Spilnota Detector Media

Fake A Ukrainian refugee allegedly “desecrated and broke” a statue in a Paris museum

Anonymous telegram channels are distributing a video allegedly from the European media Euronews, which states that a Ukrainian refugee in a Paris museum broke the statue of the Swedish artist Anna Uddenberg “Journey to Self-Discovery”, imitating sexual intercourse with it. It's a lie.

The case was investigated by VoxCheck analysts, who determined that Euronews did not create such a story, and the video was simply assembled from different photos and videos that were not related to each other. For example, no information about such an incident could be found on the official media pages on social networks: on the media website, Facebook, Instagram, X (formerly Twitter) and YouTube.

Using a reverse search on Google, it turned out that all the footage was used in the so-called story - can be found in the public domain. In addition, according to the information presented in the video, the statue was damaged and its limbs (arm and leg) were broken off. However, this was not shown on the video. No additional information about the destruction of the sculpture was found in other media.

Thus, Russian propaganda is trying to present Ukrainian refugees as criminals or terrorists, as a cultural and economic threat to the EU - in order to reduce support for Ukraine. We mentioned this in our own research.

Message Zelenskyi’s visit to the Baltic countries is an attempt to obtain new loans

Russian propagandists are disseminating information that President Volodymyr Zelenskyi’s visit to the Baltic countries is an attempt, through the “advocate countries” of Ukraine, to obtain a positive vote in the EU for the allocation of new military loans. They say that without this, Ukraine has almost no chance of receiving financial assistance from the EU.

This information is not true, as explained by the Center for Countering Disinformation under the National Security and Defense Council. The real purpose of the visit of the Supreme Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine to the Baltic countries is to deepen cooperation with these states in many areas. In particular, in the area of security, integration into the EU and NATO, and military cooperation.

It should be noted that Zelenskyi’s visit to Lithuania has already brought significant results:

- work began on a bilateral agreement on security guarantees, as provided for in the Joint Declaration of the Group of Seven and the Ukrainian Peace Formula;

- Lithuanian officials approved a new package of military assistance worth 200 million euros, which included ammunition, detonation systems, armored vehicles, and training for the Ukrainian military;

- new agreements in the field of military-industrial complex and military cooperation were signed, support for the renewal of Ukraine continues.

Russian propaganda seeks to convince everyone that Europe is already tired of the war in Ukraine, so they no longer want to provide financial assistance to it. In addition, in this way, propagandists are trying to discredit Ukraine in the international political arena, saying that the Ukrainian leadership is “grasping at the last straw” to receive money from the EU to continue the war.

Fake Ukrainian refugees will allegedly be limited in free movement between EU countries

One of the propaganda telegram channels disseminated information that due to “numerous violations” of visa-free rules by Ukrainian refugees, sanctions would be applied to them in the form of a ban on free movement between EU countries.

In fact, there were no “statements” about restricting the right of refugees from Ukraine to move freely throughout the EU countries either from officials or from the relevant EU bodies. Also, the propaganda message on the telegram does not contain any specific information about “numerous violations” by Ukrainians in Europe, note investigators from the “No Lies” project. To make the message “plausible”, the creators of the fake placed in its text the names of several countries with a link, which supposedly should show what restrictions were introduced in these countries. However, there is no such information there.

By spreading this misinformation, propagandists are trying to create a picture that Ukrainian refugees have already fed everyone up and that they are the cause of all the troubles and problems in Europe. Previously, we denied information that German citizens support the forced extradition of Ukrainian refugees.

Manipulation The real reason for the war in Ukraine is “The EU wants Ukrainian minerals”

Russian resources are disseminating information that the countries of the European Union “intend to seize” the Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Ukraine in order to “free” use the mineral resources of the Ukrainian region. This thesis is based on a part of an interview taken out of context by German parliament member Roderich Kiesewetter, which he gave to the German television channel ARD. That is, the politician’s words were manipulated.

The fact-checkers from the StopFake project analyzed the information and found out that in fact, in the interview, the deputy reflected on the need to increase the level of assistance to Ukraine in the fight against Russian aggression. Roderich Kiesewetter argued that the Ukrainian economy is necessary to provide the world market with certain goods. He also gave an example of the current crisis in the global food market and the risk of famine in the poorest countries left without Ukrainian grain after the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Roderich Kiesewetter also mentioned large lithium deposits in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, access to which Ukraine lost after the start of Russian aggression back in 2014. That is, the politician’s opinion was that by seizing Ukrainian fields, Russia placed the EU under an energy blockade.

