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 25 June, on the 852th day of the full-scale war, our editorial office recorded:

Русскій фейк, іді на***!

Message Ukraine is allegedly fighting solely in the interests of the United States

Propagandists quote Russian Defense Minister Serhii Shoihu, who at a meeting of the Russian Defense Collegium said that the Ukrainian military is fighting in the interests of the war between the United States and Russia. They say that during the full-scale invasion, almost half a million military personnel of the Ukrainian Armed Forces died. He also noted that during the counteroffensive, the Ukrainian military allegedly failed to achieve the goals that “NATO instructors” set for them, and thus were able to dispel the myth about the superiority of Western weapons. However, this is not true.

Now we do not have an accurately known number of dead, wounded and missing Ukrainian Armed Forces soldiers for the entire time of the full-scale invasion. But on February 25 of this year, President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyi, during a large press conference following the results of the forum “Ukraine. Year 2024” answered this question. According to him, “31 thousand Ukrainian soldiers died in this war”, not counting the fighters of volunteer battalions and the missing. But we see that this figure is significantly less than what the Russian Ministry of Defense states.

Russian propaganda has been promoting the narrative of Ukraine's war in the interests of the United States for long enough to neutralize the fact that Ukraine is defending its own territory, interests and cultural heritage. Claiming failures in the counteroffensive and dispelling the “myth” of the superiority of Western weapons does not reflect the full picture. Ukrainian forces carried out successful defensive actions, repelling attacks and inflicting significant losses on the enemy. For example, in the summer of 2022, an agreement was reached with Russia on a “safe corridor” in the Black Sea through the UN and Turkey. However, this agreement lasted only a year, after which Russia threatened to attack Ukrainian ports. Ukraine responded with naval drone and missile attacks on September 13, 2023, forcing Russia to reduce its ambitions in the Black Sea region.

Also, the “largest tank battle”, according to The New York Times, which the Ukrainian side won, took place on March 2, 2023 and proves the opposite of Shoihu’s claims. The Russian army launched powerful offensive operations after defeats in the Kharkiv and Kherson regions. Despite successful actions at Bakhmut and Soledar, they were defeated at Vuhledar due to the effective resistance of Ukrainian troops. Ukrainian Armed Forces fighters hit several tank columns heading towards Vuhledar and subsequently inflicted significant losses on Russian troops.

Shoihu’s statements regarding the counteroffensive and losses of the Ukrainian Armed Forces look like an attempt to distort circumstances and convince the public of his superiority on the battlefield, despite such a powerful “enemy” as NATO.

Disclosure Russia's information campaign aimed at discrediting US military aid to the maximum extent possible

The Center for Countering Disinformation under the National Security and Defense Council has recorded a new information campaign by Russian propagandists to discredit the approval by the US Congress of a bill to allocate almost $61 billion in aid to Ukraine.

According to the Center, the key narrative of Kremlin propaganda is: “US assistance will have no impact on the situation on the battlefield”.

Russia also promotes the following messages:

“Assistance will only prolong the war and lead to more casualties among Ukrainians”;

“Most of the funds will remain in the United States. Americans are enriching themselves at the expense of the lives of Ukrainians”;

“The allocated assistance will be the last that Ukraine will receive”;

“The United States provided assistance during the harsh mobilization in Ukraine”;

“Now, after the decision to help Ukraine, is the best time to negotiate a truce”.

Fake Ukrainian nuclear power plants can allegedly only operate on Russian fuel

Enemy resources are spreading a narrative that a nuclear disaster awaits Europeans at their own nuclear power plants. Propagandists appeal to the fact that the EU may face unpredictable consequences, comparing the experience of Ukraine, which abandoned Russian nuclear fuel in favor of American one. However, this is fake.

StopFake specialists drew attention to it. They emphasize that in Ukraine and a number of countries, nuclear power plants were indeed built under the dominance of Soviet power and were designed exclusively for Russian fuel. However, over time, Ukraine began to diversify its supplies, switching to American fuel and launching its own production of nuclear fuel from Ukrainian uranium. Thus, Energoatom and Westinghouse signed a contract in 2020, which stated a long-term partnership. Namely, about the supply of nuclear fuel for VVER-440 reactors at the Rivne Nuclear Power Plant. As a result, starting from 2020, Ukraine has not made a single purchase of Russian fuel. In September 2023, fuel produced by Westinghouse with the participation of our specialists was successfully loaded into the Ukrainian reactor. Even before the full-scale invasion began, the Russian budget had already lost profits from the supply of fuel, since we were already using American fuel at our nuclear power plants.

