"Admitting a lie" - What Russia's President said about the Minsk Agreements

December 9, 2022
Russian propaganda is trying to justify Russia's current war against Ukraine.
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Russia's President Vladimir Putin stated that he is "disappointed and surprised" with former German Chancellor Angela Merkel's comments on the Minsk Agreements, asserting that the West's only aim in this process was to "pump Ukraine with weapons and get it prepared for further military actions." Beyond Putin's words about "betrayal" and disappointment aside, Putin's answer to a question about the Minsk Agreements serves to strengthen Russian propaganda narratives about the West and Ukraine, as well as to justify Russia's current war against Ukraine. Firstly, by stating that the West "disappointed" Russia and that the West's goal was to "prepare Ukraine for war against Russia," Putin re-enforces the common Russian propaganda cliche about Ukraine as a "failed state" dependent from the West,  along with trying to put the blame for the continued conflict on the West. Putin portrays Russia, in turn, as "the only country with strong principles which wanted to achieve peace." This narrative was also taken up by major propagandists in the Russian media, as well as by Russian Foreign Affairs Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova, who repeated the narrative that "the West wanted to fight with Russia and was using Ukraine for this purpose." Secondly, Putin justifies his country's war in Ukraine by claiming "we had no choice left." Thus, after accusing Ukraine and the West of lying and "desiring" to fight Russia, Putin asserts that the " special military operation" was Russia's response in order to "defend" itself and "people in Donbas" - another message widespread in Russian propaganda. Again, it builds itself up as the "the only defender of peace"  and as a "victim" of the West. It is also essential to point out his words .".I can say that we made a decision quite late. Perhaps we should have made it earlier."  These words can be interpreted as indirect proof that Russia had not abandoned its aim to annex Ukrainian territories even after the Minsk Agreements, and had been preparing for the full-scale war that began on 24 February, 2022. In the last part of his statement, Putin again asserted that Russia "is ready for negotiations," and that they will happen "in any event." After successes of the Ukrainian Armed Forces and the de-occupation of territory in Kharkiv and Kherson Regions, Russian propagandists and different public figures have spun a narrative that Ukraine "wants to continue the war" whereas "Russia stands for peace." even though Russia is trying to force Ukraine and the West accept the terms that Crimea, Donetsk, Luhansk, and the occupied regions of Kherson and Zaporizhia Regions are "Russian territory," all while Russia continues to target Ukrainian civilian infrastructure to coerce the Ukrainian government to submit.

In spite of Russia's failure to keep its agreements or respect international law, and despite its clear intention to never return the territories it has stolen from Ukraine and ambitions to occupy the whole country, President Putin accuses the West and Ukraine of "lying" and "taking time to arm Ukraine.''

DZVENYSLAVA SHCHERBA
Analyst and Journalist at UkraineWorld