Spilnota Detector Media

Message The Russians claim that the “liberated” Avdiivka allegedly “returned home”

On the Internet, pro-Kremlin resources promote the message that “the city of Avdiivka, liberated by Russian troops, has returned home”. The Russians have already managed to film a report with the same name.

In fact, Avdiivka, like a number of other cities, villages and towns in Ukraine, never belonged to Russia. It is meant total destruction, genocide and terrorism by “liberation” and “return home” - the whole essence of the “Russian world”.

The Center for Strategic Communications and Security reminds that Russia is not here forever. Avdiivka and all temporarily occupied cities and villages will definitely be deoccupied. This is only a matter of time, which depends on many factors, in particular, on the military support of Ukraine by its partners.

This message is aimed at the internal population of Russia, the vast majority of whom will not even be able to find Avdiivka on the map. Such “statements” pursue purely propaganda purposes. Previously, we analyzed the propaganda message that supposedly Kherson is waiting for Russia.

Message Kherson is allegedly waiting for Russia

Propagandists do not stop trying to justify Russian aggression against Ukraine, the motives of which are hidden under the narrative of “the need to fire Russians in Ukraine”. To promote this message, Russian media again claim that the residents of Kherson are supposedly waiting for “Russian liberators” and “supporting” Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Specialists from the StopFake project drew attention to this.

Russian media used the statements of the governor of the occupation authorities, collaborator Volodymyr Saldo, who cannot be considered a reliable source of information. Although the Kremlin calls him “the governor of the Kherson region of Russia”, this position is fictitious. In Ukraine, Saldo is wanted for high treason and violating the territorial integrity of the country. In addition, Volodymyr Saldo is under numerous sanctions from Ukraine, the EU, Great Britain, the USA, Switzerland, Japan, New Zealand, Canada and Australia.

After massive shelling of peaceful cities, destruction of civilian infrastructure and mass murder of civilians, the level of self-identification of Ukrainians reached its highest level in all the years of the country’s independence. According to an all-Ukrainian sociological survey by the Rating group, published on January 29, 2024, very high rates of a sense of Ukrainian identity were registered in the Kherson region - the majority of respondents called themselves convinced Ukrainians from a European nation. At the same time, respondents most often noted Ukrainian identity as a conscious choice, aggravated by the war.

Russia regularly shells every district of the city, killing civilians in Kherson and causing enormous damage to critical infrastructure. It was the actions of Russian troops that led to significant material and human losses in Kherson, which caused negative emotions among the vast majority of local residents. According to a survey by the Protection Kherson Society Foundation (2023), only 8% of Kherson residents noted that they were not injured as a result of enemy shelling. Every third Kherson family lost property due to Russian aggression. A third (35%) of Kherson residents had their apartment or private house damaged, 27% of respondents noted that their apartment building was damaged, and another 23% had their property damaged. Significant damage has also been caused to the health of Kherson residents: 35% testify that in their families there are people who have begun to suffer from mental disorders, 3% in the family are injured. However, the worst thing is that people are dying due to shelling of the city. During the survey, 2% of Kherson residents said that there were deaths in their families.

The majority of respondents believe that the restoration of Kherson should occur primarily at the expense of the aggressor state (79%), which should be punished for its criminal actions.

The Russian myth about the “originally Russian southeast” of Ukraine, which, according to the occupiers, should include the Kherson region, has never been confirmed by facts. It should be recalled that after the collapse of the Soviet Union, during the all-Ukrainian referendum on December 1, 1991, 93.13% of the residents of the Kherson region voted for the independence of Ukraine. Thus, they confirmed their desire to live in an independent and sovereign state - Ukraine. And during the 2001 All-Ukrainian Population Census, the majority of Kherson residents (82%) considered themselves Ukrainians.

Detector Media wrote that Russian propaganda is trying to create the impression that life is thriving and being restored in the temporarily occupied territories, while disorder reigns in those controlled by Ukraine.

Message 85% of the population of the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine allegedly supports Putin

On the eve of the presidential elections in Russia, the occupation “administrations” and propagandists are promoting the message that “85% of the population in the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine supports Putin”. The Center for Countering Disinformation at the National Security and Defense Council writes about this.

The Russians also sent special detachments to the occupied territories of Ukraine to create the appearance of supporting Putin. Their task is to oversee the falsification of ballots and monitor the work of the so-called “election commissions”.

One can take part in illegal “elections” in enslaved territories with either a Russian or Ukrainian passport, ID card or other identity document. And this indicates the failure of forced passportization in the occupied territories of Ukraine. This was reported by the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine. At the same time, this is another tool of the Russian special services to identify “unreliable” Ukrainians.

Message Russian propagandists began a disinformation campaign claiming losses of the Ukrainian Defense Forces near Selydove in the Donetsk region

Russian propagandists began a disinformation campaign claiming losses of the Ukrainian Defense Forces near Selydove in the Donetsk region. This is a clear example of Russian disinformation.

