Ukraine War: Propaganda Of Fake Narratives – OpEd


According to Western media reports, Ukrainian forces launched the counteroffensive in at least three areas with the aim to recapture the areas occupied by Russia and force Russian troops to retreat.The Russian military and government officials have also confirmed the attack. But both sides are offering contradictory claims.

Ukrainian President Zelensky has admitted that his country’s counteroffensive, which began on June 4  in the south and east of Ukraine, is going “slower than desired… This is not a Hollywood movie”;Zelensky  to the BBC on June 21.”Ukrainian soldiers are facing a wall of Russian fortifications. They’re looking for a way through, but haven’t found it yet. It may take some time,” said a French military source, even if it’s difficult to get a clear picture of what’s happening on the ground.Washington, DC-based Institute for the Study of War (ISW) Military analysts believe that Kyiv’s major counteroffensive operations have not yet started.

Russian President Putin declared on state television  that the Ukrainian counteroffensive had “no chance” of succeeding, adding sardonically that “Leopard tanks, French wheeled armor and American tanks are burning brightly.” According to the Oryx website, which counts the material losses of both sides, based on visual evidence, Ukraine’s army has lost 155 vehicles, aircraft and artillery since June 1, including 24 battle tanks. Russia, meanwhile, has suffered 129 such losses, including 32 battle tanks.

Russian mercenary Wagner chief  Prigozhin contradicting the Russian president’s view of the conflict accused Russian defence officials of not telling the truth about the progress of Ukraine’s counteroffensive.A number of villages have been lost and Russian troops are suffering from a lack of arms and ammunition.“Moscow was losing territory to Ukrainian forces and Russian defence officials were hiding the truth and are misleading the Russian people. Ukrainian troops had already sought to cross the Dnipro river, a natural border on the front line.”Prigozhin has for the first time publicly rejected Moscow’s official justifications for the war in Ukraine, marking a new milestone in the long feud between Prigozhin and Russia’s top military brass.

Moscow’s defense system along the 2,000 kilometers of front-line and border between Ukraine, Russia and Belarus has been considerably strengthened in recent months. The Russians have fortified their positions about 30 kilometers deep, with three to six lines of defense spread across the front line, with trenches, bunkers, minefields, dragon’s teeth and more. “Russia has designed one of the largest defensive systems in Europe since World War II.”

This is just the beginning of an offensive that might continue for the next few months. In the coming weeks and months, more intense battles are likely to take place on different fronts.The likely failure of Ukrainian forces to break through Russian defences to recapture the occupied territory would have serious consequences.If this attempt fails to push Russia then Russia is likely to strike back to cause more damage to the demoralized Ukrainian military.

The Russian economy is still doing well despite the severe sanctions imposed by the US and its allies.The sanctions have not crippled the Russian economy as dangerously as the US and its allies intended. They have also failed to completely isolate Russia from the rest of the world. Russia has been so far able to withstand the pressure imposed by the West. The Russian war industry is working round the clock to produce more weapons. Russia has the second largest military industrial complex in the world. So it is not dependent on other countries for essential military supplies.However, the economic situation is hurting Russia, and the sanctions have affected most sectors. 

The Ukrainian economy is in shambles. Most of the country’s infrastructure has been destroyed. The Ukrainian economy is facing major disruptions in energy, food supplies and the country is surviving on Western aid. Western powers have already donated billions of dollars to the Ukrainian government and continue to supply tanks, missiles, rockets and other military equipment to Ukrainian military.The working class in Ukraine is already suffering economic difficulties caused by the war. 

Shrinking Ukrainian Population  

Ukraine’s population was already shrinking fast before Russia’s invasion. Now the war has set Ukraine on a path of irreversible demographic decline.Around 5.3 million people are displaced internally across Ukraine, while approximately 7 million have fled abroad.This means that the war has displaced between 25% and 30% of the entire Ukrainian population within and outside Ukraine.The Ukrainian population was already shrinking rapidly before the war due to low birth rates, high levels of mortality and high emigration rates.The Joint Research Centre (JRC) estimate that the country could be losing over a third of its population by 2052 with a low number of Ukrainian nationals returning after the war, the results project a 31% decline of the population. 

