Spilnota Detector Media

Disclosure How Russian propaganda justifies terror against Ukrainian civilians

Russian propagandists addressed the military personnel of the occupation army with a “disclaimer” that the Ukrainian special services had trained a large number of saboteurs in the Kharkiv region. According to them, “representatives of the Ukrainian underground” can even be women, elderly people and teenagers. Propagandists also call for special attention to be paid to the relatives of killed or captured Ukrainian soldiers. The Center for Countering Disinformation at the National Security and Defense Council writes about this.

In fact, information about Ukrainian saboteurs among women, the elderly and teenagers does not correspond to reality. Thus, Russian propaganda carries out “information processing” of the military in the context of intensifying hostilities, encouraging them to commit crimes against Ukrainian civilians. The Center also states that Russian propagandists must be held accountable for war crimes, as well as the authorities in the Kremlin who give orders to kill the civilian population of Ukraine.

Fake French mercenaries were allegedly liquidated in Sloviansk

Propaganda telegram channels write that Russian troops attacked the location of Ukrainian artillerymen and, probably, the French were there, bringing CAESAR installations for the Ukrainian Armed Forces.

However, this information is fake. Such statements by Russian propagandists are an attempt to justify the terrorist attack on Sloviansk on April 15, 2024. Then the Russians fired at the city with a Grom-E1 rocket-bomb, damaging two apartment buildings, an educational institution and a bank building.

In a similar way, Kremlin propaganda justified the January 16, 2024 strike on Kharkiv. Then, investigators of the All Eyes on Wagner project noted that the news story was spreading against the backdrop of news about the provision of French missiles to the Ukrainians. “France does not have mercenaries either in Ukraine or anywhere”, was the response of the French Foreign Ministry to reproaches from Russia, writes Reuters. We also denied this information.

The Russian propaganda rhetoric about “foreign mercenaries” in Ukraine is intended to demonize the West in the eyes of the Russian population, as well as to portray Russia as a victim of this war, in particular.

Manipulation An American high-ranking official allegedly called on Ukrainians to carry out terrorist attacks on Russian territory

Russian propagandists are spreading information on social networks that on December 4, 2023, the former head of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, Mark Milley, allegedly called on Ukraine to commit terror against Russian citizens. This was allegedly confirmed by the American publication The Washington Post. However, this is manipulation.

Specialists from the VoxCheck project drew attention to it. They found out that, in fact, according to The Washington Post, Mark Milley did not call on Ukraine to carry out terrorist attacks on Russian territory. In fact, he advised Ukrainian fighters to actively act against Russian soldiers in the temporarily occupied territories. It is also important to note that the United States does not support Ukrainian forces in launching attacks beyond its own borders.

The original publication in The Washington Post, published on December 4, 2023 under the title Miscalculations, divisions marked offensive planning by US, Ukraine, indeed contains a similar quote from Mark Milley. The material describes events in early 2023, shortly before the Ukrainian summer counter-follow-up operation. At that time, Milley was already Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, but left this post at the end of September 2023. According to The Washington Post, Mark Milley expressed these allegations during a conversation with Ukrainian Special Operations Forces soldiers in Wiesbaden, Germany. According to the publication, he used these words to inspire them to take action. His speech took place in the context of rear operations in territories temporarily under enemy control.

The article quoted Milley as follows: “There should be no Russian who goes to sleep without wondering if they’re going to get their throat slit in the middle of the night,” Milley said, according to an official with knowledge of the event. “You gotta get back there, and create a campaign behind the lines”.

The article was about the military situation in the Russian-Ukrainian war, so when Milley spoke about “Russians”, he meant the Russian military, not civilians. It should also be noted that State Department spokesman Matthew Miller later confirmed that the US position remains unchanged: it does not encourage Ukrainian forces to conduct strikes outside their own borders.

Propagandists spread such manipulations to strengthen their message that Ukraine is allegedly behind the terrorist attack in Crocus City Holly. Detector Media explained how else Russian propaganda is trying to spread this message.