This was reported by the United Press Center of the Taurian Defense Forces. He noted that on February 13, 2024, Russian troops used the Uragan MLRS to strike the town of Tsukuryne, Pokrovskyi district. Rescuers from the State Emergency Service inspected the area and determined that as a result of the shelling, 2 multi-apartment two-story residential buildings on Svitla street and a car were damaged. There are no casualties or wounded.

Thus, the enemy is trying to divert attention from his significant losses in the Taurian direction. In just one day on February 12, they suffered 645 losses, and in the previous week (from February 5 to February 11) - 2,947 people.

Message NATO allegedly wants to occupy the Arctic and Ukraine during training

Russian media continue to publish “analytical” materials on NATO exercise Steadfast Defender 2024. By spreading false narratives about “Alliance aggression against Russia”, pro-Kremlin media claims that the “real goal” of allied maneuvers is to “start” World War III and “capture” Ukraine. “In connection with the assessment of Northern and Eastern Europe, as well as the Arctic, as a potential site for the outbreak of conflict regarding the Union State, the United States and NATO countries are intensifying their military activities in this region”, Russian propagandists write.

Specialists from the StopFake project drew attention to the message. They remind that Steadfast Defender is a regular deterrence exercise in which troops from across the Alliance train in defending European NATO allies rather than attacking third countries. The exercises do not pose a threat to Russia, and certainly are not aimed at reproducing maneuvers to “occupy” the Arctic, Ukraine or any other territory or state. The planning of the maneuvers took place long before they began, and information about their conduct was transmitted to other states. No NATO country has ever attacked another state under the guise of military exercises - this is unique to Russia, which launched its invasion of Ukraine in 2022 in exactly this way.

The alliance, in light of Russian aggression against Ukraine and the possibility of its spreading to other European countries, has begun developing new defense plans in those areas that NATO believes Russia could use to launch an invasion. Therefore, the legend of the exercises involves the deployment of forces from North America and other parts of the Alliance to Eastern Europe in order to create the ability to counter a hypothetical large-scale threat to the allies.

The exercise involves approximately 90,000 troops from all NATO countries and involves more than 1,200 pieces of equipment, including ground combat equipment, naval weapons and aircraft. The maneuvers are multi-faceted, with allied forces demonstrating their individual and joint defenses on land, air, sea, cyber and space. Capabilities in various sectors show NATO's commitment to collective defense, regardless of the method of hypothetical attack.

This is truly the biggest military exercise in Europe since the Cold War, just as Russia's war in Ukraine is the biggest aggression on the continent since 1939. It was the Russian attack that became the impetus for the Alliance to mobilize all efforts to revise the defense plans of NATO countries. In February 2022, NATO member countries revised their Strategic Concept. The North Atlantic Alliance recognized Russia as “the most significant and direct threat” to security in Europe. However, separately for those who declare “NATO aggression”, the allied countries wrote out paragraph 9, which notes that “NATO does not seek confrontation and does not pose a threat to the Russian Federation”.

At the Vilnius NATO Summit in the summer of 2023, Alliance countries continued to develop new defense concepts to counter possible Russian aggression. These plans were not hidden from the public and were widely covered by the press. The summit noted that Russia's attack on Ukraine has forced NATO to strengthen its deterrence and defense efforts, as well as develop new regional plans and new force models using large numbers of allied troops. Now, during the Steadfast Defender 2024 exercise, allies are practicing precisely to improve their defense capabilities.

Message There is no point in changing the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine as Ukraine seems to be losing the war anyway

Pro-Kremlin media write that the Ukrainian army seems to be unable to defeat Russia even after a change in military leadership. In asserting this, they refer to Oleh Soskin, a former adviser to the second President of Ukraine Leonid Kuchma.

Today, the Defense Forces continue to hold the front and repel attacks by Russian occupiers. To strengthen the Ukrainian army, new approaches and strategies are needed; this is precisely why the top leadership of the Armed Forces of Ukraine has been updated. This is written about in the Center for Strategic Communications and Information Security. It is too early to draw conclusions about the activities of the new military leadership and argue, in particular, that personnel changes in the army do not make sense, because the “reset team” has only just begun to fulfill its tasks.

Such statements by political scientists and other experts or pseudo-experts only nourish  panic among Ukrainians and play along with Russian narratives. Previously, we refuted the information that Germany allegedly created graffiti in which Zelenskyi is holding the bloody head of Zaluzhnyi in his hand.

Message Olena Zelenska “deceived” the government of the United Arab Emirates

In the Russian segment of social networks, information is being circulated that the Olena Zelenska Foundation deceived the UAE government - after all, the country allocated 50 evacuation vehicles for humanitarian needs. At the same time, the foundation, together with the Ministry of Health, handed them over to military doctors, which anonymous people classify as an inappropriate use of assistance.

