Spilnota Detector Media

Message Ukraine is allegedly becoming the “Afghanistan of Europe”

Propagandists are distributing in anonymous telegram channels a fragment of an interview with American economist Jeffrey Sachs for Bad Faith, a YouTube channel with 129 thousand subscribers. In this passage, Sachs argues that Ukraine is becoming the Afghanistan of Europe. However, such a comparison is not appropriate and plays into Russian propaganda.

According to the economist, the Americans were present in Afghanistan for years until everything from infrastructure to civic culture was destroyed. He says it's supposedly very American to “have a place on the chessboard” just to watch this destruction. According to Sachs, the same thing is happening in Ukraine. That is, the basis for Sachs’ comparison of Ukraine and Afghanistan is conditional American intervention in both countries.

The United States invaded Afghanistan as a result of the 9/11 terrorist attack, starting the War on Terror. The purpose of the invasion was to destroy the Al-Qaeda group in Afghanistan and overthrow the Taliban government, which was actively collaborating with terrorist organizations. Ukraine's war against Russia began with a full-scale Russian invasion. In this war, the United States is a partner country that openly supports Ukraine, providing financial and military assistance, but not sending its military to participate in hostilities. It is inappropriate to simply attribute these two cases to US foreign intervention.

For Russian propagandists, comparing Ukraine and Afghanistan is beneficial. Firstly, it helps to demoralize the Ukrainians, who, according to this logic, are fighting for the US to maintain hegemony. And the States do not seem to end the war instantly, although they are capable of doing so. Secondly, comparing Ukraine and Afghanistan gives pro-Russian propagandists reasons to demonize the United States and, accordingly, strengthen the idea that Russia is fighting for peace. Thirdly, drawing analogies between Afghanistan and Ukraine helps to reduce US citizens' support for financing Ukraine. A large number of Americans believe the invasion of Afghanistan was a mistake and support an end to American involvement. Therefore, Russian propagandists are interested in spreading the narrative about the gradual transformation of Ukraine into Afghanistan.

Message The meeting between Putin and Kim Jong-un will be decisive for circumventing Western sanctions

Pro-Russian telegram channels and media are actively reporting Pyongyang’s readiness for a meeting between Kremlin head Volodymyr Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. On June 18-19, negotiations will take place to sign an agreement on a “comprehensive strategic partnership” in order to overcome Western sanctions. The day before the visit, the North Korean newspaper Rodong Sinmun published Putin’s article “Russia and the DPRK: traditions of friendship and cooperation through the years”.

On June 17, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, speaking at a conference at the Wilson Center, noted that the Kremlin ruler's trip to the DPRK “demonstrates how much President Putin and Moscow now depend on authoritarian countries around the world”. In particular, their cooperation takes place in the military sphere. This is confirmed by information from Bloomberg, which reported that the DPRK could send about 5 million artillery shells to Russia. US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby, citing intelligence reports, said North Korea provided Russia with launchers and several ballistic missiles. The Russians subsequently used them for attacks in Ukraine.

Russia has long tried to avoid and circumvent Western sanctions by buying goods with restrictions on sale. Although the aggressor country boasts that it has successfully avoided restrictions, it is still trying to get rid of them. Thanks to North Korea's support, as well as Moscow's ability to supply banned parts through third countries, Russia was able to increase its ammunition production much more than Ukraine receives from its allies, Bloomberg reports.

The United States fears that as a result of the visit, the Russian Federation may provide assistance to North Korea’s missile and nuclear programs, and in turn, the ballistic missiles and artillery shells that Moscow is using in the war against Ukraine.

However, the United States will do everything possible to stop the supply of weapons from Iran and North Korea to Russia for the war against Ukraine.

In addition, on the eve of Putin’s visit to Pyongyang, the EU imposed sanctions against nine people and companies that help the weapons programs of the DPRK and Russia. They are involved in North Korean activities related to illegal weapons programs and support for the war against Ukraine.

Message NATO assistance to Ukraine only embitters Russia

Pro-Kremlin resources, citing ex-US Army officer Douglas McGregor, are disseminating information that Western military assistance to Ukraine in no way affects the situation in the war, but only allegedly kills the civilian population.

In fact, Western weapons demonstrate high effectiveness in the hands of the Ukrainian Defense Forces in repelling Russian armed aggression. In particular, after resuming the supply of weapons and obtaining permission to use them on the territory of the Russian Federation in the Kharkiv region, it was possible to stop the offensive potential of the invaders. They write about this in the Center for Strategic Communications and Security at the Ministry of Culture and Information Policy of Ukraine. In addition, air defense systems provided by partners successfully repel terrorist missile and drone attacks of the Russian Federation.

