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 17 July, on the 874th day of the full-scale war, our editorial office recorded:

Русскій фейк, іді на***!

Fake There is a crematorium in Zaporizhzhia where the bodies of Ukrainian dead soldiers are burned

Pro-Russian propagandists disseminated such information on social networks, in particular, on telegram channels where they broadcast pro-Russian narratives. The reports say, among other things, that instead of the end of the war promised by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyi, locals are suffocating from the continuous burning of the bodies of Ukrainian soldiers. However, this is fake.

This case was analyzed by VoxCheck specialists. They found out that in Zaporizhzia  there are organizations that carry out cremations, but this does not happen in the city itself, but outside its borders, in particular, in Odesa, Kharkiv or Kyiv. But analysts were unable to find the user who complained about the supposedly continuous operation of the crematorium in the city.

Thus, the Russians want to intimidate the civilian population. They say that in Ukraine everything is so bad at the front that the bodies of the dead are burned around the clock, even in residential areas. The enemy is trying to demoralize Ukrainians by manipulating the number of losses. Detector Media has already refuted the Russian fake about the creation of mobile crematoria in the Ukrainian Territorial Defense brigade.

Fake Soldiers of the Azov regiment resort to satanic rituals

This information is disseminated by pro-Kremlin media. The authors of messages on this topic note that on the day of the autumn equinox on September 22, Azov allegedly performed a satanic ritual. The Russians add stolen photographs from the unit’s social networks to the publication. However, this is fake.

The fact-checkers of the BezBrekhni (No lies) project found out that every year on September 22, soldiers of the regiment honor the memory of the dead. This is a tradition for fighters. Nothing satanic or forbidden happened during these events. There are days of remembrance for the dead in most religions of the world. And many of the unit’s customs are associated with ancient Slavic holidays, so the day of the equinox was chosen for celebration.

Thus, Russian media devalue and discredit the defenders of Ukraine. This is not the first time that the enemy has been promoting the narrative of Satanism and Nazism of the Azov regiment, which we have written about many times before.

Newspeak How Russia blurs reality with the help of a newspeak: a legitimate goal

International humanitarian law defines the principles of military action during armed conflicts. The 1977 Additional Protocol to the Geneva Conventions contains Article 48, which reveals the essence of the basic rules for the conduct of hostilities. It states that “to ensure respect and protection of civilians and civilian objects, Parties of a conflict must always distinguish between civilians and combatants, and between civilian and military objects, and accordingly direct their actions only against military targets”.

Russian propaganda uses the phrase “legitimate target” to refer to objects that, although they may have an indirect connection with support for Ukraine in the war against Russia, are not direct military targets under international law. Thus, the Russians are trying to justify their war crimes in Ukraine. At the same time, the purpose of using this term is to block the feeling of guilt among Russians for the actions of their military.

An example of such a crime is the Russian strike on the night of August 15 at the plant of the Swedish company SKF in Lutsk. The Russian Embassy in Sweden called the plant a “legitimate military target”. SKF responded after the tragedy that its plant in Lutsk produces tapered roller bearings, primarily for the heavy civil automotive industry.

Following British Foreign Secretary James Cleverley's statement that military targets outside Ukraine's borders were part of its self-defense, Russian ex-President Dmytro Medvediev responded that any British official could be considered a “legitimate target”. This is further confirmation that Russia is deliberately blurring the boundaries between civilian and military targets.

We previously wrote about how the Russian government uses the phrase “high-precision weapons” to deny its war crimes.

Fake Compromising photos and videos with Rustem Umierov

A number of anonymous telegram channels disseminating pro-Russian rhetoric published photos and videos in which allegedly Defense Minister Rustem Umierov masturbates on camera and addresses a potential partner. The authors of such reports argue that such actions jeopardize Ukraine's reputation, especially in international negotiations, and show shortcomings in the selection of personnel in the Ukrainian government. In publications containing these materials, propagandists used disparaging language towards Umierov himself. However, these photos and videos are fake.

