Spilnota Detector Media
Detector Media collects and documents real-time chronicles of the Kremlin disinformation about the Russian invasion. Ukraine for decades has been suffering from Kremlin disinformation. Here we document all narratives, messages, and tactics, which Russia is using from February 17th, 2022. Reminder: the increasing of shelling and fighting by militants happened on the 17th of February 2022 on the territory of Ukraine. Russian propaganda blames Ukraine for these actions.

On 30 November, on the 644th day of the full-scale war, our editorial office recorded:

Русскій фейк, іді на***!

Manipulation The body of a Ukrainian soldier was allegedly found in the sea on the shores of Batumi

Propagandists spreading pro-Russian rhetoric on social networks are distributing a video claiming that the body of a serviceman of the Ukrainian Armed Forces was found on the shores of the Georgian city of Batumi. However, this is manipulation.

A group of fact-checkers from the Myth Detector project have already confirmed the falsity of this information. It turned out that this video was filmed in the city of Sukhumi, and the body belonged to a local resident who went missing in 2022. It is recorded that the video was recorded on July 1, 2023.

At that moment, the body of local resident Aram Davajyan, who was considered missing since November 27, 2022, was found. This information was confirmed by “law enforcement agencies” of Abkhazia, a region occupied by Russia. After fact-checkers contacted the Emergency Management Service, it was established that there had been no reports of the body of a Ukrainian serviceman on the shore in Sukhumi.

Propagandists spread such manipulations to strengthen their narrative about the “large-scale losses” of the Ukrainian Armed Forces. They say that the war needs to be stopped on Russia’s terms. Detector Media has repeatedly refuted other manipulations aimed at directly discrediting the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

Manipulation Ukraine seems to have gone on the defensive along the entire front line

Pro-Russian resources are spreading information that the Ukrainian army has stopped attacking and gone on the defensive, and the Russian military is stretching the Ukrainian Armed Forces along the entire front line. In asserting this, propagandists refer to an interview with former Deputy Minister of Defense of Ukraine Hanna Maliar, which she gave to the online publication Liga.net.

Experts from the Center for Strategic Communications and Information Security developed this case. It turned out that the Russians manipulated Maliar’s words. In the interview, she made an assumption about the task of the Russians: to prevent the Ukrainian army from concentrating forces in a specific place. Also, the former Deputy Minister of Defense of Ukraine noted that it is the Russian army that is stretching its troops along the front line in order to exhaust the Ukrainian defenders and prepare itself for offensive actions. In the end, there were no statements from Maliar that Ukraine was no longer advancing.

Thus, Russian propaganda is trying to discredit the Ukrainian counteroffensive and assure everyone around that the advantage on the front line lies in Russia. Previously, we refuted the information that Valerii Zaluzhnyi allegedly ordered preparations for defense between Mykolaiv and Odesa.

Manipulation Imaginary Russian national minorities in Ukraine supposedly “must be oppressed”

Pro-Russian resources claim that the Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, Ruslan Stefanchuk, made a statement that there “are not and cannot be any Russian national minorities in Ukraine, and their rights must be infringed”. This is manipulation.

This case was investigated by experts from the Center for Strategic Communications and Information Security. They found out that during the telethon, Stefanchuk actually said that “there are no Russian national minorities in Ukraine yet and there cannot be”. However, his words were taken out of context. The point was that representatives of the people who are today committing the Ukrainian genocide cannot have any privileges in our country on any issues related to their national minority.

By manipulating information, propagandists feed the narrative that there is “oppression of Russians and Russian-speaking people” in Ukraine, including to justify the so-called “special operation”. Previously, we wrote about how Russia blurs reality with the help of newspeak using the term “russophobia”.

Disclosure To win the war, almost 29 million Ukrainians must die

Social networks began to spread messages in Ukrainian with the information that “our army liberated 270-300 km², losing 71 thousand soldiers killed”. The publications also say: in order to de-occupy all territories, it will be necessary to “kill” almost 29 million Ukrainians.

Specialists from the Center for Strategic Communications and Information Security analyzed such messages. They found out that such publications are Russian IPSO. As for the deoccupied territories, this is the case – as of September 10, 2023, the Armed Forces of Ukraine actually liberated about 270 km². However, the data on the number of Ukrainian military deaths during hostilities is invented, since this information is a state secret and will be made public by Ukraine only after the end of the war. It turns out that the “calculation” of future losses was made on the basis of imaginary data, so it cannot be considered reliable.