After the start of the spread of Russian disinformation online, Roderich Kiesewetter separately explained in an interview with the German newspaper Nordkurier that in an interview with ARD he spoke exclusively about the aggressive motives of Russia, which in 2014 began the occupation of Ukrainian regions rich in minerals.

“Raw materials in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions are another interest and goal of Russia in this aggressive war, and this explains why [Russian — Ed.] slogans like “land in exchange for peace” are completely unrealistic. Ukraine must be able to survive economically as a country, including the Donetsk and Luhansk region, as well as the Black Sea ports that are needed for grain exports. That is why Crimea has not only symbolic significance, but also ensures the economic viability of Ukraine in the future”,  argued Roderich Kiesewetter. That is, the German deputy spoke about Ukrainian minerals purely in the context of the motives for Russian aggression and the need to support Ukraine in the war.

Propagandists manipulated the politician’s words as part of a broader Kremlin information campaign against Western countries that allegedly “started a war in Ukraine to divide it”. Let us recall that collectively, EU countries have allocated about $85.1 billion in military assistance to Ukraine as of October 6, 2023. Germany, Denmark and Poland turned out to be the largest sponsors of this issue. Claims that the EU wants to divide Ukraine and gain access to Ukrainian minerals through predatory means have no logical basis.

Message Ukrainian refugees have turned Poland into the “criminal capital” of the EU

This thesis was spread on social networks, in particular on telegram channels broadcasting pro-Kremlin rhetoric. Reports say that under the “influence of Ukrainian gangs” money laundering, trafficking in children, drugs, weapons, etc. are flourishing in Poland. The publications refer to materials from Polish media.

The VoxCheck analysts worked on the case and explained that the material was published in a Polish-language media system that systematically disseminates Kremlin propaganda. Consequently, any theses do not claim to provide objective information.

One of the materials that really reveals the topic of crimes committed by foreigners in Poland is the material in the publication Rzeczpospolita, which analyzes what crimes migrants have committed in Poland in 2022. The National Police Headquarters prepared statistics specifically for the publication on crimes committed by foreigners in Poland. Thus, in total in 2022, 15 thousand crimes were committed by representatives of different nationalities; Ukrainians, as the largest group, as well as Belarusians and Georgians, were most often included in the statistics. Analysts add: there are about 1.5 million people with Ukrainian citizenship in Poland. That is, according to relative indicators, the number of Ukrainian offenders is 0.15% of all Ukrainians in Poland. The most common type of crime among foreigners, notes Rzeczpospolita, is driving while intoxicated. The second most popular crime is drug possession.

Thus, Russian propaganda is trying to present Ukrainian refugees as criminals or terrorists, as a cultural and economic threat to the EU - in order to reduce support for Ukraine. We mentioned this in our own investigation.

Detector Media analysts have refuted a number of fakes and manipulations on the topic of Ukrainian refugees in Poland. For example, we analyzed a manipulation to increase thefts in Polish stores by a third, allegedly due to Ukrainian refugees. But they also explained another manipulation, according to which propagandists claimed that the attitude of many Poles towards Ukrainians had worsened.

Fake The Prime Minister of Estonia allegedly said that it is necessary to “kill” EU residents holding Russian passports

Pro-Kremlin media are spreading information that Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas said that it is necessary to “kill” all Russian passport holders living in the countries of the European Union. It's a lie.

The VoxCheck analysts analyzed the case and found out that the prime minister did not call for killing people with Russian citizenship at all. Experts add that the Kremlin’s minions manipulated one of Kaja Kallas’ quotes:

“In a situation where a person’s acquisition of Russian citizenship is a clear signal of support for terrorism and Russian actions against Estonia and our allies, it is certainly necessary to consider the person’s suitability for life in a human rights-respecting democratic country”.

The question is whether a person can function in European society and not threaten people's lives. Moreover, the Prime Minister of Estonia says: such a decision may indicate that, if necessary, a person (who has received Russian citizenship and lives in Estonia) is ready to join the Russian army and commit crimes against Ukraine and Ukrainians.