Fake The Ukrainian Embassy in Tajikistan allegedly recruited fighters for a terrorist attack in Crocus City Hall

Propagandists are disseminating information that allegedly the Ukrainian Embassy in Tajikistan posted a message with contacts of the International Defense Legion of Ukraine to attract citizens of Tajikistan to the terrorist attack that recently occurred in Moscow. However, this is fake.

Specialists from the VoxCheck project drew attention to it. They found out that updates were being made on the Legion website at the address indicated in the message. Information and contacts of the International Legion are available through another web address and on social networks, where a single email address is provided for requests. A check through the Hunter service confirmed the existence of the specified email, which is not publicly available.

In addition, propaganda sources indicated the real contact number of the Legion, updated along with the website address. However, the previous telephone numbers indicated on the old version of the site and the number indicated in the fake message do not match the official contacts of the Ukrainian Embassy in Tajikistan.

According to Ukrainian law, foreigners who join Ukraine's military forces must meet certain criteria, including legal residence in the country and no criminal record.

Russian propaganda uses such fabrications to accuse Ukraine of involvement in a terrorist attack for which representatives of the Islamic State have claimed responsibility. The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry strongly rejects any accusations of involvement in terrorism, emphasizing Ukraine's obligations to international anti-terrorism conventions.

Fake Ukraine allegedly planned a terrorist attack in Crocus

Russian media are disseminating information that a Member of the European Parliament from the Dutch right-wing party Forum for Democracy, Marcel de Graaf, said that the terrorist attack at Crocus City Holly was organized and paid for by Ukraine.

In fact, behind the terrorist attack in the Crocus City Holi near Moscow is the Islamic State Khorasan group, which took full responsibility for the attack. This has already been confirmed by US Presidential National Security Adviser John Kirby.

As for Marcel de Graaf, the Dutch politician accuses Ukraine without providing any evidence. In addition, he is an open Russophile and a supporter of Putin. Graaf also advocated stopping aid to Ukraine and lifting sanctions from the aggressor country. They write about this in the Center for Strategic Communications and Security at Ministry of Culture and Information Policy of Ukraine.

Propaganda continues to spread fake news about the terrorist attack. The head of the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Moscow Region, Kyrylo Budanov, noted that the Kremlin had already changed the versions of events at the Crocus City Holi near Moscow three times, trying to somehow link the so-called “Ukrainian trace” to the terrorist attack. It is obvious that Russian propaganda also attracts European lobbyists with a pro-Kremlin position. In addition, in order to blame Ukraine, the Kremlin launched a discredit campaign using bots.

• Read also: The Russian NTV channel showed a fake video where the Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine “confirmed the involvement of the Kyiv regime” in the terrorist attack at Crocus City Holi (ADDED).

Fake Ukraine is allegedly preparing a terrorist attack in Kupiansk

Pro-Russian telegram channels are spreading information that the “Kyiv regime” is allegedly preparing a terrorist attack in Kupiansk in order to blame Russia for it. According to propagandists, this is evidenced by the opening of the local market. In addition, the “news” notes that the Ukrainian military will use residential buildings as shelter, and local residents as “human shields”.

In fact, this information is not true, according to the Center for Countering Disinformation at the National Security and Defense Council. The purpose of this fake is to create an information alibi for the Russian military before the likely chaotic shelling of Kupiansk, which they carry out almost every day. Also, according to the head of the Kupiansk city military administration, Andrii Besedin, measures are being taken on the territory of the community for the mandatory evacuation of the population to safer places, which, in particular, contradicts the words of propagandists about a “human shield”.

By spreading this disinformation, Russian propaganda fuels its narrative about the alleged “crimes of the Armed Forces of Ukraine”, resorting to one of the propaganda tactics called “reflection”. That is, propagandists seek to divert attention from the real state of affairs. We previously wrote that Russia is trying to disrupt the process of evacuating children from the Kharkiv region by spreading disinformation messages.