Analysts of the VoxCheck project explained that in this case there is not a single so-called deception. After all, the cars were transferred to hospitals in the front-line territories, and not directly to the military. The vehicles will be used by doctors in front-line areas to provide prompt assistance to the civilian population.

The recipient of the ambulances is the Ministry of Health of Ukraine, which carried out further distribution to those regions that most need special transport for medical evacuation and assistance. That is, on the Ukrainian side, it fulfilled the conditions for providing cars with a humanitarian function.

Message SBU “recruits” men for mobilization attracting sex workers

Anonymous telegrams claim that Human Rights Watch (HRW) has recorded cases in which the Ukrainian Security Service recruited female sex workers to “increase the pace of mobilization”. The point is that in this way the SBU “caught” men. As evidence, the messages add a video from a human rights organization.

The VoxCheck analysts took up this case and found that the human rights organization did not issue such a statement. For example, no such publications were found on the pages of Human Rights Watch social networks. As for the video itself, its design differs from those published by HRW. That is, it is most likely that the video design was compiled, it was presented only for the organization’s video. And some fragments of the video itself can be found in the public domain.

Read also: Greek Catholic believers were allegedly “freed” from mobilization.

Message Disease X is allegedly another experiment on Ukrainians

Russian telegram channels continue to talk about the unknown disease X and claim that Ukraine is preparing to confront the virus in close cooperation with Washington. In addition, propagandists are calling on Ukrainians to rethink the potential pandemic, which they claim could be another commercial project of the Ukrainian Ministry of Health for further human experimentation. However, this is not true.

The message was noticed by specialists from the VoxCheck project. They found out that Disease X is not a commercial project; it was first mentioned back in 2018. In addition, Ukraine is collaborating with the World Health Organization (WHO) to prepare for the possible spread of an unknown disease.

The Russians' statements are manipulative. Ukraine does not have “close” cooperation with the United States regarding possible cases of disease X, as propagandists write about it. In addition, unknown pathogen X is not a new phenomenon; WHO first mentioned it in 2018. Disease X is the conventional name for a pathogen that is not yet known to people, but may cause a pandemic in the future. At the World Economic Forum in Davos on January 17, 2024, the threat of a possible pandemic from disease X was discussed. WHO head Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus noted the need for joint measures by countries to prepare for this scenario.

The Ministry of Health of Ukraine is working together with WHO to prevent the spread of dangerous pathogens. In Ukraine there are national and regional laboratories that diagnose infectious diseases and study antibiotic resistance. Health Minister Viktor Liashko notes the importance of working on new strategies to prepare for a possible pandemic and the problem of antibiotic resistance.

By supporting such conspiracy theories, propagandists want to intimidate society and cause people to distrust international institutions. Detector Media has repeatedly written about other conspiracy theories that are spread by Russian propaganda against Ukraine.

Message The United States “plans” to transfer the capital of Ukraine to Lviv if Russia wins

Pro-Kremlin media write that the United States of America is allegedly gradually preparing for Ukraine’s final loss on the battlefield. Consequently, Western officials allegedly had a plan to move the capital of Ukraine to Lviv. The publications refer to the Asian Times.

The VoxCheck analysts investigated the case and explained that the author of the material about moving the capital of Ukraine had previously been noticed for spreading the pro-Kremlin agenda in the media. That is, there is no evidence that the United States “has” certain plans for Ukraine. For example, the author expanded his theses, saying that Ukraine is not capable of winning. Also in November 2023, he claimed that the US was going to replace Volodymyr Zelenskyi by staging a coup. However, such stuffing is baseless and has no evidentiary basis; it is rather playing along with the methods of Russian propaganda.

And in the end, the rhetoric itself, that the United States supposedly has some plans for the Ukrainian state that will be “implemented” without the latter’s consent or, at least, under pressure, is not new. Russian propaganda often pushes the narrative about so-called “external managers” in Ukraine. Allegedly, Ukrainian politicians are subject to these decisions without the right to appeal them. Any events occurring in Ukraine that are not in favor of Russia are allegedly caused by external control. This is how propagandists strive to create an image of a puppet country that cannot exist on its own. Let's say Ukraine constantly needs “protection”.

And they claim that most often, peaceful people who suffer from “external control” pay taxes “God’s know where”, zombified by “Western values” and literally lose the right to be heard. That is, they show that such an “impact” is not good and leads to stagnation in all spheres of people’s lives.

Thus, Russian propaganda seeks to protect itself from the West and Ukraine, in particular, by showing that partnership between states is impossible in modern conditions, because Western countries have selfish plans for any “foreign” lands. Of course, when Moscow turns the relevant political actors against itself, it is not surprising that it has few brothers left. Turning their vector partially towards Asia and dragging their allies with them, Belarus, Eritrea, Syria, and the DPRK are those countries, for example, that are actively blocking any legislative initiatives aimed at supporting Ukraine in the UN General Assembly. But previously, partnership relations with China, against the backdrop of the Ukrainian-Russian war, somewhat worsened. So how many of those faithful “comrades” remain in Russia, except for countries with undemocratic regimes, becomes a controversial issue.