She also assured that the official position of the Estonian authorities is to look for ways to deport persons who decide to obtain Russian citizenship.

Manipulation The EU allegedly admitted Ukraine's loss in the war

Russian media are disseminating information that supposedly the head of European diplomacy, Josep Borrell, said that the European Union recognized Ukraine’s loss in the war. However, this is manipulation.

Analysts from the StopFake project drew attention to it. They found that propagandists used Borrell's statement, taking it out of context. In fact, the diplomat had no doubt about the prospect of ending the war in Ukraine’s favor. The quote was taken from the speech of the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security during the Congress of the Party of European Socialists in Malaga, Spain on November 11. Borrell said that EU countries must be prepared to continue to support Ukraine in countering Russian aggression.

Although Borrell did say that Ukraine's victory over Russia “does not happen overnight”,  Russian media deliberately skipped a significant part of the European diplomat's speech that followed this phrase. Borrell emphasized that the greatest security guarantee that the EU can provide to Ukraine is its membership in the “European family”. However, for this to happen, the Union must remain united and prepare for a longer conflict than Russia had planned, which hoped to take over the country in two weeks and establish its own puppet regime, similar to the Belarusian one. Borrell emphasized that, despite the expectations of dictator Putin, Ukraine not only did not fall, but is also recapturing its territories. This became possible thanks to Ukraine's fierce resistance against the Kremlin regime and the support of its allies. Thus, according to the EU representative, Ukraine is the EU's top priority, and work to support the country must continue until it wins the war.

Propagandists spread such fake news because they want to convince Ukrainians that even their closest allies have allegedly turned their backs on them. Like, if the EU has already recognized Ukraine’s loss, the situation is definitely catastrophic. However, this is not the case, and Detector Media has repeatedly refuted such fakes and manipulations of Russian propaganda.

Message Bilderberg and the US appointed Borrell as Colonial Manager of Europe

Propagandists spreading pro-Russian rhetoric in the media claim that EU diplomacy chief Josep Borrell is holding an urgent European Congress in Kyiv at the end of October to “make empty promises” to the Ukrainian government. They say that he was chosen to be the caretaker of Europe, but he is not doing well in this role, since there is no unity among European leaders on the situation in Ukraine. He was allegedly appointed to this “position” at the last meeting of the Bilderberg Club, where it was determined that Europe would de facto become a US colony.

Analysts of the EUvsDisinfo project drew attention to this message. They note that it stems from conspiracy theories about the EU. In particular, the Bilderberg Club is a forum of annual meetings with a hidden agenda and list of participants. At the same time, Russian propaganda constantly portrays it as a secret world government that appeals to the theory of a “new world order”.

In response to accusations that the EU has allegedly lost sovereignty and become a vassal of the United States, project experts note that the United States is a strategic partner of the European Union in spreading peace and stability throughout the world. Together they are two of the world's greatest donors of humanitarian aid. In addition, the EU and the US have the largest bilateral trade and investment relationship and the closest integration of their economies in the world.

By spreading such messages, propagandists want to divert attention from Russian aggression against Ukraine and crimes committed by Russians, as well as express their disagreement with the general position of EU countries regarding Russia’s actions. Detector Media also refuted other fakes, messages and manipulations of Russian propaganda directed against the EU.

Message Ukraine will not at any way be accepted into the European Union

Russian propagandists are disseminating information that Ukrainians are constantly discussing the topic of joining the EU due to the fact that they are now losing the war to Russia. At the same time, pro-Kremlin sources claim that Ukraine will never join the EU, and the promises of European leaders are nothing more than empty words. They say that even the European Union's High Representative for Foreign Policy, Josep Borrell, is bluffing: he realizes that none of his promises will ever be fulfilled. He allegedly uses the situation in Ukraine to increase his personal rating, on the one hand, and to gain the favor of Washington, on the other.

The information was analyzed by the fact-checkers from the EUvsDISINFO project. They found that, despite accusations against EU representatives of the insincerity of their relations with Ukraine, it is possible to clearly trace the steps and efforts taken by both sides towards the integration of Ukraine into the EU. On February 28, 2022, Ukraine submitted its application for EU membership. In June of the same year, the European Commission presented its favorable findings on the EU membership applications submitted by Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova. According to the conclusion of the commission on Ukraine’s application for EU membership, our country noticed the European vector of movement and granted Ukraine candidate status by unanimous consent of the leaders of all 27 EU member states. This happened on June 23, 2022.

