Spilnota Detector Media

Message Ukrainian grain is allegedly poisoned and Polish birds are dying because of it

Russian propagandists are disseminating information in anonymous telegram channels that a mass death of birds was allegedly recorded in Poland after they allegedly ate Ukrainian grain that spilled from freight cars. “The Poles are afraid that they are next, because they are bringing poisoned grain from Ukraine”, they write in their public posts. Some propagandists also say that we are talking about grain that was allegedly grown in the radiative zone around Chornobyl, and that it is now being sold to Europe.

However, there is no factual evidence that somewhere in Poland a mass death of birds was recorded specifically through Ukrainian grain. Specialists from the StopFake project drew attention to this. They found that the first video being circulated by propagandists as evidence of these claims showed several dead birds, mostly crows, lying next to railway tracks in the Polish city of Zamość. No research has been conducted into the causes of death of these birds. There is no information about what happened even in the local media. There was only a message about this on social networks, where this video was published. Polish fact-checkers from the Demagog project also drew attention to the spread of fake news among Poles and took a comment from an ornithologist who confirmed that without toxicological and veterinary studies it is impossible to say that the birds died due to poisoned grain.

Local bloggers also commented on the situation, noting that there are no freight trains running in the place where the video was filmed. In addition, the birds in the video lie in amazing poses, some with broken wings. It is also surprising that in the video there are only crows, and not pigeons, sparrows or other “urban” birds.

Regarding the quality of Ukrainian grain exported to Europe, it is very carefully checked by buyers. They not only control the quality indicators of the grain, but also make sure that the products have the necessary international certification.

“Each batch is accompanied by an analysis by an independent surveyor nominated by GAFTA”, said Serhii Orlovskyi, founder of the Agrooiltrade trading company, in an interview with Latifundist.com. According to him, any discrepancy in quality could become the basis for lawsuits.

This fake is spreading against the backdrop of protests by Polish farmers against European agricultural policy and the blockade of checkpoints from Ukraine, as well as blockades of roads and highways in some provinces demanding a ban on the import of agricultural products from Ukraine. The protests are accompanied by disinformation campaigns and inciting hostility between allies, which obviously benefits the Kremlin. Detector Media has already written about how Russia is fueling and exploiting farmer protests across Europe.

Fake Ukrainian air defense system ostensibly attacked a civilian ship

Russian media are disseminating information that the recent attack on a civilian ship flying the flag of Liberia is the result of the work of Ukrainian air defense. However, this is fake.

Analysts from the StopFake project drew attention to it. They found out that, in fact, according to the British intelligence services, the Russian pilot hit this ship with an anti-radar missile “due to poor tactics in the use of weapons”.

Russia systematically violates international humanitarian law by attacking Ukrainian ports and civilian ships. And Russian aggression leads to the death of civilians, destruction of infrastructure and violation of navigation rules in the Black Sea. In addition, Russia, by withdrawing from the Black Sea Initiative and banning ships from entering Ukrainian ports, violates the right to free navigation in the Black Sea, which is needed not only by Russia, but also by Ukraine and other countries, including NATO members.

The UN International Maritime Organization (IMO) has already called on Russia to stop “illegal activities in the Black Sea” and adhere to its obligations under international treaties. Ukraine, despite Russian aggression, ensures legal exports through a new temporary route approved by the IMO.

By spreading such fakes, propagandists want to shift responsibility for the actions of the aggressor onto the victim of aggression. Detector Media has repeatedly refuted other fakes and manipulations regarding Russia’s actions in the Black Sea.

Fake Ukraine used the “grain agreement” to transport NATO weapons to the Middle East

Propagandists spreading pro-Russian rhetoric on social media claim that Ukraine has used the Black Sea Grain Initiative to smuggle weapons. In particular, Western weapons allegedly reached Hamas through the “grain corridor”. It's fake.

Specialists from the StopFake project drew attention to it. They found that the statement was not true. The Black Sea Grain Initiative (Initiative for the Safe Transport of Grains and Food Products from Ukrainian Ports) consists of two agreements that constitute one “grain agreement” - between Ukraine, the UN and Turkey and between Russia, the UN and Turkey. According to it, under the auspices of the UN, a Joint Coordination Center (JCC) was created in Istanbul (Turkey), which had representatives of all parties to the agreement. A team of inspectors, including representatives of Russia, on behalf of the SCC inspected each vessel “for inappropriate cargo and crew on the way to and from Ukrainian ports”. During the entire period of its work, the JCC never reported that Ukraine was allegedly using the Black Sea Grain Initiative to smuggle weapons to the Middle East or other territories.

