. Incidentally, the Ukrainian attacks on some Russian infrastructure targets in the border regions (Belgorod, Kursk) are aimed at reducing the Kremlin's offensive potential. According to international law, the UN Charter in particular, Ukraine has an inherent right to self-defense. Being attacked by Russia, Ukraine has been using this right since February 24, 2022. "Under international law, Ukraine has the right to strike Russian military targets outside Ukraine ," NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said in February.

The international community has repeatedly criticized Russia for the war in Ukraine. Moscow was vehemently attacked at the UN for its unprovoked invasion of Ukraine , and its refusal to accept proposals for the withdrawal of its troops.

Also, the International Court in The Hague issued an  arrest warrant against Vladimir Putin. The document states that the Russian president failed to properly exercise control over civilian and military subordinates who committed criminal acts or allowed such acts to be committed.

OFFICIAL REACTIONS: Authorities in Kyiv have described Vladimir Putin's statements as a clear indication that Moscow intends to escalate the war.  "This is direct evidence that the war will only intensify," said presidential adviser Mihailo Podoliak. The representative of Volodymyr Zelensky's team added that Moscow is not at all ready "to live in modern social and political relations."

Veridica has debunked a series of false Russian narratives regarding the nature of the war in Ukraine. According to them, Ukraine’s capitulation and reunification with Russia  is the only viable peace plan. Russian propaganda claims that the Ukrainian soldiers   are urging civilians to stage protests in the capital of the country  to stop the war. Last year, the Moscow newspapers wrote that  Ukrainian cemeteries were overwhelmed by the increasing number of military casualties.

  • Publication / Media:
    UKRAINA.RU
  • Date of publication:
    18/03/2024
  • Target audience:
    Russian-speaking population in Russia, Belarus and Ukraine
  • Amplification:
    PRAVDA.RU, LENTA.RU, RIA NOVOSTI, Russian media Telegram channels, YouTube channels
  • Political affiliation:
    The Kremlin
  • Key narrative:
    Russia needs a buffer-zone to protect its population from Ukraine’s attacks

EBOOK> Razboi si propaganda: O cronologie a conflictului ruso-ucrainean

EBOOK>Razboiul lui Putin cu lumea libera: Propaganda, dezinformare, fake news

Marin Gherman

Marin Gherman




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