Message Ukraine is preparing to blow up the Kremenchuk hydroelectric power station “according to the Kakhovka scenario”

Propaganda resources are disseminating information that Kyiv is preparing a provocation at the Kremenchuk hydroelectric station “according to the Kakhovka scenario”. They say that Ukraine replaced the station in order to create public tension and blame the Russian army for the attack on the hydroelectric power station.

The information was processed by the fact-checkers of the StopFake project. They found out that there is no evidence of the mythical mining of the Kremenchuk hydroelectric power station by the Ukrainian military. Russian propaganda is based on its previous lies that the Kakhovka hydroelectric power station was blown up by Ukraine. All critical infrastructure facilities, which include hydroelectric power plants, are constantly under the protection of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, the National Guard and the police in wartime. After the Russian terrorist attack with the explosion of the Kakhovka hydroelectric power station, the Ukrainian Defense Forces tightened patrolling of the stations.

It is Russia that attacks the critical infrastructure of Ukraine - as a result of massive shelling of the occupiers in the autumn-winter period of 2022-2023, not a single thermal or hydroelectric power station remained undamaged in Ukraine.

Fake The Russians destroyed the headquarters of the Ukrainian Navy at the Kempinski-Odesa hotel

Such information was disseminated on social networks, in particular, on telegram channels broadcasting pro-Kremlin rhetoric. Reports say that during the shelling of Ukraine on September 25, 2023, the Russians allegedly entered the headquarters of the Ukrainian Navy in the Odesa region. According to propagandists, the headquarters was created in one of the Odesa hotels. It's a lie.

The VoxCheck fact-checkers processed this case and explained that it was Russia that attacked Odesa on September 25, 2023 with nineteen Shahed-type drones. According to the investigation, damage was caused to port infrastructure facilities, granaries, and warehouses of a private enterprise. The Odesa sea terminal and the hotel nearby were significantly damaged. At the same time, the propagandists did not provide any evidence to defend their thesis about the presence of the Ukrainian leadership in civilian infrastructure facilities. Here they usually use rhetoric about “NATO headquarters/Ukrainian military leadership” to simply whiten themselves.

That is, they are trying to deny their own shelling and hits on civilian infrastructure. They distort reality and convince people of their “truth”. And they claim: wherever they went, there were definitely military men there. However, the authors do not provide any facts. They just reject any reproaches in their direction.

But documented cases of Russian terror tell a different story. By the way, one can read the chronology of Russian shelling of residential and civilian targets here.

Also, check out the fakes on similar topics, in which Russian propaganda denied shelling of civilian infrastructure, justifying it with “NATO headquarters”:

For example, when the Russians allegedly fired at a meeting of Lithuanian and Polish NATO officers in Chernihiv, but in fact the occupiers hit the local drama theater. Or a case where propagandists tended to believe that the terrorist shelling of Odesa in July was a shelling of weapons production sites. And not according to the cultural sites of Ukraine included in the UNESCO World Heritage Site, as it actually is. Or, let’s say, how the invaders “destroyed” an ammunition warehouse in Uman. We found out that the Russians got into an industrial facility and a car wash. And finally, how a propaganda shelling of the residences of “NATO instructors” in Kramatorsk turned out to be a terrorist attack on a local cafe - read here.

Message US recruits Syrians for terrorist attacks in Russia

Pro-Russian publications tell foreign audiences that the US is actively recruiting jihadists from ISIS and al-Qaeda to carry out terrorist attacks in Russia and other countries that were part of the USSR. “Recruitment” and “training” takes place at the Al-Tanf military base in Syria, mainly among militants from the Caucasus and Central Asia. They seem to be studying how to make and use improvised explosive devices, as well as explosive methods. Like, the US security forces are demoralized, and therefore obsessed with the idea of bleeding Russia in any way, even using terrorists.

EU vs Disinfo analysts drew attention to the spread of the message. They note that this is an unfounded claim, there is no evidence of the training of militants. In addition, the US is leading the global coalition to defeat ISIS and other international counter-terrorist initiatives.