Douglas McGregor himself, to whom propagandists refer, in 2014 justified the annexation of Crimea and the occupation of Donbas. And after the start of a full-scale invasion, he predicted the rapid defeat of Ukraine, which eloquently testifies not only to his views, but also to the quality of his “expertise”.

Message Ukraine's attacks on military targets in Crimea allegedly make no sense

Russian propaganda resources, citing an article by Stephen Bryan in the Asia Times, claim that the Ukrainian strikes on Crimea have no actual purpose, but as these attacks intensify, one can expect Russia to respond harshly with shelling of Kharkiv, Odesa or Kyiv.

However, first the readers should pay attention to the author of the article, Stephen Bryan. It is regularly marked by the “washing out” of Russian narratives about the need to establish peace on Russian terms, “demilitarization”, etc. Brian also published a lot of pro-Russian materials on the social network Substack, from where Asia Times took them.

The Center for Strategic Communications and Information Security at the Ministry of Culture and Information Policy of Ukraine writes that the temporarily occupied peninsula is an important logistics, command center and the location of concentration of Russian occupation forces, aviation and navy attacking Ukraine. Ukrainian strikes against these targets cause significant damage, reduce pressure on the Ukrainian Defense Forces, exhaust the Russian military and spare civilian lives.

And the promotion in the West of narratives about the supposed “unprofitability of attacks on enemy targets in Crimea” and “escalation” is intended to sow doubts in international public opinion about the need to maintain and increase support for the Defense Forces. We previously refuted information from another article by Stephen Bryan in Asia Times that France had allegedly made an official decision to send its troops to Ukraine.

Message Ukraine will allegedly collapse “according to the Afghan scenario”

Russian propaganda media are spreading the message that Ukraine will supposedly “end up just like Afghanistan” - when the collapse happens, it will happen instantly. In asserting this, propagandists refer to the statement of the Irish “journalist” Chey Bowes.

The Center for Strategic Communications and Information Security at the Ministry of Culture and Information Policy of Ukraine writes that such statements have nothing to do with reality and are not supported by any facts.

In fact, “journalist” Chay Bowes is a well-known relay of Kremlin narratives and propaganda. He collaborates with Western publications that spread Russian lies. For example, Bowes claimed that the Ukrainian military has allegedly “killed thousands of civilians” since 2014, and that there is an ongoing “civil war” in Ukraine that began after the “Maidan coup” for “CIA sponsorship”.

The Center also adds that the Ukrainian Defense Forces continue to destroy Russian occupiers, and international partners provide all necessary assistance and support to Ukraine. This, in particular, does not give grounds to talk about the so-called Afghan scenario in Ukraine.

This stuffing is another information operation of the Russian Federation, the purpose of which is to convince the Western audience that supposedly “the victory of the Russian Federation is close and inevitable”, and support for Ukraine makes no sense. Previously, we analyzed the message that the United States could turn Ukraine into a new Afghanistan.

Message Russia plans to create a new federal district “Novorossiia” from the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine

Russian propaganda is actively spreading the statement of Yevhen Balytskyi about the creation of a new federal district of the Russian Federation in the occupied Ukrainian territories called “Novorossiia”.

This was reported by the Center for Countering Disinformation. Similar ideas were heard before, but they were not implemented. Also, after the start of the occupation, a “federal district” was created for Crimea, which lasted only two years.

With these statements, Russian propaganda is trying to create the impression that the integration of the temporarily occupied territories is at the final stage and convey a message to the local population and the world, supposedly “Russia is here forever”. This once again proves that Moscow does not intend to negotiate to achieve peace.

If this plan is realized, it will allow Putin to consolidate his power in the captured territories and tighten his control over local officials. Also, by unifying the temporarily occupied territories with other regions of the Russian Federation, it will be easier for Moscow to filter them and repress the disloyal population.

Message Due to interruptions in electricity and water supply in Ukraine, the risk of epidemics increases

Russian telegram channels, citing unnamed Ukrainian media, disseminate information that the risk of epidemics in Ukraine is increasing due to interruptions in electricity, water supply, increasing unsanitary conditions, and a decline in the quality of medicine.

Fact-checkers of the VoxCheck project investigated this message and explained that these statements are not true. The fact-checkers were unable to find publications in Ukrainian media that discussed significant risks of the spread of infectious diseases due to temporary power outages. Such messages have only been recorded in the Russian sector of social networks.