Message Zelenskyi is allegedly preparing to sell off Ukrainian territories

Russian propagandists are spreading the message proposed by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyi. The bill on multiple citizenship is a preparation for the sale of Ukrainian territory. They say that the Ukrainian authorities will grant citizenship to Western businessmen so that they can buy Ukrainian land and enterprises and transport Ukrainian wealth to the EU or the USA.

This information is false. In fact, the Bill is intended to provide the opportunity to obtain Ukrainian passports, in particular, to representatives of the diaspora whose ancestors left Ukraine during various waves of emigration. Also, the proposed changes will allow a Ukrainian passport to foreigners who voluntarily defend Ukraine from Russian invasion. The bill does not provide for any preferences for the purchase of Ukrainian assets. This is stated by the Center for Countering Disinformation under the National Security and Defense Council.

Thus, the Russians are trying to sow panic among Ukrainian society and split it. It should be noted that citizens of the aggressor country will not have the opportunity to obtain a Ukrainian passport. Previously, we analyzed the message that Ukraine would allegedly ask for new military loans and sell its lands at the economic forum in Davos.

Message In Ukraine they “did not declare a state of war” so as not to mobilize people’s deputies

In the Ukrainian segment of TikTok they are distributing a video in which they say that a state of war is not specifically declared in Ukraine, because then deputies and civil servants would be fired, and subsequently those fit for military service would be mobilized.

The VoxCheck analysts explained this stuff: “state of war” is rather a diplomatic term and characterizes the process of a state’s foreign policy in the world. While “martial law” describes the country’s domestic political agenda. And in order to be in a “state of war”  there are no mandatory official documents that would confirm this. For example, the UN Resolution On Aggression in 1974 writes that an invasion or attack by the armed forces of a state on the territory of another country, bombing or blockade of ports is qualified as an act of aggression - in international law, an act of aggression is considered a “primary” or “mother” crime. To briefly explain, if Russia had not attacked (had not committed aggression; had not used the armed forces of its state against the sovereignty of another state), then Ukraine would not have had to defend itself from Moscow’s crimes.

Moreover, politician and diplomat Andrii Shevchenko, in a commentary for Detector Media, explained that there is a war going on in Ukraine and this is understandable without announcements. And he added that international law is not focused on words or statements, but on actions (Russia carried out a large-scale military attack on Ukraine). Therefore, from the point of view of international law, what is happening is an obvious war and a violation of the sovereignty of Ukraine.

And as for the general mobilization, it occurs precisely during the period of “martial law”, or more precisely at the moment this state is declared. And according to the law “On mobilization preparation and mobilization”, people’s deputies, in particular, have a deferment from conscription for military service during mobilization.

Message Russian paratroopers may allegedly land near Kharkiv, in the rear of Ukrainian troops

In its report for January 13, 2024, ISW reported that Russia could form an assault force for landing in the rear of the Ukrainian Armed Forces. Hostomel is mentioned as an example at the beginning of a full-scale invasion. Russian and even Ukrainian resources picked up the news and began to disseminate information about possible similar operations, in particular near Kharkiv.

In fact, this information is not true. This was reported by the Center for Countering Disinformation of the National Security and Defense Council. In the ISW report, it referred to one Russian source, which may already indicate the falsity of what was stated. In addition, it states that Russian paratroopers do not even seem to need parachutes. Everything had to happen by landing helicopters in the near rear for the rapid deployment of personnel. However, since the beginning of the war, Ukraine has significantly strengthened its air defense, and the landing in Hostomel in February 2022 was not successful. The Ukrainian Armed Forces have weapons that are capable of quickly destroying any helicopters and aircraft. For example, the operation to destroy the A-50 aircraft over the Sea of Azov is a clear confirmation. Before this, there were other downings of Russian planes and helicopters.

Such rhetoric is intended to sow fear, uncertainty and doubt among the Ukrainian people. This is one of the propaganda tactics. There will probably be more information leaks on this topic, so trust verified resources. Earlier,  Detector Media analyzed the message of Russian propaganda saying that Ukrainian air defense is about to end.

Message Zelenskyi’s visit to the Baltic countries is an attempt to obtain new loans

Russian propagandists are disseminating information that President Volodymyr Zelenskyi’s visit to the Baltic countries is an attempt, through the “advocate countries” of Ukraine, to obtain a positive vote in the EU for the allocation of new military loans. They say that without this, Ukraine has almost no chance of receiving financial assistance from the EU.

This information is not true, as explained by the Center for Countering Disinformation under the National Security and Defense Council. The real purpose of the visit of the Supreme Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine to the Baltic countries is to deepen cooperation with these states in many areas. In particular, in the area of security, integration into the EU and NATO, and military cooperation.