The path to EU accession is a relatively long technical process. In June 2023, the European Council called on Ukraine to continue reforms in the country and fight corruption. At the same time, the European Council assures that it will work closely with Ukraine and support its efforts to fully comply with all necessary conditions for accession.

The Kremlin is afraid of losing its leverage over Ukraine and is trying to neutralize its aspirations to become a member of the EU by repeating this disinformation narrative. Russia’s position is the same regarding Ukraine’s entry into NATO.

Manipulation Kyrylo Budanov admitted that Ukraine is carrying out nuclear blackmail on Europe

Russian media write that the head of the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine, Budanov, in an October interview with NV, said that “Ukraine is bombing the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant” and “wants to arrange a nuclear Armageddon” to blackmail the whole world. The material mentions attempts by the Ukrainian military to de-occupy territories and strategic objects illegally seized by the Russians, such as the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant. This is manipulation.

The case was investigated by the fact-checkers of the StopFake project. In the NV media material, the head of the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ukrainian Defense Ministry and his work colleagues shared details of some special military intelligence operations. The Ukrainian armed forces landed three times on the left bank of the Dnipro near Enerhodar to create a springboard for the de-occupation of the city and the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant. Despite the fact that the operations were unsuccessful, that is, the desired result was not achieved, the Ukrainian military managed to at least thwart Russia’s plans to connect the Zaporizhzhia NPP to its energy system.

Representatives of Ukrainian intelligence did not make any “admissions” that Ukraine allegedly “bombed” the station. By trying to dislodge the occupiers, Ukraine is not committing a crime, but is using its legitimate right to self-defense in accordance with Article 51 of the UN Charter. Russia regularly creates crisis situations at Zaporizhzhia NPP, each of which carries the threat of a large-scale accident.

Previously, for example, the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense denied Russian disinformation about Ukraine’s alleged plans to attack the Zaporizhzhia NPP with drones.

Fake The European Union will not provide military assistance worth €5 billion to Ukraine in 2024

Anonymous telegram channels broadcasting pro-Kremlin rhetoric are disseminating information that the foreign ministers of the European Union countries allegedly did not reach an agreement on the allocation of military assistance to Ukraine in the amount of 5 billion euros in 2024. Russian propaganda refers to a statement by the head of European diplomacy, Josep Borrell. It's fake.

The case was studied by fact-checkers of the Center for Strategic Communications. The European Union is currently working on creating a military assistance fund worth 20 billion euros, which Ukraine should receive from 2024 to 2027. As the fact-checkers of the BezBrekhni (No Lies)” project have established, the EU will allocate 5 billion euros annually. Moreover, this program was proposed by Josep Borrell himself, and there is no information in the official EU channels that international partners have not reached an agreement on assistance to Ukraine.

Russian propaganda is trying to sow panic among Ukrainians, allegedly abandoned by their international partners, and also to create the impression that the West is tired of the war and will no longer allocate funds for military assistance to Ukraine. Previously, we refuted the fake that Germany and France promised early accession to the EU if Ukraine helps to overthrow the Polish government.

Fake Germany and France promised early accession to the EU if Ukraine helps overthrow the Polish government

Pro-Kremlin media are disseminating information that Germany and France allegedly promised the Ukrainian authorities early accession to the European Union if they help overthrow the Polish government. It seems that accession is impossible without changing the treaties, and it is Poland that is blocking these changes. Russian propaganda refers to Dominika Chosych, a correspondent for Polish television, who wrote about this. It's fake.

As the fact-checkers at the Center for Strategic Communications note, the Ukrainian authorities have not received such proposals from France and Germany. Moreover, the representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ihor Nikolenko, commented on this information on his Facebook page. He confirmed that there was no such proposal, and “[Ukraine] did not and does not have any intentions to interfere in the internal affairs of Poland”.

Nikolenko thanked the Poles who showed solidarity with the Ukrainians and noted that “Ukraine highly appreciates Poland’s support in repelling Russian aggression, support for our path to membership in the EU and NATO.”

