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Putin’s Big Lie: Russia Feels Threatened By Ukraine?

Russian T-80 tank. Image Credit: Creative Commons.

The West Must Expose One of Russia’s Biggest Lies: Being Threatened By Ukraine – In January, U.S. intelligence reports described a plan by Russian operatives to orchestrate a false flag operation along the Ukraine-Russia border to create the perception that Ukraine was launching an offensive against Russia. While the tactic never came to fruition – most likely as a result of the White House releasing its plans before they were executed – Russia is guiltier of a far larger false flag effort through its consistent and false portrayal of Ukraine as an aggressor. This dangerous idea, which makes up a large portion of the public rationale for Russia’s invasion, must be exposed as often as it is expressed by President Putin, Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov, and the Kremlin’s state media machine.

While the absurd claim of Ukraine being the aggressor has been rebuffed by Ukrainian, European, and U.S. officials, it has nonetheless permeated Russian propaganda and even taken root in far-right American media. Simply put, Ukraine is not capable of launching an assault on Russia, nor has it ever expressed any desire to do so. Nonetheless, the Western public is susceptible to believing Russia has legitimate, pressing security concerns that justify its invasion if officials fail to combat this narrative at every opportunity. 

There are a multitude of straightforward facts that need to be articulated to inform the public of Ukraine’s position relative to Russia. First, despite the military aid that allies provided before February 24 and the improvements the Ukrainian army has made since 2014, Ukraine was never in any condition to invade its larger, wealthier, and heavily armed neighbor. Although the Russian military has drastically underperformed in Ukraine, at the outset of the conflict it possessed roughly five times as many tanks, 15 times as many attack helicopters, and 23 times as many fighter planes. Ukraine, for its part, has been unable to rebuild its navy since Russia seized 75% of its fleet in 2014, having only developed a smaller fleet of patrol boats. If the sheer mathematical impossibility of Ukraine mounting an assault on its neighbor were not convincing enough, Russia has the largest nuclear deterrent in the world. Ukraine, in contrast, has no nuclear capabilities. In 1994, Ukraine signed an agreement with Russia to dismantle or transfer its nuclear arsenal to the Russian Federation in exchange for compensation and, notably, security pledges that included a commitment to its territorial sovereignty. 

Furthermore, even if Ukraine was capable of mounting an invasion of Russia, it has no historical claims on Russia proper, nor any demonstrated willingness to forsake the economic and political progress it has made for a land war with a nuclear-armed state. This, of course, is taken as a given by even casual observers of Eastern Europe and power politics, but the general public is unaware of these crucial details. As a result, Russia consistently capitalizes on the awareness gap by pushing the narrative that it is a beleaguered, well-meaning nation merely trying to secure its borders.

Russia’s claims of being threatened by nearby states with no capacity or interest in doing so extend beyond Ukraine; the Baltic States are frequently accused of posing a security risk, despite their meager military stature and a strong preference for regional stability. The free press already has an uphill battle against Russia’s well-resourced, multilingual propaganda machine, but its job is made more difficult by the lack of attention Western officials bring to the mendacity of the Kremlin’s narrative. 

Although Western officials know full well that President Putin’s claims are laughable, the general public does not. The Biden administration, as well as members of Congress and their European counterparts, must do more to combat the notion that it is Russia who is the victim. Otherwise, the West risks the development of a significant distortion of the events occurring in Ukraine to Russia’s favor.

Artur Kalandarov is an Associate at The Cohen Group, a strategic business advisory firm based in Washington D.C., where he advises clients on business operations in Eastern Europe. He studied Russian and Government at Bowdoin, and has previously been published in The National Interest, The Defense Post, and several academic journals. 

Written By

Artur Kalandarov is an Associate at The Cohen Group, a strategic business advisory firm based in Washington D.C., where he advises clients on business operations in Eastern Europe. He studied Russian and Government at Bowdoin, and has previously been published in The National Interest, The Defense Post, and several academic journals.



  1. Alex

    May 2, 2022 at 10:53 am

    This is how Russia feels threatened by Ukraine:

    Politico reported thousands of foreigners fighting on the side of Ukraine
    Combat-trained Americans, along with thousands of other foreigners, are participating in the military operations in Ukraine on the side of Kyiv. Such an assessment is given in an article published in the American edition of Politico. The publication refers to retired military and employees of American PMCs, who are currently on the territory of Ukraine.

