Spilnota Detector Media

Fake Azov is looking for volunteers in France

Propagandists spreading pro-Russian rhetoric in the media claim that the Azov battalion allegedly started a campaign to find volunteers in France to participate in the war in Ukraine. Like, even a site with the necessary information indicates this. This is a fake.

Specialists of the Center of Countering Disinformation of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine drew attention to it. They found out that there is no information about the start of the recruiting campaign in France on the official pages of the battalion. What's more, the postal address and fax of the site, which is distributed by propagandists, is in Germany, which does not match the legend of the fake.

By spreading such fakes, the Russians are trying to discredit the Ukrainian military and individual brigades in the international arena. In addition, in this way they want to cause panic among foreigners. They said that Ukraine is in massive need of military personnel, and that is why it is looking for them abroad. Detector Media has repeatedly refuted other Russian messages, manipulations and fakes aimed at discrediting the Azov battalion.

Manipulation The invasion of bedbugs in France as a consequence of anti-Russian sanctions

Residents of Paris and visitors to the city have noticed bedbugs in public places. Despite bedbug outbreaks occurring regularly in late summer in France, Parisians were feeling concerned. In this regard, seven schools were even closed in France. Against this background, pro-Russian anonymous Telegram channels and some social network users began to spread information that the French newspaper La Montagne allegedly blames Russia for the “invasion of bedbugs” in Paris. They say that anti-Russian sanctions are to blame for everything, and because of them France was unable to purchase the necessary insecticides from Russia.

The fact-checkers of the StopFake project analyzed this case and came to the conclusion that the French publication did not publish news that sanctions against Russia are the reason for the appearance of bedbugs in Paris. As Politico journalists report, bedbugs in France have ceased to be a serious household problem since the 1950s. Although they have appeared again in the last 30 years, this certainly has no connection with anti-Russian sanctions. Adaptation of insects to insecticides, climate change and the fact that people now travel more in crowded transport are the main reasons for the mass appearance of bedbugs.

Russian propaganda systematically spreads disinformation about the “uselessness” and “insignificance” of Western countries’ sanctions against Russia. They appeal to the fact that Russian resources and goods are vital to the world. Previously, we analyzed Russian manipulation of French winemakers, who were allegedly subjected to a crisis due to “anti-Russian sanctions”.

Fake Imam of the Grand Mosque of Paris thanks Ukraine for weapons for Hamas

Pro-Kremlin telegram channels are disseminating information that the Imam of the Grand Mosque of Paris allegedly thanked Ukraine for weapons for Hamas to attack Israel. An article allegedly appeared about this in the French publication RFI, Russian propaganda refers to it and seems to cite screenshots from it. It's fake.

The case was examined by the fact-checkers from the Center for Countering Disinformation. There is no article with similar content on the resources of the French publication RFI. Ukraine does not resell weapons from Western partners to Hamas militants.

Russian propaganda systematically promotes the narrative that Ukraine resells the weapons provided to it by the West. Thus, Russian propagandists seek to discredit Ukraine and reduce the support of Western partners. Previously, Detector Media refuted the fake news that Ukraine is selling weapons to Hamas.

Fake In France, Ukrainian refugees are thrown onto the streets to shelter migrants from Africa

Such information is disseminated in anonymous telegram channels broadcasting pro-Kremlin rhetoric. The authors of the messages refer to a story from the French TV channel CNews and write that in France, Ukrainian refugees are already being thrown out onto the streets to shelter illegal immigrants from Africa. However, this is fake.

Analysts from the Center for Countering Disinformation investigated that the story of the French TV channel was about a shelter in a school for migrants from Africa and was not about the eviction of Ukrainians. Previously, Ukrainian refugees actually lived in the school building, but by the time the migrants moved in, they had already left the shelter.

Thus, Russian propagandists are trying to create the illusion that Ukraine’s allies are tired of the war and no longer want to help Ukrainians. Earlier, Detector Media refuted the fake news that Ukrainian refugees are giving birth to children for sale.

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.

