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Since February 24, 2022, Detector Media has been monitoring the Ukrainian segment of social media as well as the Kremlin media and documenting the chronicle of Russian disinformation about Russia’s war against Ukraine on a daily basis. Over time, we started making regular reviews. Find the latest ones here: April 8-15, April 16-23, April 23-30, May 1-7, May 8-14, May 15-21, May 22-28, May 29-June 4, June 5-11, a summary for ten months, and a review of the most ridiculous fakes in the year of the full-scale war.

From June 12 to June 18, 2023, Detector Media recorded more than 30 disinformation pieces. During this time, propagandists claimed that Ukraine is part of Russia and that Greta Thunberg called on Russia not to destroy leopard tanks.

The Despised Zelensky” 

At the beginning of the week, Detector Media analysts recorded a fake news story that Volodymyr Zelenskyy was subject to public scorn upon his arrival in Kherson Oblast. The narrative purportedly emphasized widespread disdain for Zelenskyy across Ukraine. The contentions insinuated Zelensky’s indifference to public sentiment as he proceeded with his “regional tour.” The authors incorporated a video into the publication for added credibility.

In reality, Volodymyr Zelenskyy did undertake a working visit to Kherson Oblast to evaluate the aftermath of the Kakhovka hydroelectric dam destruction. Nonetheless, the video published by the propagandists was doubly manipulated. The creators overdubbed the original audio with expletive-filled dialogues. The video initially surfaced in November 2022, coinciding with the president’s visit to the liberated Kherson. In the authentic video, Ukrainians chanted “Glory to Ukraine!” to which Volodymyr Zelenskyy and his accompanying delegation responded, “Glory to the heroes!”

Sabotage by the Armed Forces of Ukraine

Pro-Kremlin anonymous Telegram channels also disseminated a fake story alleging the Ukrainian military’s bombardment of the Togliatti-Odesa ammonia pipeline. The authors implicated lethal toxic fumes enveloping the Ukrainian military positions, resulting in one soldier’s death, several being poisoned, and the remainder being instructed to don gas masks. These propagandists also promoted the notion of the Ukrainian military intentionally attacking industrial infrastructures.

However, the Kharkiv Regional Military Administration refuted these claims, attributing the pipeline damage near Masiutivka village (Kharkiv Oblast) to the Russian military’s artillery fire. Subsequently, the regional administration chief confirmed the pipeline’s depressurization.

The claims concerning the deaths and poisoning of military personnel were also false. The Kharkiv Regional Administration subsequently declared that the ammonia emission situation in the Kupiansk district was effectively managed. The facility’s safety valves had been activated during the shelling, resulting in a relatively minor ammonia leak.

In truth, it’s the Russian military engaging in industrial facility terror attacks and wreaking havoc on Ukraine’s ecosystem. The Main Intelligence Directorate of Ukraine recently divulged that Russians are setting mines at the Crimean Titan plant in temporarily occupied Armyansk, prepping for a terror attack that could release about 200 tons of ammonia, potentially causing a catastrophic environmental disaster. The invaders simply mirror their own actions, deflecting blame for terrorism and civilian casualties onto Ukrainians.

The Assault on a Pole”

Throughout the week, a fake news story proliferated in the Polish social media segment. The circulated message alleged that a Ukrainian teenager had assaulted his Polish counterpart in a Polish school. A video where the Russian language could be heard was attached as evidence. The authors of the message made a conclusion about Ukrainians’ hostile attitude towards Poles.

Contrarily, the original video stemmed from the Russian social media segment and was disseminated via Russian Telegram channels. These posts indicated that the scuffle ensued in a rural school in Turochak, Altai Republic (Russia), over an e-cigarette theft dispute.

By disseminating such distortions, the propagandists aim to stir resentment against Ukrainians among Poles and instigate artificially created animosity, insinuating that Ukrainian refugees are ungrateful.

Welcome... to Russia?

This week, anonymous pro-Russian Telegram channels circulated a fake news item claiming that Ukrainian telecom providers dispatched text messages to Ukrainians reading, “Welcome to Russia.” The authors attached a screenshot purportedly displaying Kyivstar and Vodafone operators allegedly communicating about Russia’s hospitable nature.

Both Vodafone and Kyivstar explained that they did not dispatch such messages and confirmed there were no interruptions that could lead to such an occurrence, like cyberattacks. ‘

Furthermore, Kyivstar noted that the fake images contained errors and signs of manipulation. For instance, text lines had varying spaces, and the term “today” was incorrectly spelled. The operator also reminded users that their standard practice involves appending the date, year, and exact message time, information absent in the attached screenshot. 

Thus, the propagandists attempt to mock Ukrainians with the implication that Ukraine is part of Russia.

Nazism and Occultism in Europe Favoring Ukraine”

Also this week, analysts recorded the pro-Kremlin media’s response to the recent decision of a Dutch court to return the “Crimea. Golden Island in the Black Sea” collection to Ukraine. The collection was previously housed in the Allard Pierson Museum in Amsterdam. Propagandists deemed this action a total degradation of the European international law system. They speculated that the court’s verdict was influenced by the supposed “Nazi tendencies” of the EU and Ukraine. They also suggested that Ukraine and Europe were “amassing magical artifacts” to undermine Russia.

In truth, a civilized society was merely returning Ukraine’s historical heritage back home. Conversely, the plundering country attempts to strip Ukrainians of their identity by pilfering museums and asserting that all historical monuments belong to it. Current estimates suggest that Russia has damaged or destroyed over 550 Ukrainian cultural heritage sites. Some of these sites have been showcased by BBC journalists on an interactive map available online. Despite this, Ukraine has rightfully reclaimed the collection of Scythian gold.

With this narrative, the propagandists aim to rationalize their failure to claim the collection as their own and cast doubt on the preparedness of international institutions to handle similar issues.

Stop Killing Leopards, Dictator

Over the week, analysts noted a fake news story disseminated in the Georgian Facebook segment. Messages claimed that Greta Thunberg, wielding a poster, urged Putin to halt the killing of “leopards.” The authors supplemented their claim with a photograph of the environmental activist holding a poster with the corresponding caption.

However, the photograph of Greta Thunberg was doctored. In reality, she was holding a sign reading “Let Russia Strike For the Climate” and shared the photo on Twitter in 2019 to encourage Russia to participate in climate crisis protests.

The propagandists equated real leopards with military equipment—tanks—employing the image of the eco-activist. 

By doing so, the authors of the fake attempt to distort reality, suggesting that Ukraine continually loses and that Western weapons are being “effectively” destroyed by Russians, using this misrepresentation to mock Ukraine.

Chief of GUR Undergoing Rehabilitation in Germany”

At the week’s conclusion, anonymous Telegram channels spreading pro-Kremlin rhetoric disseminated a fake claim that the Chief of the Main Intelligence Directorate (GUR), Kyrylo Budanov, was hospitalized in Germany after being injured by a Russian missile. It was alleged that he was first airlifted to Poland before being transported to Germany on an American evacuation flight.

A GUR representative, Andriy Yusov, denied this information. Kyrylo Budanov continues to fulfill his official responsibilities. 

This fake forms part of a series of propaganda claims concerning the “death” of Ukraine’s military leadership, seemingly designed to instigate panic.

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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