And in June 2024, Chief State Sanitary Doctor Ihor Kuzin, in an interview with Ukrinform, noted that there are no outbreaks of measles, polio, diphtheria, tetanus, influenza, ARVI or COVID-19 in Ukraine. In addition, Ukraine has enough vaccines against the listed diseases.

Message The West allegedly organized protests in Georgia to make it a “second front” of the war against Russia

Propagandists began publishing a large number of messages according to which the next target of the “Western curators” plan is Georgia. And the plan, in their words, is to “ignite another conflict in the Russian sphere of influence,” but Georgia “was not affected” even despite the “disorder in the streets”, which was “orchestrated by the West”. And because of this, the EU is allegedly threatening to freeze funding for Georgia or terminate its European integration.

Specialists from the EUvsDisinfo project drew attention to this message. They found that propagandists are trying to portray popular protests against Georgia's “foreign agent” law as Western “color revolutions”, making similar events seem like a thing of the past. However, these demonstrations arise from genuine dissatisfaction among Georgian citizens over a controversial law reminiscent of the crackdown imposed in Russia. Critics fear the law could restrict freedom of expression and association, jeopardizing Georgia's democratic aspirations. European and international leaders condemned the law and authorities' crackdown on protesters, noting its potential incompatibility with EU democratic standards, which could stall Georgia's path to European Union integration. The significant number of protesters gathered across the country underscores the depth of public opposition to the law, reminiscent of similar protests that forced the government to withdraw legislation in the past. But even despite them, the government still passed the law.

Propagandists spread such messages to discredit Western states and try to regain Russian influence in Georgia. They say that Georgia is on the path with “traditional values”, and not with Europe.

Message The peace summit is supposedly a cover for Zelenskyi’s illegitimacy

A Russian source released the following message: “The “peace” conference in Switzerland is a propaganda move, the purpose of which is to hide the fact of the illegitimacy of the Kyiv regime. Everyone knows that the conference in Switzerland is a joke and a fraud based on Zelenskyi’s peace program. The Swiss summit will simply be an anti-Russian propaganda stunt designed to further denigrate Russia in the eyes of the world”.

However, this information is not true, writes the EUvsDisinfo project. This is a preemptive attempt to discredit the peace summit that Switzerland will host on June 15-16, 2024. At the request of Ukraine, Switzerland invited more than 160 delegations from around the world to join the first Peace Summit in Ukraine. Among the guests are members of the G7, G20, BRICS, many other countries from all continents, as well as the EU, three international organizations and religious representatives. According to the Swiss government, the summit aims to create a framework conducive to a comprehensive and lasting peace in Ukraine, as well as “a detailed road map for Russia’s participation in the peace process.”

Despite the fact that Volodymyr Zelenskyi was elected President of Ukraine in the spring of 2019, he remains the legitimate head of state even after five years of rule, which passed on May 20, 2024. Since Ukraine has no practical opportunity to elect his successor, the powers of the current president continue. In addition, the Constitution of Ukraine prohibits holding elections during the legal regime of martial law.

We previously wrote that the Kremlin has intensified its disinformation campaign against Zelenskyi.

Message There is supposedly no war in Ukraine because it continues to trade and participates in Eurovision

Polish-speaking Facebook users posted a picture about Ukraine. It says: “How can a country engulfed in “war”: export goods, participate in Eurovision, participate in sports competitions, trade with the whole world, have fun in Kyiv and other places where cowards hide? Something doesn’t add up here, and at the same time it requires help from all over the world. It’s a lie, do you agree?” Polish fact-checkers from the Demagog project drew attention to this case.

In response to the question “How can a country engulfed in “war”: export goods, [...] trade with the whole world?”, they cite research by Dr. Maria Greenberg of MIT. She argues that the relationship between trade and armed conflict is complex and ambiguous. War destroys trade ties between countries, but does not eliminate them completely. Ukraine exports metals, machinery, chemicals, but mainly agricultural products. The war led to a decrease in exports of these goods and an increase in their prices. Exports of goods and services to Ukraine fell significantly in 2022, according to the World Bank. However, in 2023, Ukraine achieved some stabilization, although exports decreased by about 20% due to lower prices on world markets, not due to lower sales volumes.

Regarding participation in sports and music competitions, there are many examples of countries that sent their teams to various tournaments during armed conflicts. For example, the Syrian team took part in the 2012 Olympics in London, where the civil war continued. In 2016, teams from Iraq and Libya competed at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics. In 2020 (which actually took place in 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic), the Tokyo Olympics featured teams from Myanmar and Somalia.