Manipulation French winemakers faced a crisis due to “anti-Russian sanctions”

This thesis was spread by propaganda media. Reports say that wines and vineyards are being destroyed in France precisely because of the sanctions imposed by the French government on Russia. The authors add that Moscow was the largest importer of wines, but after the “sanctions war” the French “played it out” and are experiencing a crisis in the wine industry. The publications also try to point out that imposing sanctions on Russia is supposedly ineffective, and as a result, the European countries themselves are supposedly suffering. After all, they are experiencing the impact of the “lack of Russian sales market” themselves. However, this is manipulation.

The fact-checkers of the StopFake project were able to process the case, explaining that the French wine industry is indeed not in the best conditions, if not in crisis. For example, in August 2023, the French government allocated 200 million euros to recycle excess wine production. This initiative from the French Parliament is caused by excessive production and, as a consequence, a decrease in its demand. Actions by the French authorities should curb price fluctuations and support producers who are losing their income. That is, the problems in the wine industry are in no way caused by anti-Russian sanctions or other prohibitions against Moscow. The authors of the manipulative message simply used the news about the crisis situation with wine and presented it as a consequence of the “struggle” with Russia.

In general, as experts say, the level of red consumption has fallen throughout the country: primarily due to the fact that the French began to prefer craft beer. Even in one of the materials of the French daily newspaper Le Figaro they write that wine has given way to beer in 2023 and, according to recent surveys, 56% of the French choose an intoxicating drink. Also, an analytical study by the European Commission for June 2023 shows a decline in wine consumption in other EU countries: by 7% in Italy, by 10% in Spain, and by 15% in France.

As for the “large Russian sales market”, the main consumer of red wine and importer has always been China, not Russia. In particular, during the COVID-19 pandemic, the cessation of Chinese wine supplies even then had a negative impact on the entire wine-growing region of the country. And now wine producers cannot reach pandemic level exports.

Russia is trying to distort the impression that sanctions supposedly do not affect it, while other countries that are economically stable and ready to impose restrictions on Moscow are suffering from the “reverse effect”. But, let’s say, they suffer from the lack of the Russian market. The Kremlin systematically cultivates rhetoric about the so-called “big Russian market” in order to hint that the EU countries will not survive at all if they do not sell their goods to Russia. If they resist, they will face the same fate as the French wine industry. However, according to monitoring by the Kyiv School of Economics, as of July 2023, 254 companies (7.6% of companies that received income in Russia in 2022) have completely ceased their activities in Russia. And 1,191 (35.9% of the total) foreign businesses also folded. Companies will one day abandon Russia, not seeing this as a risk for themselves.

By the way, according to the European Council, 2022 was a bad year for the Russian economy. According to experts, in 2022 Russia's gross domestic product fell by at least 2.2% under the best scenario and to 3.9% under the worst-case scenario. The Russian economy will continue to contract in 2023. GDP is expected to contract by 5.6% or 3.3%.

Fake France congratulated Ukraine on Independence Day with a billboard without Crimea

On the Russian segment of the social network X, formerly known as Twitter, and anonymous telegram channels broadcasting pro-Kremlin rhetoric, they are distributing a photo of a billboard allegedly installed in France in honor of Ukraine's Independence Day. It shows a map of Ukraine without Crimea, and the colors of the national flag are reversed. It's fake.

The case was investigated by the fact-checkers of the StopFake project. Using image search tools, they determined that this billboard is indeed in Copenhagen and does not have a map of Ukraine on it. And Ukrinform journalists found that the original image was taken from the brand book of the Danish company AFA JCDecaux. Moreover, French President Emmanuel Macron, during his speech at the Crimean Platform on August 23, once again stressed that he does not recognize the annexation of Crimea.

Thus, Russian propaganda is trying to discredit Western partners and sow discord between Ukraine and France. Previously, we refuted the manipulation that the French instructors do not care about the fate of the Ukrainian military.

Message During the July protests in France, people used Ukrainian weapons

Such information was disseminated in social networks, in particular, on telegram channels broadcasting pro-Kremlin rhetoric. Reports say that during the July protests in France, protesters used Ukrainian weapons that the West handed over to Ukraine. The reason for the riots was the likely deliberate murder of a 17-year-old teenager by a policeman in the suburbs of Paris. The publications hint that in Ukraine they are engaged in the illegal sale of weapons and “inciting” people to violence. The authors refer to the material of one of the French publications and add a screenshot.

