Spy chief humiliated by Putin for stammering releases video echoing Putin’s war rhetoric

Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) Director Sergei Naryshkin on January 18, 2022 in Moscow, Russia.

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  • Sergei Naryshkin appeared on Russian state television to reiterate Vladimir Putin’s talking points, specifically that Russia’s military operations will “restore peace in Ukraine.”
  • Naryshkin’s appearance comes just days after Putin humiliated him on video, telling him twice to “speak directly.”
  • Putin’s war rhetoric pushes the false narrative that there is a genocide against Russian speakers in Ukraine. 
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Just days after being humiliated in a broadcast meeting by Vladmir Putin, the head of Russia’s foreign intelligence agency, Sergei Naryshkin, returned to the screen to echo his boss’ war rhetoric.

“Russia cannot allow Ukraine to become a dagger raised above us in the hands of Washington,” Naryshkin said in a video on state television, according to the New York Times. “The special military operation will restore peace in Ukraine within a short amount of time and prevent a potential larger conflict in Europe.” While calling for Ukrainian forces to stand down, Putin on Thursday justified his attacks on the country by saying he was acting to prevent a genocide against Russian speakers and intending for the “demilitarisation and de-Nazification of Ukraine.”

There is no evidence of a genocide in Ukraine, and this is one of a number of false narratives Russian officials are using as an excuse to invade, according to the US State Department and other experts on information warfare


On Monday, Putin snapped at Naryshkin, telling him twice to “speak directly” when discussing whether he supported the decision to recognise two Kremlin-backed separatist regions, Donetsk and Luhansk, as independent states, rather than as part of Ukraine as they are internationally recognised. 

Naryshkin then said he supported Donetsk and Luhansk “becoming a part of Russia,” to which Putin replied that that was not the situation being discussed.

“We’re not talking about that. We’re not discussing that. We’re talking about recognising their independence or not,” Putin said.

Naryshkin then replied that he supported recognising their independence.

“Good,” Putin said in response. “You can sit down now.” 


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