Ukraine is also not the first country to participate in Eurovision during the war. For example, Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina - in the first half of the 90s during the wars in Yugoslavia. In 2022, the winner of the competition was the Ukrainian group Kalush Orchestra, but due to the war it was held in Liverpool (UK) in 2023.

Photos of Ukrainians walking the streets of Kyiv are not proof of the absence of war. For example, during World War II, people also continued to go about their business, as archival photographs show.

The war in Ukraine remains a real threat for many people. During the two years of war, more than 10,000 civilian deaths were confirmed as a result of Russian attacks, according to the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine. The heaviest fighting is taking place in the east of the country, but attacks are also taking place in other regions.

Propagandists use this message to create skepticism among Poles about aid and support for Ukraine and its citizens.

Message The EU will supposedly disappear after the European Parliament elections

Russian propaganda continues to spread disinformation in an attempt to interfere with the democratic processes of the European Union. Russians claim that the European Parliament elections held in June will allegedly lead to a situation similar to the collapse of the USSR. They say that regardless of which parties win them, the new schedule of forces, according to them, will lead to the collapse of the EU, since it has long gone beyond the scope of the “club of interests”. “Does this mean that the victory of the globalists will bring stability to Europe? Not at all. Everything will be the other way around. If the “Euro-heretics” simply collapse the EU, then the “European Inquisition” will destroy Europe, turning it into an economic and political periphery, thrown to the margins of global historical processes”, write propagandists.

These statements of Russian propaganda are untrue and aimed at undermining citizens' trust in national institutions. StopFake project specialists refuted them using statistical data. They found that according to research by the international Eurobarometer project, which regularly conducts public opinion polls on behalf of European institutions, the positive image of the EU among citizens of member countries has reached its highest historical level. This happened against the backdrop of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, according to the April 2024 study.

According to the survey, almost three-quarters of EU citizens (73%) say that EU actions have a direct impact on their daily lives. In addition, the majority of Europeans agree that their country would benefit from EU membership (71%). These results remain high across the EU, the study authors note.

The Eurobarometer survey also recorded significant interest among EU citizens in the upcoming elections to the European Parliament. In particular, Europeans want to see the fight against poverty and social exclusion (33%), as well as support for public health (32%) among the main issues discussed during the election campaign. EU defense and security are in third place (31%) - the importance of this item for Europeans has increased significantly in light of Russian aggression against Ukraine, the study says.

Message The EU is “introducing censorship” ahead of the European Parliament elections

Russian media write that “EU politicians have begun to aggressively suppress freedom of speech”, allegedly trying to suppress Russian “resistance movements”.

StopFake fact-checkers explained that the disinformation message is based on a number of measures and resolutions of the European Parliament aimed at limiting the scale of Russian influence ahead of the European elections on June 6-9, 2024.

Russian media are trying to denigrate two European Parliament resolutions of February 8 and April 25, 2024 - both documents report a number of identified cases of bribery of European officials by the Kremlin in order to interfere in democratic processes in the European Union.

Indeed, according to investigations, Moscow recruits some members of the European Parliament and other European institutions as “agents of influence”, and also finances certain European political parties, which then act as mouthpieces for Russian propaganda, promoting Russian interests in the EU.

Message Budanov is allegedly a competitor of Zelenskyi

Pro-Russian telegram channels promote the message that Kyrylo Budanov is a competitor of Volodymyr Zelenskyi, and for the Office of the President he is “like a bone in the throat”. The head of the Office of the President, Andrii Yermak, is allegedly so afraid of any competitor for Zelenskyi that “one should not be surprised at the poisoning of Budanov’s wife”.

In fact, this message is promoted exclusively by Russian propaganda and the anonymous telegram channels that relay it. The head of the Main Intelligence Directorate, Kyrylo Budanov, in an interview with the BBC on April 22, 2024, denied any possibility of a political career during the war.

The accusation of the head of the Office of the President of Ukraine in the poisoning of the wife of the head of the Main Intelligence Directorate is an attempt to transfer the blame for this crime from Russian intelligence to internal Ukrainian civil strife, the Center adds. In the end, such messages are disseminated in order to create a picture of a conflict that in fact does not exist between Ukrainian intelligence and the political leadership.