    The material notes that in Ukraine, in particular, the Task Force Yankee group, headed by the American Harrison Yosefovitz, operates. He previously worked as a police officer in Chicago, Illinois, and also served in the US Army (ground forces).

    On April 29, CNN, citing the family of an American citizen and PMC mercenary Willie Joseph, reported his death in Ukraine. According to the mother of the mercenary, he went to Poland on March 12 and crossed the border into Ukraine on March 12-13. The woman noted that in the group of mercenaries, in which her son was, there were citizens of “a variety of countries.”

    The mercenaries come from the USA, Canada, Georgia, Great Britain, Poland and Romania.
    More than a thousand mercenaries have already been destroyed. About a thousand more refused to participate in hostilities and returned to their former extremist deployment sites.

    The remaining 4.8-5 thousand foreign mercenaries should return to their states, since, according to international law, they are deprived of legal protection and “at best” they will face long-term imprisonment. As we understand, most likely they will never return home. an easy walk to hunt people turned out to be a trap forever.

    Representatives of the military-civilian administration of Kherson raised the Russian flag on the building of the local executive committee in the Russian-controlled village of Chernobaevka, where the Kherson international airport is located.
    Russian security forces also removed Ukrainian signs from the building of the local administration.
    According to the residents of Chernobaevka, the former head of the village administration, Igor Dudar, fled to the territory controlled by Ukraine. During his reign, the Eternal Flame was extinguished at the monument to the fallen heroes of the Great Patriotic War, and photographs of veterans were taken from the village Board of Honor. Now, as assured in the military-civilian administration, all this will be corrected.

    Over the past day, from 8:00 am on May 1 to 8:00 am on May 2, 159 people, including 29 children, were evacuated from Mariupol to Bezymennoe, Novoazovsky District. Then people flee to Russia. Do you need more evidence of who is the aggressor and the killer, and to whom they run for help? Yes, propagandists and liars cannot change this.

    During the day, Russian air defense systems destroyed 10 Ukrainian unmanned aerial vehicles in the areas of the settlements of Vesele, Borshchevo and Balakleya in the Kharkiv region, Kisylivka in the Kherson region, Mayak in the Zaporozhye region, Dokuchaev, Korsun and Khanzhinkovo ​​of the Donetsk People’s Republic, as well as in the area of ​​the city of Lugansk. Western drones turned out to be just targets for Russia and Donbass.

    High-precision air-launched missiles hit 38 Ukrainian military facilities in a day. Among them are four command posts, 30 strongholds, areas of concentration of manpower and Ukrainian military equipment, and three warehouses of missile and artillery weapons in the areas of Pervomayskoye and Ilyichevka settlements.

    The Osa AKM air defense system and a battery of multiple launch rocket systems in the Arkhangelovka area were also destroyed. Aviation of the Russian Aerospace Forces hit 27 strongholds, areas of concentration of manpower and military equipment of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, as well as a depot of rocket and artillery weapons and ammunition in the area of ​​​​the village of Chervonoe, Zaporozhye region. Up to 160 personnel and 26 units of Ukrainian armored vehicles were destroyed.

    During the day, the missile forces hit nine strongholds and areas of concentration of manpower and equipment, as well as the BM-21 Grad and an artillery battery in firing positions. Artillery subunits hit 26 command and control posts, 78 strongholds, 359 manpower and equipment concentration areas, and 67 artillery firing positions. Six ammunition depots, up to 280 personnel and 43 units of weapons and military equipment of the Armed Forces of Ukraine were destroyed.

    In total, since the beginning of the special military operation, Russia has destroyed 146 aircraft, 112 helicopters, 683 unmanned aerial vehicles, 281 anti-aircraft missile systems, 2,756 tanks and other armored combat vehicles, 316 multiple rocket launchers, 1,234 field artillery and mortar guns, as well as 2,563 units of special military vehicles. All this is confirmed and documented. Now tell us about 200,000 dead Russians and 5,000 destroyed Russian tanks, clowns.