This step gave Ukraine the opportunity to free itself from dependence on Russian fuel and become a potential supplier to other European countries, namely the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Finland, and Bulgaria, also interested in diversifying their energy sources.

Despite this, Russian media continue to spread fake news about the nuclear safety of Ukraine and other countries. Since the state nuclear energy corporation Rosatom was included in the sanctions list, Russia began to lose its competitive position in the energy market. Therefore, propagandists try to influence Western audiences by weakening their trust in Western technologies.

Fake Euronews allegedly reported on a Ukrainian female scammer in Poland who opened a beauty salon with mosquitoes sucking fat

Propagandists are distributing a video on social networks with the symbols of the European news channel Euronews, which states that a refugee from Ukraine allegedly created a beauty salon in Poland with mosquitoes, the bite of which was supposed to relieve clients of cellulite. The video reports that after one of the patients was admitted to a Gdansk hospital with allergies, Polish police allegedly detained Kateryna Ivanchenko, the woman who, according to propagandists, organized this business, for fraud. “The Ukrainian woman earned 1 million zlotys from ordinary mosquitoes, which were believed to suck out fat”, the publications note. In fact, this information is not true.

Specialists from the StopFake project drew attention to this. They found that the video distributed online imitates the design of Euronews videos - in particular, the company logo can be seen in the upper right corner of the video. However, there is no such story either on the official website or on the media company’s social networks. The fact that this story is completely fictitious is indicated by the fact that none of the Polish media also reported such cases of fraud on the part of the Ukrainian woman.

To create a fake video, attackers used video clips from free stock videos. To illustrate the fictitious arrest of the owner of a beauty salon, a video clip of the arrest of a suspect in the arson of a shopping center in Gdansk was taken. This incident occurred in July 2020 and has nothing to do with the incident described in the fake video.

The purpose of this fake is to discredit refugees from Ukraine in the eyes of the Poles. Detector Media has repeatedly refuted other Russian fakes regarding Ukrainian refugees.

Fake In Ukraine, women are allegedly learning how to make false bellies to avoid mobilization

“Ukrainian women are actively preparing to evade mobilization”, with this title, propagandists are massively distributing a video on social networks in which a woman puts on an artificial belly to simulate pregnancy. “These life hacks are already very popular. Everything was done properly - men in wigs, and women with artificial bellies”, write users distributing this video. However, this is fake.

Specialists from the StopFake project drew attention to it. They found out that, despite the inscriptions in Ukrainian “pov: heard about the mobilization of women” and “Register, girls!”, this video is distributed exclusively by pro-Russian groups and Z-channels on Telegram. There is no evidence that this video is popular among Ukrainian women.

StopFake journalists were able to investigate that this video first appeared online even before Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in June 2021 on the YouTube channel “Nadiia Korobeinykova”. There are obviously no inscriptions “pov: I heard about the mobilization of women!” and “Register, girls!”. The description of the original video notes that this video is a brief instruction on how to “make your own” artificial belly to simulate pregnancy. Using the phone number indicated in the description, StopFake journalists were able to find more detailed information about this profile on YouTube.

This phone number is also listed in the contacts of the Facebook page used for promotional orders of artificial bellies to simulate pregnancy. Having looked through their publications, journalists were unable to find a single one advertising artificial bellies as a means of evading mobilization. The website indicated in the page description states that artificial bellies for simulating pregnancy are suitable for clothing stores, themed photo and video shoots, for couples who seek help from surrogacy or decide to adopt a child.

Reports that Ukrainian women are learning to make artificial bellies to “evade mobilization” are not realistic. The fact is that in Ukraine women can only mobilize voluntarily. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyi said at the final press conference in December 2023 that there would be no mobilization of women in the country during martial law. Now military registration applies only to those women who have received education in medical and pharmaceutical specialties, but they can serve only of their own free will.

Propagandists spread such fake news to discredit the mobilization in Ukraine and cause panic among the local population. Detector Media has repeatedly refuted other Russian fabrications about mobilization in Ukraine.

Orest Slyvenko, Artur Koldomasov, Vitalii Mykhailiv, 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.