The German fact-checker group Correctiv investigated that they did not find a single material on the sale of Ukrainian weapons for protests in France. They explain that this is just a stuffing, because with the help of a reverse search on Google, specialists managed to study a possible “screenshot” of the material. It turned out that the fakerobes overlaid text on the photo of the weapon and passed it off as material. However, this is a random image from the network and has nothing to do with either the material of the French edition or Ukrainian weapons.

By publishing such fakes, propagandists once again want to show Ukrainians as ungrateful provocateurs who want to destabilize the situation in Europe. Like, Ukrainians resell it on the black market and it falls into the hands of criminals. Thus, the authors undermine the authority of the Ukrainian authorities and try to disrupt future deliveries of armed assistance from NATO countries. After all, such fakes are targeted at the Western audience and leaders in order to inspire despondency towards the actions of Ukraine.

We recently debunked a fake about the so-called “illegal sale” of weapons to Africa.

Fake NATO may involve Azov and Kraken battalions to suppress protests in France

Anonymous telegram channels and Russian media broadcasting pro-Kremlin rhetoric are spreading reports that NATO is considering enlisting the Azov and Kraken battalions to quell protests in France. This was allegedly written on the official website of the Alliance with reference to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. It's fake.

The Center for Counteracting Disinformation drew attention to the case. To spread it, Russian propaganda used a fake page of the Alliance. Moreover, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg did not make such statements.

In this way, Russian propagandists are trying to discredit the Azov and Kraken battalions, as well as to emphasize that Ukraine is a puppet in the hands of the West. Earlier, Detector Media refuted the fake that in Poltava people sold Easter sets “with symbols of the Nazis” and the Azov regiment.

Fake Protests in France used weapons previously transferred to the Armed Forces of Ukraine

Anonymous telegram channels broadcasting pro-Kremlin rhetoric spread information that the protests in France allegedly used weapons previously handed over to the Ukrainian military. Russian propaganda adds a screenshot of the article with a text about it. It's fake.

The fact-checkers of the VoxCheck project drew attention to the case. They note that the article referenced by the Russian propaganda does not exist with that title. In addition, neither the name of the publication, nor the date of publication, nor the name of the author are indicated on the screenshot. The photo was first circulated in 2012. Reliable French and world media did not write such articles, and international partners did not report on the resale of weapons.

Some Russian propagandists refer to Agoravox, but from the very beginning this media has been spreading Russian narratives and discrediting Ukraine.

Thus, Russian propagandists are trying to discredit the Ukrainian authorities and disrupt the supply of weapons to Ukraine. Earlier, Detector Media denied the fake that Ukrainians took part in the protests in France for money.

Fake Ukrainians took part in protests in France for money

Propagandists on anonymous telegram channels that spread pro-Russian rhetoric claim that the French media website RFI has information that Ukrainian citizens took part in protests in Paris, Marseille, Lyon and other French cities. Like, they say that they have nothing against the French authorities, but allegedly protested for money. However, the authors of the message hint that the protesters may be “lying”. According to them, the French authorities do not intend to give this “political shade”, but this could allegedly lead to a more negative attitude towards Ukrainian refugees in Europe. However, this is manipulation.

The authors of the message do not provide a link to the article, but only to the main page of the French media. There are no similar articles about this on the site or on other platforms.

By publishing such fakes, propagandists once again want to show Ukrainians as ungrateful provocateurs who want to destabilize the situation within Europe. Detector Media has already written about other manipulations against Ukrainian refugees, in particular about a Ukrainian who allegedly destroyed a monument to Polish soldiers who fought against Nazism.

Manipulation New Maidan began in Paris

Propagandists actively compare the protests in Paris with the Euromaidan, calling them “Maidan 2.0”. This is manipulation.

The protest actions in Paris are inappropriate to compare with the Euromaidan, because they have other goals. If the main goal of Euromaidan from the very beginning was the European integration of Ukraine, the protesters in Paris are fighting against raising the retirement age announced by the state. In addition, this is not the first time the French have protested precisely against this decision.

Thus, propagandists are trying to devalue the significance of the Euromaidan and its results. Like, the protest never leads to anything good, but only to destabilization and devastation. However, such rhetoric only shows the propagandists' fear of the changes that protest can bring. In their case, it can force them out of public space. Detector Media has already written about a similar attempt to equate the protests in Georgia with the Euromaidan.