It should be noted that Zelenskyi’s visit to Lithuania has already brought significant results:

- work began on a bilateral agreement on security guarantees, as provided for in the Joint Declaration of the Group of Seven and the Ukrainian Peace Formula;

- Lithuanian officials approved a new package of military assistance worth 200 million euros, which included ammunition, detonation systems, armored vehicles, and training for the Ukrainian military;

- new agreements in the field of military-industrial complex and military cooperation were signed, support for the renewal of Ukraine continues.

Russian propaganda seeks to convince everyone that Europe is already tired of the war in Ukraine, so they no longer want to provide financial assistance to it. In addition, in this way, propagandists are trying to discredit Ukraine in the international political arena, saying that the Ukrainian leadership is “grasping at the last straw” to receive money from the EU to continue the war.

Message Ukraine is massively mobilizing the “pro-Russian population” into the ranks of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, in particular Odesa residents, with the aim of destroying them

On hostile resources that broadcast pro-Kremlin rhetoric, they spread the message that men from “pro-Russian regions” are now being massively mobilized in Ukraine. They say that the most severe mobilization is taking place in Odesa, but the west of Ukraine is “not touched”.

“With Odesa everything is simple. There are too many people in the city who have a bad attitude towards the authorities and are neutral towards the Russian Federation, advocating an end to the war and further life anyway under some kind of flag (they once lived under the Soviet one, then under the Ukrainian one, and before under the imperial one, and that’s okay) . Based on this, it is necessary to increase the number of deaths among residents of such regions in order to increase aggression against everything Russian. This tactic is not new, Poroshenko has already implemented it”, said one of the anonymous telegram channels disseminating pro-Russian narratives.

This is manipulation. First of all, such messages are intended to impose the misconception that the lion's share of the population of Odesa supports Russia and is critical of the current Ukrainian government. This is also a typical method of indoctrination and dividing Ukrainians into classes: they say that Ukrainians of the “first class” (Ukrainians from the West part) are less likely to be drafted into the ranks of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, while the “lower classes” are used as consumables.

Black PR postcard “Three varieties of Ukrainians”, 2004. Source “Movement Honest”

Such rhetoric aims to sow division in society, to provoke suspicion and hatred of residents of some regions to others, since there is no accurate data on the distribution of those mobilized by region. General statistics with a clear number of mobilized in each region are not published in open sources. However, back in 2022, the head of the personnel department of the headquarters of the Ground Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine argued that there are big mobilization plans in the western regions, since more citizens live there.

Previously, Russian propaganda distributed fake infographics that showed the percentage of mobilized citizens by region, where the Odesa region was in the lead.

Message Paying assistance to Ukrainian male refugees is much more expensive than transferring them to the service of the Armed Forces of Ukraine

Pro-Russian online publications and users of social networks are spreading a call to expel Ukrainian refugees from Germany to Ukraine in order to relieve the burden on the German budget to pay assistance to Ukrainian men and cover the “large losses of the Armed Forces of Ukraine” with recruits. By spreading this thesis, they distort an article by Peter Carstens, a journalist for the German publication Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung to liaise with and match Russian propaganda. It was analyzed by the fact-checker of the StopFake project.

The FAZ article does not call for the deportation of refugees. At the same time, the author compares the costs of social assistance to refugees who have received asylum in Germany with military support from Ukraine. From February 24, 2022 to September 2023, Germany has allocated approximately 24 billion euros to support Ukraine. Of this amount, more than 15 billion euros were allocated to help Ukrainian refugees. Data from the German Federal Government shows that military support to the Ukrainian army by the end of December 2023 amounted to only 5.4 billion euros. Carstens argues that this ratio of spending is ineffective in the context of the confrontation between Russia and Ukraine and it is necessary to increase the share of spending on military support for Kyiv.

Peter Carstens also presented the positions that exist in German society regarding Ukraine and Ukrainian refugees. In particular, he wrote that there are not enough workers in Ukraine not only at the front, but also for civil defense or for extinguishing fires. Carstens also quoted Bundestag member Roderich Kiesewetter: “It would be very helpful if the government could make an agreement so that these young people or older people can return without having to go to the front if they don’t want to”.

In early January, the topic of deportation of Ukrainian men from Europe appeared in fake news about the establishment of checkpoints to “filtrate” Ukrainian men with subsequent mobilization into the Armed Forces of Ukraine. And also in conspiracy theories about the existence of a secret order for the return of men aged 18 to 60 years from abroad, otherwise their passports and Ukrainian citizenship will be revoked.

With such messages, propagandists try to incite distrust in the governments of states hosting Ukrainians. They are also manipulating the topic of developing a bill that could change the rules for registering those liable for military servicemen and performing military service.

Message At the economic forum in Davos, Ukraine will beg for new military loans and sell its lands

Propaganda resources are disseminating information that the Ukrainian delegation is going to the World Economic Forum in Davos to “beg new military loans from world business”. For this, the Ukrainian authorities allegedly want to give away state “lands and assets” for them.

