Spilnota Detector Media

Message A power struggle is allegedly unfolding in Ukraine

Russian Foreign Ministry representative Mariia Zakharova is promoting the narrative that turbulence in Ukraine is growing, and that election campaigns are even starting to gain power in the country. Officials and those in power allegedly do not take into account ordinary Ukrainians, many of whom are on the brink of survival, and think only about their own benefit.

This message was recorded by the Center for Countering Disinformation. Such statements from a representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry are nothing more than an attempt to root the opinion in Ukrainian society about internal conflicts among the top leadership of Ukraine. On the other hand, propaganda resources continue to discredit the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyi and refer to the statement about the inappropriateness of elections in Ukraine under martial law. Finally, the enemy aims to sow fear, uncertainty and doubt among the Ukrainian society regarding the possible course of action in the country, using one of the propaganda tactics.

Manipulation “The occupied territories are no longer Ukraine”, Kyiv Mayor Vitalii Klychko said

A video is being distributed on social networks in the Russian segment in which the mayor of Kyiv, Vitalii Klychko, allegedly proposed voting not to consider the occupied territories part of Ukraine. This is manipulation.

The VoxCheck analysts analyzed the case and found out that this quote was taken out of the entire video. In fact, Klychko spoke about the reasons that make it impossible to hold elections. Among them, in particular, is the fact that some people are in the occupied territories and will not be able to vote. He spoke about this on the television channel “Kyiv”.

“Those territories that are occupied are no longer Ukraine, because there will be no representatives [of Ukraine at the polling stations]. How do we take these territories into account or not?” - said the official.

That is, he did not claim that the occupied territories are not Ukrainian, but explained that elections there are not yet possible. For example, because representatives of Ukraine will not be able to establish polling stations there due to active hostilities.

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 a Ukrainian official himself stated this, he can be trusted as he is an authoritative source, although the authors do not explain how reliable the information presented in the manipulative publication is. This is how propagandists use the tactic of appealing to authority.

Fake Fake information about teenage suicides in Kyiv is being spread online

On Ukrainian telegram, against the backdrop of the latest news about minors committing suicide in Kyiv, false information about such cases continues to spread. News about the alleged suicide of several teenagers in different areas of Kyiv appeared on October 24. It is not true.

The case was examined by the fact-checkers from the Center for Countering Disinformation. The National Police of the city of Kyiv on its official Facebook page called on the media and Telegram channels not to disseminate false information and not to abuse clickbait headlines, and to trust Ukrainians only to trusted sources.

“The Metropolitan Police immediately informs citizens about emergency events and crimes that may cause a stir among the population and is open to communication with the media”, the statement says.

Manipulation Ukraine declares the verdicts of innocent people, the UN said

Propagandists spreading pro-Russian rhetoric in the media claim that the UN is accusing the “Kyiv regime” of pronouncing sentences on innocent people. They say they mean almost six thousand criminal proceedings for cooperation with Russia. This statement was made by UN Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights Nada Al-Nashif during her speech at a meeting of the UN Human Rights Council on October 9. Propagandists also refer to statements by the Commissioner for Human Rights in the Russian Federation, Tetiana Moskalkova, where she accused the Ukrainian special services of keeping teachers in custody in the Kherson region. According to her, Ukraine reproaches teachers in prison only because they “did not violate their professional duty and continued to teach children”. However, this is manipulation.

Specialists from the StopFake project drew attention to it. They found out that although the topic was indeed discussed at the meeting, Al-Nashif did not accuse Ukraine of “declaring the verdicts of innocent people”. The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights only expressed concern that “many of those arrested and even convicted suffered because of their actions, which, in principle, the occupying state could force them to do”. In this context, they are observing with “deep concern” the policy of mass granting of Russian citizenship to local residents in the territory of Ukraine temporarily occupied by the Russian Federation.

In addition, Russian media ignored part of the report in which the Office drew attention to numerous human rights violations by Russia. In particular, Al-Nashif said victims described “cruelty that is difficult to imagine”, such as electric shocks, sexual assault and severe beatings, in some cases resulting in broken bones and knocked out teeth. She also criticized the conditions of the prisoners, in particular the lack of access to food and medicine, as well as sleep deprivation. The UN also drew attention to the fact that Russia has not taken any measures to hold accountable for violations and crimes committed by its security forces.

