'Let's Spoil Their Weekend?' Russia Breaks Down German Tabloid's 'Ukraine Assault Plan' Propaganda
13:07 GMT 05.12.2021 (Updated: 13:49 GMT 05.12.2021)
The German tabloid "Bild" has published a map from an allegedly existing plan for a Russian invasion of Ukraine, citing anonymous intelligence sources in NATO. The publication followed articles in two American media outlets claiming that Moscow plans to amass 175,000 troops for a possible attack on its western neighbour.
A spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry, Maria Zakharova, has dismissed a recent publication
about Russia's alleged plan for a military offensive in Ukraine in the German tabloid Bild
as a "propaganda piece based on ideology that destroys common sense".
Zakharova broke down the publication, noting that its "map of planned invasion" was assembled from disconnected pieces. She pointed out that the Ukrainian city of Lvov is called "Lemberg" (as opposed to the official German name "Lwiw"). The spokeswoman recalled that the city was called this in 1942 by the occupying Nazi forces – and wondered what map Bild had based its "invasion plan" on.
"History tends to repeat itself. And Germany can't stop reaffirming this truth via its own example".
At the same time, eastern Ukraine was drawn under the direction of Kiev itself, Zakharova alleges pointing to the new name for Dnipropetrovsk, which was renamed "Dnipro" in 2016 by the new Ukrainian government that came to power through a western-backed coup
Upon assembling the map from different pieces, the German journalists decided to throw in a little extra – the purported plan for a Russian invasion, the ministry's spokeswoman continued. Zakharova suggested that Bild's allegations were not based on so-called anonymous "NATO intelligence sources", but were rather "inspired" by a map recently published in The Washington Post showing the alleged concentration of Russian troops near the Ukrainian border.
"The Germans creatively reworked American pictures and, with Germany's inherent love for marching to Kiev, fantasised a bit", the spokeswoman said referring to the third stage of the alleged plan, which included the seizure of the Ukrainian capital.
Lack of Logic, Knowledge, and a Shot of Anti-Semitism?
Continuing to break down the Bild
article, the Foreign Ministry spokeswoman pointed to the lack of knowledge on the part of the article's authors. The latter claimed, citing NATO sources
, that the alleged Russian first strike will come from the south in part to secure a corridor between Russia and Crimea to ensure supply lines. Zakharova, however, noted that this line of supply has already been in existence for years – ever since the Crimean Bridge was built by Russia.
The spokeswoman went on to question the tabloid's claim that Moscow purportedly plans to use ballistic missiles during the second stage to "weaken" the Ukrainian armed forces in the face of advancing troops from the territory of the Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republics. Zakharova noted that no ballistic missiles would be needed for that.
"The regime in Kiev itself has been successfully weakening Ukrainian defence capability for several years now".
The Russian Foreign Ministry representative also wondered as to why the German tabloid drew the final mark for the alleged plan of Russian conquest at the Korosten-Uman line. She noted that the city of Uman was the destination of an annual pilgrimage by members of the Hasidic Jewish community. The spokeswoman suggested that such a choice might not have been accidental.
"Germany is already accustomed to journalistic lies, but this 'German trolling' could cost a newspaper dearly, given the recently revealed fact of anti-Semitism in the ranks of German journalists".
Zakharova concluded that the Bild journalists had assembled their propaganda article from "pieces of a puzzle" and released it ahead of the weekend, being "satisfied with themselves" over their endeavour.
"Let's spoil their weekend?"
Allegations of Planned Russian Invasion of Ukraine
The response by the Russian Foreign Ministry comes as western media outlets have been publishing unsubstantiated claims
about Russia's planned military invasion of Ukraine for weeks now despite repeated assurances by the Kremlin that it has no such plans. Not long before the Bild's
publication of the alleged three-stage invasion plan, which purportedly rests unapproved on President Vladimir Putin's desk, the American news outlets The Washington Post
and the Associated Press
claimed that Moscow aims to amass 175,000 troops on the border with Ukraine and is planning a massive offensive.
4 December 2021, 19:54 GMT
All three media outlets cited anonymous security and intelligence sources in NATO, but presented no proof to corroborate the claims as is often the case in similar anti-Russia publications in the western media. The US previously said it was concerned about reports of Russia allegedly building up troops along the Ukrainian border and President Joe Biden vowed to make it extremely difficult for Moscow to launch the allegedly planned offensive. Yet, when confronted with a direct question about the plausibility of such a scenario, Pentagon chief Lloyd Austin dodged it, instead assuring that Washington remains committed to defending Ukraine.
The Kremlin, for its part, has repeatedly stressed that Russia does not pose a threat to any country and slammed the publications claiming otherwise as a "fake news campaign" directed against Moscow. Russia further insisted that the movements of the nation's troops on its own territory are of nobody's concern.