Ukrainian neo-Nazis and mercenaries are preparing for war. Disinformation monitor #116
- Russian intervention is key to order in the “post-Soviet space”
- NATO “seduces Ukraine to go to war”
- Polish mercenaries, together with neo-Nazis, are preparing genocide in the Donbas
- Macron wants “Ukraine’s full submission”
- Erdogan dreams of a Turkish Crimea
- Learn how topics of disinformation have changed over the past year with our interactive visualization
Period: February 7 — 13, 2022
What’s new in disinformation?
Last week, the number of fake news regarding the attacks of the Armed Forces on the occupied territories increased. Disinformers made up news about Polish mercenaries, neo-Nazis in the Donbas, and about Kyiv's preparations for provocations against the Crimean people or a terrorist attack in the government-controlled territories. All this allegedly testifies to the expected armed attack of the Ukrainian army on the Donbas.
In the diplomatic arena, according to disinformation, Ukraine is failing miserably: a free trade agreement with Turkey only benefits Ankara, Emmanuel Macron has betrayed Ukraine and wants to force it to comply with the Minsk agreements, and Biden is helping Ukraine only to "profit from the war".
Fueling emotions around the invasion
We continue to highlight some separate topics in the texts related to the escalation and a possible invasion of Russian troops into Ukraine. Last week, the classic Russian arguments about Russia's peacekeeping position, foreign governance of Ukraine, and the argument that Kyiv allegedly does not want peace and does not comply with the Minsk agreements have all survived. But there were also some "fresh" consequences of the deluded imperialist fantasy.
Comparing Ukraine to Kazakhstan
"Ukraine will repeat the fate of Kazakhstan" and will definitely return to the pro-Russian position in the event of the invasion of Russian troops. Such opinions were voiced for Russian websites by their own pocket experts. The pseudo experts came to the conclusion that "the main cause of the crises in the republics of the former USSR are their attempts to establish a ‘multi-vector’ foreign policy and flirting with nationalists." And they said that Kazakhstan, with the help of Russia, has coped with this problem, but Ukraine has not. And so, "without Russian intervention, there will be no order in the post-Soviet space."
“When our paratroopers landed on the airstrip in Altma-Ata, it was not even news, but confirmation of a simple situation, when all the Nazi bastard, talking about the greatness of the Kazakh Khaganate, about the colonization of Russians and about the famine, disappeared without a trace”
“Not real” Ukrainian nationalists
Ukrainian nationalists remain true to their ideas only as long as they receive money. This is a logical conclusion to the comparison of Ukraine with Kazakhstan and to the many years of attempts by Russian disinformation to discredit any pro-Ukrainian forces. Russian manipulative publications prophesize: “When Russian and pro-Russian units enter Kharkiv, they will be greeted with bread and salt”.
“When the situation in Ukraine changes, we will see how most of the people who were ‘hurting their throats’ bawling against Russia will begin to tell us that they were misunderstood and that they actually fought for the Russian world”
Western media “are brainwashing the public with an inevitable Russian invasion of Ukraine soon”
Russian websites massively disseminated the words of the official representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation Maria Zakharova that "hysteria in the Western media about the situation around Ukraine indicates an impending provocation" and thus shifted responsibility for the escalation to Ukraine and the abstract West. Propagandists mentioned how Bloomberg accidentally published an article about Russia's attack on Ukraine and based their conspiracy theories on this news:
“But it’s a completely different matter that it was precisely this mistake that played out, and the fact that the Bloomberg agency clearly does not have and has not prepared in advance the headline that Ukraine unleashed hostilities in the Donbas, that the Armed Forces of Ukraine bombed Donetsk and Luhansk, which led to mass casualties among the civilian population there”.
NATO longs for an armed conflict in Ukraine
NATO is "seducing Ukraine with war." After all, NATO and the United States "are saturating Ukraine with weapons, thereby pushing it to military adventures." Ukraine, on the other hand, "has long since turned into a landfill for military garbage through the efforts of its benefactors," and it "continues to fuel militaristic Russophobic psychosis."
Ukrainian manipulative media are promoting statements by some American media persons who are in opposition to the administration of US President Joe Biden that the US military-industrial complex allegedly seeks to escalate the conflict in order to "profit from the war." They are convinced that Kyiv knows that Russia does not plan to invade Ukraine: "even Kyiv and Moscow, despite their antagonism, say that no attack on Ukrainian territory is being prepared," and when asked who is interested in escalating the situation, they say positively that “evidence has appeared that the manufacturers of Javelins, which are now massively supplied to Ukraine, are engaged in overt lobbyism”.
