FACT CHECK: Did Vladimir Putin Say That NATO Could Destroy Russia In Three Days?

Elias Atienza | Fact Check Reporter

A video shared on Facebook claims Russian President Vladimir Putin said the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) could defeat Russia in three days.

Verdict: False

Retiring Illinois Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger made that comment, not Putin.

Fact Check:

Ukraine and Russia are currently fighting over Bakhmut and other locations in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, The Washington Post reported. Putin stated that “almost all NATO potential” was being used to defeat Russia during the conflict, Reuters reported.

The Facebook video, viewed more than 50,000 times, claims Putin said that NATO could defeat Russia in three days. The video’s caption reads, “Putin said that NATO only needed three days to destroy Russia.”

This claim, though, is false. If Putin had made such a comment, media outlets would have covered it, yet none have. The Institute for the Study of War (ISW), which releases daily assessments of the Russian invasion, did not report that Putin made these remarks. The only mentions of NATO were in reference to Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko’s “rhetoric” that NATO would invade Belarus.

“ISW has previously assessed that Lukashenko uses the rhetoric of defending Belarusian borders against the West and NATO in an effort to avoid participating in the Russian invasion of Ukraine,” ISW stated.

The remark, instead, was made by Kinzinger, not Putin. The video itself acknowledges that the remark was made by Kinzinger on Twitter. (RELATED: Did Ukraine Sentence A Man To 15 Years In Prison For Displaying A Russian Flag?)

This comment was reported on by outlets such as Newsweek and The Express. The three-day operation is a reference to Russia’s plan to seize the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv in three to four days, according to The Washington Post. US intel agencies also believed that Russia could take Kyiv in days, CNN reported in February.

Dmitry Peskov, Putin’s spokesperson, blamed NATO weapons for why Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has stalled, according to The New York Times.

“This is a big burden for us. It was just very hard to believe in such cynicism and in such bloodthirstiness on the part of the collective West,” Peskov said.

Misinformation regarding the Ukraine-Russia conflict has spread widely on social media since February 2022. Check Your Fact recently debunked a video allegedly showing a Russian nuclear aircraft carrier being destroyed.

Elias Atienza

Fact Check Reporter
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