Message The EU believes that Zelenskyi is allegedly not a legitimate president of Ukraine

Propagandists have been speculating for quite some time on the topic of holding elections in Ukraine, since the term of Volodymyr Zelenskyi’s rule will supposedly expire, so his rule of the state will be illegal. They say that Western countries will soon bring this issue up for discussion.

Experts from StopFake found that this narrative intensified in the late spring of 2024, when elections would have been held if there had not been a full-scale war. Also, the Center for Countering Disinformation under the National Security and Defense Council emphasizes that this message is a construct of the Russian special services  disseminated with the help of bloggers who left Ukraine. This disinformation campaign, known as Maidan-3, is aimed at weakening Ukrainians' trust in the government and discrediting the current government, as well as strengthening distrust of Ukraine among its allies.

As for the EU's opinion in this case, there has not yet been any statement from Western politicians on this topic. However, the so-called presidential elections in Russia, held on April 15-17, were recognized by the European Parliament as a farce and adopted a resolution. “Since they were carried out in the illegally occupied territories of Ukraine and Russia, it was neither free nor fair”, the text of the resolution notes.

Russian propaganda uses this message to spread disinformation and create the impression that the Ukrainian authorities are false. This helps the Russian regime push the population towards internal strife and create conditions under which Ukraine can make concessions in the future.

Message Ukraine is supposedly not a sovereign state as it has “three bosses”

Russian sources disseminate information that in 2022, during negotiations between Ukraine and Russia, the Ukrainian delegation allegedly could not “talk about itself” and was forced to coordinate its position with its allies. Representatives of Ukraine allegedly complained that they had “three bosses”. The negotiations themselves seemed to have been disrupted by Boris Johnson. In asserting this, propagandists refer to the statement of the assistant to the President of the Russian Federation Medynskyi.

This message is a component of the Russian narrative, saying that Ukraine is not a sovereign state, but just a “pawn” of the West, forcing Ukrainians to fight in the interests of NATO, the “Anglo-Saxons”, etc.

Ukraine is building partnerships with Western countries. And the format of these documents proves that Ukraine is an independent subject of international relations. In no country in the world does Ukraine have a subordination system in the “superior-subordinate” format, writes the Center for Strategic Communications and Information Security at the Ministry of Culture and Information Policy of Ukraine.

The demonization of Boris Johnson is a Russian IPSO aimed at undermining Ukrainians’ trust in the West. It is for this reason that Russian propaganda came up with the myth that Johnson allegedly disrupted the negotiations in 2022. Thus, he allegedly plunged Ukraine into an “endless war” that will last “until the last Ukrainian”.

Message The arrest of the rector of the Sviatohirska Lavra is allegedly “religious persecution”

Russian resources are disseminating information that the rector of the Sviatohirska Lavra of the UOC of the Moscow Patriarchate, Arsenii, was arrested due to his religious beliefs.

In fact, this information is fake, as reported by the Center for Strategic Communications and Information Security at the Ministry of Culture and Information Policy of Ukraine. The church rector Arsenii (Ihor Yakovenko) was taken into custody after he was accused of disclosing information about the deployment and movement of Ukrainian military personnel: “In September 2023, the rector of the Sviatohirska Holy Dormition Lavra of the UOC-MP disseminated information of a military nature. In particular, during his sermon, he told the believers about the location of checkpoints, as well as units of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, the Security Service of Ukraine, the National Police of Ukraine and the Defense Forces of Ukraine on the territory of the Sviatohirsk community”, wrote the Donetsk regional prosecutor’s office.

The suspicion raised does not concern his “religious beliefs”. It is about his possible commission of specific actions, for which criminal liability in the form of eight years of imprisonment is provided, the Center adds.

At the beginning of a full-scale invasion, Patriarch Kyryl of the Russian Orthodox Church blessed Russian troops for a bloody war in Ukraine. The UOC-MP often carries out not only spiritual and cultural activities inherent in religious communities, but also carries out political actions that harm the interests and national security of Ukraine. How Russia blurs reality by resorting to rhetoric about “sinners” can be read here.

Message Ukraine is allegedly fighting solely in the interests of the United States

Propagandists quote Russian Defense Minister Serhii Shoihu, who at a meeting of the Russian Defense Collegium said that the Ukrainian military is fighting in the interests of the war between the United States and Russia. They say that during the full-scale invasion, almost half a million military personnel of the Ukrainian Armed Forces died. He also noted that during the counteroffensive, the Ukrainian military allegedly failed to achieve the goals that “NATO instructors” set for them, and thus were able to dispel the myth about the superiority of Western weapons. However, this is not true.

