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VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Quotes from Robredo, Zelensky on Ukrainian allies NEED CONTEXT

NATO recognized Ukraine as an “enhanced opportunities partner” on June 12, 2020.

Mar 2, 2022

VERA Files


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Two Facebook graphics that compared a quote from Vice President Leni Robredo with a statement from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky were framed to insinuate that the vice president wants to wage war against China.

A netizen posted a comment calling Robredo foolish for relying on allies to address the country’s territorial dispute over the West Philippine Sea (WPS).

Ha? Pareho sa WPS? So himuon mo man nga battleground ang Pilipinas kase umaasa ka na allies ang US? Malooy ka,” (Huh? Same with the WPS? So it’s okay for you to make the Philippines a battleground because we have the U.S. as allies? Have mercy), a netizen reacted.

This needs context.

During the Feb. 3 interview with DZRH AM radio station, Robredo compared the country’s territorial dispute with China over the West Philippine Sea with the threat of a Russian invasion that Ukraine faced at the time. She did not suggest a war against China:

Pero pinapakita ng Ukraine na kaya niyang ipaglaban ‘yung isang rules-based na pakikipaglaban ng kanyang karapatan dahil strong ‘yung kanyang relationship with the allies. Nandiyan ‘yung US, nandiyan ‘yung European Union

(But Ukraine has shown that it can defend a rules-based fight for its rights because of its strong relationship with its allies. There’s the U.S., and there’s the European Union).

Zelensky, in a Feb. 25 speech, asked why his allies did not send troops to help defend his country or gave him an answer on whether Ukraine could join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization:

“We have been left alone to defend our state. Who is ready to fight alongside us? I don’t see anyone. Who is ready to give Ukraine a guarantee of Nato membership? Everyone is afraid.” This quote was used in a Feb. 25 graphic posted by FB page VOVph.

“Today I have asked 27 European leader(s) whether Ukraine will be in NATO. I have asked directly, everyone is afraid, no one answered.” The statement was used in a Feb. 25 graphic posted by FB page DJ 911.

NATO recognized Ukraine as an “enhanced opportunities partner” on June 12, 2020. This means that the country is allowed to participate in joint military and cybersecurity exercises, send representatives to NATO headquarters, and exchange information with NATO allies, according to the Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense website.

But Ukraine is not a part of NATO, hence its members are not obligated to send troops to defend the country.

Experts cited in multiple news articles explained why there’s hesitation to offer Ukraine a NATO membership. One of them is that Ukraine has not addressed its political and legal issues such as curbing corruption and fixing its democratic system.

Ukraine has existing partnerships with the U.S. and the European Union (E.U.). On March 1, Zelensky signed an official request to join the EU.

FB pages VOVph (created on June 5, 2016) and DJ 911 (created on Oct. 16, 2019) posted the graphics hours after Zelensky asked what guarantees Ukraine can get from NATO. The posts garnered a total of 61,200 interactions.


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(Editor’s Note: VERA Files has partnered with Facebook to fight the spread of disinformation. Find out more about this partnership and our methodology.)

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