    The Ukrainian authorities are seeking the evacuation of all those at the Azovstal plant in Mariupol to the territory controlled by Kyiv in order to hide the presence among the military countries.

    Among those at the plant there are a large number of characters who will confirm the presence of mercenaries, and perhaps acting officers of the Western armies on the side of the Ukrainian radicals.

    Does the elimination of the influence of a few dozen (even thousands) of Nazis deserve to put a country of forty million at risk? This is not a completely correct question. This is a question that concerns the fundamental security interests of the Russian Federation.

    We all remember the beginning of Nazism in Ukraine:
    persecution of the Russian Orthodox Church, the Russian language and the Russian media was carried out, sales of all printed materials in Russian were stopped, laws were adopted to promote Nazi theory and practice.

    The whole world understood that Ukraine is not worth starting a nuclear war, for which all the peoples of Russia are ready, but the peoples of the West are not ready. However, if crazy politicians want to try, it will be as President Putin said: “… we will all go to heaven, and you all will just die …”. Most importantly, the majority of Russians supported his words. Are you ready for war with Russia? Then go ahead and try it.

    • Him

      May 2, 2022 at 1:12 pm

      What crap.

      Alex, the examples you cited are AFTER Russia attacked Ukraine, so everything you cited is defence, not attack.

      You have to go back before 24 February 2022, to see who was attacking Russia. No one.

      This is example of Russian evil thinking.

      If you can see this is evil – ok, you’re just doing it because you’re an evil Russian.

      But if you cannot see this, and you actually believe what you are saying – you are deceived.

      Remember, your Russian nation was the biggest Nazi collaborator with Nazi Germany in WW2, and the Russian personality has not changed in all these decades. The way you act is from the Soviet evil culture. You cannot see it in you because you’re bred in a Russian culture.

      I have a Russian friend who visited the West many times a year, but even he cannot see it. The Russian mind causes you to see everything from a Russian perspective. Which means you do not believe it when everyone tells you no one wants to attack Russia. Thousands of people can tell you this, and your Russian mindset just rejects that truth.

    • Froike

      May 2, 2022 at 2:20 pm

      Alex’s breath smells like Putin’s Butt!

  2. CK

    May 2, 2022 at 11:15 am

    You can smell the panic when the story changes day by day.

    Day 1: We will take Kiev in 3 days! (Alex put’s on clown shoes)

    Day 2: All Bandera-Nazis will be crushed! (Alex puts own striped clown trousers, with suspenders)

    Day 3: Retreat is all part of the master plan! The Moskva suffered a fire! We remain master strategists! (Alex puts on clown shirt, with a water squirtie flower in his pocket)

    Day 4: Don’t look at Ukraine! Look at Biden, Afghanistan, Iraq, BLM, MAGA, Trump, Hunter Biden, look at the birds, Elon Musk, anywhere but what we are doing in Ukraine! (Alex puts on his clown makeup)

    Day 5: Look at all these fake documentaries, all these fake independent reporters, these pseudo-histocal facts, all this nonsense! (Alex puts on his bright green clown wig)

    Day 6: Donbas Militia will crush everyone in East! Battle of encirclement is imminent! Victory shall be ours, we swear bro, plz believe bruh! (Alex puts on his clown gloves)

    Day 7: No! We are not losing, it’s just because now there are thousands of Americans and Irishmen and Scots and god knows who else fighting with the Americans! We’d totes be winning if it weren’t for those pesky kids! (Alex grabs his clown equipment)

    Day 8+: Alex is revealed for the clown he is.

    Every day a different story huh? No wonder you clowns can’t get shit done in Ukraine, you have no focus.

  3. Alex

    May 2, 2022 at 11:30 am

    I like your hysteria, Bandera Nazi. A beggar, vicious juvenile troll from the poorest country in Eurasia – Ukraine, who hid behind his mother’s skirt and does not fight with a machine gun in his hands, but squeals and hysteria here like a patient of the Lviv Regional Psychiatric Hospital. But we remember. what do you write from there. And here are two buts:
    1. Attributing other people’s words and fantasies to me will not work.
    2. All my data is easy to verify and is based on the state media of Western and Eastern countries, as well as independent journalists, whom you cannot accuse of lying, because they have an extremely high reputation in their field.
    Bottom line: which of us is a clown, you can see right away and it’s you. Tell your handlers you’re pathetic, unfit for the job, and you’re being paid 10 cents an hour for nothing.