Thus, Russian propaganda uses intimidation tactics and fuels narratives about the US as an enemy of Russia. Earlier, Russian propaganda wrote that a group of radical Islamists went from northeast Syria to Ukraine to fight as mercenaries on the side of Kyiv.

Manipulation Ukraine is preparing terrorist attacks in Crimea

Such messages are distributed in anonymous telegram channels and Russian media. They say that Kyiv began to openly threaten Moscow. Like, against the background of the victories of the Russian army, the West began to look for ways to turn the tide. Allegedly, Washington plans to seize the temporarily occupied Crimea. This is manipulation.

The propagandists used the words of Mykhailo Podoliak, adviser to the Office of the President, as the basis. He said that Ukraine has begun negotiations with partners on the supply of long-range missiles and aircraft. Podoliak noted that aviation is needed to cover the military, and missiles are needed to destroy Russian weapons depots, including in Crimea. It was this thesis that the propagandists used for manipulation. Using the tactics of substitution of concepts, the Russians began to call attacks on warehouses with weapons terrorist attacks.

Russia systematically spreads messages that discredit Ukraine in the eyes of the inhabitants of the temporarily occupied Crimea. Earlier, they wrote that the Ukrainian army plans to “recapture” Crimea in Russia, and after the liberation, it will deport 800,000 Crimeans. Or propagandists claimed that Ukraine “changed its mind” about returning Crimea, and Ukrainians rejoice that war has come to the peninsula.

Fake Ukrainian army shelled Ukrainian-controlled Lysychansk to blame Russia

This information was disseminated by Russian resources. Like, the residents of Lysychansk told a Russian propagandist about this. Allegedly, according to them, the Ukrainian military shot at civilians from March to May 2022 in order to film propaganda materials. It is not true.

According to The Insider fact-checkers, from March to May, there were Russian troops near Lysychansk that could have shelled the city.

From the 20th of March, Russian troops tried to take the city of Rubizhne, located 18 km from Lysychansk, that is, they were directly on the outskirts of it. On May 13, the city was completely occupied. The effective range of the Russian Grad multiple launch rocket system is 21 km, the Msta-S howitzer is 24.7 km, and the Giacint-S is 28.4 km.

Message Ukraine accuses Russian intelligence services of threatening Ukrainian diplomatic missions abroad

Anonymous pro-Russian telegram channels write that soon Ukraine will start “playing the card of the Russian trace” in cases of sending letters with explosives, packages with animal eyes, etc. to Ukrainian embassies and consulates. Like, Ukraine will tell that in this way they also tried to intimidate the Europeans so that they would not help Ukraine.

In early December, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine reported on a targeted campaign of terror and intimidation of Ukrainian diplomatic institutions abroad. In 12 countries of the world, Ukrainian embassies and consulates received threats of various types, a total of 18 cases were recorded. Now the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine is cooperating with foreign law enforcement officers to identify the perpetrators.

Message Rocket attacks on Ukraine is revenge for explosions in the Russian rear

As soon as an air raid began almost all over Ukraine, Russian telegram channels, guided by the Russian GRU, began to spread the thesis that the shelling was a consequence of “Ukraine’s sabotage in Russia”, including explosions at military airfields in the Saratov region and near Riazan.

Today, the Russian media reported about the explosions at both military facilities. At the Engels-1 air base in the Saratov region, a drone fell on the runway, which caused damage to two Tu-95 bombers, and two soldiers were hospitalized with injuries. A fuel truck exploded at the Diahilevo airfield near Riazan. At least three Russian soldiers were killed. Ukraine has not officially confirmed its involvement in the explosions: Mykhailo Podoliak, adviser to the head of the President's Office, said that since the earth is round, and Russia launches a lot into the air every day, sometimes these objects return home. Ukraine officially does not have drones that could cover the distance to Engels (700 km) and Diahilevo (500 km).