Now we do not have an accurately known number of dead, wounded and missing Ukrainian Armed Forces soldiers for the entire time of the full-scale invasion. But on February 25 of this year, President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyi, during a large press conference following the results of the forum “Ukraine. Year 2024” answered this question. According to him, “31 thousand Ukrainian soldiers died in this war”, not counting the fighters of volunteer battalions and the missing. But we see that this figure is significantly less than what the Russian Ministry of Defense states.

Russian propaganda has been promoting the narrative of Ukraine's war in the interests of the United States for long enough to neutralize the fact that Ukraine is defending its own territory, interests and cultural heritage. Claiming failures in the counteroffensive and dispelling the “myth” of the superiority of Western weapons does not reflect the full picture. Ukrainian forces carried out successful defensive actions, repelling attacks and inflicting significant losses on the enemy. For example, in the summer of 2022, an agreement was reached with Russia on a “safe corridor” in the Black Sea through the UN and Turkey. However, this agreement lasted only a year, after which Russia threatened to attack Ukrainian ports. Ukraine responded with naval drone and missile attacks on September 13, 2023, forcing Russia to reduce its ambitions in the Black Sea region.

Also, the “largest tank battle”, according to The New York Times, which the Ukrainian side won, took place on March 2, 2023 and proves the opposite of Shoihu’s claims. The Russian army launched powerful offensive operations after defeats in the Kharkiv and Kherson regions. Despite successful actions at Bakhmut and Soledar, they were defeated at Vuhledar due to the effective resistance of Ukrainian troops. Ukrainian Armed Forces fighters hit several tank columns heading towards Vuhledar and subsequently inflicted significant losses on Russian troops.

Shoihu’s statements regarding the counteroffensive and losses of the Ukrainian Armed Forces look like an attempt to distort circumstances and convince the public of his superiority on the battlefield, despite such a powerful “enemy” as NATO.

Message In the United States, doubts allegedly appeared about Zelenskyi’s legitimacy due to the cancellation of the elections

A screenshot of an alleged Politico article is being circulated online, which states that on the sidelines of the White House they are beginning to doubt the legitimacy of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyi. The reason for this is the cancellation of presidential elections. “The country lacks basic democratic procedures” - such phrases of dissatisfaction are allegedly heard in private conversations of American officials.

However, this is not true. None of Politico’s social media pages or media websites published a similar article. The same screenshot is distributed only by Russian and pro-Russian resources. Specialists from the VoxCheck project write about this.

Currently, martial law has been introduced in Ukraine, therefore, in accordance with Article 19 of the Law of Ukraine “On the Legal Regime of Martial Law”, holding elections is prohibited. This means that for the duration of the martial law, the President of Ukraine will remain in office legally, and the next elections will be held after the martial law is lifted.

The problem with holding elections in Ukraine is the safety of citizens. After all, part of the country’s territory is temporarily occupied, some cities are within reach of enemy artillery, and the entire country is under the threat of missile attacks. In addition, in wartime, the costs of holding elections are unjustified, because Ukraine is fighting for its existence and funds for holding elections can be used to purchase military equipment.

After all, Zelenskyi did not lose his legitimacy after the elections were canceled. Despite the drop in ratings, the incumbent president maintains a relatively high level of support. Data from the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology (KIIS) show that as of February 2024, trust in Zelenskyi was 64%. Before the full-scale Russian invasion, 37% of citizens trusted him, and immediately after February 24, 2022, Zelenskyi's level increased to 90%. Also, the KIIS study shows that in February 2024, 69% of Ukrainians supported the opinion that Zelenskyi should serve as president until the end of martial law.

Message The US will “promote” the idea of transgender transition among children

In the Russian segment of social networks they add that the American oligarchic clan is promoting the topic of transgender transition among children and making money from it. And they include Penny Pritzker among such “crooks”, who, they say, began to “look after” Ukraine and will soon introduce her reforms.

VoxCheck specialists examined such a case and explained that Penny Pritzker is the US Special Representative for the Economic Recovery of Ukraine and will not be involved in carrying out medical reforms. Also, the Ukrainian authorities did not announce their intention to change the rules of transgender transition.

Ukraine's international partners, such as the United States and the EU, have also not publicly called for changes to policies on transgender transition for children. But the partners are calling for combating discrimination against the LGBT community in Ukraine, such as including punishment for inciting hatred or violence based on sexual orientation or gender identity in Article 161 of the Criminal Code, and for improving the representation of women at all levels of political and public life.