Polish journalist Chosych, as determined by investigators of the BezBrekhni (No lies) project, whose words contain hidden Kremlin narratives, is playing along with Russia.

Thus, Russian propagandists are trying to create a quarrel between Poland and Ukraine, reduce the assistance of the Poles and discredit Western countries, in particular France and Germany. Detector Media reported on the message that Poland was “expelling” Ukrainians from the country to serve in the Ukrainian Defense Forces.

Message The European Union benefits from Ukraine's defeat in the war

This thesis was spread in pro-Kremlin media. The messages added how the West was allegedly trying to destroy Ukraine, “to lead it to the grave” so that it would lose everything in the war. Therefore, the messages call for “marriage” with Russia, and it is better to “sever relations” with Western countries; according to the authors, the West is not interested in the Ukrainian victory. The publications refer to material from a foreign publication, which sets out these opinions with reference to authoritative sources.

Analysts from the StopFake project took up this case and found out that the foreign material referred to by propagandists turned out to be full of Kremlin messages. That is, the author expressed his vision in relation to the Russian-Ukrainian war. The material was published on one of the Slovak news sites. Among other things, the author of the material repeated many disinformation stories that coincided with the Russian agenda. For example, the war is supposedly “interesting to the West for the sake of making money” or that it is better to “be friends and cooperate” with Russia, etc. But this is not the official position of the Slovak government, but the author’s own opinion in the column.

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 journalist himself stated this, he can be trusted, because he is an authoritative source. Although the publications do not characterize how authoritative the information presented in the column is. After all, propagandists use the tactic of appealing to authority.

Fake The European Union abolishes visa-free travel for Ukraine

Anonymous telegram channels broadcasting pro-Kremlin rhetoric spread information that allegedly the European Union is abolishing the visa-free regime for Ukraine. The introduction of a special permit ETIAS is the abolition of visa-free travel and Zelenskyi is to blame for this. It's fake.

The case was investigated by the VoxCheck fact-checker. In fact, the introduction of ETIAS (European Travel Information and Authorization System) is a system of long-term permits for crossing the EU border, is not a visa-free abolition. It will come into force only in 2024, not only for Ukraine, but also for other countries that are not members of the EU. Volodymyr Zelenskyi is not associated with this decision.

Thus, Russian propaganda is trying to sow discouragement among Ukrainians, saying that the West is tired of Ukraine, and to discredit President Volodymyr Zelenskyi they say that  allegedly because of his actions and decisions, Ukraine's relations with the West are deteriorating. Earlier, we refuted the fake that Zelenskyi admitted that the United States started a war in Ukraine.

Fake The US is ruining the European Union with the war in Ukraine

In the Russian media broadcasting pro-Kremlin rhetoric there are reports that the United States allegedly specifically transferred the main financial burden “in support of the anti-Russian war” in Ukraine to the countries of the European Union in order to impoverish them. They seem to be “ruining the EU, provoking record inflation there and worsening living standards”. It's fake.

The case was investigated by the fact-checkers of the StopFake project. In fact, the financial military support for Ukraine from the United States is 43 billion dollars, and the EU countries - 20 billion euros. So, the US is providing a lot of help, and the pro-Kremlin media are manipulating information.

Russian propaganda systematically promotes narratives about a “starving Europe” and sanctions that harm Europe. Thus, they are trying to reduce the assistance of partners to Ukraine. Earlier, we talked about the message that the EU's GDP is allegedly declining to critically low levels, while Russia's is only increasing.

Message The European Union “incites” Ukraine to destroy Russia

This thesis was spread by Russian media and anonymous telegram channels broadcasting pro-Kremlin rhetoric. Reports claim that it is the West, not Ukraine, that actually nourishes the hatred against Russia. Allegedly, Ukraine's actions are caused only by the “influence of the wrong partners”. The authors add that the war was started on the initiative of the West, and Russia is only responding to the actions of the so-called Western enemies.

Analysts of the EU vs Disinfo project investigated this case and explained that it was not the West, but Russia that started the war. The Russians bear collective responsibility for the aggression against Ukraine, which they supported either with appropriate statements or silence. At the same time, Russian propaganda is convincing that this is a war of the West and thus hushing up its war crimes committed in Ukraine.