In fact, Russia does not “retaliate” with missile strikes. Insider Project investigators have found that each massive missile strike requires a week to ten days of preparation, so there cannot be a "response" to any Ukrainian military action that occurred less than a week ago.

Message Ukrainian officials "ask" Russia to deliver a new blow to the Ukrainian energy system

Pro-Russian telegram channels write about this. Like, in recent days, Ukrainian officials and opinion leaders have been so actively discussing possible missile strikes and “frightening” Ukrainians with their consequences that “there can be only two explanations for this.” Either they are trying to “repel” the desire of the Russians to strike, or, which is supposedly “most likely”, they are deliberately “provoking and asking for it”. Allegedly, this is how the Ukrainian authorities plan to hide their own mistakes and shift the blame to the Russians.

Russian missile strikes actually have worse consequences every time, because Russia deliberately hits the Ukrainian energy system with massive rocket attacks. In particular, those objects, the repair of which is long-term and requires significant financial costs. Naturally, officials and experts are trying to explain the consequences of the strikes already inflicted and analyze possible options for the further development of the situation. Understanding the real realities is necessary in order to prevent unnecessary panic and irrational actions of Ukrainians.

Message The European Parliament recognition of Russia as a sponsor of terrorism "has no consequences"

Russian media say that the resolution supposedly adopted on November 23 by the European Parliament recognizing Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism “has no consequences” for Russia. Also, propagandists accuse the European Parliament of "political bias". Like, the UN resolution "contributes to inciting conflict situations and humanitarian crises around the world," and is also designed to "legalize the robbery of Russia." The propaganda calls the European Parliament a rudiment that does not decide anything, but only incites enmity between countries. This is manipulation.

Now the EU really does not have a legal basis to introduce serious restrictive measures against a country recognized as a sponsor of terrorism. However, the essence of the resolution of the European Parliament is to create such an international legal framework. The adopted document is advisory in nature for implementation.

Message No one needs “invincibility points”: they were opened for the sake of PR and they provoke the enemy into missile strikes

This message is spread by anonymous pro-Russian telegram channels. In particular, by those that, according to the Security service in Ukraine (SSU), are controlled by Russian intelligence. The reports say that the “Points of Invincibility”, in which Ukrainians can stay warm in the conditions of emergency power and heat outages and charge electrical appliances if necessary, is an absurd invention of the Office of the President. Reports state that these points are not protected by anything at the time of missile strikes. Like, they even provoke the enemy to launch a missile attack, because they become a place of mass congestion of people. The authors of such messages even suggest that if an enemy missile hits one of the points, this will be a good informational occasion. In fact, the “Points of Invincibility” are needed by people who, due to rocket attacks on infrastructure, were left without electricity, water supply and communications. Such points were deployed in most cities of Ukraine, so that residents in the conditions of long blackouts could warm up at these locations, recharge gadgets or warm up food or drink tea.

Fake The Hague court recognized the events of 2014 in eastern Ukraine as a "non-international conflict"

Russian media write about it. Like, during the announcement of the verdict on the downing of the MH17 Boeing, the judge stressed that it was a "non-international armed conflict in Ukraine." This is not true.

An international court judge said that in April 2014, Ukrainian troops fought against separatist groups controlled by Russia. The judge also stressed that the defendants do not have the right to use the immunity granted to the soldiers of the warring parties, since the representatives of the separatist formations are not soldiers of the Russian army. The Insider fact-checkers drew attention to the spread of the fake. Fact-checkers of the NatoYenota project recorded the spread of and refuted the fake that allegedly Ukraine was recognized as the “main criminal” in the case of downing the MH17.

Disclosure The Russians shot a staged video about the detention of "Ukrainian saboteurs" on the territory of Russia

The Center reported it for Strategic Communications and Information Security at the NSDC. On October 12, the Russian FSB said the "prevention of two acts of sabotage" allegedly committed by "Ukrainian agents" who entered Russia through Estonia. One was "detained" in the Bryansk region after seizing an improvised explosive device, the other in the Moscow region with two "Igla" MANPADS.