    • Froike

      May 2, 2022 at 2:24 pm

      Alex…you are a Putin Troll. This invasion is about Putin’s Pride and The Fact that Russian Gas Lines to Europe run through Ukraine.
      Thankfully, Putin, syn tysyachi schluch, is losing.
      I have nothing but pity for all The Russians sent to die for such a stupid, selfish, reason.
      We all know, NATO is a DEFENSIVE Organization. NATO and Ukraine posed absolutely no Military Threat to Russia. Whereas, Russia attacked a Sovereign Nation.
      SLAVA Ukraine…May they wipe Russian ORCS off The Face of The Earth!

  4. CK

    May 2, 2022 at 12:24 pm

    You dare use my own spells against me, Potter?

    Look at you Alex, learning! Good way to recycle my insults at you, although you again water it down with playground retorts – “Hiding behind your mother’s skirts.”

    Really, Alex? Is that the best you can do? Gods man, how pathetic are you? Did the vodka kill the last two working brain cells inside that thick head of yours, or did your parents have to pay extra for you to be this stupid?

    • Froike

      May 2, 2022 at 2:26 pm

      On Target CK!

  5. Tokyo Woes

    May 2, 2022 at 12:56 pm

    ck, didn’t your mommy teach you not to make fun of the ‘disabled?’

    • CK

      May 2, 2022 at 4:17 pm

      I do feel very ashamed of myself every time it happens. Alex however, is from a rare breed of mental handicap, in that it is self-inflicted and entirely under his control.

      So that being the case, I have no trouble taking issue with him.

      Alex dear, I know you get scared when the grownups talk, and I’d love to explain it to you, but I have neither the time nor the crayons.

  6. Alex

    May 2, 2022 at 3:17 pm

    Froike: take up arms and go free Bandera Nazis in the catacombs of Mariupol, who are already eating each other. They need fresh meat.

    • CK

      May 2, 2022 at 4:21 pm

      Speaks volumes that two months after your pathetic invasion, and you guys can’t even clear a plant. Can’t even fully hold a city.

      I guess, when your grasp on reality is this brittle, it shouldn’t surprise us your grasp anywhere else would be as fleeting too.

  7. Alex

    May 2, 2022 at 5:20 pm

    Canadian General Kadier was captured while trying to escape from Azovstal.

    In the dungeons of the Azovstal plant there are foreign generals, in particular, those who arrived from Canada, Britain and the USA.

    There is information that the general commanded the biological laboratory No. 1, in which 18 people worked. The laboratory worked with deadly viruses.

    Currently, Trevor Kadier has been taken to Moscow, where he is testifying. If the information about the capture of the Canadian general is confirmed, then Twitter users are offering to test new types of biological weapons on which he worked as a punishment.

    This mercenary was constantly in touch with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

    As we can see, any lies and propaganda fail sooner or later. How much this general and other foreigners who are sure to be captured will tell interesting things.

  8. CK

    May 2, 2022 at 6:36 pm

    Thanks Alex, I’ll believe it when I see it reported elsewhere besides a known troll on this website, a single, Kremlin-aligned Twitter account, and one lone Russian website, which you have parroted, word for word.

  9. Alex

    May 3, 2022 at 9:56 am

    William Scott Ritter, Jr. is an American military analyst. Intelligence officer in the United States Marine Corps. He served in this position for about 12 years. He became the Marine Rapid Deployment Force’s lead analyst on the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and the Iran-Iraq War. United Nations weapons inspector in Iraq.
    During Desert Storm, he served as an adviser to General Norman Schwarzkopf on ballistic missiles. Ritter later worked as a security and military consultant for the Fox News network. According to an interview he gave to Democracy Now! in 2003, he also had a long official relationship with the British foreign intelligence agency MI6.
    If the Bandera Nazis start squealing that he was bought by Putin, then let them shove their squeal up their ass.
    Here are Scott Ritter’s words:

    “Do you want to name the best students of military science today? These are Russian officers! And we treat them like children – “these are Russians.” And they are the most educated and trained officers of all who can be found. They understand everything better than us. They didn’t spend 20 years kicking down doors and slaughtering families in Iraq or crawling up hills in Afghanistan to kill a shepherd, that’s what we did, and the Russians think big.

