Message The Office of the President deliberately drags out the war in order to postpone the elections in Ukraine

This thesis was circulated on social networks, in particular on telegram channels broadcasting pro-Kremlin rhetoric. Reports say that the cancellation of the upcoming elections is an expected move from Zelenskyi who wants to stay in power longer. According to the authors, Zelenskyi understands that he will not be able to secure a victory in the presidential election, since society is “extremely unhappy” with him. Like, Volodymyr Zelenskyi is losing Ukrainian lands and at the same time the support of Ukrainians. The authors argue that Zelenskyi wants to seize all power in Ukraine.

However, this thesis is unfounded. According to Ukrainian law, elections cannot be held under martial law. That is, Zelenskyi will remain president until the end of the war. This is not his desire, but a forced step in order to avoid violations of the law and various conflicts. Moreover, no one “drags out” the war if the Russians shell Ukraine every day. Recently, the head of PACE Tiny Kox spoke about the possibility of holding Ukrainian elections. He explained that elections should be held in Ukraine, however, most likely after the end of active hostilities, when martial law will still be maintained. He acknowledged that it is difficult to hold elections under such conditions. At the same time, the Ukrainian authorities at the PACE event said that the elections should be held in 2024. The head of the Ukrainian delegation to PACE, Mariia Mezentseva, said that the Ukrainian authorities are now striving to adhere to the usual calendar. That is, 2024 is the year of presidential and parliamentary elections as planned, and 2025 is the year of local elections.

The Ukrainian government does not refuse to hold elections, but rather seeks ways to hold them. However, politicians consider all the risks associated with the war that Russia unleashed against Ukraine. Under such conditions, Russia is preventing the elections from being held, as they shell Ukrainian cities and villages on a daily basis, and the Russians kill Ukrainian civilians.

Message In the Ukrainian information space, censorship is much greater than in Russia

Such a message is spread by pro-Russian telegram channels. Like, censorship has become the main tool of power for concealment of corruption, criminal orders or command errors. It seems that the situation with the shelling clearly demonstrated this - the Ukrainian authorities are “rejoicing” at the shelling of Makiyivka, but they are silent about Druzhkivka.

Manipulation Zelenskyi's office urged to establish a monarchy in Ukraine

This information was disseminated by Russian resources. Allegedly, Oleksii Arestovych, adviser to the Office of the President of Ukraine, called for the creation of a monarchy.

Russian propagandists took the words out of context and presented Orestovych's quote as the official position of the Office of the President of Ukraine.

In fact, on January 1, 2023, Arestovych was visiting Oleh Skrypka on the Apostroph tv channel as a mystic and esoteric, and not as an adviser to the head of the President's Office. The whole conversation was about mythology, magic and dreams in the history of Ukraine and the present. Skrypka asked Arestovych about the magical scenario of the present, to which he replied that he suggested the provocative thought: “There must be a return of the king, he is walking somewhere”. Further, Arestovych pondered, “Is Ukraine ready for a monarchy?” However, Russian propaganda used this interview as a politician about the plans of the Office of the President.

Fake The Verkhovna Rada publishes video from computer games passing it off as real footage of the war

Such messages are distributed through social networks and hostile telegram channels. It says that the Parliament resorts to tricks: publishes a variety of videos from computer games, passing it off as real footage. They say that Ukraine is suffering huge defeats and is trying to somehow stabilize the mood of the population. Propagandists add to their message a likely screenshot, which allegedly depicts a publication from the telegram channel of the Verkhovna Rada. However, this is a fabrication.

According to VoxCheck fact checkers, there is no evidence that the telegram channel of the Verkhovna Rada published or reposted such a message. Experts in the course of the investigation did not find such a publication.

Moreover, the official telegram channel of the Parliament has been verified and has a corresponding “✓” flag, which indicates the authenticity of the channel. There is no flag on the propaganda screenshot. In addition, on the screenshot of the telegram channel, one can see that the number of subscribers reaches about 350 thousand. However, about 223 thousand people have subscribed to the official telegram channel of the Verkhovna Rada.

Propagandists are spreading this fake to nourish the narrative that Ukraine is losing in this war.

Message The new law on media introduces a "total" state dictatorship in the information space

Pro-Russian resources and telegram channels reacted to the adoption of the new media law with numerous fakes and manipulations. Like, this law is “worthy of the worst authoritarian states”. It seems that the authorities are “cleansing” the information space and introducing censorship. It seems that telegram channels remain the only platform where there is still “freedom of speech”.

In fact, this law is one of those that had to be adopted in the context of Ukraine's European integration. Media professionals and members of the public were involved in its development. The law establishes rules that did not exist before and regulates certain media processes. This will make it more difficult for Russian narratives to enter the Ukrainian information space. Therefore, before the adoption of the law, Russian propaganda launched a campaign to discredit it. Instead, Ukrainian media professionals welcome the adoption of the law, despite challenges in its implementation.