And what is in the focus of Russian politicians (and, following them, the Russian sites) is the thesis of Ukraine with a neutral status as a guarantee of peace in Europe. Propagandists now seriously say that Ukraine should maintain equal relations with both the West and Russia: “The peace, stability and prosperity of Ukraine, equidistant from Russia on the one hand, and from NATO and the EU on the other, can be the best of the really achievable results”.
“Moscow has never limited Kyiv in the choice of allies and alliances, it only emphasizes that this should not pose a threat to the security of the Russian Federation, and Ukraine's accession to NATO and the deployment of weapons closer to Russian borders cannot be considered otherwise than such a threat.”
As to why it is important for Russia to receive guarantees from the West that Ukraine will not be admitted to NATO, read this interview in English with Olexander Bohomolov, head of the National Institute for Strategic Studies.
Armed Forces of Ukraine are shelling the occupied territories and preparing an offensive
The propagandist media of the occupied territories continue to fabricate fake stories about how "Kyiv has been using criminal, terrorist methods of war against the Donbas and its people throughout the conflict." It is alleged that the Armed Forces of Ukraine are already using weapons received from NATO to shell Donbas cities and villages.
And last week propagandists added a fake news that "Ukraine is amassing neo-Nazis and mercenaries from Poland in the Donbas." Russian disinformers have emotionally described Poland pushing Kyiv to "start genocide of the Donbas population" or how the Ukrainian command is allegedly "forming assault groups of ideologically motivated nationalists who will have to fight in the city and carry out tasks despite civilian casualties." In fact, there are no mercenaries in Ukraine, and NATO representatives present here legally and publicly only act as instructors and are only serving in training centers, and the vast majority of them left Ukraine during the latest escalation.
Propagandists also disseminate fakes about a planned staged terrorist attack in the territory controlled by Ukraine: “Undercover intelligence of the People's Militia of the LPR received information about the preparation by Ukrainian special services of a staged high-profile terrorist act with numerous casualties among the civilian population at one of the industrial or social facilities in Kharkiv, Luhansk, or Donetsk regions which produce dangerous products”.
Note that here they use the traditional propagandist method: they accuse their enemy (ie Ukraine) of what they are doing themselves. It will be recalled that previously, US intelligence services reported a possible Russian false flag provocation under the Ukrainian flag, which could be used as a pretext for the invasion. This did not happen, probably due to the releasing of intelligence about such plans.
Macron betrayed Ukraine
It is difficult to call Macron's visit to the Kremlin a breakthrough, but it cannot be called a "betrayal" of Ukraine and its interests. Immediately after the meeting with the Russian leader, Macron flew to Kyiv to meet with Zelensky. In contrast to the talks in Moscow, the meeting between Macron and Zelensky was quite fruitful: the President of France brought Ukraine more than a billion funding for business development projects.
Disinformers actively covered Macron's visits. Of course, only in a negative, decadent tone. This is especially true of Ukrainian manipulative websites that distribute Russian disinformation. According to them, Macron did not bring "anything good" to Kyiv, and the main purpose of his visit was "Ukraine’s full submission" to implement the Minsk agreements, because he "does not care at all what will happen to Ukraine."
"Fighting terrorism and provocations" as the coverup for repressions against the Crimean Tatars
Russia's Permanent Representative to the UN Gennady Gatilov accused Ukraine of preparing provocations against the population of Crimea: “Hotheads in Kyiv may decide on other desperate forceful actions, for example, against Russian citizens in Crimea or Russian subjects of the Federation bordering Ukraine”.
The Russian occupationist administration in Crimea also continues to crack down on Crimean Tatars in Crimea and to calls them terrorists. Last week, the Russian FSB searched the homes of Ansar Osmanov, Ametkhan Abdulvalov, Marlen Mustafayev and Ernest Seitosmanov, after which they were all detained. The detainees were active participants in protests against repression in Crimea and helped political prisoners. Russian propaganda media called their arrest "the elimination of a terrorist cell."
Unfair deal with Turkey and Erdogan who wants to take Crimea
On February 3, Kyiv and Ankara signed a Free Trade Agreement. We wrote about its benefits for Ukraine. But as always, anything that is useful to Ukraine is presented as a complete failure by Russian disinformation. So it was this time. Ukrainian manipulative sites disseminated Medvedchuk's thesis that "an agreement on these terms kills Ukrainian industry," and that Volodymyr Zelensky "can sign anything, on any terms, despite the damage to the country."