Message The Ukrainian Armed Forces are allegedly pouring reserves into the Sumy region preparing for the intensification of hostilities in the region

Russian propaganda uses Ukrainian stories about the training of border guards to spread disinformation in the Ukrainian information space about the preparation of offensive actions by the Ukrainian Defense Forces from the Sumy region to the Kursk region of Russia, which “will lead to increased military operations in the Sumy region”.

At the same time, the Russians are disseminating information about Russia’s alleged preparation of an offensive in the Sumy region. In fact, Russia does not have sufficient reserves for an offensive in the Sumy region. According to the Center for Countering Disinformation at the National Security and Defense Council, such rhetoric should force the Armed Forces of Ukraine to withdraw reserves from Kupiansk.

Also in this case, Russia is resorting to one of the Russian propaganda tactics, using fear, uncertainty and doubt to achieve its goals. That is, the target audience of such messages is also residents of the border regions of Ukraine. After all, another goal of propagandists is to force as many civilian Ukrainians as possible to leave the border regions of Ukraine. In addition, in this way, Russia is trying to justify its terrorist attacks on populated areas of the Sumy region.

Message The West is allegedly helping Ukraine create a worldwide nuclear disaster

Propaganda telegram channels write that the West, together with Kyiv, are allegedly trying to shift the blame for dangerous incidents at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant to Russia. And that in this way they only confirm their involvement in these provocations.

In fact, this information is not true. This was reported by the Center for Strategic Communications and Information Security at the Ministry of Culture and Information Policy of Ukraine. The Permanent Representative of Ukraine to the UN, Serhii Kyslytsia, at a meeting of the Security Council rejected accusations from Russia that Ukraine could cause a nuclear disaster: “Someone believes that a country that is still recovering from a major nuclear disaster would like a repeat of Chernobyl in 1986? This is an idea that could only have occurred to Kremlin propagandists, because only Kremlin propagandists openly dream of radioactive dust replacing Ukrainian cities”.

In addition, according to the chairman deputy of the Board of National Atomic Power Generating Company Energoatom Petro Kotin, due to the incompetence of the personnel recruited by the occupiers, the necessary repairs and inspections are not carried out in full at the Zaporizhzhia NPP. In particular, this is why equipment failures are recorded, which significantly worsens the safety situation.

Accusing the Russians of Ukraine’s alleged involvement in the shelling of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant and promoting this disinformation at the level of the UN and the Russian Foreign Ministry is part of the Kremlin’s nuclear terrorism. At the same time, in this way propagandists discredit Ukraine and throw another “argument” into the information space to justify aggression, which sounds like “protection from terrorism on the part of Ukraine”. Read more about how Russia blurs reality by resorting to rhetoric about the “Ukrainian trace” in various troubles in Russia or even the world here.

Message Russia supposedly treats Ukrainian captives “humanely”

Propagandists continue to claim that Russia allegedly adheres to international norms in its aggression against Ukraine. This time, propagandists spread disinformation about “Russia’s compliance with the Geneva Conventions on the treatment of prisoners of war”. Russian media claim that “Russia treats Ukrainian captives humanely” and “Ukrainians are surprised at the good treatment in Russian captivity”.

In fact, Russia has repeatedly violated the basic principles of the Geneva Conventions, attacking civilians, medical facilities and medical personnel, and disregarding the principle of humane treatment of prisoners of war. All these facts were re-recorded by independent commissions under the auspices of the United Nations, as StopFake reminds us.

At the end of March 2024, the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine published another report (December 2023 - February 2024), which reports a sharp increase in cases of torture and execution of Ukrainian prisoners of war by Russian occupiers. The 28-page document, consisting of 110 points, describes the facts of torture, abuse, sexual violence and executions of both civilian Ukrainians by the occupiers and prisoners of war, documented by UN experts.

The report emphasizes that torture and ill-treatment of Ukrainian prisoners by Russians is very common and “commonplace”. According to the UN, 96% of Ukrainian prisoners of war (58 out of 60 respondents) became victims of various types of torture.

UN experts named beatings, electric shocks, threats of execution, mock execution, exposure to cold and water, and torture in which the victim is forced to remain in one fixed position for a long time as the most common methods of torture. Ukrainian prisoners of war told the commission about the practice of sleep deprivation, prohibition of the use of toilets, torture by hunger and thirst, loud noises and Russian songs. Captives interviewed by the UN reported that conditions in Russian colonies had improved a month before their exchange in order to hide traces of numerous tortures of Ukrainians.