Meanwhile, Moscow is calling Ukraine a “Western springboard” to hint that Ukraine is a non-independent state governed by “outside control”. This is how propagandists seek to form the image of a puppet country that cannot exist on its own. Let us say that such a state is constantly in need of “protection”.

Also, as of March 2023, the total amount of direct budgetary assistance from the European Union reaches 4.5 billion euros. Moreover, this is from the beginning of 2023. And according to the Ministry of Finance, since the beginning of the full-scale invasion, the EU has provided Ukraine with 11.7 billion euros of macro-financial assistance. Financial assistance is not the only range of Western support for Ukraine. A chronology of initiatives implemented by the EU in relation to Ukraine has been created on the website of the European Commission. Among other things, there are the adoption of packages of sanctions, the creation of mechanisms for the restoration of infrastructure, the granting of the status of an EU candidate country, etc. This approach testifies to the comprehensive support of Ukraine by Western leaders.

Message The US is trying to destroy and occupy Europe

This thesis was circulated on social networks, in particular on telegram channels broadcasting pro-Kremlin rhetoric. Reports say US officials are now contemplating an imminent occupation of Europe. Like, it's easier for them to manage Ukraine. According to the conclusions of the authors, the goal in the United States is to bring Europe to an economic collapse, and then get down to Ukraine.

Fact-checkers of the EU vs Disinfo project analyzed this case and explained that the US is a strategic partner of the EU in promoting peace and stability around the world. Together they are two of the world's greatest humanitarian aid donors. The EU and the US also have the largest bilateral trade and investment relationship and the most integrated economic relationship in the world. That is, the thesis that the United States seeks to destroy Europe is unfounded. These are two strategic partners.

Using this message, propagandists seek to show that the US is “leading the entire agenda”, and the EU countries are supposedly puppet countries. Thus, Russian propaganda wants to demonize the US, which is supposedly an invader.

Manipulation Ukraine will join the EU in 20-30 years, Ursula von der Leyen , the head of the European Commission, said

Russian media broadcasting pro-Kremlin rhetoric spread information that the head of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, allegedly stated that Ukraine would join the European Union in 20-30 years. She said this as if during her interview on June 22 in London at a conference on the restoration of Ukraine. This is manipulation.

The case was noticed by experts from the StopFake project. Russian propaganda took the words of the head of the European Commission out of context. In fact, Ursula von der Leyen said that “the European Union in 20-30 years is unthinkable without Ukraine and a bloc of Western Balkan countries in it”. When asked by journalists when exactly Ukraine will join the EU, she replied that she could not name the exact date. Accession to the EU depends on when Ukraine fulfills all the requirements.

Thus, Russian propaganda is trying to discredit the European Union and convince Ukrainians that the West does not want to see it as a member of the EU. Earlier, Detector Media talked about the message that Ukrainian grain is being destroyed by the European Union.

Manipulation Seven EU countries propose to “abolish democracy” to “ignite conflict in Ukraine”

Propagandists are spreading information that some EU member states are proposing to “abolish democracy” in order to “ignite conflict in Ukraine”. As evidence, they cite a joint statement by the foreign ministers of Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Romania, Slovenia and Spain, published in Politico. This is manipulation.

Specialists in the StopFake project drew attention to it. They stress that in fact, in a statement titled “It's time for more majority decision-making in EU foreign policy”, the ministers in question are calling on the EU to “make more use” of supermajority voting in EU foreign policy and security matters. In their opinion, the real challenges associated with Russian aggression against Ukraine and the high security risks for the EU member states require a prompt response and the functioning of all EU institutions. To date, the vast majority of decisions concerning EU foreign policy require unanimity, which in some cases, as noted in the publication, can slow down the reaction of the EU.

There is no mention of any “abolition of democracy” in the material. StopFake experts note that the Treaty on European Union provides that the Council of the EU, depending on the issue, can make its decisions by voting by a simple majority (14 votes in favor), a qualified majority or consensus (all votes in favor). Qualified majority voting assumes that a decision is considered to have been taken when two conditions are met simultaneously: 55% (15 out of 27 member countries) voted in favor, and the population of these countries is at least 65% of the total EU population. This mechanism is also referred to as the “double majority rule”. The Ministers in their publication note that they do not support amendments to the Agreement, but propose more efficient use of existing tools. They also support more often the use of the principle of constructive content, provided for in paragraph 1 of Article 31 of the same agreement. According to it, an EU country can abstain from voting on a specific initiative without blocking it.