Russian websites targeting Ukrainian issues have pushed the thesis that "national agricultural remnants have just been completely handed over." They revived the old myth that "Erdogan would obviously like to raise the question of Crimea's belonging to Turkey in the future", promoting the thesis that Turkey has a strong political force that advocates that "Crimea is Russia's territory", but they are hindered by “US agents among the Turkish elite”
According to disinformers, in Erdogan's eyes, Ukraine remains only a situational ally who fears Russian military force: “he will look at what will happen to Ukraine in the nearest future. If a peacekeeping operation to force the Bandera-Maidan regime to peace begins which ends in Kyiv, then he, of course, will recognize Crimea as Russian. But if the peacekeeping operation of the Russian armed forces is postponed for some reason, he will continue to say that Crimea is Ukrainian”.
It should be noted here that sowing discord between neighboring nations is one of the four principles of Russia's "active measures" aimed at undermining the country against which Russia is at war.
Also this week:
After the sanctions against the “NASH” TV channel, Ukrainian manipulative media again began to talk about "lawlessness", pressure on "independent channels", the authoritarian regime and Zelensky's dictatorship. They also promoted the idea that "the escalation of relations between Ukraine and Russia arose after Medvedchuk's arrest."
Security cooperation and the strengthening of allied relations between Poland, Ukraine, and Great Britain continue to worry Russian propagandists. They called the alliance the "Alliance of the Weak" and alternately accused Britain and Poland of Russophobia and inciting war in Ukraine.
Exactly as stated in the Russian military doctrine, Russian troops near Ukraine's borders are being used simultaneously with disinformation attacks. Almost all political events in one way or another are reduced to the theme of invasion and escalation. At the same time, on Russian websites, Ukraine continues to be both the aggressor (who is even ready to stage a terrorist attack on its own territory to justify an armed attack on the occupied Donbas) and a puppet of the West. Any bilateral agreements and negotiations of Ukraine with any other countries only serve as evidence to confirm the propagandist theses on the surrender of Ukrainian national interests and on external governance.
Limitations of the study:
In this study, we only regarded the topics which are in line with Russian disinformation campaigns. Most of them are based on real events, as disinformation works more effectively this way. Topic names reflect manipulations used in the topic. Accordingly, news stories on Ukrainian mainstream sites on the same topic may have completely different content from that of manipulative materials.
We take the topics of Russian propaganda in Ukraine from the following groups of materials:
- manipulative news from the Russian online publications which write on Ukrainian topics, for the population of the occupied territories
- manipulative news from those Ukrainian sites where a significant amount of manipulative news has been spotted. This second category is targeted at Ukrainian audiences and publishes a lot of manipulative news of different ideological orientation
- all news from mainstream Ukrainian publications
- all materials from local Ukrainian news sites
- all materials from mainstream Russian news sites
- posts in Telegram channels popular in Ukraine
In the first and second groups of news, the materials were selected by the AI classifier of manipulative news.
We searched for topics in 18935 materials in the Russian language from:
- 72 Russian sites (manipulative materials only) targeting Ukrainian topics: 3652.ru, 3654.ru, 8692.ru, anna-news.info, antifashist.com, antimaydan.info, c-inform.info, comitet.su, crisis.in.ua, delovoydonbass.ru, dnr-lnr.info, dnr-pravda.ru, dnr24.com, dnr24.su, donbasstoday.ru, doneck-news.com, dontimes.news, dontimes.ru, dosie.su, e-gorlovka.com.ua, e-news.su, evening-crimea.com, free-news.su, fresh.org.ua, fromdonetsk.net, front-novorossii.ru, gorlovka.today, jankoy.org.ua, kafanews.com, komtv.org, kv-journal.su, lgt.su, luga1news.ru, lugansk1.info, meridian.in.ua, metayogg.com, miaistok.su, mir-lug.info, mnyug.com, mozaika.dn.ua, nahnews.org, naspravdi.info, nefakt.info, newc.info, news-front.info, newsland.com, nk.org.ua, novorosinform.org, novorossiy.info, novosti.icu, odnarodyna.org, on-line.lg.ua, patriot-donetsk.ru, pohnews.org, politnavigator.net, politobzor.net, pravdanews.info, ruinformer.com, rusdnepr.ru, rusnext.ru, russian-vesna.ru, rusvesna.su, sevastopol.su, sevnews.info, sobytiya.info, svodki24.ru, time-news.net, ukraina.ru, voenkor.info, voskhodinfo.su, vsednr.ru, xvesti.ru
- 105 Ukrainian online media where over 10% of all news about Ukraine have been spotted as being manipulative (manipulative materials only): 0432.in, 112.ua, agrimpasa.com, aif.ua, akcenty.com.ua, antikor.com.ua, argumentua.com, baza-pravda.in.ua, bbcccnn.com.ua, begemot.media, bessarabiainform.com, censoru.net, dialog.ua, donetskie.com, elise.com.ua, expres.life, figurant.com.ua, finoboz.net, for-ua.life, fraza.ua, from-ua.com, glavcom.life, glavk.info, glavred.info, glavred.life, golos.ua, hpib.life, hyser.com.ua, inforesist.org, inform-ua.info, informator.news, intell.in.ua, ivasi.news, jizn.info, job-sbu.org, k-stenke.com, khersonline.net, kompromat1.info, kompromat1.news, kordon.org.ua, korr.com.ua, kyiv.press, lifedon.com.ua, mignews.com.ua, monitor-ua.com, newnews.in.ua, news247.com.ua, news24ua.com, newser.com.ua, newsmir.info, newsua.one, nezalezhna.com, onpress.info, ord-02.com, ostrovok.lg.ua, p-zona.com, podrobnosti.ua, politdengi.com.ua, politeka.net, politica.com.ua, pravda.rv.ua, prioritet.org, proua.com.ua, provokators.top, prportal.com.ua, replyua.net, rezzonans.in.ua, rnbee.com.ua, rupor.info, rupor.od.ua, rusjev.net, sharij.net, skelet-info.org, spektrnews.in.ua, spichka.news, spzh.news, startko.co.ua, strana.ua, t.ks.ua, tema.in.ua, timer-odessa.net, tp0432.in.ua, tribunanaroda.info, ua-reporter.com, ua-vestnik.com, ua24ua.net, ukr.life, ukraine-zmi.info, ukrainianwall.com, ukranews.com, ukranews.life, ukrpost.biz, ukrrudprom.ua, vesti-ukr.com, vesti.ua, vkulake.com, vlasti.net, voi.com.ua, vremya.com.ua, vybor.ua, vz.ua, xn--j1aidcn.org, zhitomir-online.com, zik.ua, znaj.ua
- 17 major Ukrainian online media (all materials): 24tv.ua, bykvu.com, censor.net.ua, fakty.com.ua, fakty.ua, gordonua.com, interfax.com.ua, lb.ua, liga.net, nv.ua, pravda.com.ua, rbc.ua, segodnya.ua, tsn.ua, ukrinform.ru, unian.net, zn.ua
- 16 major Russian media (all materials): aif.ru, dni.ru, kommersant.ru, kp.ru, lenta.ru, lentainform.com, life.ru, newsru.com, pravda.ru, regnum.ru, riafan.ru, russian.rt.com, slovodel.com, svpressa.ru, tass.ru, vz.ru