Specialists from the VoxCheck project drew attention to this. Using the sites Search4faces and PimEyes, they found out that the person in the video is indeed Russian Davyd Kasaiev. In particular, in the public domain one can find a photo of Kasaiev with the background that is visible in the “leaked” videos. Also, some telegram channels indicated that videos and photos with allegedly Rustem Umierov were filmed long before the start of his career. However, if one compares the photo of the real Umierov from 12 years ago and the videos published by the Russians, one can see the difference. In particular, one can see differences in the shape of the nose, face and eye shape. The timbre and manner of speech in the video do not match Umerov’s voice. In addition, such actions are not a characteristic of a politician’s professional activity and it is not worth assessing the reputation behind them, especially with the use of derogatory language.

Using such fakes, propagandists aimed to personally discredit Umierov before his appointment as Minister of Defense of Ukraine and prevent this. They continue their personal attacks on him, in particular by spreading fake quotes from Umierov, which we wrote about earlier.

Manipulation In Lutsk, 33 medical workers will be fired in order to be sent to the front

Propagandists are actively disseminating information on anonymous telegram channels that allegedly the Volyn Regional Psychiatric Hospital and the Volyn Medical Center for Addiction Therapy are being merged in order to fire 15 doctors of the psychiatric hospital and 18 employees of the addiction center. They say that these people will be spared a deferment from mobilization and will be sent to the medical company of the 14th brigade of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. This is confirmed by the fact that the directors of both institutions were allegedly fired, and one of them was given a draft notice for resisting this idea. However, this is a fake.

Specialists from the VoxCheck project drew attention to it. They found out that there are no plans to fire or mobilize doctors from both hospitals. The decision to reorganize the psychiatric hospital was made by the Volyn Regional Council even before the full-scale invasion, namely on December 9, 2021. This decision provided for the dismissal of the heads of both institutions, but not the remaining employees. However, on March 16, 2023, deputies of the regional council canceled this statement and decided to reorganize the Volyn Medical Center for Addiction Therapy. As a result, the hospital will take over the rights and responsibilities of the center, and the center's property will become the property of the mental hospital. As a result, they decided to join the smaller one to the larger one. In addition, Volyn officials note that the staff may even have to be expanded, since as part of the reorganization they plan to increase the number of beds. VoxCheck specialists were unable to find news about the issuance of a draft notice to the ex-director of the Volyn Medical Center for Addiction Therapy, Ihor Shkarovetskyi.

It is noted that psychiatry and narcology are related disciplines, therefore the practice of combining specialized institutions of these disciplines is common in Ukraine. In addition, consolidation will help to obtain more funds. The merger takes place within the framework of the third stage of medical reform on the creation of a wealthy network. This reform is being carried out to improve the quality of medical services and free medical care.

Using such manipulations, propagandists want to exaggerate the scale of mobilization in Ukraine and intimidate the civilian population. They say that the Ukrainian government does not care about serious problems, so it puts ordinary people at risk and mobilizes mental hospital workers. Detector Media has already written not only about numerous manipulations on the topic of mobilization in Ukraine, but also about how Russian propaganda reinforces stereotypes about mental health.

Fake Rustem Umierov called for mobilizing teenagers

On anonymous telegram channels, propagandists are actively distributing an alleged quote from the Minister of Defense of Ukraine Rustem Umierov, where he allegedly calls for the mobilization of 16-year-old teenagers into the Armed Forces of Ukraine, because “why can guys make children from the age of 16”. However, this is a fake.

Specialists from the VoxCheck project drew attention to it. They found out that Umierov did not make such a statement, and there is no mention of him on the Defense Minister’s social media accounts. In addition, the photo with the “quote” shows the UNIAN media logo. In fact, this quote is also not on the UNIAN website or pages on social networks. The publication has not maintained the “Quotes of the Day” column in the telegram since March 11, 2022. Current Ukrainian legislation, in particular the Law of Ukraine “On Military Duty and Military Service”, allows military service only from the age of 18.

Using such fakes, propagandists want to cause panic among Ukrainians and deliberately exaggerate the pace of mobilization. Like, everything is so bad in Ukraine that it has to mobilize teenagers. Detector Media has already refuted a number of fakes and manipulations on the topic of 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.