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Викриття What anonymous telegram channels wrote about Zelenskyi's trip to the UK, France and Belgium

Against the background of news about the visit of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyi to the UK, France and Belgium, pro-Russian anonymous telegram channels have been spreading a lot of disinformation messages, with the help of which Russia imposes its own interpretation of events on the audience. Analysts of Detector Media have identified the most common of them.

Zelenskyi's visit diverts attention from the situation in Bakhmut

In December, during Zelenskyi’s visit to the United States, propagandists wrote that Zelenskyi deliberately flew out of the country in order to “hang” the surrender of Bakhmut on the Commander-in-Chief of the Ukrainian Army Valerii Zaluzhnyi. Like, there is a long-standing conflict between Zelenskyi and Zaluzhnyi and such a decision is the consequences. Allegedly, “guilt” will allow them to change the commander-in-chief. However, Bakhmut is still under the control of the Ukrainian army. This time, the propagandists also take advantage of the difficult situation that has arisen in the city due to the Russian invasion. In their opinion, Zelenskyi wants to look like a hero, so he personally left to negotiate for weapons. However, to do this, he allegedly needs to convince Western partners that at least three hundred thousand more people will be mobilized into the Ukrainian army. Allegedly, such a figure is “justified” by the losses of personnel. However, such statements are only the assumption of propagandists. They don't provide any evidence. In this case, Russian propaganda is promoting several manipulative messages at once: Western support for Ukraine is waning; there are huge losses in the Ukrainian army, which will be covered by forced mobilization; Zelenskyi is “playing the hero”. In fact, Volodymyr Zelenskyi is acting president of a country at war and is negotiating with partners for further cooperation.

Zelenskyi’s trip to Europe “extinguishes” the corruption scandal in Ukraine

They say that the corruption scandal with procurement by the Ministry of Defense undermined the image of Ukraine. As if Ukraine now needs to create a positive “motivational” picture for the Europeans. According to the authors of anonymous telegram channels, Zelenskyi's visit, they say, will be able to change the headlines on the front pages of the Western press. Such theses are manipulation, because they do not have a causal relationship. Of course, the media will cover the visit of the President of Ukraine, we see a lot of positive feedback, but there are no guarantees that there will be no negative headlines for Ukraine either.

Zelenskyi is no longer a “bunker ruler” after debunking the myth that Putin wants to kill him

In such reports, anonymous authors refer to a recent interview with former Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, which Russian propaganda used to spread disinformation. Propagandists claim that Putin showed mercy and promised not to kill Zelenskyi. However, propagandists invented this statement, distorting the meaning of what Bennett said.

In spreading this message, Russian propaganda uses the tactic of substitution of concepts. In fact, the Russian president is called the “bunker old man”, and not only by Ukrainians, but also by Belarusians and Russians. Unlike Putin, who rarely attends any events, Volodymyr Zelenskyi from the first days of the great war recorded videos in front of the building of the President's Office and showed the Ukrainians that he was in Ukraine. Trips to the liberated Bakhmut, Kherson, Izium and other cities, a visit to the United States also refute the version of the propagandists about “concealment” of Volodymyr Zelenskyi.

Zelenskyi will travel more in Europe in 2023, in particular because of the elections

Anonymous telegram channels write that Zelenskyi is allegedly preparing for the upcoming elections, so there will be more foreign work trips in the near future. Thus, propagandists are trying to be proactive and try to convince Ukrainians that the authorities are supposedly more worried about the upcoming elections and their continued tenure than about the war and the current problems of Ukrainians. However, according to Ukrainian legislation, elections are not held under martial law. So far, martial law has been extended until May 20, 2023. That is, elections to the Verkhovna Rada, presidential elections in Ukraine or local elections will take place only after the end of the war.

In Britain, they took a photo of Zelenskyi in front of a tank - this is the maximum that he can get from the trip

Reports say that the British allegedly allowed Zelenskyi to be photographed in front of the Challenger 2 tank solely to advertise the tank in the world media. As if these tanks will never appear on the front lines in Ukraine. Like, they promised to give them within a month, but only when placed in the capital for “PR”. Tanks will not be sent to the front. In fact, the Ukrainian military has already arrived in the UK and is learning how to operate these tanks. Moreover, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak assured Volodymyr Zelenskyi that the UK would expedite the dispatch of its and allied equipment to Ukraine “to ensure it reaches Ukraine’s frontline in the coming days and weeks, not years”.

Visit to the European Parliament will not have results

There are also messages in anonymous telegram channels broadcasting pro-Russian rhetoric, the authors of which claim that “except for the applause of insane senile people” a visit to the European Parliament will not give Ukraine anything. Like, they applaud Zelenskyi, take a picture with him, and that will be the end of it. Thus, Russian propaganda is trying to promote messages about “insignificant Europe” and “the absurdity and helplessness of European institutions”. Like, in fact, they do not solve anything and are not capable of anything. However, the head of the European Parliament, Roberta Metzola, in her speech noted that the European Union should take the next step and consider providing fighter jets to Ukraine. The visit of the President of Ukraine is still ongoing, so it is too early to sum up the results, as propagandists do.

Messages aimed at ridiculing Volodymyr Zelenskyi personally

In anonymous telegram channels, propagandists also use the tactics of ridicule and discredit Volodymyr Zelenskyi. This is necessary for propagandists to devalue the results of a foreign visit. In particular, they write that Zelenskyi was allegedly brought to the UK “like an amazing monkey” for the British monarch. Like, Zelenskyi, as a “beggar”, went to beg for help, moreover, he cried in the European Parliament, and this is a sign of weakness for propagandists. Thus, Russian propaganda is trying to make Ukrainians feel ashamed of their leader and his behavior abroad.

The second foreign visit of Volodymyr Zelenskyi since the beginning of the full-scale invasion has already become historic: the British monarch honored the Ukrainian president with an audience. Against the backdrop of Zelenskyi's visit, the UK imposed new sanctions against Russia. The President of France also awarded Volodymyr Zelenskyi with the Order of the Legion of Honor, the highest award in France that can be received for civil merit.

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