Russia’s Wagner Mercenary : Armed Mutiny

The head of Russia’s Wagner mercenary force  Prigozhin said that his call to action against the Russian military was not a mutiny but a “March for Justice”. Prigozhin claimed his forces have entered Russia to remove the country’s military leadership.

In a series of angry video and audio recordings he has accused Russia’s Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu of ordering a rocket attack on Wagner’s field camps in Ukraine, where his troops are fighting on behalf of Russia. Prigozhin said his troops would now punish Shoigu in an armed rebellion and urged the Russian army not to offer resistance.

Prigozhin claimed full credit in January for capturing the Donetsk region salt-mining town of Soledar in Ukraine and accused the Russian defence ministry of trying to steal Wagner’s glory.He has repeatedly complained that the Russian military failed to supply Wagner with sufficient ammunition to capture Bakhmut and threatened to pull out his men.

Prigozhin said on June 24 that he had taken control of the Russian city of Rostov-on-Don as part of an attempt to oust the military leadership.He said he had led his fighters out of Ukraine to Rostov, where a video posted by a pro-Wagner Telegram channel showed him, seemingly relaxed, conversing with two generals at the headquarters of Russia’s huge Southern Military District.

Prigozhin has demanded that Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu and Valery Gerasimov, the chief of the General Staff, whom he has pledged to oust over what he says is their disastrous leadership of the war against Ukraine, come to see him in Rostov, a city near the Ukrainian border.

Army Lieutenant-General Vladimir Alekseyev  issued a video appeal asking Prigozhin to reconsider his actions.Army General Sergei Surovikin, the deputy commander of Russian forces in Ukraine, whom Prigozhin has praised in the past, said in a video that “the enemy is just waiting for our internal political situation to deteriorate”.Security was being tightened around Moscow.

Russian President  Putin Vows “Tough Actions”

Russian President  Putin said in an emergency televised address on June 24 that an “armed mutiny” by the Wagner mercenary Group   force was treason, and that anyone who had taken up arms against the Russian military would be punished.Putin said the mutiny amounted to “a deadly threat to our statehood” and vowed “tough actions” in response. “All those who prepared the rebellion will suffer inevitable punishment. The armed forces and other government agencies have received the necessary orders.” Putin condemned the rebellion at a time when Russia was “fighting the toughest battle for its future” with its war in Ukraine. “The entire military, economic and information machine of the West is waged against us.” 

It is not easy to verify the claims made by both sides. Russia and Ukraine are engaged in a huge propaganda war. Ukraine has the advantage in this war because it is backed by the Western  media which is helping the Ukrainian government to spread its propaganda.It is difficult to predict the exact outcome of this war at this stage but Russians clearly have the advantage against Ukraine. Russia has more powerful military equipped with modern weapons. Ukraine has a formidable army but it depends on US and NATO for military hardware and supplies. The dramatic turn, with many details unclear, looked like the biggest domestic crisis President Vladimir Putin has faced since he ordered  the so called a “Special Military Operation” on Ukraine in February last year.Ukraine War has been a war of claims and counter claims of fake narratives starting from the terminology of the war to destroying North Crimean canal, Nord Stream, Nuclear power stations, Kakhovka Dam, Chonghar bridge to Crimea, infrastructure, military equipment, strength of soldier casualties, drone attacks and the list can go on and on between Ukraine and Russia. To add on to this complex confused situation Wagner mercenary force has stepped in with a great threat to the Russian Military and its leadership.Wonder how President  Putin will overcome this major crisis.

Patial RC

Patial RC is a retired Infantry officer of the Indian Army and possesses unique experience of serving in active CI Ops across the country and in Sri Lanka. Patial RC is a regular writer on military and travel matters in military professional journals. The veteran is a keen mountaineer and a trekker.

One thought on “Ukraine War: Propaganda Of Fake Narratives – OpEd

  • June 25, 2023 at 4:09 am

    In a dramatic turn of events, Yevgeny Prigozhin, the rebellious leader of the Wagner mercenary, commanded his fighters to retreat from their advance toward Moscow to prevent any violent confrontation or avert the potential bloodshed. This comes as Belarus claimed that President Alexander Lukashenko was able to persuade the Russian warlord Yevgeny Prigozhin to cease his march toward Moscow. If the claims are to be believed, it can lead to a potential end to the coup attempt in Russia, the first in last thirty years.WION


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