Also, to date, there is no confirmation that Hamas militants are allegedly using weapons transferred to Ukraine as military aid from Western countries. The Main Intelligence Directorate of Ukraine draws attention to the fact that Russian intelligence services have already handed over to Hamas representatives “captured weapons manufactured in the USA and EU countries”, that is, acquired in battle. The department emphasizes that it can be used against Ukraine, accusing it of selling Western weapons.

By spreading such fakes, propagandists want to discredit Ukraine and reduce the scale of military assistance from its partners. Detector Media has already repeatedly refuted other Russian fakes and manipulations regarding Western weapons.

Fake Zelenskyi delivered an ultimatum to Poland: if the grain embargo is not lifted, refugees will turn the country “into one big Maidan”

Anonymous telegram channels broadcasting pro-Kremlin rhetoric are disseminating information that Volodymyr Zelenskyi allegedly delivered an ultimatum to Poland: if Warsaw does not lift the grain embargo, hundreds of thousands of well-armed refugees from Ukraine will organize Maidans in all Polish cities. It's fake.

The case was investigated by the fact-checker of the StopFake project. Volodymyr Zelenskyi did not threaten Poland - there is no information about the allegedly issued ultimatum in any of the official channels of the President of Ukraine. And among the quotes in the interview there are no such statements either.

Moreover, the majority of Ukrainian refugees are women and children. They are not “well armed” as Russian propaganda claims.

Thus, Russian propaganda is trying to discredit Volodymyr Zelenskyi and create a quarrel between Ukraine and Poland. By spreading such fakes, Russian propagandists are trying to reduce the support and assistance of the Poles. Previously, we refuted the fake that NATO is preparing for the defeat of Ukraine and the occupation of the western part of Ukrainian territories.

Fake An explosion occurred in the port of Turkey due to weapons that were intended for the Ukrainian military

Anonymous telegram channels broadcasting pro-Kremlin rhetoric spread information that the cause of the explosion of grain tanks in the Turkish port of Derince on August 7 was supposedly a weapon intended for the Ukrainian military. “Or maybe there was not only grain, but also deadly “toys” for the Armed Forces of Ukraine?” - one of the telegram channels wrote. It's fake.

The fact-checkers of the StopFake project drew attention to the case. None of the Turkish and foreign media claimed that there were weapons or military equipment at the site of the explosion. On August 9, Turkey's Minister of Agriculture and Forestry, Ibrahim Yumakli, stated that “the explosion occurred due to technical consequences caused by dust compression”. He also promised to conduct research.

Thus, Russian propaganda is trying to present Ukrainians as a threat to the security of other countries. All this is in order to reduce support for Ukraine. Earlier, we refuted the fake that the crime rate increased in Poland because of the Ukrainians.

Message Russians destroy hangars not with grain, but with Ukrainian equipment

This thesis was circulated on social networks, in particular on telegram channels broadcasting pro-Kremlin rhetoric. Reports say that on July 19, the Russian army attacked not grain sheds, but a storage site for Ukrainian equipment. The authors report that Moscow will not allow shelling of civilian or port infrastructure. A video of a “destroyed hangar with Ukrainian equipment” is added to the publication.

Fact-checkers of the StopFake project explain that this video has nothing to do with the events of July 19th. The video shows the composition of Russian military equipment destroyed by the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Minister of Agrarian Policy and Food of Ukraine Mykola Solskyi said that during the attack, the Russians destroyed 60,000 tons of grain. In addition, they damaged the port infrastructure involved in the work of the “grain corridor”.

That is, the Russians continue to destroy the infrastructure of Ukraine, preventing the export of grain from Ukraine. And the authors once again reflect the situation and declare that they are not involved in the destruction of elements of civilian or port infrastructure. Traditionally they say that this is a military facility, but it is not.

Fake Ukrainian flour is poisonous: it contains insects and pesticides

A message appeared on the Czech Facebook segment and on sites spreading disinformation that VitaFlora flour with dangerous pesticides from Ukraine is being sold on the shelves of the Kaufland supermarket chain in the Czech Republic. In social networks, they hint that it contains insects, and also mention dangerous mold. That is, allegedly Ukrainian flour is poisonous and should not be consumed by people. It's fake.

Specialists from Manipulátori.cz drew attention to the case. In fact, Slovak grain is used to make VitaFlora flour. Later, a post appeared on Kaufland's Facebook page stating that Mlýn Kolárovo indeed confirmed the 100% Slovak origin of the raw materials for VitaFlora flour, and sent a protocol with the results of laboratory tests. The report added that the management of the supermarket decided to withdraw VitaFlora flour for sale as a preventive measure.