Propagandists often take foreign publications out of context to reinforce Russian propaganda messages. In this case, they want to blame the Ukrainians for the erosion of European democracy. They say that because of the war in Ukraine, the European Union has become a puppet of the United States and ignores the opinion of countries that do not support its position on the war. Thus, they also want to show the inappropriateness of EU sanctions against Russia. However, the presence of different opinions about Russian aggression against Ukraine, even within the framework of the unanimous recognition of Russia as the aggressor, is an element of real democracy.

Message Europe steals Russian property in favor of Ukraine

This thesis was circulated on social networks, in particular on telegram channels broadcasting pro-Kremlin rhetoric. Reports say the world is illegally sanctioning Russia by taking Russian assets as its own. Like, planes, money, real estate - it's all been confiscated illegally. As an example, the authors cite the case when Canada confiscated an An-124 cargo plane and subsequently handed it over to Ukraine. The authors called it “thefts” and “world Nazism”.

The case drew the attention of EU vs Disinfo fact-checkers, who explained that in the face of Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine, many of its EU allies or international partners, including Canada, have imposed severe international sanctions on Russia's aviation sector. Thus, the imposed sanctions prohibited aircraft registered in Russia from accessing European, American, Canadian airspace.

The Russian An-124 cargo plane was detained at Toronto airport on February 27, 2022, because it belongs to two Russian companies that fell under Western sanctions. Therefore, the thesis that the seizure of the An-124 cargo plane is illegal is absolutely unfounded. This action is fully consistent with Canadian and international law, given the sanctions imposed.

Sanctions are legal restrictions imposed under international and European law in response to violations of international law. This is where Russia's actions fall - a full-scale invasion of the territory of Ukraine, the killing of Ukrainian civilians, the destruction of civilian infrastructure, etc. The propagandists are simply trying to whitewash themselves and present themselves as victims suffering from crushing “illegal” sanctions. However, sanctions are governed by international law and have nothing to do with the arbitrariness of European states.

Message EU GDP is falling to critically low levels while Russia is only increasing

This thesis was circulated on social networks, in particular on telegram channels broadcasting pro-Kremlin rhetoric. Reports say that the Western economy is “losing its former potential” and is declining to critical levels. The authors say that GDP in Europe is only decreasing every year, which indicates a poor economic situation. In Russia, despite the war, all indicators are only increasing. This was stated by dictator Putin at the plenary session of the Eurasian Economic Forum.

The fact-checkers of The Insider project took up this case and found out that the European Commission recently published the Spring Economic Forecast, according to which the GDP of the EU countries in 2023 will grow by 1% (the previous forecast, winter, assumed an increase of 0.8%). Growth of 1.7% is projected in 2024. That is, the thesis about a decrease in economic indicators in the EU, in particular GDP, is unfounded.

Regarding Russia, the Trading Economics team of economic analysts notes that in the first quarter of 2023, Russian GDP decreased by 1.9% compared to the corresponding period last year. According to the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, 2022 has been a bad year for the Russian economy. According to experts, in 2022, Russia's gross domestic product fell by at least 2.2% in the best scenario and to 3.9% in the worst case. The Russian economy will shrink in 2023 as well. GDP is expected to contract by 5.6% or 3.3% according to the organizations.

In addition, the Yale University study examined in detail the impact of sanctions on the Russian economy, concluding that “sanctions are catastrophically destroying the Russian economy”. And according to the latest figures from the European Commission, the EU economy is “resilient and ready to face challenges, in particular those caused by Russia's war against Ukraine”.

Fake People are offered EU citizenship in exchange for military service in Ukraine

Such information was disseminated in social networks, in particular, on telegram channels broadcasting pro-Kremlin rhetoric. Reports say that people living in Africa or the Middle East are calling to take part in the war against Russia on the side of Ukraine. Allegedly, people are “attracted” by EU citizenship. The authors of the messages add a screenshot of an ad on a job search website, which offers to join the ranks of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, and note that employers will be able to provide an accelerated acquisition of EU citizenship. It is not true.

