RUSSIAN DISINFORMATION AND PROPAGANDA
DIGEST COUNTERING RUSSIAN DISINFORMATION AND PROPAGANDA, 29 June 2022
Kremlin propaganda is trying to justify another Russian military war crime concerning to a missile strike on the city of Kremenchuk in Poltava region.
The bottom line of Russian propagandists’ statements is that the tragedy in Kremenchuk was a provocation, and the “fire” was caused by an explosion at a nearby industrial facility. They used various fake excuses for a missile strike on a local shopping center. Initially, anonymous telegram channels did not rule out that Russia could strike, but later began to look for evidence of why Ukrainians are to blame.
Some wrote about pre-planned provocations in Kremenchuk and called the tragedy a “fire”. One of the telegram channels wrote that “the explosion in Kremenchuk may be the largest Ukrainian provocation, which can be compared only with Bucha”. Other pro-Russian telegram channels, citing “numerous videos” from the scene, reported that the shopping centre caught fire as a result of an explosion at a nearby plant.
The propagandists have already used these scenarios after the shelling of residential buildings in Kyiv and Odesa, the railway station in Kramatorsk, and the genocide in Bucha and Irpin.
The Russian Defence Ministry reported that the strike from a high-precision weapon took place in the warehouses of the plant, and the flames spread to the shopping center, which did not work. After this statement, anonymous telegram channels began to shift the emphasis in messages about provocation: allegedly Ukrainians “informed” the Russians that “something is” on the site and the shopping center was deliberately not closed during the air raid.
On June 27, at about 4 p.m., the Russians fired rockets at Kremenchuk’s largest shopping center, Amstor, which was visited by hundreds of people. The information about the missile strike was confirmed by the head of the Regional Military Administration, the mayor of Kremenchuk, and the video was published by the official telegram channel of the President of Ukraine.
The Air Force Command of the Armed Forces of Ukraine reported that X- 22 missiles fired from Tu-22 M3 long-range bombers hit the shopping center. It stated that “Russian planes took off from Shaikovka airfield, and launches were made from the Kursk region”. It should be noted that the Russians fired the same missiles at the Kremenchuk refinery on May 12, 2022.
The Office of the Prosecutor General of Ukraine reported that 40 appeals of citizens about the disappearance of relatives were recorded. 59 people sought medical help, 25 of them were hospitalized. According to the head of the Poltava Regional Military Administration Dmytro Lunin, on the morning of June 28, 2022, 18 people died as a result of the missile strike. A day of mourning was announced in the region.
Russian propaganda continues to speculate on Western support to Ukraine.
Various pro-Kremlin speakers, followed by the Russian media, spread the manipulative thesis that “the West wants to fight against Russia to the last Ukrainian”. Russian propaganda also says that, in addition to Ukrainians, the “collective West” allegedly intends to sacrifice residents of the Baltic States and Poland.
According to StopFake, the call to “fight to the last Ukrainian” is attributed to the UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson. In fact, Johnson did not call on Ukrainians to perish, but instead warned Russians that “Ukrainians would defend their country – and if necessary – to the last drop of blood”. The G7 leaders also did not push Ukraine to fight “to the last Ukrainian”, but instead expressed their readiness to share the burden of this struggle and pledged to provide Ukraine with indefinite support in countering Russian aggression.
Russian MP Dmitrii Sablin also believes that military aid to Ukraine has only one goal. He stated that “it’s an eternal American value – let them kill each other as many as possible and we will benefit. In all the countries destroyed under the leadership of the United States, it added gasoline to the fire, only the conflict subsided. The Ukrainian authorities surrendered the country, made it a battlefield between the West and Russia. Like the Western masters, they are ready to fight to the last Ukrainian”.
It should be noted that Russia has been promoting the narrative of “external governance of Ukraine by the West” for a long time. Already after February 24, 2022, Russian propaganda began to spread the message that the supply of weapons by the West allegedly indicates the desire of Western countries to “continue the war in Ukraine for their own benefit”. Thus, Russia is trying to demonize the “collective West” and put itself in a “positive” context.
Russian propaganda continues to manipulate the issue of security in Europe and promote the narrative of an “aggressive” Ukraine.
In this context, on June 27, pro-Kremlin media reported that Ukrainian
President Volodymyr Zelenskyy was allegedly “preparing a strike on Transnistria”. The Russian media also remind of a series of terrorist attacks in the temporarily occupied Moldovan territory, hinting at Ukraine’s involvement in these attacks.
In fact, Ukraine has nothing to do with the “terrorist attacks” on the territory of unrecognized Transnistria and respects the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Moldova. Russia’s disinformation on the subject is aimed at undermining good neighborly relations between Ukraine and Moldova.
It is a series of explosions that erupted in April 2022 in the territory of the Russian-controlled “Transnistrian Moldavian Republic” (“Transnistria”). Ukraine has denied all allegations of involvement in the “terrorist attacks” and called the bombings “a series of provocative measures organized by Russia to fuel panic and anti-Ukrainian sentiment”.
To create fake news that Ukraine is allegedly preparing a strike on Transnistria, the Russian media used the classic methods of propaganda: clickbait and a quote taken from the context of the speaker. The misinformation is based on a statement made by Volodymyr Zelenskyy on June 27 during a meeting with Moldova’s President Maya Sandu. Ukrainian President stressed that both countries have threats based on Russian aggression and Russian policy, so the responses of Ukraine and Moldova to these threats should also be joint.
In this context, he warned that any aggressive actions from Transnistria would receive a proportional response. There was no word that Ukraine was “preparing to attack Transnistria”. On the contrary, Zelenskyy highlighted that destabilization in the region should be avoided.
Russian propaganda spread a manipulative thesis that Ukraine should make steps to stop the war.
In this context, Russian media cited Dmitrii Peskov, spokesman to the Russian President, who said that “the Ukrainian side can stop everything by the end of the current day. We need an order for the nationalist units to lay down their arms, an order for the Ukrainian military to lay down their arms, and Ukraine needs to fulfill the conditions of the Russian Federation”.
This message is aimed primarily at population, living in the war zone. According to the occupiers, the people who are under constant shelling are ready to go to any conditions just to stop the war.
Provocative statements that Ukraine can stop the war in one day can sow doubt and distrust in the state leadership. It should be remembered that Ukraine did not start this war to stop it by order. In fact, the Kremlin leadership can end the war at any time by withdrawing its troops and stopping shelling territory of Ukraine.
Writer Irina Mirochnik is the President at IMMER Group & Doctor of Philosophy in Law(PhD)
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