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The Afghanistan disaster, used by the pro-Kremlin media to deter Ukraine, Georgia and the Republic of Moldova

Kabul
©EPA-EFE/STRINGER  |   A US Black Hawk military helicopter fly over the Kabul Airport, after Taliban took control of Kabul, Afghanistan, 16 August 2021.

The pro-Kremlin media has used the withdrawal of the US troops from Afghanistan and the Taliban seizing a significant part of the state's territory to discourage the Euro-Atlantic efforts of Ukraine, Georgia and the Republic of Moldova.

Russian journalists quote experts close to Moscow, who claim that NATO will leave non-Alliance countries alone to deal with the current security issues facing them,  and only Russia has the capacity to protect the former post-Soviet states.

According to these narratives, Ukraine no longer has to partake in the provocations staged against Russia by the Western war party, in collaboration with the Ukrainian war party”. The director of the publication “Segodnia”, close to pro-Russia politicians in Ukraine, is quoted as saying that the USA and NATO will no longer support Ukraine in the conflict with Russia, and all Washington can do for the Ukrainians is to send planes to evacuate its diplomats from Kiev, following the Kabul model.

The withdrawal of the American troops is presented as a huge failure of the US, and conclusions are drawn, like the one stating that “Ukrainians must no longer annoy Russia after the US withdrawal from Afghanistan.”

Another article, published by RIA Novosti, reads that the situation in Afghanistan has discredited the concept of  ​​“NATO partners”. Ukraine, Georgia and the Republic of Moldova are compared to Afghanistan, which according to the logic of these narratives, has been abandoned by NATO and the West. In several press articles, Russian journalists equal the US with NATO, and Washington's failed actions / decisions are portrayed as a great failure of the North Atlantic Alliance.

The Russian state press is also trying to discredit the idea of ​​transatlantic unity within NATO. The article Whom else will the US fool after Afghanistan stresses the idea that the territories of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania are the next target that could be used by the US for political purposes. “The events in Syria, Afghanistan and Ukraine have shown that, in critical situations, one cannot rely on American aid”.

Pointing the inability of the US and NATO to react, to defend their partners, to take care of the security of the Eurasian continent, Moscow tries by means of such narratives to discourage the Euro-Atlantic aspirations of the former Soviet states.

The Russian press presents Moscow as the only provider of security in the area. “Russia will ensure peace on the borders with Afghanistan”, according to an article published by Sputnik.

Ukraina.ru, a news portal belonging to the government trust Russia 24, publishes an analysis of comments on social media, where several opinions of real or invented people are presented in such a way that the reader can conclude that Ukrainian society is disappointed with all that the West stands for.

The article entitled “Americans will throw us and Russians will not forgive usquotes journalists and experts close to pro-Russian forces in Ukraine, who claim that Kiev is “condemned” to cooperate with Russia in the context of “Americans betraying their partners”. Experts point out that the failure to establish a liberal democracy in Afghanistan is driven by the population's refusal to accept the false values ​​of the West, recalling the rights of sexual minorities. Russian journalists write that these false values ​​will be rejected by Ukrainians, so a rapprochement of Ukraine with Russia is inevitable, but much depends on whether “the Russians will forget the sins of the Ukrainians”, a phrase that hints at Kiev’s drawing apart from Moscow after 2014, following the illegal annexation of Crimea and the start of the Donbass conflict.  

Ukraine and Georgia have been voicing their Euro-Atlantic aspirations for years, given that NATO could guarantee their security in front of Russia. In 2008, Georgia waged a war with Russia, which supports the separatists in Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Ukraine was the target of Russian aggression in 2014, when Moscow invaded and annexed Crimea; later, Russia supported the separatist rebels in Donbas. Ukraine is constantly advocating for its becoming a member of the North Atlantic Alliance, and on June 12, 2020 it received the status of Enhanced Opportunities Partner. The program was launched in 2014. It is aimed at supporting and deepening collaboration between NATO allies and partners in order to increase the compatibility of armed forces. NATO supports the Ukrainian armed forces, joint military exercises are taking place, and Kiev has pledged to carry out reforms to align with NATO standards.

In the Republic of Moldova, Russia participated, together with the separatists, in the Transnistrian War, and in the three decades that have passed since, it has supported the separatist regime in Tiraspol and illegally maintained troops in the Republic of Moldova. Chisinau has so far preferred to maintain its neutral status, which is still supported by the majority of the population.

All three countries - Georgia, Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova – would also want to join the European Union.

 


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