Propagandists manipulate information and create facts because they see this as effective and potentially influential on Ukrainian society. Such disinformation is spread with the aim of demoralizing Ukrainians and making them think about giving up. When reading similar cases that can evoke strong emotions, we encourage you to think critically. We also worked on the Russian information campaign, when on behalf of the Ministry of Agrarian Policy, recipes for dishes from pigeons and dogs were sent to Ukrainians in connection with the alleged crisis in the agricultural sector in Ukraine.

Message The goals of “SVO” will supposedly be achieved at any cost

Self-proclaimed colonel, collaborator and war criminal Eduard Basurin claims that “denazification and demilitarization of Ukraine continues”. In general, the Russian leadership and propagandists are promoting the message that the so-called “special operation” is constantly ongoing, and all its goals will certainly be achieved.

Experts from the Center for Countering Disinformation drew attention to this repeated mantra. For example, Volodymyr Putin announced the two above-mentioned goals of the SVO on February 24, 2023. Moreover, another reason for the full-scale invasion, according to him, was “the protection of the residents of Donbas”. Over time, the Kremlin has already changed entire war goals against Ukraine many times, which indicates its confusion and misunderstanding between the military-political leadership of Russia.

Read also: The main goal of the so-called “SVO” is supposedly not to seize Ukraine, but to ensure the security of Russia

Fake In the United States, bets on political assassinations in Ukraine have allegedly gained popularity

Pro-Kremlin resources are disseminating information that allegedly American bookmakers have recently accepted bets on political assassinations in Ukraine. Moreover, when claiming this, propagandists refer to “articles” from American online resources: MSNBC and NBC4 Washington. It's fake.

Experts from the Center for Countering Disinformation examined this case. They found out that in fact, materials with relevant content simply do not exist on the official pages of the mentioned online publications. Taking this into account, that is about another IPSO of Russian propaganda.

In an attempt to give more credibility to its lies, Russian propaganda spreads them on behalf of foreign online newspapers. The purpose of such disinformation is to create the illusion of a split between Volodymyr Zelenskyi and the top military leadership of Ukraine. They say that the “conflict” between the President and the Commander-in-Chief of Ukraine is gaining momentum, so one can expect anything. As part of this information campaign, we also refuted the information that propaganda leaflets were allegedly being distributed in Zhytomyr calling for people to vote for Zaluzhnyi.

Fake The OCU prays for Ukraine's accession to NATO and the EU

An eight-second video is being circulated on social networks in the Russian segment, allegedly showing a prayer for Ukraine’s accession to NATO and the EU being read in a Ukrainian church. “God, don’t send us to Heaven, but send us to NATO and the EU”, is allegedly written in the text of such a “prayer”. Anonymous telegram channels began to claim that the OCU was engaged in blasphemy and discrediting Orthodox believers. It is not true.

The StopFake analysts studied the case and found out that the video is not real, because there is no information that is located in Ukrainian churches about reading such a “prayer”. Moreover, information is disseminated only in pro-Kremlin media or anonymous telegram channels.

As experts explained, according to church rules, the texts of new prayers are approved by the Holy Synod of the OCU - this is the governing body of the OCU. All their decisions, including the texts of newly approved prayers, are published on the official website of the OCU. However, StopFake analysts did not find among the decisions of the Synod the statement of “prayer for Ukraine’s accession to NATO and the EU”.

They also contacted the press service of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine. The department told them that this was an obvious fake, and they did not approve such a prayer.

Message Ukraine allegedly “massively” uses prohibited weapons against civilians

This thesis was spread by pro-Kremlin media. Reports say that Ukraine seems to be using prohibited methods of warfare, in particular using prohibited weapons. They say this is stated in the Landmine Monitor 2023 report, compiled by independent experts from different countries, which was presented to the UN on November 14, 2023.

The case was studied by StopFake project specialists and explained: the analysts who worked on the report reported that Ukraine began an investigation into the case of how the Ukrainian Armed Forces “used anti-personnel mines in the city of Izium and its environs in 2022, when the city was under Russian control”. The report emphasized that Ukraine then used mines against Russian military targets, but as a result, “civilians suffered”. This case in relation to Ukraine is isolated, and international experts have recorded hundreds of facts of widespread use of prohibited weapons in Ukraine by Russian occupiers.

Among other things, the document wrote that Russia, probably with the help of neighboring Belarus, is actively using anti-personnel mines in Ukraine. According to the data presented in the report, in Ukraine in 2022 there was a tenfold increase in the number of victims of anti-personnel mines compared to the year before the full-scale Russian invasion.