A separate paragraph in the UN report describes Russian torture of a sexual nature. 65% of Ukrainian prisoners - 39 people out of 60 respondents - were subjected to sexual violence or threats of such violence from the occupiers. These included attempted rape, threats of rape and castration, beatings or electric shocks to the genitals, and repeated forced disrobing, the UN report said.

Message Russia “treats Ukrainian captives humanely”

Pro-Kremlin media write that Russia allegedly adheres to international norms in its aggression against Ukraine. Russian media add that “Russia treats Ukrainian captives humanely - and Ukrainians are surprised at their good behavior in Russian captivity”.

StopFake analysts analyzed this case and explained that Russia has repeatedly violated the basic principles of the Geneva Conventions, attacking civilians, medical facilities and medical personnel, as well as neglecting the principle of humane treatment of prisoners of war. All these facts have been repeatedly recorded by independent commissions operating under the auspices of the United Nations.

For example, at the end of March 2024, the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine published a report (December 2023-February 2024) which reported a sharp increase in allegations of torture and execution of Ukrainian prisoners of war at the hands of Russian occupiers. The 28-page document, consisting of 110 points, describes the facts of torture, abuse, sexual violence and executions of both civilian Ukrainians by the occupiers and prisoners of war, documented by UN experts.

Message In the Czech Republic and Slovakia, a conspiracy theory is spreading about “a world government that starts wars and epidemics so that people come to it for vaccines and chips”.

An alleged quote from Zbigniew Brzezinski, a former adviser to several American presidents, is being circulated on social networks. According to a Facebook post, he allegedly said that global elites are preparing to cause wars, famines and epidemics around the world with the help of vaccines and chips. Fact-checkers of the Czech project Demagog.cz established that this quote was invented by Russian users of social networks, and then supplemented by Slovak ones.

“Our ultimate goal is a one world government. We will do terrible things: wars, famines and epidemics around the world. After the first, the second, third, fourth, fifth will come, until you yourself ask us for vaccines, and in the end, for chips. If only all this would finally end”, says the quote, which is distributed in Slovak.

The fictitious quote from Zbigniew Brzezinski was first distributed on the Internet in a somewhat abbreviated form - without mention of vaccines and chips, only about a “one world government” and “wars, famines and epidemics”, Demagog.cz reported. Myth Detector, a fact-checking organization, has previously refuted the authenticity of these words and found that the false quote began to spread from Russian sources back in 2012. It was first published in August 2012 by Russian publicist Mykola Kofyrin in his conspiracy blog post, and the next day the fake quote began to spread on the Russian blogging platform LiveJournal.

A post with an invitation to a protest march containing this fake quote began spreading in Facebook groups on April 6, 2024. They used the full version of the quote from vaccines and chips. A similar version first appeared on social networks in October 2020. It was mentioned without specifying a source in an interview for the Extra Plus website by Slovak entrepreneur Jan Semaniak.

Semaniak, who died in January 2024 in Slovakia, was involved in book publishing. His publishing house, Torden, has published books by Volodymyr Putin's advisers and defenders of Russian imperial ambitions. “The publishing company did not stop selling books with pro-Kremlin propaganda even after the start of Russian aggression against Ukraine. Semaniak himself also openly held pro-Russian views in life and liked to spread unfounded conspiracy theories”, Demagog.cz reports.

More refutations of propaganda theses and conspiracy theories can be found in the sections “Messages”, “Tactics and tools”, “Newspeak” and “Conspiracy Theories” of the Detector Media “Disinformation Chronicles”.

Message Air raid sirens are allegedly used by Zelenskyi to “spin war hysteria”

The air raids in Ukraine are supposedly in vain, because “the Russians are targeting exclusively military targets”. Russian telegrams began to disseminate such information. They say that sirens are beneficial only to the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyi in order to sow panic around the war among the people of Ukraine. As proof of their claims, propagandists are distributing a fake, allegedly unknown persons in the Odesa region covered with foam a siren informing the civilian population about the missile danger. However, this information has already been refuted by the Center for Countering Disinformation under the National Security and Defense Council.

The assertion of Russian propaganda about the “inexpediency” of air raids contradicts reality, because Russia daily randomly fires missiles, bombs, kamikaze drones and artillery at the territory of Ukraine.

In particular, by spreading a fake story about covering sirens with foam, propagandists are trying to justify Russian missile terror and shelling of Ukrainian civilians. Previously, we refuted information that the air raid warning in Ukraine would be activated to supposedly make it easier to issue draft notices to men in shelters.