- 175 Ukrainian local media (all materials): 0432.ua, 048.ua, 04849.com.ua, 04868.com.ua, 0512.com.ua, 056.ua, 0564.ua, 057.ua, 061.ua, 06153.com.ua, 0619.com.ua, 06239.com.ua, 06274.com.ua, 06277.com.ua, 0629.com.ua, 0642.ua, 1kr.ua, 1news.zp.ua, 44.ua, 5632.com.ua, 5692.com.ua, 62.ua, 6264.com.ua, 7kanal.com.ua, actual.today, allkharkov.ua, atn.kharkov.ua, barometr.info, beg.dp.ua, bessarabiainform.com, city.sumy.ua, cxid.info, dancor.sumy.ua, dani-info.com, dnepr.com, dneprcity.net, dneprnews.com.ua, dneprnews.info, dnews.dn.ua, dnl.com.ua, dnl.dn.ua, dnpr.com.ua, donbass.ua, donetskie.com, dontimes.news, dozor.kharkov.ua, dp.vgorode.ua, dpchas.com.ua, dumskaya.net, dv-gazeta.info, dzerghinsk.org, ecity.cn.ua, gloss.ua, golos.zp.ua, gorod-online.net, gorod.cn.ua, gorod.dp.ua, gx.net.ua, inform.zp.ua, informator.dp.ua, inshe.tv, insidernews.info, irtafax.com.ua, iz.com.ua, izbirkom.org.ua, izmailvechernii.com.ua, izmnews.info, izvestia.kharkov.ua, kg.ua, kh.vgorode.ua, kharkov.dozor.ua, khersonline.net, khustinfo.com/video, kiev.informator.ua, kiev.vgorode.ua, kievpravda.com, kn.ks.ua, kolokol.od.ua, korabelov.info, kramatorsk.info, kramatorskpost.com, krlife.com.ua, krnews.ua, krug.com.ua, kstati.dp.ua, lenta.kharkiv.ua, lugradar.net, mariupol-express.com.ua, mariupol.in, mariupolnews.com.ua, mig.com.ua, misto.zp.ua, mk.mk.ua, most-dnepr.info, mrpl.city, mycity.mk.ua, mykharkov.info, nashemisto.dp.ua, nashkiev.ua, nashreporter.com, nefakt.info, news.mspravka.info, newsroom.kh.ua, nf.dp.ua, niknews.mk.ua, nikolaevnews.com.ua, nikvesti.com, novosti-n.mk.ua, novosti-n.org, novosti.dn.ua, novosti.zhitomir.ua, objectiv.tv, od-news.com, od.vgorode.ua, odessa-life.od.ua, odessa.net.ua, odessa.online, odessapost.com, on.od.ua, ostro.org, otkat.od.ua, podrobnosti.mk.ua, press-center.news, prichernomorie.com.ua, pro.berdyansk.biz, rama.com.ua#tab_3-widget_panorama_posts_feed-2, real-vin.com, reni-odessa.od.ua, reporter-ua.com, ru.korzonews.info, rupor.od.ua, ruporzt.com.ua, russkiev.info, slavdelo.dn.ua, sobytiya.dp.ua, sq.com.ua, subbota.ua, svsever.lg.ua, t.ks.ua, telegraf.in.ua, timenews.in.ua, timer-odessa.net, timeua.info, tnua.info, topnews.cn.ua, topnews.odessa.ua, topnews.zp.ua, topnews.zt.ua, topor.od.ua, treebuna.info, tribun.com.ua, tribune.com.ua, tvplus.dn.ua, ua-reporter.com, uanews.kharkiv.ua, usionline.com, verge.zp.ua, vesti.dp.ua, visti.ks.ua, vmestezp.org, vn.mk.ua, vo.od.ua, volnorez.com.ua, vseprokiev.com.ua, vv.com.ua, x1.com.ua, z-city.com.ua, zachem.com.ua, zaodessu.com.ua, zhitomir-online.com, zhzh.info, zi.dn.ua, zp.vgorode.ua, zptown.zp.ua, zv.zp.ua
- 100 Ukrainian Telegram channels (all materials): @ASupersharij, @AleksandrSemchenko, @BerezaJuice, @BiletskyAndriy, @BondarenkoElenaUA, @botsmanua, @donetch, @KAPVEY, @KlymenkoTime, @KrokooDil, @LastBP, @MaxBuzhanskiy, @OP_UA, @OlgaSharij, @PortnovUA, @Pravda_segodny, @PresidentPoroshenko, @SBUkr, @ShrikePolitics, @SlugaNarodu_Official, @Ten_NaPleten, @UkrainaCHP, @UkraineNewsUa, @V_Zelenskiy_official, @Yad_OK, @ZeFackTy, @ZeRada1, @advocatprava, @borodatayaba, @borys_filatovv, @dadzibao, @dark_k, @dobkinmm, @donbasscase, @ednist_ta_progress, @ednistinfo, @gistapa, @gordonuacom, @govorit_ukraina_novosti, @gpolitnews, @gribvictoria, @gryaznayaigra, @insiderUKR, @joker_ukr, @kachuratut, @kryuchoktv, @kyivvlast, @legitimniy, @legitimniy_live, @lugansk_inside, @maksnazar, @monovaolena, @multlychnosty, @mustafanayyem, @mvs_ukraine, @nabolelo_odessa, @nach_shtabu, @nedotorkani, @nextaUkr, @notesdetective, @ochkobakanova, @office_ua, @olejnikovschina, @oleksiihoncharenko, @online_novosti_ua, @pavlovskynews, @politikaukraine, @portnikov, @razvedinfo, @rezident_ua, @rus_demiurge, @sharij_official, @shaurma_inside, @sheptoon, @skosoi, @smolii_ukraine, @sonyakoshkina, @sorosata, @spletnicca, @stolovka_ukr, @tayni_deputata, @thanksrinat, @tsibulya_ua, @tzhitomir, @ua_hot_news, @ukr_novyna, @ukrainskinovosti, @valeriazaruzhko, @varta1, @vestiukr, @wagnergate, @yurasumy, @ze_landia, @ze_team2019, @zedigital, @zv_kyiv
Manipulation in the news was singled out by our improved AI classifier developed in the project We’ve got bad news. In the monitoring, we only regarded materials about social and political life which are about Ukraine.