Fake Macron confessed to trying to overthrow the government in Kremlin

Russian media and officials are spreading reports according to which French President Emanuel Macron allegedly admitted that he wanted to “overthrow” the government in Russia. Propagandists are sure that he said this during the Munich security conference.

Analysts of the StopFake project drew attention to this message. They analyzed Macron's speech at the Forum and found out that he did not say this. In fact, he emphasized that regime change in Russia seemed to him an unrealistic idea, since the previous experience of regime change in other countries, in his opinion, did not bring an effective result. At the end of his speech, Macron said that he did not understand who the next leader of the regime would be and how to do it.

Thus, Russia again wants to shift the responsibility for its failures to “external forces”. In addition, propagandists often resort to conspiracy theories and in this case we are talking about the theory in which the West wants a power coup in Russia, knocking the country off a successful course. However, this is how the Russian government is trying to make up for its failures, namely the demographic crisis, terrible poverty and the absence of a number of freedoms.

Fake In Paris, they protest against the supply of weapons to Ukraine

This information is spread by Russian propaganda media. It also appeared on anonymous telegram channels broadcasting pro-Russian rhetoric. Reports say mass rallies were held in Paris against arms supplies to Ukraine. Like, the protesters called for the dismissal of the incumbent President Macron, and also demanded that the authorities would withdraw from NATO. However, this is all fake. 

The fact checkers of the StopFake project drew attention to the case. According to fact-checkers, to confirm their words, the propagandists published a video of the rally, in which you can see the logo of the Russian state news agency RT, the broadcast of which has been banned in the European Union since March 2022. In the RT story, you can see the comment of Florian Filippo, the leader of the far-right Party of patriots, who criticizes France's policy towards Ukraine. This politician also often organizes anti-vaccination protests, pro-Kremlin and anti-Ukrainian rallies. However, the video of the protest published by the propaganda has nothing to do with Ukraine. In the RT story, it is clear that the protesters in the video are carrying banners with inscriptions about the retirement age, and not about military assistance to Ukraine. However, propagandists use such fakes on purpose in order to create the appearance that the level of support for Ukraine in European countries is gradually falling. They say that in many countries, in particular France, people are against the supply of weapons.

Manipulation France admitted that the situation of the Armed Forces of Ukraine is disappointing and they will not succeed in defeating Russia

Russian propaganda spreads information that France has recognized the futility of the attempts of the Ukrainian army to defeat the Russian one, and writes about the “disappointing situation” of the Armed Forces of Ukraine due to heavy losses. Propagandists refer to an article in the French economic publication La Tribune. But this is manipulation.

The article, which belongs to an anonymous group of analysts called Mars, makes no claims about the “disappointing situation of the APU”. The fact-checkers from Insider drew attention to this. The article says whether Ukraine can defeat Russia on the battlefield, liberating only by military means the entire territory of Ukraine up to the borders of 1991. The authors of the French edition are convinced that it is not, because one should take a "realistic" look at this war, offering not only Ukraine, but also guarantees of Russia's security. Ukraine is invited to “guarantee entry into NATO”, but at the same time to abandon the territories that will be a “demilitarized zone under the control of the UN”: we are talking about the Donetsk, Luhansk regions, Crimea and parts of the Zaporizhzhia and Kherson regions. In the future, the authors write, it will be necessary to hold a referendum on the self-determination of these regions, and they will become “independent”, “a buffer zone between NATO and Russia”.

Recently, "security guarantees for Russia" were also offered by French President Emmanuel Macron. There are also some political forces in the EU and the US that are trying to promote the idea of understanding Russia's interests and security guarantees for an aggressor country that no one has attacked. This is presented as “realpolitik” as opposed to “ideal ideas” that cannot be implemented. The same “real politicians” believed that Russia would capture Ukraine in three days. The anonymous French think tank also writes about “an ideal world in which Russia must withdraw troops from Ukrainian territories" and “a reality in which the Russian army cannot lose the war, given the nuclear deterrence force”.

Such articles and statements are used by Russian propaganda to convince the audience that Ukraine will not win the war and that it is losing support in the West. Although the reality is that none of Russia's plans to seize Ukraine came true, and it is Russia that keeps losing the Armed Forces of Ukraine, and Ukraine is supported by most European countries, the United States and their partners in the world.