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Since the beginning of the full-scale invasion, one of the key Russian narratives has been: “The more the West supplies weapons to the Kyiv regime, the longer the war will last.”
Naturally. After all, what had begun before February 24, 2022, from the “victorious” “Kyiv in two/three days,” as of the end of September 2023, turned into a regular “showing of nuclear claws” after each of the increasingly tangible strikes by the Defence Forces of Ukraine on Russian facilities and after each announcement of the partners to provide the Armed Forces of Ukraine with new, more powerful weapons. Recently: Abrams tanks with depleted uranium ammunition, ATACMS missiles, F-16 fighters.
The violent hysteria of propagandists is accompanied by the whining of the Russian ambassador Nebenzia about the need for a “monthly discussion in the UN of how the supply of Western weapons to Kyiv affects the prospects for resolving the conflict.”
Interestingly, in June, Kremlin spokesman Peskov said that one of the goals of the special operation (demilitarization of Ukraine) had been achieved.
Putin assured that the Ukrainian military-industrial complex was effectively destroyed. That is why the Kremlin’s narrative “as long as the West supplies Ukraine with weapons, the bloody war will continue” has gained such weight.
To promote it, the following is done:
1. Drawing regular “red lines,” starting with the supply of Bayraktar and Javelin (at the beginning of the full-scale invasion) and continuing with: HIMARS, Patriot, Leopard, etc. Now these lines stretch to the F-16 fighters, ATACMS and Taurus missiles.
2. Throwing regular “diplomatic” tantrums like Nebenzia at the UN, Putin (at any opportunity inside Russia because he does not go anywhere else), or Lavrov (on the remnants of international platforms: mainly in the eastern or African directions);
3. Spreading lies about the inability of Western weapons to oppose the Russian “one-of-the-kind weapon” (for example, the Patriot system will not destroy the Kinzhal missile).
4. Voicing “victorious” stories about the destroyed Leopard tanks. Before that, Putin had already blatantly “destroyed” “five Patriot systems at once” in Ukraine; earlier, it was about an epochal battle with HIMARS (with “war correspondents” recognizing the defeat).
5. Spreading blatant lies in relation to the “affected Western equipment,” commissioned by the state.
6. Inventing propaganda heroes in the fight against Western equipment, such as the crew of the Alyosha tank.
7. Conducting disinformation campaigns regarding the alleged sale of Western weapons by Ukrainians. In July last year, the Russians, for example, discussed HIMARS being sold almost on every platform, such as OLX.
8. Using both foreign voices of Russian propaganda and “useful idiots” with famous historical names like Bismarck, Kennedy, and de Gaulle, bringing Russian narratives to the Western audience, including on the cessation of arms supplies to Ukraine.
9. Promoting the statement that only the U.S. military-industrial complex, which receives surplus profits, takes advantage of the war in Ukraine. The ex-host of Fox News, a favourite of propaganda, Tucker Carlson, likes to say similar things (Mother Jones magazine in mid-March published “the Kremlin’s guide for Russian media,” which called on them to “make the most fragments of Carlson’s show”).
At the end of January, he said that “the beneficiaries of the U.S.-Ukraine-Russia war are the American military-industrial complex.”
10. Driving a wedge between the U.S. and the EU. Allegedly, Europeans give their weapons to Ukraine, but have to pay their taxes to the Americans for U.S. weapons.
11. Speculating on the fact that ordinary Europeans, allegedly, suffer terribly from assistance to Ukrainians (including from the supply of weapons) and are forced to give almost everything they have for this (for example, Germans).
12. Emphasizing the weakening of the defence capabilities of European countries (“empty warehouses,” “tanks are delivered from museums,” etc.).
14. Blocking the provision of another assistance package to Ukraine within the EU/NATO at the right time (with the help of, for example, Hungary).
15. Blackmailing with demonstrative meetings with Kim Jong-un (and hints at a possible exchange of Korean ammunition for Russian nuclear and missile technologies) and the continuation of semi-concealed cooperation with Iran (nuclear programme and aircraft).
16. Threating a nuclear attack (including calls for “strikes on Poznań”)
17. Activating the Belarusian factor at the right time with the provision of tactical nuclear weapons and threats of the Wagnerites travelling to Rzeszów. The local propagandist named Azaronok threats with “the rape of Ursula von der Leyen,” and Shpakovsky — “to arrange strikes on Rzeszów.”
18. Spreading the topic of corruption regarding the supply of weapons, bulletproof vests, equipment, UAVs, cars, fundraisers (volunteers, Ministry of Defence, field commanders, Western companies with unfulfilled but paid-for orders), etc.
19. Comparing the use of German Leopard tanks against the Russian occupiers with the invasion of Hitler’s tank groups in the USSR (which should put modern Germans to shame and sow doubts).
20. Accusing the Ukrainian Defence Forces of using Western weapons against civilians, as well as for attacks directly on the territory of Russia.
Therefore, all this, according to the Kremlin’s plan, should encourage Europeans and Americans to exert pressure on the authorities of their countries demanding the cessation of further assistance to Ukraine.
This formula was voiced by Putin in June this year: “Stopping the military conflict in Ukraine = stopping the supply of weapons from the West.”
The Kremlin’s bet is simple: if the West breaks (economically, politically, informationally, and psychologically) and does not help Ukraine, then Putin has won. He doesn’t respect the weak. And so the war will continue. But in the West.