What Russian Media Has To Say About Possible Ukraine Invasion, US Involvement

(Photo by Adam Berry/Getty Images)

Diana Glebova White House Correspondent
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As the Biden administration approved the deployment of thousands of U.S. troops to Eastern Europe on Wednesday, Russian media actively denied any plans to invade Ukraine, instead blaming the U.S. as the aggressor.

Both Ukraine and Russia have pushed back on President Joe Biden’s assessment that war is “imminent,” despite Russia amassing over 100,000 troops on Ukraine’s eastern border. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has criticized the West for withdrawing diplomats from Ukraine, causing “panic” and hurting the country’s economy. Russian politicians have also persistently claimed that there is no plan for war, and Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that the U.S. is trying to use Ukraine to pull Russia into the conflict. (RELATED: US Troops Arrive At Location Near Poland-Ukraine Border Amid Tensions With Russia)

Top Russian newspapers have echoed Putin’s narrative, choosing to not focus on Russia’s active involvement. The possibility of war is seldom mentioned. When it is, the outlets focus on Putin’s diplomatic meetings, Zelensky’s mistakes, the West’s cooperation with Ukraine and Russia’s claim that it has the right to move troops around in its own country.

TOPSHOT – Ukrainian Military Forces servicemen attend a military drill with Next generation Light Anti-tank Weapon (NLAW) Swedish-British anti-aircraft missile launchers at the firing ground of the International Center for Peacekeeping and Security, near the western Ukrainian city of Lviv on January 28, 2022. – This month Britain, along with the United States and Baltic countries, agreed to send weapons, including anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles, to Ukraine to bolster its defence capabilities amid fears of a Russian invasion. (Photo by AFP) (Photo by -/AFP via Getty Images)

A noticeable share of articles are oriented to pointing out that Russia has overwhelmingly denied the U.S. media’s claims. TASS, a government-owned newspaper and the largest news agency in Russia, often constructs headlines to show what U.S. legacy media outlets such as The Washington Post, The New York Times and Bloomberg have to say about Russia’s plan to invade Ukraine. In every case, the American argument is rebuked in the final paragraph of the article with a statement from Putin’s press secretary, Dmitri Peskov.

“Recently, in Western countries, as well as in Kiev, there have been statements about a possible Russian invasion of Ukraine. Press Secretary of the President of the Russian Federation Dmitry Peskov called such information empty and unfounded escalation of tension. He stressed that Russia does not pose a threat to anyone,” the statement says. “At the same time, Peskov did not rule out the possibility of provocations to justify such statements and warned that attempts to use force to resolve the crisis in southeastern Ukraine would have the most serious consequences.”

Russian media also focuses on politicians arguing the country is acting in self-defense against an ever-imposing expansion of NATO into its sphere of influence. Russia’s Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova claimed that NATO has no right in counting the number of troops within Russia’s borders, as the organization has amassed troops near the Russian border for years. The mention of the concentration of Russian troops near Ukraine is often hedged with “alleged.”

News about Ukraine is presented through the lens of the country’s relationship with its Western allies, including getting military aid from the U.S. and efforts to diversify Ukraine’s energy market by European countries. Headlines also claim that Ukraine is being coerced by the West to aggress against Russia and might attack the Donetsk People’s Republic first. (RELATED: Teachers, Accountants And Priests: Ukraine Training A Civilian Army To Fend Off Russian Invasion)

RT, a Russian state-controlled news channel, published an interview with common people in Donetsk arguing that the only way peace will come is if the “Russian peacekeepers” save Donetsk from a Ukrainian invasion — and that’s when Russia will finally get enough territory to bring water to Crimea. Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014 and has had difficulty getting water to the territory as only a bridge connects it to mainland Russia.

Senior officials in the Biden administration said Thursday that U.S. intelligence has uncovered that Russia may use a fake video depicting “an explosion with corpses” as the pretext to invade Ukraine. Russia has denied this claim.