Moskalkova’s statements do not correspond to reality. According to Article 111 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine, criminal liability is provided not for teaching under occupation, but for “propaganda carried out by a citizen of Ukraine in educational institutions”, as well as for the implementation of the standards of the aggressor state in the educational process. Deputy Minister of Justice of Ukraine Valeriia Kolomiets, in a commentary for Radio Svoboda (Liberty), emphasized that the fact of living in temporarily occupied territories does not automatically define a person as a collaborator. The official also stated cases when Ukrainian teachers under occupation were forced to work under pressure, worrying about the lives of themselves and their families. Accordingly, the pre-trial investigation and the court must take into account all the circumstances of this category of cases.

By spreading such messages, propagandists want to discredit the Ukrainian authorities and avoid responsibility for Russian crimes. In addition, in this way they justify the disdainful attitude towards the residents of the temporarily occupied territories. Detector Media has already written about what harmful messages Russia creates and disseminates against residents of temporarily occupied territories.

Message The ban on the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate in Ukraine is the dirty policy of the “Kyiv regime”

On October 19, 2023, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine approved in the first reading the “Bill on Amendments to Certain Laws of Ukraine on the Activities of Religious Organizations in Ukraine”. This happened after six months of disputes between state deputies and “curses” of supporters of the UOC-MP in Ukraine. The adopted law may force the Ukrainian Orthodox Church to be more willing to compromise with the authorities on a number of issues - from leaving the Kyiv Pechersk Lavra to more constructive cooperation of the church leadership.

The Moscow Patriarchate is one of the largest centers of Russian influence on the territory of Ukraine. The Center for Countering Disinformation reported that Russian propaganda negatively perceived the bill banning religious organizations associated with Russia, and Russian ex-President Dmytro Medvediev described such a policy of the Ukrainian government as “heavily involved in cocaine and Satanism”.

Ukraine, having adopted the corresponding bill in the first reading, neutralizes another level of influence on the Ukrainian population through religion. Previously, we wrote about whom adherents of the Moscow Patriarchate call “sinners”.

Fake Ukraine fears new Russian attack on Kyiv

Russian media, broadcasting pro-Kremlin rhetoric, spread information that the Armed Forces of Ukraine allegedly have serious fears that Russia will once again launch an offensive against Kyiv. This was announced by the commander of the combined forces of the Ukrainian troops, Lieutenant-General Serhii Naiev. It's fake.

The case was investigated by the fact-checkers of the StopFake project. In fact, Serhii Naiev did not speak of “fear” about such a development. On the contrary, in his interview with RBC-Ukraine, which was published on August 14, 2023, he noted that at the moment in this direction “there are no signs that the enemy is preparing for a ground offensive operation”. He also added that the likelihood of a second attack on Kyiv “now is not supported by the forces and means” of the enemy.

By spreading a fake about fears of a second offensive by the Russian military on Kyiv, Russian propaganda is trying to discredit the top military leadership of Ukraine and sow panic and discouragement among Ukrainians. Earlier, we refuted the fake that NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg admitted that “the publicized counteroffensive does not bring the expected results”.

Fake Ukrainians are afraid of Russia's answer for the Crimean bridge, so they leave Kyiv creating traffic jams

Facebook and Twitter users broadcasting pro-Kremlin rhetoric circulated a video of traffic jams in Ukraine on July 17. On it, the inhabitants of Kyiv are allegedly fleeing the city out of fear that Russia will retaliate for the explosions on the Crimean bridge. The Ukrainians decided to flee as if after Volodymyr Putin announced that his defense ministry was preparing proposals for a response. It's fake.

The fact-checkers of the Reuters media drew attention to the case. The video shared on July 17, 2023 showing the traffic jam was actually filmed last year. It was reposted by Instagram user lyudaoshomok. According to her, the video was filmed on August 21, 2022, and it shows vehicles heading to Kyiv.

Thus, Russian propagandists are trying to intimidate Ukrainians and sow panic. Earlier, Detector Media denied the fake that the head of the GUR, Kyrylo Budanov, thanked the patriots for the special operation in Crimea. We also talked about what pro-Kremlin telegram channels wrote about explosions on the Crimean bridge.