Message The opposition to the current government is activated ahead of the elections

Telegram channels run by Russian intelligence have recently focused on Ukraine's internal political strife. They promoted the message that allegedly in Ukraine before the parliamentary elections, the opposition to the current government, which will be made up of mayors of cities and the military elite, as well as a new pro-Russian force, which will be formed by Serhii Liovochkin, will become more active. This is evidenced by the monitoring data of pro-Kremlin telegram channels, which was made by the Center for Strategic Communications.

The channels wrote about the formation of a “regional movement of mayors and military men” by the mayor of Kyiv Klychko and ex-minister of internal affairs Avakov, and the formation of a new political force by Liovochkin. They also spread the thesis about a split in the Servant of the People party about the deprivation of mandates of people's deputies from the Opposition Platform for Life. Like, it is beneficial for Yermak to keep them in the Verkhovna Rada to push through the necessary decisions. They also wrote that the Office of the President is planning repression by the SSU (Security service of Ukraine) against the mayors of cities who are forming a coalition against the central government due to the adoption of law 5655 on urban development reform. Another widely spread thesis is allegedly “non-supply of equipment and parts by the central government” to cities headed by mayors “opposing the government”. Among other things, the mayor of Dnipro Filatov was named, under whose leadership the city ‘suffers from power outages more than Zaporizhzhia, Odesa and Kharkiv’.

These messages are yet another attempt by Russian propaganda to influence support for the government and its decisions, as well as create tension in society. Previously, propagandists called for “going to rallies due to unfair blackouts” and promoted messages that “the authorities export electricity for their own enrichment, despite the fact that Ukrainians are without electricity”.

Message The President's office exaggerates the effectiveness of air defense and "invents" missile attacks

To downplay the successes of the Ukrainian air defense forces, anonymous telegram channels run by Russian intelligence spread the following message: "The President's office exaggerates the number of missiles launched by Russia". And therefore, "air defense successes" are also exaggerated. They also spread the fiction that the Office of the President itself gives orders to turn on air raid alerts in regions “which Russia did not intend to shell,” and then allegedly the authorities inform citizens that they shot down “non-existent” missiles.

This is an obvious lie since even the Russian military admits the massiveness of their own rocket attacks, and each time they rejoice at every report about the blackout of electricity, water and heat as a result of these missile strikes. Independent experts also regularly report on the number of missiles that Russia has fired at Ukraine, and also calculate how many missiles the aggressor state has left after each such shelling. In the days leading up to the strike, both foreign and Ukrainian experts also warned that Russia was stockpiling a large number of missiles and that at least 50 missiles were needed to basically break through the Ukrainian air defense system. By the beginning of November, according to the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine, the effectiveness of Ukrainian air defense was from 60 to 80%. This time, about 60 out of 70 missiles were shot down during the shelling, the air defense reported. This fully confirms the message of the Ukrainian military about the ratio of downed missiles and those that hit the target.

Message Ukraine missed its last chance for peace with Russia on February 10

Such a message is spread by anonymous telegram channels, which, according to the Security service in Ukraine (SSU), are controlled by Russian intelligence. Reports say that Ukraine could have prevented a war with Russia or rather avoided it. However, according to the authors of the messages, Ukraine, due to the incompetence of the leadership, missed its chance on February 10. According to the authors of the telegram channels, the last chance for peace was on that day, during the visit of the head of the office of President Andrii Yermak to Berlin. According to propagandists, in order for there to be peace, Ukraine should have simply started to implement the Minsk agreements signed in 2014. The authors of the messages also claim that the employees of the President's Office simply lied to people telling them that everything was fine, that there was no need to panic and in such a way they allowed the war. In fact, the Minsk agreements were systematically violated not by Ukraine, but by Russia, which started the war and occupied part of Ukraine in the spring of 2014. That is, experience proves that peace agreements with Russia do not work. However, Russian propagandists need such messages in order to shift the responsibility for the war from themselves to Ukraine. They say that the attack allegedly occurred due to the fact that Ukraine did not work well, and not because Russia is the aggressor. 

Manipulation The decision of the President's Office to speed up the supply of light only made it worse

Telegram channels from a network run by Russian intelligence are promoting the following message: Ukrainians have suffered because of the decision of the President's Office to restore power as soon as possible. Firstly, their equipment breaks down, and secondly, this will lead to fires and big problems with the energy system. This is manipulation.

Firstly, because the Office of the President does not turn on or order the lights to be turned on after massive shelling by the Russian army. This is done by the state enterprise Ukrenergo together with local services, as well as the DTEK concern. They bring light to homes whenever possible, they also turn it off: sometimes according to the schedule to stabilize the system, sometimes in an emergency - after damage to the system and before it is restored.

Secondly, this manipulation is an attempt to blame the Ukrainian government or the president for blackouts in order to divert attention from the main culprit, that is, Russia. Ukrainians now often live without electricity due to the fact that Russia is massively shelling the objects of the energy system of Ukraine, it has been doing this systematically since October 10th. This is a war crime for which Russia is responsible. And the Ukrainian government and the power industry itself are trying to restore this system after the destruction. Unfortunately, the situation is critical. And fires occur in Ukraine not because of the voltage fluctuations, but because of Russian missiles.