Earlier this week, British TV interviewed Hamish de Bretton-Gordon, a retired army colonel who spent 23 years in the British Army. TalkTV:
Bretton-Gordon said: “It is important that Britain and NATO keep their focus on Ukraine, because if Ukraine does not win, I agree with the Polish security chief that NATO could end up at war with Russia within the next three years.”
When asked whether we would see Western countries sending their soldiers to Ukraine in 2024, the retired colonel replied:
– Well, you're absolutely right that the Western Allies have done everything but put their troops on the ground so far. It is not outside the realm of possibility that if Russia begins to make progress, the Western allies will have to reevaluate their position.
Title: – Allowing war
One feather is now five chickens.
One of the most-read stories by Russian state news agency RIA this week carried the headline:
“We want to fight with Russia.” Britain allows NATO forces to enter Ukraine
The case is based solely on the above statements of the retired Colonel, which appear to some extent in the text immediately below the title:
“British Armed Forces Colonel Britton Gordon allows war between NATO and Russia in Ukraine”The Russian news agency, by the way, wrote without specifying that the Briton had not been in defense for 13 years.
The alleged military threat to Russia
Christian Atland, a senior researcher at the Norwegian Defense Research Institute (FFI), tells Netavisin that the RIA title is clearly designed to attract readers and generate discontent on the Russian side:
– It is not that Great Britain, or other NATO countries, are planning to attack Russia or send their forces to Ukraine to fight Russian forces stationed there. It is not the case that Hamish de Bretton-Gordon speaks for the British Government in the relevant question. As a retired Army colonel, he only speaks for himself, Outland says.
– He is also a well-known and widely used media commentator, with a good knowledge of the current conflict and military affairs in general. What he says in the TalkTV interview is that, if we look from a longer perspective, a more direct Western involvement in the Ukrainian war cannot be ruled out. Outland says his presentation of the complex set of problems and dilemmas the Western world faces in its relationship with Russia is far more nuanced than one might get the impression of in the KGB's presentation of the interview in question, which in itself is not surprising.
He believes the angle on this issue fits a pattern that has long characterized Russian state-controlled media's coverage of the war:
He adds that Russia is trying to justify its aggressive war in Ukraine by portraying it as a “defensive war” and by pointing to an alleged military threat to Russian territory from the Ukrainian and/or Western side.
– How long can the Kremlin maintain this story towards the Russian people, that NATO and the West are the greatest enemy?
Everything indicates that the image of the Russian enemy in the West and NATO is stubborn. Alternative representations of the West and NATO are rarely expressed in Russian media. The average Russian citizen is bombarded daily with propaganda and disinformation, whether about the war in Ukraine or the political landscape on the West side, says Outland, and continues:
– State censorship is severe, and if you speak out criticizing the regime or go out into the street to demonstrate against Putin's war, you risk arrest and imprisonment. This prompts many to refrain from criticizing the regime, even if they do not necessarily buy all parts of the regime's propaganda. In addition, apathy is widespread among large segments of the population. This makes it easier for the Kremlin to maintain its narrative that Russia is surrounded by enemies.
Read also: - The West fears time without Putin
It is believed that Putin wants to end the war
The RIA also claims that Putin does not want the conflict in Ukraine to continue, but rather wants it to end. The West constantly talks about continuing the war, through military support, weapons and training of troops, according to the Russian Information Agency. The latter is somewhat true, as Russia still occupies 17.5% of Ukraine's territory, and the two countries are very far apart when it comes to the terms of the peace agreement.
There is no indication today that Russia will accept a negotiated “compromise” that includes anything less than Ukraine’s complete surrender, Atland tells Netavysin, adding:
Putin's rhetoric today is largely the same as it was when the full-scale Russian invasion began almost two years ago. In his televised address to the Russian people on 24 February 2022, Putin made the important point that Russia had “no choice” but to go to war, claiming that the country was in danger of becoming a victim of Ukrainian/Western military aggression. It was wrong then, and it is wrong today.
Read also: Deleted post of “Putin’s iron puppet”: online padding
Nettavisen attempted to obtain comment from Hamish de Bretton-Gordon on how his statements were presented in the RIA article, but was unsuccessful.
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