This is not the first Russian stuffing regarding Ukrainian grain. By spreading such disinformation, Russia is trying to strike at the Ukrainian economy. In the summer of 2022, in the conditions of a full-scale war, Russia blocked and continues to block the Black Sea shipping routes to Asia and Africa, so most of the Ukrainian grain was imported to the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Also, information about allegedly dangerous flour from Ukraine led to the emergence of websites supporting Russia.

Fake Ukrainian grain destroys the European Union

Propagandists are spreading the message that Ukrainian grain allegedly “broke” the European Union and the structure of the division of labor in it. They add that the European Commission is bogged down in negotiations and is lobbying for the position of the wealthy countries of Western Europe.

This message was noticed in the EUvsDisinfo project. Project specialists claim that in fact the EU is working together with Ukraine to resolve this situation. In the solutions, they try to take into account both the needs of Ukraine and the need for the EU to export grain from its own member countries. Exports from the EU play an important role in keeping food prices down. After consultations with the European Commission on April 21, Romania and Poland lifted the ban on the import of Ukrainian grain. Project analysts note that the EU is taking various measures to export Ukrainian grain, in particular, through the “corridors of solidarity” and the Black Sea Grain Initiative.

This message is part of a large-scale information campaign of Russians against the EU. Within its framework, propagandists spread messages according to which the EU is “falling apart” in front of their eyes. Thus, they want to shift the responsibility for aggression and its consequences from the aggressor to the victim and those who help it. Project experts note that it is Russia that is to blame for the “food crisis” that has developed due to logistical problems caused by the war against Ukraine. In addition, it is Russia that wants to destroy the Ukrainian agricultural market, causing damage to farmers in the billions.

Fake In Ukraine, sowing campaign is under threat as all the grain was taken out

Such a fake was spread on social networks, in particular in telegram channels broadcasting pro-Russian rhetoric. Reports say that the grain agreement, under which grain from Ukrainian ports was “actively exported to Western countries”, allegedly “turned into a disaster” for Ukraine itself. Allegedly, as a result of the grain corridor, almost all grain, about 20 million tons, including sowing grain, was exported from the country. Ukrainian farmers have nothing to sow the fields with. It is not true.

Analysts of the StopFake project investigated this case and turned to Denys Marchuk, deputy chairman of the All-Ukrainian agrarian council, for a comment. The expert said that the information about the “disruption of the sowing campaign” is not true, since the strategic provision of Ukraine with grain fully meets domestic needs. At the same time, not all grain was exported from Ukraine. As the expert explains, the current sowing campaign, as in 2022, will take place in the most difficult conditions. He emphasizes that Russia's largest-scale invasion undermines the foundations of food security not only in Ukraine, but throughout the world.

Propagandists have repeatedly manipulated the issue of food supply for Ukraine. Thus, they nourish the narrative that Ukraine does not care about Ukrainians, but only tries to please Western countries by allegedly supplying all the grain.

Message Export of Ukrainian grain does not affect world prices

Like, the importance of Ukrainian grain for the world is exaggerated. The share of Ukraine's grain exports in world consumption is insignificant, and this cannot seriously affect prices. Such messages are spread by Russian propaganda.

The fact-checkers of EU vs Disinfo drew attention to the spread of the message. In fact, Ukraine is one of the largest grain producers in the world. In fact, Ukraine accounts for 10% of the world wheat market, 15% of the corn market and 13% of the barley market. Ukraine is also the main producer of sunflower oil.

Suspension of grain deliveries as a result of Russia's blockade of Ukrainian ports led to a rapid increase in grain prices. By mid-May, export prices for wheat and corn reached unprecedented heights. Prices fell after the signing of a grain agreement between Turkey, Ukraine, Russia and the UN and the unblocking of the Black Sea for Ukrainian grain exports.

Fake Chicken eggs became more expensive because all grain was taken abroad

Russian media and netizens spread information that the rise in prices for chicken eggs is allegedly caused by a lack of feed in poultry farms. After the partial blockade of three ports, Ukraine allegedly "exported all the grain to Europe." It is not so. According to the Antimonopoly Committee of Ukraine, prices on the fodder market this season remain pretty low.

Moreover, the main components of chicken feed have become significantly cheaper than last year. Currently, there is a grain surplus in Ukraine due to the seaports of Ukraine previously blocked by Russia. Indeed, according to the Antimonopoly Committee of October 20, 2022, the price of eggs increased by half. According to StopFake, the main factors that will cause the increase in egg prices are: seasonality, the number of birds, an increase in the cost of feed, energy, labor, veterinary drugs, and other expenses. Also, the industrial production of eggs decreased by 25-30% due to the occupation of part of the territories of Ukraine. The Antimonopoly Committee investigates the reasons for such a significant price jump now.