In fact, the key goal of the participation of the Ukrainian delegation in the Davos Forum is to use this platform to promote the implementation of the Ukrainian peace formula. The Center for Countering Disinformation at the National Security and Defense Council writes about this. In Davos, in particular, a meeting of national security advisers and political advisers to the leaders of Ukraine and Great Britain is planned on the implementation of the Ukrainian peace formula.

It is worth noting that Russian messages on the topic of “sale of Ukrainian land” appeared back in 2020. It can be argued that Russian propaganda continues to voice its old “talking points”. Previously, we analyzed the message of propagandists that Russia has always strived for peace, but Ukraine does not want to “agree”.

Message Ukrainian air defense seems to be about to end

After each massive shelling of Ukraine, Russian propagandists claim that Ukrainian air defense is almost running out. They say this is due to the destruction of Western air defense systems by Russian “kinzhals” and the shortage of ammunition for them.

The Center for Strategic Communications at the National Security and Defense Council writes that in fact, air defense systems in Ukraine successfully destroy the majority of Russian missiles and UAVs, including hypersonic “daggers”. This is confirmed by the fact that ten out of ten “daggers” launched into Kyiv on the morning of January 2 were shot down. Ukrainian air defense is capable of repelling massive attacks using various types of weapons (ballistic and cruise missiles, kamikaze drones, etc.). Moreover, the protection of Ukrainian skies is constantly strengthened through cooperation with Ukraine’s international partners. In this regard, Russia is nervous and is trying to pass off wishful thinking.

The purpose of promoting such a message is to sow panic among the population of Ukraine in the face of new Russian shelling and despondency among Ukrainian defenders. Previously, we analyzed the message of Russian propaganda that all air defense systems seemed to be installed in Kyiv, so other cities of Ukraine are not protected.

Message Ukraine supposedly deserves revenge after the attack on Belgorod

Propagandists spreading pro-Russian rhetoric on social networks claim that Ukraine allegedly deserved the shelling of military infrastructure in Kyiv and Kharkiv on January 2. They say that this is an equivalent response to the attack on Belgorod by the Ukrainian Armed Forces on January 1. In addition, they say that the information about the downing of Russian hypersonic missiles is allegedly untrue, since this is not technically possible. None of this is true.

First, a number of visual materials confirm that Russia is once again targeting civilian infrastructure. This is a violation of international humanitarian law and contradicts official statements of the Russian authorities. Moreover, even from the point of view of war tactics, an attack carried out in self-defense in response to numerous rocket attacks on Ukraine on New Year's Day and a targeted mass missile attack using 99 missiles, including 10 hypersonics, are not equivalent phenomena. Moreover, back in May 2023, the Ukrainian Armed Forces announced that they were using the American Patriot system to successfully shoot down Russian Kinzhal hypersonic missiles. In the English-language segment of the Internet one can find a large amount of information about the downing of hypersonic weapons, in particular about methods for determining them in space and neutralizing them.

Propagandists continue to justify the crimes of Russians in various ways. They want to create a false impression that their actions are fair. However, in reality we are talking about searching and creating reasons for the continuation of the aggression that Russia started. In particular, under far-fetched pretexts, such as the fight against the Nazis and US biological laboratories in Ukraine.

Message Ukrainian refugees have turned Poland into the “criminal capital” of the EU

This thesis was spread on social networks, in particular on telegram channels broadcasting pro-Kremlin rhetoric. Reports say that under the “influence of Ukrainian gangs” money laundering, trafficking in children, drugs, weapons, etc. are flourishing in Poland. The publications refer to materials from Polish media.

The VoxCheck analysts worked on the case and explained that the material was published in a Polish-language media system that systematically disseminates Kremlin propaganda. Consequently, any theses do not claim to provide objective information.

One of the materials that really reveals the topic of crimes committed by foreigners in Poland is the material in the publication Rzeczpospolita, which analyzes what crimes migrants have committed in Poland in 2022. The National Police Headquarters prepared statistics specifically for the publication on crimes committed by foreigners in Poland. Thus, in total in 2022, 15 thousand crimes were committed by representatives of different nationalities; Ukrainians, as the largest group, as well as Belarusians and Georgians, were most often included in the statistics. Analysts add: there are about 1.5 million people with Ukrainian citizenship in Poland. That is, according to relative indicators, the number of Ukrainian offenders is 0.15% of all Ukrainians in Poland. The most common type of crime among foreigners, notes Rzeczpospolita, is driving while intoxicated. The second most popular crime is drug possession.

Thus, Russian propaganda is trying to present Ukrainian refugees as criminals or terrorists, as a cultural and economic threat to the EU - in order to reduce support for Ukraine. We mentioned this in our own investigation.

Detector Media analysts have refuted a number of fakes and manipulations on the topic of Ukrainian refugees in Poland. For example, we analyzed a manipulation to increase thefts in Polish stores by a third, allegedly due to Ukrainian refugees. But they also explained another manipulation, according to which propagandists claimed that the attitude of many Poles towards Ukrainians had worsened.

