Fake Josep Borrell says Europeans need to freeze to death for democratic ideals

This is the thesis that pro-Russian users share in social networks. It was also distributed by a number of pro-Kremlin propaganda media. Reports say EU High Representative Josep Borrell has called on all Europeans to turn off the heating in their homes.

Like, the Europeans were actually asked to freeze to death so that “democratic ideals” would not suffer. “We are faced with a choice between freedom and comfort. We talked a lot about the willingness to die for the ideals of democracy, it's time to prove it”, propagandists quote Borrell. And they add that, allegedly, according to him, the temperature in apartments above +18 degrees is a crime against European values.

However, this is not true. EU vs Disinfo analysts found that EU High Representative Josep Borrell did not make such a statement. It spread from the @lastoppo telegram channel of political and satirical content, the information about which indicates that satirical and false information is published on the channel. However, Russian propagandists picked up this fake and decided to pass it off as the truth.

At the same time, several EU governments have indeed urged their citizens to lower their heating temperatures in order to reduce gas dependence on Russia. However, it does not mean that people are encouraged to freeze to death for the sake of the ideals of democracy. In fact, Russia is systematically spreading the thesis that the Europeans will not survive the coming winter because of the sanctions imposed against Russia. In this way, propagandists nourish two Russian narratives: about a decaying Europe and about sanctions that allegedly harm the EU more than Russia.

Also, due to such theses, Russia intimidates Europeans and creates the appearance that without the help of Russia itself, European governments cannot provide comfort and protection for their citizens.

Fake Zelensky and the West did everything possible to bring about a famine in Ukraine, and now they are begging Russia for help

Messages of such content were shared by the Russian propaganda media. Like, “the head of the Ukrainian junta, Mr. Zelenskyi”, during the G20 demanded guarantees of food security for Ukraine. Like, Kyiv does not want to be responsible for the fact that there is not enough food in Ukraine, because, according to propagandists, it was necessary to immediately stop the export of grain across the country's borders if Ukraine does not have enough food. The reports added that Russia, in turn, would certainly help Ukraine with food, but only within those territories that it allegedly recognized as its own - in the temporarily occupied territories.

Analysts of the EU vs Disinfo project drew attention to the case. On November 15, President Volodymyr Zelenskyi spoke at the G20 summit and said that Ukraine had taken part in the World Food Security Program and launched the Grain from Ukraine initiative to help countries facing famine. He did not ask for help from Russia and did not declare a famine in Ukraine in 2022/2023. However, he mentioned the energy security plan, because Russia is methodically destroying the Ukrainian energy infrastructure before winter.

“You can see what the Russian terror is aimed at now. This is an attempt to turn the cold into a weapon. A weapon against millions of people”, Zelenskyi said. In fact, the fact that Ukraine could potentially have a problem with food is not the fault of the Ukrainian authorities or the West, but of Russia, which started a war on the territory of Ukraine, stole Ukrainian grain and vegetables from the temporarily occupied territories, and so on.

The problem due to the lack of Ukrainian grain may also arise in other countries, and Russia is also to blame for this. However, it is beneficial for Russia to promote the thesis that Zelenskyi and the leaders of the so-called Western countries are driving Ukraine and other states to a food crisis.

Like, it was they who with their policies brought people to troubles, because they do not care about the lives of ordinary Ukrainians and Europeans. From this angle, Russia is no longer an aggressor, but a savior of peoples, because it is ready to “help” and correct the mistakes of the leaders of other countries. This is a common tactic of propagandists: shifting responsibility for their actions to others.

Message The West is using the war in Ukraine as a tool for realizing geopolitical ambitions

Such a message came from the Russian Foreign Ministry. The report said that allegedly the West was deliberately supplying weapons to Ukraine in order to keep the country in its sphere of influence. They say that's why the West can resort to using nuclear weapons.

In fact, Russia is engaged in nuclear blackmail, it wanted to intimidate the West so that it would not supply weapons to Ukraine. In fact, after Ukraine’s successful counter-offensive, the propagandists intensified their disinformation campaign about the nuclear threat. Also, after an unsuccessful attempt, the occupiers resorted to a different rhetoric, namely the one that the West allegedly “wants to flood the whole world”, therefore it is trying to supply weapons and bring death everywhere. However, the Western community is helping Ukraine with weapons and is supporting the country in every possible way in protecting its territories from Russia that has unleashed a war in Ukraine.

Disclosure The largest "supplier" of heavy weapons to Ukraine is not the West, but Russia

Almost every day since the beginning of the war, Russian officials shout from the stands that the West is "pumping" Ukraine with heavy weapons.

The last such statement was made on October 5 - the Russian ambassador to the USA said that the "decision to prolong the pumping of Kyiv" with heavy weapons makes the USA a party to the conflict. Interestingly, at the same time as this statement, a study by The Wall Street Journal was published, which indicated that the number of weapons left by the Russians during the last "regroupings" now makes Moscow the largest supplier of heavy weapons to Ukraine.

