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Since February 24, 2022, Detector Media has been monitoring the Ukrainian segment of social networks and Kremlin media and documenting the chronicle of Russian disinformation about Russia’s war against Ukraine on a daily basis. Over time, we have started to make regular reviews. Read the latest ones here: May 1-7, May 8-14, May 15-21, May 22-28, May 29-June 4, June 5-11, June 12-18, June 19-25, and the final text for ten months, as well as a review of the most ridiculous fakes in the year of the great war.

From June 25 to July 2, 2023, analysts at Detector Media noted over 30 instances of disinformation. Throughout this period, propagandists claimed that the Kyiv Hydroelectric Power Plant was suffering from a 93% defect rate and that Ukraine was employing decommissioned ammunition.

Spoiled Weapons” 

At the onset of the week, analysts shed light on the supposed use of defunct ammunition by the Ukrainian Armed Forces. Anonymously posted messages on Telegram suggested that the Ukrainian military, due to an alleged shortage of weaponry, was resorting to using faulty shells. The original posters argued that this would cause a rapid breakdown of equipment (attributed to the defective ammunition) and would leave no resistance against the Russian military. These posts were accompanied by supposed photographs of a Ukrainian weapons warehouse.

However, it was later revealed that the images were of a Russian weapons depot recently uncovered by the State Special Transport Service in the Kharkiv region. The usable shells were handed over to the Ukrainian military, while the damaged ones were discarded. Hence, the images displayed Russian weapons, and the shells were indeed defunct. However, this has no bearing on the Ukrainian military and its weapon stockpiles. The propagandists mirrored the situation and falsely labeled Russian weapons as Ukrainian.

Ukrainian Punishers” 

Anonymous Telegram channels pushing pro-Kremlin narratives also circulated fake news that the Ukrainian military was advocating for the annihilation of all individuals in areas liberated from Russian occupation. The writers referenced an alleged Telegram channel belonging to the 35th Ukrainian Brigade.

In reality, the 35th Brigade has no official presence on Telegram. Thus, the channel from which this information was disseminated is fraudulent, and all of its posts are untruthful.

Russian propagandists have repeatedly created imitations of pages of Ukrainian soldiers or even entire brigades in an effort to gain trust and propagate narratives advantageous to them.

Kyiv’s Deterioration under Zelenskyy and Klitschko” 

During the week, we covered The Economist’s recent ranking of the most livable cities. The report placed Kyiv amongst the ten worst cities. Anonymous Telegram channel authors attributed this outcome to the lax governance of Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Mayor Vitali Klitschko.

However, the decline in Kyiv’s ranking was the consequence of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine. The report listed Kyiv as the 165th city with a score of 44 out of 100. The analysts emphasized that Kyiv’s rating dropped by 5.9% compared to 2021 due to the toll the war took on its stability, infrastructure, and overall living conditions. The Economist also highlighted that the city earned a mere 23.2 points out of 100 in the infrastructure domain owing to relentless Russian attacks. Furthermore, Russia’s belligerence towards Ukraine impacted the ratings of other Eastern European cities like Warsaw and Budapest because of their close vicinity to the war zone. In 2022, the publication completely omitted Kyiv from the ranking due to the ongoing war, resulting in the city lacking points in several categories.

Personal Bunker” 

Russian media outlets and anonymous Telegram channels broadcasting pro-Kremlin rhetoric spread a fake that a subterranean bomb shelter was constructed for Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Moldova. The authors asserted that Zelenskyy conducted negotiations with Moldovan authorities in this location, purportedly deliberating on the amelioration of Ukrainian-Moldovan relations.

However, the reality is that Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s discussions took place in a winery housed within the historic Mimi Castle, where he was attending the summit of the European Political Community. Evidence of his participation can be found in a group photo of the leaders who attended the event on the European Council’s website. The ancient castle itself is situated near Chişinău. It is most likely that Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s meeting with European leaders was held in one of the castle’s chambers.

Three-Armed Joe” 

Midweek, we came across a fake story alleging that a third hand belonging to Joseph Biden has been discovered. The authors reportedly shared a screen capture from a video showing Joe Biden standing near a podium, his two arms elevated slightly above it, and his so-called “third hand” resting on the podium’s edge.

However, the image was manipulated using Photoshop. The original footage was taken from a video speech delivered by the US president following Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. The authentic video only shows two hands.

Destroyed Tanks” 

Pro-Kremlin propaganda channels and anonymous Telegram accounts proudly narrated their “victories” on the battlefield, asserting that Russians were effectively annihilating Ukrainian tanks. For instance, they claimed that on June 9, a Russian army drone effortlessly obliterated a Ukrainian tank in the Donetsk region, providing video proof alongside the story.

Nevertheless, on June 9, the Russians targeted a dummy tank, not a functional one. The decoy was placed there to mislead the aggressors. Oleksandr Afanasiev, an officer from the 54th Separate Mechanized Brigade of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, uploaded a video on his social media showing the aftermath of the attack. In the video, he expressed his disbelief that the Russian military fell for the bait set by the Defense Forces. Such “decoys” can be used by the military to make the enemy deplete their ammunition.

It’s not to say that the Russians are incapable of damaging Ukrainian equipment on the battlefield; during a war, this is more than likely. However, the propagandists purposely overstate the significance of “demolished” equipment on the battlefield to insinuate an alleged lack of combat proficiency in the Ukrainian army.

Kyiv HPP in Crisis” 

Towards the week’s end, anonymous Telegram channels broadcasting pro-Kremlin rhetoric disseminated a fake story that the Ukrainian authorities announced a 93% defect rate in the Kyiv Hydroelectric Power Plant. They maintained that the relevant departments were neglecting the power plant’s safety, potentially leading to the flooding of certain areas. As proof, the authors shared a map of Kyiv marked with areas predicted to flood.

In reality, no official statements from the authorities regarding this issue have been made, which means that the claim of the “Kyiv HPP’s emergency state” is a propaganda ploy.

NGO “Detector Media” has been working for our readers for over 20 years. In times of elections, revolutions, pandemics and war, we continue to fight for quality journalism. Our experts develop media literacy of the audience, advocate for the rights of journalists, and refute Russian disinformation.

“Detector Media” resumes the work of our Community and invites those who believe that the media should be better: more professional, truthful and transparent.


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