Message The supply of weapons to Ukraine is allegedly a state betrayal of Poland

Pro-Kremlin resources write that the transfer of Polish weapons to Ukraine falls under the definition of treason, since the supposed consequence of such a policy is that Poland remains disarmed. In asserting this, Russian media refer to a report by Przemysław Piasta in the newspaper Myśl Polska.

Journalists of the No Lies project examined this information. As it turns out, the online publication Myśl Polska often publishes Kremlin propaganda, so Przemysław Piasta’s text fits completely into the pro-Russian policy of this media. In reality, Poland is transferring to Ukraine the equipment it replaced with new ones, and is also fulfilling old contracts. That is, the country is actively strengthening its own army and helping Ukrainians.

Russian propaganda is once again trying to weaken military support for Ukraine by Western countries. In addition, by promoting such a message, propagandists seek to cultivate the negative attitude of Poles towards Ukraine and their leadership. Previously, we analyzed the propaganda message that Kyiv is allegedly “preparing a military provocation against Poland” in the event of a critical decline in support from Western countries.

Message Great Britain and Norway are allegedly artificially straining the situation in the Black Sea

Russian media responded to the launch of the new Black Sea coalition with disinformation messages that “Britain and Norway are escalating the situation in the Black Sea”. They argue that the international community's intention to protect civilian shipping in the Black Sea from attacks by the Russian army is a “new stage of aggression” against Russia.

Specialists from the StopFake project drew attention to the message. They found that the work of the new coalition, which includes Great Britain and Norway, is aimed at long-term cooperation and aims to strengthen Ukraine's naval defense, as well as improve its ability to operate along its own coast. However, the main task of the allied countries is to provide assistance to Ukraine in opening trade routes and ensuring free passage of civilian ships in the Black Sea. From the new coalition, Ukraine will receive long-term support, including training, equipment and infrastructure to improve security in the Black Sea. In particular, on December 11, it became known that the British Royal Navy transferred two minesweepers to the Ukrainian Armed Forces to search for Russian mines, and Norway also announced the transfer of two more ships to Ukraine for demining the water area. StopFake analysts recall that the agreement on the transfer of two Royal Navy minesweepers to the Ukrainian Navy was signed back in 2021, before the full-scale Russian invasion, and in the summer of 2023 a ceremony for their commissioning took place.

Russia began growing the conflict zone in the Black and Azov Seas back in 2014, trying to limit Ukraine’s legal right to use its internal waters. Russian actions violate international law, and due to their systematic disregard for them, Russia was expelled from the Council of the UN International Maritime Organization (IMO) in December 2023.

Russian media are deliberately misinterpreting these steps as an “escalation of the situation”, trying to separate them from their context and interpret them favorably in their favor. All this is done to present Russia as a victim.

Message The Armed Forces of Ukraine “lure” Ukrainian women into the army for the sake of meeting men

This thesis was spread on social networks, in particular on telegram channels broadcasting pro-Kremlin rhetoric. Reports say that the Ukrainian Armed Forces are creating an advertising campaign to “promote” women into the army. And they explain this initiative by saying that women should “encourage” men and get to know them. “Do you want a “real man”: strong, courageous, responsible? You know the answer. All the “real men” are here now - join the Armed Forces of Ukraine”, the video says.

The VoxCheck analysts investigated the case and found that such a video does not belong to the official campaigns of the Ukrainian Armed Forces. For example, this video is not on the official website or on the social media pages of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Moreover, using a reverse search on Google, it was possible to find out that the video was compiled using frames from stock videos. In addition, the video was distributed exclusively in the Russian segment of social networks.

Russian propaganda is once again speculating on the topic of “mobilization of women”. But only doctors and pharmacists must register with the military from October 1, 2023; however, military registration does not mean mobilization or the establishment of restrictions on travel abroad. The Ministry of Health notes: registration is necessary only to summarize data on the existing reserve of doctors in the country. The travel of this category of women is unlimited. To register for military service, this category of women will have three years - until December 31, 2026.

Propagandists also repeatedly appealed to the provisions of the bill, previously promulgated by People’s Deputy Marianna Bezuhla. Possible legislative norms published state that women who are fit for military service will be registered as liable for military service. At the same time, during martial law, women are recruited to combat positions only voluntarily. But during a big press conference that Volodymyr Zelenskyi held on December 19, 2023, he said that he would not sign a bill with clauses on the mobilization of women.

Among other things, we recommend reading another of our documented cases, in which propagandists claimed that Ukrainian doctors and pharmacists were supposedly “escaping” from Ukraine en masse through the so-called mobilization.

Message Nazism is allegedly being revived in the world

Russian media disseminated a disinformation statement by Foreign Minister Serhii  Lavrov about the “rebirth of Nazism” in the world. They say that the voting results of Germany, Italy and Japan and a number of other UN countries against the resolution condemning Nazism “cast doubt on the sincerity of their repentance for the events of the Second World War”. However, this is manipulation.

