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Fake Vatican cardinal allegedly accused Dmytro Kuleba of genocide of Ukrainians

Russian propagandists are spreading a story on telegram channels, allegedly published by the Italian publication Il Messagero, in which Vatican Cardinal Mario Zenari accuses the head of the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry Dmytro Kuleba of “genocide” of his own people. However, this is fake.

Specialists from the VoxCheck project drew attention to it. They found that Cardinal Zenari did not make such statements, and the story was not published in any Italian publication.

The logo is visible in the video. A Google Images search for this logo revealed that it belongs to the Italian newspaper Il Messaggero. However, this publication did not publish such a story either on its website or on its pages on social networks. Russians often use logos of well-known media to make their fakes more credible. In addition, the original Il Messaggero videos have a logo in the lower right corner, while vertical videos do not add a logo at all.

Propagandists claim that, first of all, Cardinal Zenari criticized Kuleba on the Vatican News channel. However, Vatican News is the news portal of the Holy See, which only has a radio and YouTube channel, but does not have its own TV channel. There was no such story on the Vatican News YouTube channel. The last news about Mario Zenari on the Vatican News website appeared on April 10, 2024 and concerned the lives of civilians in Syria, while the Russians began distributing the video in question on April 26.

In addition, Russian disinformers edited videos from different, unrelated recordings. For example, the fragment where the cardinal speaks in black clothes is taken from his 2022 interview about the Open Hospitals project in Syria, where he did not mention Ukraine. Part of the video with Dmytro Kuleba was taken from a recording of his meeting with Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjártó on January 29, 2024.

Russians are also speculating on the topic of changes to the mobilization law, citing a quote from Kuleba’s message about limiting consular services for men of military age abroad. We are talking about obtaining passports; men from 18 to 60 years old can now only obtain them in Ukraine. However, these restrictions do not apply to persons with disabilities, parents of children with disabilities, victims of Russian actions, those who left for treatment, etc.

By spreading such fakes, propagandists are trying to disrupt the mobilization process in Ukraine. Detector Media also refuted other fakes on this topic.

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