February 16 was the day the United States became the subject of Russian ridicule by Kremlin government officials after a botched prediction of a Russian invasion. It can be remembered that US intelligence reports said that the Russians would start advancing into Ukraine on February 16, starting the invasion and possibly World War III along with it.
The world took to their phones and television screens to await if an invasion was going to happen, till the day ended with no significant movement being reported from the border. No invasion happened that day, instead, Moscow took to social media to ridicule the administration for spreading disinformation.
Russian foreign ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova, who seems to enjoy ridiculing western media in the past, wrote on Facebook that “February 15, 2022, will go down in history as the day of the failure of western war propaganda. Humiliated and destroyed without firing a shot.”
Zakharova, who accused American and British media of spreading disinformation in the past, took a jab at some of their journalism skills, saying, “I’d like to request US and British disinformation: Bloomberg, The New York Times, and The Sun media outlets to publish the schedule for Russia’s upcoming invasions of Ukraine for the current year. I’d like to plan my vacation.”
Other Russian officials also took their shots at the U.S. and Western media outlets carrying the prediction of a war beginning on February 16th, with the Russian Ambassador to the European Union Vladimir Chizhov glibly stating that “Wars in Europe rarely start on a Wednesday” while accusing the West of slander. Kremlin Spokesperson Dmitry Peskov also fired shots at the West after no invasion happened, stating that the information spread by Western media is just plain hysteria.
“Western hysteria is still far from its culmination. We need to have patience, as the remission will not come quickly,” the spokesperson explained.
💬I can assure you that, as far as #Russia is concerned, there will be no attack this coming Wednesday. Nor will there be any escalation next week or the week after, or next month, – Vladimir #Chizhov 🔗https://t.co/gmxAEQi6ez#Ukraine pic.twitter.com/Byn2VfiMdT
— RussianMissionEU (@RusMission_EU) February 16, 2022
The Official Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia’s Twitter account also had its fun with the West stating that it was marking another day the war with Ukraine did not happen again amid so-called Western hysteria. The tweet was coupled with tumbleweed for comedic effect.
💬 #Zakharova: Today we mark another day of the “start of war with Ukraine,” which did not happen again, to the Western media outlets’ regret, no matter how hard they whip up the hysteria.
❗️ See for yourselves what the collective Western media and officials’ words are worth. pic.twitter.com/m6IUaPnUsp
— MFA Russia 🇷🇺 (@mfa_russia) February 16, 2022
Perhaps the most outspoken Russian official of them all is Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who’s biting sarcasm invoked memes popular on social media. He had stated that the West had lacked basic upbringing in its attempts to predict Russia’s plans, predictions which have not produced any accurate reports about the supposedly imminent invasion.
The trolling had just begun. The Russian Embassy in South America tweeted a meme using Pulp Fiction’s Vincent Vega, played by John Travolta, who looks around Kyiv, Ukraine’s capitol looking for the Russian invasion. This meme is quite well-known, which is probably why the tweet went viral.
— Russia in RSA 🇷🇺 (@EmbassyofRussia) February 16, 2022
The Russian government has always denied its plans to invade Ukraine in the past despite the United States and other western countries believing that a threat was “immediate.” In fact, the threat was so immediate according to US intelligence that National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan had recommended that all 30,000 Americans living and working in Ukraine evacuate immediately. The US government also destroyed classified information in the US Embassy in Kyiv in evacuating its personnel while maintaining a small consulate in Lviv, in the western portion of Ukraine, in case there is a need for emergency communications with the country. The majority of this information has been said to be raw, often just satellite images without any official releases of intelligence about any potential invasion from the U.S.
By contrast, during the Cuban Missile Crisis, The Soviets appeared before the UN General Assembly after making public denials that Russia had placed nuclear missiles in Cuba. U.S. Ambassador to the UN Adlai Stevenson invited Soviet Ambassador Zorin to repeat that denial again. When Zorin refused to answer, Stevenson produced reconnaissance photos that showed the missiles and launchers in place on Cuban soil. This meeting at the UN was on TV all over the world and the United States dealt the decisive blow to Russian denials with hard evidence of their lies.
Perhaps inviting more mockery, the United States along with its western allies have recalibrated the narrative that an invasion of Ukraine was “imminent” for several weeks, to new claims that the invasion would occur “any day now.”
Together with these reports of the day of national unity, the Russians claim that they have partially withdrawn some Russian troops stationed at the Russian border, with intelligence reports stating that 2 units had departed from Crimea to return to their home bases.
The heightened tensions in the region are becoming more confused, with the United States and other western countries stating that a Russian invasion is “very much probable” or that invasion is “imminent,” while Russia denies having such plans and claims to be reducing the number of troops deployed.