Manipulation Ukraine exports food, while there are queues for bread in Odesa

Russian propagandists called the Ukrainian attempt to trade from the Odesa port a crime against Ukrainians, who "could get a real Holodomor-2". At the same time, they are distributing a video that allegedly shows a queue of several hundred Odessans for bread. In other videos, the queue is mistaken for the Mykolaiv queue, writes the project "On the other side of the news".

On August 1, for the first time in more than five months, a ship loaded with Ukrainian food (26,000 tons of corn) left the port of Odesa. The export of Ukrainian grain is, first of all, another step towards preventing world hunger. Unblocking the ports will provide at least a billion dollars in foreign exchange earnings for the economy and an opportunity for the agricultural sector to plan next year's sowing, fact-checkers write.

Secondly, export is an annual routine, and Ukraine is among the top ten grain exporters. In the ports of Odesa, 16 more ships blocked by Russia are waiting for their turn.

Manipulation Egypt canceled the contract for the supply of Ukrainian grain because Kyiv "lied" about the volume of grain warehouses

Russian media wrote that Egypt canceled contracts for the purchase of 240,000 tons of Ukrainian grain, which were supposed to be delivered in February-March, but was never shipped due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Allegedly, this was decided after the visit of the head of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Sergey Lavrov, to Egypt. The reason, they say, is Ukraine's unreliable information about the volume of grain storage.

According to Reuters, Egypt canceled the contract because Ukraine did not fulfill its contractual obligations in March-April 2022 due to the blockade of the ports by Russian troops. Egypt officially assured the Ukrainian ambassador that it does not refuse cooperation and is ready to continue purchasing grain, writes StopFake.

"Egypt will conclude a new contract with Ukraine for the grain supply, as the Ukrainian side was unable to fulfill its contractual obligations in March-April, 2022, due to the blockade of the ports by Russian troops," said Mykhailo Nepran, the first vice-president of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry. He added that the previous agreement did not provide for a force majeure clause, so they canceled the contract, which cannot be fulfilled, to conclude a new one and make the purchase under it. 

Manipulation The UN claims that Russia technically did not violate the grain agreement signed in Istanbul with a missile attack on the port of Odesa

Russian media write about this concerning the article by The New York Times with a comment from an unnamed source. They said that Russia did not promise not to shell those parts of Ukrainian ports that are not directly involved in exporting grain. It is not true.

Such a message contradicts the statement of Secretary General Antonio Guterres, who unconditionally condemned the shelling of Odesa port. The international community also unanimously pointed to Russia's violation of its obligations regarding the safe operation of the port infrastructure to export grain. According to Radio Svoboda, the UN assured that the unofficial comment of an "unnamed source" to The New York Times does not reflect the position of the UN. Antonio Guterres' words are official. The spokesman of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, Oleg Nikolenko, noted that the use of "unnamed sources" is a provocation.

Fake A missile attack on the port in Odesa destroyed a military infrastructure facility

The Russian media report it concerning the press secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia, Maria Zakharova. The missiles allegedly destroyed the warehouse of Harpoon anti-ship missiles provided by the USA and knocked out the production facilities of the Ukrainian warship repair enterprise and the warship. It is not true.

On July 22, in Istanbul, Ukraine, Turkey, the UN signed an agreement concerning unblocking ports and exporting Ukrainian grain. Russia signed a mirror agreement with Turkey and the UN. All parties have undertaken obligations on the world stage to ensure the safe movement of Ukrainian grain and related products to world markets.

The next day, July 23, the Russian army hit the port of Odesa, where grain intended for export was located, with four Kalibr missiles. Anti-aircraft defense forces shot down two missiles. Two rockets hit the infrastructure of the port - the pumping station. The shock wave damaged the houses around the port. The grain storage itself was not hit.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres condemned the strikes by the Russian military on the Ukrainian port in Odesa.

After the missile strike, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar noted that he had spoken with the Russian side. They told him they were allegedly not involved in the missile strike and were "investigating the issue."

Meanwhile, on July 23, anonymous Telegram channels were already spreading different versions of the causes and consequences of the attack on the port in Odesa:

1) if Russia has nothing to do with the attack, then it may be that the Armed Forces of Ukraine themselves loaded the planes with anti-aircraft missiles for provocation;

2) it flew over the Zavodska harbor, where there are Ukrainian military boats, not grain;

3) Ukrainian military air defenses were stationed in the port - this was the target of the shelling, so "the topic of grain can be closed." Russia has never once admitted its crime, but every time it invents fakes, why does it massively hit Ukraine with missiles.