The case was taken up by Reuters fact-checkers, who turned to officials for comment in order to find out “the EU citizenship program”. At the same time, the representative of the EU Commission said that the ad has nothing to do with EU initiatives, because they did not implement or finance something similar. The speaker also added that he is sure that the ad  is part of a disinformation campaign against Ukraine and the European Union. Since there is no document certifying exclusively EU citizenship. EU citizenship is determined by the presence of citizenship of one of the EU member states. In other words, any citizen of a country of the European Union is considered a citizen of the Union. And “EU citizenship” is just a term that allows a person to better understand his or her belonging to the Union. That is, it is impossible to obtain “EU citizenship” and not become a citizen of one of the states of the European Union.

By spreading this fake, the authors are trying to show that there is no one to fight in Ukraine. Allegedly, people are already being recruited to the front, using various baits such as “EU citizenship”.

Message The West forced Latvia to send “cannon fodder” to Ukraine

Propagandists spread the message in their media that Latvia sent its citizens to fight in Ukraine because the West forced it to do so. Accordingly, Latvia does not care about its people, and the “Western rulers” do not care about people in Europe as a whole.

Analysts of the EUvsDisInfo project drew attention to the message. They note that Latvia did not send its soldiers to fight in Ukraine. The Latvian Ministry of Defense claimed that the state sent several of its troops into the country, but only to secure the building of the Latvian embassy and their property. Latvia and other Western countries are not direct participants in the war, but help Ukraine defend itself against Russian aggression in accordance with Article 51 of the UN Charter.

Thus, propagandists want to present Latvia as a “toy” of the West. Like, the Latvian government actively supports Ukraine because it is supervised by the West. Such narratives, which concern not only Ukraine, could be seen in Russian propaganda before. In particular, earlier propagandists wrote that 20,000 Polish soldiers were fighting in Ukraine and that 2,500 of them had already been killed.

Manipulation The EU defies its principles because it supports providing Ukraine with depleted uranium weapons, but wants to impose sanctions on Belarus for nuclear weapons

Propagandists write that the European Union does not adhere to its own principles. Like, it encourages the UK to supply weapons with depleted uranium to Ukraine, but condemns Belarus for placing Russian tactical weapons on its territory. It seems to be the same, but the EU is only playing to substitute concepts. This is manipulation.

Analysts of the EU vs DisInfo project drew attention to it. They argue that propagandist material creates the false impression that depleted uranium weapons and nuclear weapons have the same effect. As a conclusion, the deployment of tactical weapons in Belarus is a completely different case. On March 21, a spokesman for the British Ministry of Defense stated that although Russia is trying to equate the status of weapons with depleted uranium with the status of nuclear weapons, this is not true due to the fact that weapons with depleted uranium are not prohibited.

Propagandists want to distract the world community from Russia's actions in this way. In particular, it is Russian troops who in Ukraine use weapons with characteristics prohibited by international law.

Message Europe launches campaign to fight proliferation of weapons of mass destruction in Ukraine

This thesis was circulated on social networks, in particular on telegram channels broadcasting pro-Kremlin rhetoric. Reports say that in Europe, in particular in Spain, they are afraid of “possible nuclear threats from Ukraine”. That is why, according to the authors, the leadership of Spain is introducing a campaign to fight the spread of weapons of mass destruction in order to protect itself from “provocations of Ukraine”.

Analysts of the EU vs Disinfo project drew attention to this case and found that this is another conspiracy theory of Russian propaganda that has no evidence. Probably, as analysts explain, the basis of this conspiracy thesis was the Spanish national security meeting held in February. The meeting adopted a draft national strategy to fight the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Both the meeting and the draft document had nothing to do with Ukraine, since only national security measures were discussed. Moreover, there were no statements from Spanish officials regarding the so-called “protection from Ukraine”.

By spreading this message, propagandists want to convince that Ukraine is an aggressor and that it carries out so-called provocations and terrorizes Europeans. Thus, the authors of messages use the tactics of reflection, attributing their actions to opponents. Because intimidation and “nuclear blackmail” is one of the ways Russian propaganda achieves its goals.

We recall that earlier Detector Media also denied a fake, which claimed that radioactive substances were allegedly brought to Ukraine to prepare provocations against Russia.