For example, the West supplied Ukraine with 320 tanks - and Russia kept 460; The West provided 210 BMPs, and Russia - 448. Moreover, there are even 40 units of missile systems, while Western supplies provide 70 units.

However, the researchers write, not all equipment is caught on video, so the real number of Russian (working) weapons may be more.

Fake Ukrainians trade Western and American weapons via the Internet

This is claimed by Russian state television and pro-Kremlin telegram channels.

Allegedly, the command of the Armed Forces of Ukraine sells Javelins, NLAWs, machine guns, and even tanks with armored personnel carriers from NATO and Europe on the so-called dark Internet - a deep part of the global network where users can remain completely anonymous. This is not true.

A team of BBC journalists investigated and found that ads that offer to buy American weapons are fake. In particular, photos of weapons from ads do not match the description. They were taken many years before the start of Russia's full-scale war in Ukraine, or photoshopped.

Journalists noticed, while corresponding with supposedly Ukrainian arms dealers in Ukrainian, that they did not speak Ukrainian, and used a lot of Russianisms in their correspondence. Obviously, they translated their messages from Russian into Ukrainian using an online translator.

At the same time, KELA, a company specializing in the analysis of cybercrime threats, believes that the advertisements for the sale are distributed by pro-Russian propaganda sources, and may have been created by them.

Message Western sanctions against Russia are in vain

Russian propaganda conveys to Russians the impression that the Kremlin is moderately optimistic about economic performance as a result of anti-Russian sanctions. Russia accuses the West of “irrationality and illogicality of the sanctions that provoked chaos and destabilization of world economic relations” and insists on their cancellation. Russian Foreign Minister Serhii Lavrov accused the West of failing to fulfill its promise to lift sanctions on the export of Russian grain and fertilizers to world markets as part of the “grain agreement” with Ukraine.

As the Center for Countering Disinformation writes, because of the war the Russian economy is heading towards one of the longest recessions in its history. Several scenarios of a long-term depression of the Russian economy are probable. The first option is “inertial”: the bottom will be reached in 2023 by 8.3% below the level of 2021. The second is “stressful”: the maximum drop in GDP in 2024 by 11.9% from the pre-war year. The third is “targeted”: in 2022, a fall of 2.9% and a resumption of economic growth of 16.9% in 2030.

Message Either a successful counteroffensive or a tragedy will help Ukraine return to the pages of Western publications

Anonymous telegram channels on the eve of Ukraine's Independence Day write, citing "their" sources, that the "West" offered Ukraine two strategies for returning to the international arena: a successful counteroffensive with tangible results, or a tragedy like a nuclear catastrophe. According to the propagandists, only under these conditions will Ukraine continue to receive support, and the decision is supposedly the “Banking” one.

Propagandists simultaneously resort to classical technologies:

fake dilemma - they offer readers an alleged ultimatum, both options are associated with losses and affect emotions;

repeated repetition - again and again they talk about Ukraine's dependence on the West and try to reduce the influence of the Ukrainian authorities.

Fake Germany tests experimental weapons in Ukraine

This is reported by anonymous Telegram channels. Allegedly, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz accidentally said that Ukraine is being used as a testing ground for new weapons. It is not true.

In an interview with the Canadian edition of The Globe and Mail, Olaf Scholz said that Ukraine was given some weapons systems that the Bundeswehr does not have. However, Scholz did not call the transferred weapons experimental and did not talk about the fact that they are being tested in Ukraine. He also said that German specialists teach Ukrainians how to use this equipment correctly.

Fake 30-40% of weapons supplied to Ukraine reach the front

This is stated in the film Arming Ukraine on the American TV channel CBS News. It was announced by the pro-Kremlin media, and in Ukraine, it was published by the website "Strana". The film says that the US loses control over military weapons after crossing the border, that only 30-40% of supplies from the West reach the front, and the rest goes to the "black market". That is why a system of weapons supervision should be created.

Message The West is increasingly doubting the victory of Ukraine, and so is reducing military support

The Russian media wrote about this with reference to The New York Times article (NYT). Allegedly, skepticism is growing in the West regarding Russia's "attrition tactics" they have initiated.

Russian propagandists selectively quote the original article, and also add to the retelling non-existent quotes, writes VoxCheck. The original article cited by Russian media ran under the headline "Ukraine tries to prove it can win, recalling recent strikes." "Rejecting skepticism that Western weapons will allow them to turn the tide against Russia, the Ukrainians point to successful attacks using new long-range missile systems," the introduction reads.

Its author, Andrew Kramer, was formerly a correspondent of the NYT's Moscow and now he is a correspondent of the Kyiv bureau. His publications for the NYT already contained manipulations and messages consistent with Russian propaganda.

At the beginning of the article, Cramer does note that "support for the West has softened", but he doesn’t provide any specific examples that would indicate this. He does not give examples of those who expressed "skepticism that Ukraine will be able to win a war of attrition." More details.