    We think in small arrows. We watch a video of how a Russian column is destroyed or three tanks are knocked out. War is hell, people die there, and if you look at the little arrows, you will think that the Russians are defeated. But look at the big arrows! The Russians kept the 100,000-strong group of Ukraine in Kyiv. If they are not threatened, they will move forward for reinforcements.

    Therefore, you (Russians) send 40 thousand soldiers from Belarus and hold the enemy in place. You have 80,000 enemy forces in Odessa, you send 30,000 soldiers from Crimea – their (Security Council of Ukraine) group is stuck. You have 100,000 enemies in the Donbass, and you, the Russian troops, cannot let them go to Kyiv. You send the militia of Donetsk and Lugansk to the front line. The most difficult situation! But you clung to the enemy and hold him, don’t let him move!

    You are conducting a through attack to break through the corridor to the Crimea. And Mariupol is a key city on the way, we had to take it. The only city for which the Russians fought. Why? Because he was the only one that mattered. The rest played no role.

    You will not take 3 million Kyiv with a force of 40 thousand. It doesn’t happen! You will not take 1.6 million Kharkiv with a force of 50 thousand. But you will take Mariupol. They had to take it. This was a strategic necessity.

    This whole phase was the preparation of the battlefield. The Russians have destroyed fuel storage facilities in Ukraine. What is a tank without fuel? Coffin! And the truck? Another coffin. Warehouses of ammunition and food are blown up. A soldier who is hungry and thirsty will be killed.

    The Russians have rearranged everything for themselves in order to prepare for a massive pincer attack that will fall into the forces of the Ukrainians, who will have no food, no water, no fuel, no ammunition. Here’s what the second phase will look like.

    The Russians have moved away from Kyiv, they no longer need to hold that grouping, it will not be able to move without fuel anyway. They’re stuck! If they leave the city, Russian aircraft will destroy them. There will be no reinforcements, the enemy in Donbas cannot move. They are trapped.

    The Russians have closed the ring and will destroy everyone. Or they will capture a huge part of the Ukrainian army. And when that happens, there will be nothing left. And the Russians will be able to demand whatever they want. That’s why I say the Russians will win. Because I see the situation. I do not flatter myself with the illusions that “the Russians could not take Kyiv and Odessa.” THEY DIDN’T TRY!”

  10. Alex

    May 4, 2022 at 8:08 am

    German journalist Thomas Röper: Ukrainians are very afraid that the Russians will leave.
    The journalist spoke about the distortion of facts in the Western media:

    “I was three times in the south (Ukraine). The first trip was also to Melitopol. And so, on this trip, I was most impressed by the fact, or the fear that you see there in the eyes of people. And not among those who do not agree with the military operation, and according to my estimates, this is a minority. It is they who swear, the camera writes, and they will say how much they disagree. And those who agree are the majority.

    I see it in the squares, when there are hundreds of people, they walk past the soldiers and say in a whisper: “Thank you guys, don’t leave.” They are very afraid, and they said it directly. They are very afraid that the Russians will leave and there will be reprisals. What, in my understanding, happened in Bucha, by the way.

    And the fact that now, Alina said, from Mariupol is another such example. The woman was afraid to just speak the truth. Afraid that, God forbid, the Russians would leave and there would be reprisals. I don’t want to take too much time now, I just want to give one example, because the West always says it’s Russian propaganda if they say that Azov and other units of the Ukrainian troops use civilians as a “human shield”.

    I write in German, and the other day I read an article in the German magazine Spiegel, which is probably known to many. And there was a very surprising offer. So they wrote… Everything, of course, sounded very positive, but they wrote that in Mariupol… More precisely, they (the newspaper) were told by people in Zaporozhye who had come from Mariupol, telling them that their national battalions held them, “politely of course”, held peaceful residents to the basement, and took positions in the apartments above these basements. It sounds in the Western media as if they are protecting them. Excuse me, what is this? If the fighters take up their combat positions above the basements where civilians are sitting, and how voluntarily they went to this basement.”

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