Fake The Kyiv hydroelectric power plant is 93% out of order, the Ukrainian authorities said

Such information was disseminated in social networks, in particular, on telegram channels broadcasting pro-Kremlin rhetoric. Reports say that the Ukrainian authorities recently said that the Kyiv hydroelectric power plant is 93% out of order. They say that the relevant services do not care about the safety of the hydroelectric power plant, which can lead to flooding of certain territories. As proof, the authors cite a map of Kyiv, on which there are conditional marks about the likely flooded areas of the capital. For example, in the publications they write that the Obolonskyi district will be flooded in 3 minutes, Troieshchyna - in 2 minutes, Podil - in 10 minutes, etc. It is not true.

The fact-checkers of the VoxCheck project analyzed the case and found out that there were no official statements from the authorities. That is, the thesis about the “emergency state of the Kyiv hydroelectric power plant” is a propaganda stuffing. And with the help of a reverse Google search, fact-checkers found a photo of the map, which shows another flooding of Kyiv districts in the event of a dam break. Such a map does exist. In 2012, the Ukrainian media published an article where they raised the topic of the Kyiv hydroelectric power plant. Journalists, with the help of experts not named in the material, compiled this map. That is, it may not be entirely accurate. One of the experts named in this material, environmentalist Volodymyr Boreiko, stated that ice floes frozen in the Kyiv Sea could lead to holes in the dam. There was no other information about the breach of the dam or the flooding of certain territories. Despite the fact that such a map exists, there was no statement about the emergency state of the Kyiv HPP.

The propagandists simply used the old journalistic material and took advantageous data from it including the “flood” map.

Fake Kyiv agreed with UNESCO on the transfer of holy relics to the museums of Italy, France, Germany and the Vatican

In the Russian and Georgian segment of Facebook and in the media broadcasting pro-Kremlin rhetoric, they disseminate information with reference to the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service that Kyiv allegedly agreed with UNESCO to transfer the Orthodox relics of the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra to museums in Italy, France and France as if the holy relics had to be taken out in order to preserve them. It's fake.

The fact-checkers of the Myth Detector project drew attention to the case. They established that the information about the removal of holy relics from the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra to European countries is false. The Minister of Culture of Ukraine Oleksandr Tkachenko wrote on his Facebook page that “not a single sacred value will leave the territory of Ukraine”.  Also, the acting director of the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra, Maksym Ostapenko, noted that “the reserve did not have such plans and will not have them”. Information about this agreement cannot be found on the official website of UNESCO. This fake was denied on the official Facebook pages of the Ministry of Culture and the National Commission of Ukraine for UNESCO.

By spreading information that Kyiv has agreed to transfer relics to European countries, propagandists are trying to discredit UNESCO and the Ukrainian authorities. Russian propaganda created a fake to sow religious discord, as well as divert attention from the crimes committed by Russia, in particular, from the looting of museums and galleries. Earlier, Detector Media talked about the message that allegedly Russia does not destroy Ukrainian cultural and historical heritage.

Manipulation Kyiv entered the top ten worst cities to live in because of the “rule of Zelenskyi and Klychko”

Propagandists are spreading the word that Kyiv is one of the ten worst cities to live in the world according to The Economist due to the careless management of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyi and the mayor of the city Vitalii Klychko. This is manipulation.

Specialists in the StopFake project drew attention to it. They note that the fall in the rating of Kyiv was not due to the rule of Zelenskyi and Klychko, but because of Russian aggression against Ukraine. In a ranking published on June 21, The Economist did place Kyiv in the top ten least livable cities in the world. The publication's analysts assessed living conditions in 173 cities according to the following categories: stability, health care, culture, environment, education and infrastructure. According to the ranking, Kyiv is in 165th place with an index of 44 points out of 100. The extended version of the ranking indicates that the assessment of Kyiv has decreased by 5.9% compared to 2021 “due to damage caused by the war to its stability, infrastructure and general suitability for life”.

Analysts at The Economist also note that the city received only 23.2 points out of 100 in the category “infrastructure” due to constant Russian shelling. In addition, Russian aggression against Ukraine has affected the scores of other Eastern European cities such as Warsaw and Budapest due to their proximity to the war zone. In 2022, the publication excluded Kyiv from the ranking due to the war, so the city has no points in a number of categories.

By spreading such manipulations, propagandists seek to shift the responsibility for aggression from the aggressor to the victim. In addition, by taking foreign materials out of context, they want to find a false verification of their messages, hoping that people will not read their full version.