The video about the detention of "Ukrainian saboteurs" is a production. The Center drew attention to the fact that the "Ukrainian saboteur" allegedly drove around the Moscow region in a car loaded with weapons and Ukrainian license plates. This video was shot simultaneously from several angles to make it look more dynamic; they probably had to do several takes. It is indicated by the difference in the distance between the cars in different frames.

The FSB also announced the "opening" of the case of sabotage on the Crimean Bridge. As evidence, the Russians showed an X-ray of a truck that was allegedly mined, but the truck was missing one of its rear axles.

Unlike the rest of the wheels, the spare wheel shines through as if an empty tire had been glued to the bottom.

Russian propaganda systematically uses staged videos about the involvement of "Ukrainians" in crimes already committed on the territory of Russia or about preemptive arrests. Earlier, propagandists filmed a film about the "exposure of SBU agents" in the temporarily occupied Kherson region.

Message The "Anglo-Saxons" are behind the explosions on the Crimean bridge and the leaks of the Nord Stream gas pipelines

In this way, the USA and Great Britain "revenge" Russia for the events in Ukraine. Foreign pro-Russian media write that allegedly after the explosion of the Nord Stream gas pipelines and the "terrorist attack" on the Crimean Bridge, it "became clear" that Washington was "planning large-scale terrorist acts" that would give Moscow a "pretext" for a nuclear strike. The publications write that "Anglo-Saxons" are behind both events. The spread of this misinformation a few hours after the explosion on the Crimean bridge, when no details of this event hadn't yet known, was noticed by fact-checkers of the EUvsDisinfo project.

Fake Russia found "evidence" of Ukraine's involvement in "sabotage" on the Crimean bridge

Reports spread on social networks that Russia allegedly established the identity of the man who committed the "terrorist attack" on the Crimean Bridge. He turned out to be a Ukrainian. His passport allegedly evidences it. Photos are added to messages. This photo is fake.

The photo of the passport of the "terrorist" actually turned out to be a photo-edited image illustrating a sample passport of a citizen of Ukraine (ID card) on Wikipedia. The authors of the fake changed only the name, photo, and gender, and all other "document details" remained the same as in Wikipedia. Fraudsters also added alleged blood stains or damage "due to a terrorist attack" with the help of a photo editor. The same picture was also used for a fake Twitter account.

In fact, there is no objective evidence of Ukraine's involvement in the explosion on the Crimean Bridge. The Ukrainian authorities also rejected any accusations in this regard.

Message Ukraine is being "prepared" for a nuclear accident, which will be arranged by "third parties," but they will blame Russia

Pro-Russian Telegram channels write about it. He said that the very fact of a nuclear attack on Ukraine would be important, and they would not be able to figure out who would carry it out. Because of this, allegedly, the Ukrainian authorities issued a manual on the rules of behavior during a nuclear threat. Some anonymous Telegram channels are spreading rumors that the Americans will strike at the spent nuclear fuel storage in the Chornobyl zone.

Since February 24, Russia has systematically threatened Ukraine and the world with the use of nuclear weapons. At the beginning of a full-scale invasion, the Russians put the nuclear forces on special combat duty. During a speech on September 21, Putin again threatened the possibility of using nuclear weapons in the event of a "direct threat to Russian territory," saying that this was "not a bluff."

Considering the seriousness of the danger, the Ukrainian authorities developed appropriate recommendations for citizens, which agitprop immediately called "preparation for a nuclear accident."

Russian propaganda conducts informational terrorism to induce Ukraine to negotiate on the Kremlin's terms.

Message Ukraine engages in "nuclear terrorism"

Russian propaganda systematically accuses Ukraine of striking the Zaporizhia Nuclear Power Plant. At the same time, the "commander" of the occupying garrison of the nuclear power plant, Russian General Vasiliev, threatened that "the station will be either Russian or nobody" and "there will be either Russian free land or scorched earth".