Analysts from the StopFake project drew attention to it. They found out that we are talking about a draft resolution “Countering the glorification of Nazism, neo-Nazism and other practices that contribute to fueling modern forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance”, proposed for consideration by UN member states during several letters. UN Third Committee (social, humanitarian and cultural). The authors of the resolution “on the glorification of Nazism” were Russia, Belarus and Syria.

Several states categorically opposed the adoption of the Russian document. During the debate, several diplomats noted that the Kremlin resolution is a tool of political pressure, as Russia itself tries to justify its aggression against Ukraine with the fanciful excuse of “eliminating neo-Nazism” and the mythical need to “denazify” Ukraine. Several countries have stressed that Russia's actions in Ukraine, as well as its lobbying for pseudo-democratic resolutions, seriously undermine real efforts to combat neo-Nazism. During the debate and numerous votes to amend the draft resolution, the UN Third Committee recommended that the UN General Assembly adopt the document as amended. In particular, with the clause on Russian aggression against Ukraine:

“[The UN General Assembly] notes with alarm that the Russian Federation is trying to justify its territorial aggression against Ukraine with the fanciful excuse of eliminating neo-Nazism, and emphasizes that the use of neo-Nazism as a reason to justify territorial aggression seriously undermines the real efforts to combat it before the adoption of the draft resolution.

Also, during the discussion of the draft resolution, a number of countries called on Russia to immediately stop its aggression against Ukraine and abandon false narratives, “with the help of which Russia is using one of the darkest moments of history to achieve its cynical goals”. UN countries strongly condemned Russia's abuse of anti-Nazi rhetoric and “unequivocally rejected the inaccurate and inappropriate use of the term 'denazification' to justify Russia's desolate, brutal and illegal actions in Ukraine”. Therefore, several countries, in particular Ukraine, the USA, the EU and Japan, refused to vote for the resolution proposed by Russia and advocated amending the document.

Message The Daily Mail allegedly writes that Ukraine is working on a “dirty bomb”

Propagandists are disseminating information with reference to a publication in the British tabloid Daily Mail, allegedly Ukraine has the components to create a “dirty bomb”. They say that the UK began to view Ukraine as a potential threat to Europe due to the fact that Kyiv allegedly “sells weapons indiscriminately to whom and where” and as a result of which terrorists can illegally transport nuclear materials through Europe to the UK.

The story in question is a Daily Mail report titled “Radioactive substances could be smuggled out of Ukraine during invasion unrest and end up used in “dirty bombs” on UK streets unless border controls are tightened in NATO countries, warns nuclear energy expert” dated December 12, 2023. However, this is manipulation.

The StopFake specialists drew attention to it. They found that this time propagandists are manipulating Rachel Bunyan's Daily Mail article to once again portray Ukraine as a danger to the world. In fact, nowhere in the Daily Mail publication is it written that the Ukrainian authorities are somehow illegally selling components for “dirty bombs” to terrorists. On the contrary, the author points out that the danger is precisely the unlawful Russian attacks on Ukrainian nuclear power plants.

Dr. Ghiassi, a research fellow at the Henry Jackson Fellowship think tank, noted in a commentary for the Daily Mail that Russia's takeover of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, one of the largest nuclear power plants in the world, has resulted in regular shelling and power outages making it impossible to safely use the plant. According to the expert, the situation becomes even more dangerous due to the fact that more than 3,000 nuclear fuel cells containing highly radioactive substances and plutonium stored in metal containers at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant are vulnerable to air attacks.

Dr Ghiassi, in a commentary for the Daily Mail, noted that air attacks on the nuclear plant and the damage they caused could “facilitate terrorists or proxy groups acting on behalf of hostile states to illegally obtain radioactive substances to create nuclear dirty bombs”. The expert believes that the insecurity of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant poses “serious threats to the security of Ukraine and countries beyond its borders, including the UK”. He calls on countries to strengthen controls at land and sea borders, in particular, to increase the number of radiation detectors at checkpoints.

Moreover, the publication reminds its readers that initially the full-scale invasion, Russia, without providing evidence, accused Ukraine of Kyiv possibly planning to use a “dirty bomb” in the war. Citing experts interviewed, the Daily Mail writes that “dirty bombs” are relatively primitive and inaccurate weapons that terrorists use “more as a psychological weapon” to intimidate people.

Russia's false claims about a “Ukrainian dirty bomb” and a “Ukrainian nuclear provocation” were refuted not only by the Ukrainian government, but also by international organizations, including the UN. In addition, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), following the results of an unscheduled inspection conducted at the request of Ukraine in November 2022, did not identify any signs of illegal activities at nuclear facilities controlled by Ukraine. The Kremlin propaganda has more than once used the topic of “dirty bombs” to discredit Ukraine in front of its Western partners.