Russia tries to ignore cases of the use of prohibited weapons and pays attention only to Ukrainian actions - although the case of the use of an anti-personnel mine is isolated, and it was primarily used to replace a Russian military facility.

The online media of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine, ArmyInform, explains that the Ottawa Convention of 1997 provides for a complete cessation of the use of non-directional anti-personnel mines, a cessation of their production and accumulation. Ukraine signed the mine ban agreement on February 24, 1999 in New York and ratified it on December 27, 2005, becoming a state party on June 1, 2006. Russia is not a party to the Convention, so it has been using them since the beginning of the war back in 2014.

Fake Quarantine was allegedly declared in seven regions of Ukraine “due to an outbreak of scarlet fever”

In the Russian segment of social networks, information is being disseminated that a quarantine has allegedly been declared in seven regions of Ukraine due to the spread of scarlet fever. Screenshots of the alleged TSN story about the introduction of quarantine are added to the publications. It's a lie.

The analysts of the VoxCheck project examined this case and determined that as of November 21, 2023, quarantine was not introduced in any region of Ukraine due to scarlet fever. The Ministry of Health of Ukraine reported that the spread of the disease is not an emergency; scarlet fever is a seasonal disease, so infection is registered in Ukraine every year. For example, over 10 months of 2023, 375 cases of scarlet fever were registered in the capital, most of them among preschoolers and students.

As for the photographs of the news story, they are compiled. This is indicated by several elements: for example, the design of the text block and the font differ from the original one, which is used by TSN media workers to design news materials; and with the help of a reverse search on Google, it was possible to establish that the footage of the fake story actually belongs to a series of information materials about the introduction of quarantine in 2018 due to the flu outbreak and in 2021 due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Propagandists have long been speculating on the topic of health care, in particular lying about “disease outbreaks” in order to provoke panic and distrust of the authorities. It seems that the Ukrainian leadership is not able to cope with the provision of decent treatment or prevention of diseases.

By the way, the Ministry of Health explained that scarlet fever is an acute infectious disease, manifested by damage to the tonsils, an empty mouth and a characteristic rash. In most cases, scarlet fever begins suddenly. You can find out more detailed information and what to do if you  suspect scarlet fever here.

Read also: a series of epidemics will begin in Ukraine “due to cuts in medical funding”.

Manipulation NATO seems to invade Russia “after the war in Ukraine”

Such information was disseminated on social networks in the Russian segment, commenting on the meeting of the presidents (Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Czech Republic) of the Visegrad Group, who discussed issues of international politics, including the Russian-Ukrainian war. The authors claimed that Czech President Petr Pavel allegedly explained during the summit of heads of state that the Visegrad Group was “ready to engage in aggression against Russia”,  and NATO would allegedly attack Russia “after the war in Ukraine”. This is manipulation.

The StopFake analysts investigated the case and found that there were no statements about NATO’s readiness to launch an invasion of Russia at the Visegrad Four summit - this is an invention of the propaganda media. The meeting of leaders was devoted to European security issues in the context of Russian aggression against Ukraine. The parties stated that Russia must bear responsibility for human lives and damage, and the four countries must “resolutely continue to fully support Ukraine and its citizens”.

Among other things, Peter Pavel said during the meeting that Russia is the main threat to the security of Europe and, accordingly, the defense Alliance. That is, the manipulators distorted the entire context of the officials’ statements and simply came up with profitable Kremlin theses.

Using quotes from public figures, military officers, politicians and other public figures, Russian propaganda is trying to convince consumers of disinformation of the authenticity of such expressions. Like, if the European leader himself said this, then he can be trusted, because he is an authoritative source although the authors do not explain how reliable the information presented in the manipulative publication is. This is how propagandists use the tactic of appealing to authority.

The Visegrad Group was founded on February 15, 1991 in the Hungarian city of Visegrad by the presidents of Central European countries - Poland, Hungary, and then Czechoslovakia with the goal of integration into Euro-Atlantic structures. After the collapse of Czechoslovakia, the official name of the group was the “Visegrad Four”, or V4, consisting of Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, and the Czech Republic. It was possible to achieve the European and Euro-Atlantic goal in 2004 - the four countries joined NATO, and on May 1 of the same year V4 joined the European Union. Currently, countries also cooperate in the fields of culture, education, science and data exchange.

Orest Slyvenko, Artur Koldomasov, Pavlo Rud, Oleksandra Kotenko, Oleksandr Siedin, Kostiantyn Zadyraka, and Oleksiy Pivtorak are collaborating on this chronicle. Lesia Bidochko serves as the project coordinator, while Ksenia Ilyuk is the author of the project.