Manipulation In The United States, they will set up a center to counter Ukrainian disinformation

Pro-Russian telegram channels write about this. Like, despite censorship in the Ukrainian information space, the United States “considered” Ukrainian disinformation. Allegedly, Ukraine so “often lies” to the United States that it is time to fight it. The messages also link to an article in The American Conservative. This is manipulation.

Russian propaganda presents the proposal of the pro-Russian American expert Doug Bendow as an official initiative. Moreover, the article in The American Conservative is Bandow's emotional response to the work of the Center for Counteracting Disinformation at the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine, which drew attention to his pro-Russian position. In the article, Bandow writes that the Center has compiled a list “over those who don’t go to bed  humming” Zelenskyi and Ukrainian governments. To combat the Ukrainian Center, according to Bandow, the United States should create its own Disinformation Countermeasures Center. It was this thesis that Russian propaganda used.

Actually, The American Conservative has also previously published pro-Russian materials, including that the Republican Party did not live up to American expectations due to support for Ukraine.

Russian propaganda systematically uses foreign experts with a pro-Russian stance to promote Russian disinformation messages and narratives and give them greater prominence.

Message In Kyiv, the only city in the “former Ukraine”, energy supplies are to be quickly restored with the help of West

Such a message is spread by pro-Russian telegram channels. They say that people of Kyiv are very happy that electricity has been restored in their homes. Allegedly, this is not the merit of power engineers, but of the “West” and weather conditions. However, it will soon become colder and people will again be left without electricity and heating.

With this message, propagandists are trying to achieve several goals at once. Firstly, to devalue the work of Ukrainian power engineers and workers who ensure the operation of critical infrastructure. Secondly, to fix the narratives about “external governance”, “loss of subjectivity by Ukraine”, “Ukraine as a “failed state””, etc. Thirdly, to distort foreign aid to Ukraine to restore energy supply. Also, the Russians are once again trying to oppose certain parts of Ukraine to each other. They say that restoring electricity in Kyiv is “more important” than in other parts of Ukraine.

Fake The Russian army hit a hotel in Kyiv with foreign advisers and mercenaries

Such information is disseminated by Russian resources. Allegedly, one of the rockets hit a Kyiv hotel where foreign advisers and mercenaries lived.

Like, the Russian soldiers knew that “someone important” had settled in the hotel, so they chose it as a target. The propagandists also spread information that in the Alfavito Hotel and the Ukraine Palace, located 100 meters away, both buildings received significant damage from a rocket strike, “interesting people were sitting there - Western and Ukrainian, with and without shoulder straps”.

After the mayor of Kyiv, Vitalii Klychko, announced that a journalist from Japan had been wounded during an attack on Kyiv, Russian propagandists said that he was not a journalist at all: “Yeah, and at the front are all the drivers”.

To justify the terror and their aggression against the civilian population, the propagandists noted that this was revenge for the allegedly destroyed hotel in the occupied Kherson, where the traitor of Ukraine, collaborator and ex-deputy of the Verkhovna Rada Oleksii Zhuravko died, as well as for the explosion in the hotel in the temporary occupation where the former head of Roskosmos, the head of a group of military advisers to Russia, Dmytro Rohozin, and the head of the so-called “government” of the Donetsk occupied territory, Vitalii Khotsenko, were injured.

After the explosion in a Donetsk hotel, propagandists intimidated Ukraine that Russia would begin to strike at the places where Ukrainian top officials of law enforcement agencies are located. If their goal was precisely the power structures, they would not have destroyed the hotel, in which journalists have been holding various conferences and training sessions for many years in a row. In particular, Belarusian journalists and bloggers stayed there, for whom the Detector Media NGO conducted training sessions in 2019 as part of the School of Quality Media project. Also, they would not destroy the Ukraine Palace, where New Year's performances for children are usually held these days. Fortunately, only one person was injured in the Ukraine Palace, receiving minor leg injuries.

Message Kyiv becomes a ghost city

Russian media and pro-Russian resources are spreading reports that residents are allegedly leaving Kyiv en masse. Like, because of the actions of the authorities, the city is emptying, the real estate market is not working. Kyiv is in decline.

Russian propaganda once again gives out wishful thinking. Despite massive rocket attacks, problems with energy supply, the number of Kyiv residents is returning to pre-war levels. In Ukraine, there is indeed increased migration now, but it is not caused by “decline”, but by Russian aggression. StopFake notes that the message of Russian propaganda about the departure of people from Kyiv and the state of the real estate market is a fiction of propagandists.