Debunking Fake News on Putin’s War on Ukraine

Russia will never defeat Ukraine

Here are some examples of the Russian fakes which are spread across the Internet to distort the realities of the ongoing war in Ukraine. Ukrainian fact-checking organizations debunked all these fakes.

04.03.2022 FAKE: Volodymyr Zelensky left Ukraine.

Occupiers in the Kherson oblast share false information that the Ukrainian President has left the country. New presidential appeals and words of Olena Shulyak, chairman of the Sluga Narodu party, have immediately denied these fakes.

Debunked by Detector Media

04.03.2022 FAKE: Ukrainian army is bombing the citizens of Donbass.

Russian media and Internet users are spreading an interview of a French journalist Ann-Lor Bonnell to CNews where she claims that Ukrainian soldiers are purposefully bombarding civilians in Donbas with “Grad”. It is a part of the Russian propagandist narrative about the so-called “civil war” in the east of Ukraine and the alleged “Ukrainian oppression of the Russian-speaking population”. Fact-checkers repeatedly denied these fakes. In reality, Russian occupants are the ones who open fire against the civil population, and the facts of shelling of residential areas in Donbas by pro-Russian militants are recorded both by the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine and the international intelligence agency Bellingcat.

Debunked by Stop Fake 

03.03.2022 FAKE: Lists with personal data of the Russian diversion intelligence group members were announced.

Center for Strategic Communications and Information Security warns that this is a new strategy of the Russian occupiers. They include names of real Ukrainian militants, whom they depict as “enemies”, in the list. Their goal is to cause chaos so that Ukrainian defenders would fight each other.

Debunked by Detector Media

03.03.2022 FAKE: Ukrainian militants use foreign students as a “human shield”.

Many Russian news channels say that Russian soldiers “do everything possible to help Indian students in Ukraine return to their motherland from Kharkiv, while they are taken hostage by the Ukrainian militants who use them as a human shields”. This is another fake spread by the Russian propaganda. As the Center for Countering Disinformation at the National Security and Defense Council asserts, Ukraine promotes evacuation of foreign students. For instance, “Ukrzaliznytsia”, a national railway company, arranges special evacuation trains for them. Exceptional misunderstandings are usually related to the fact that foreigners do not always understand the evacuation rules. Women and children embark on trains first, notwithstanding the race or other features.

Debunked by Detector Media

03.03.2022 FAKE: Russian troops took over a television center of ‘Suspilne Kherson’.

This is fake. In fact, Russian occupants seized some premises of the Kherson administrative building, but the public broadcasting keeps doing its job remotely on the television as well as social media.

Debunked by Detector Media

03.03.2022 FAKE: Around 1000 orphans are moving to Uzhhorod.

The information about children from orphanages from the most dangerous fighting zones moving to Uzhhorod has been spreading on social media. Along with this information, people are asking to collect a lot of humanitarian stuff to help 1000 children. In reality, orphans are coming to the city and getting all the necessary assistance but certainly not in such numbers. 

Debunked by Detector Media

03.03.2022 FAKE: Kherson and Vinnytsia gave up and are asking to join Russia.

Pro-Kremlin media spread fakes that Kherson and Vinnytsia surrendered. Heads of Kherson and Vinnytsia regional state administrations objected to this information. The Center for Strategic Communications and Information Security also urged not to believe the fakes of the occupiers. 

Debunked by Detector Media

03.03.2022 FAKE: Armed Forces of Ukraine do not allow Mariupol citizens to leave the city.

Russian occupants lie that Ukrainian soldiers do not let the residents of Mariupol leave the city and keep them “in a concentration camp”. In reality, the Russian side is the one that creates a blockade and shoots at critical infrastructure, civil buildings, even maternity hospitals. Moreover, they do not let the cars with foodstuffs in. All that is done to cause a blockade and manipulate over the so-called ‘green corridors’ with which Russian invaders cannot be trusted.

Debunked by StopFake

03.03.2022 FAKE: One of the Russian TV channels said that Melitopol ‘was waiting for Russia’.

The Russian propaganda channel ‘RT’ has broadcasted a plot shot on the outskirts of Mariupol on the 2nd of March. The correspondent Murad Gazdiyev said that the team could not reach the city center, although the situation there was calm. In fact, at that time, there was a major pro-Ukrainian march that united Melitopol citizens. Residents also said that Russian militants opened fire from the captured SSU building during a march and wounded two people.

Debunked by StopFake

03.03.2022 FAKE: Belarusian pilots can’t fight against Ukraine because they have already died.

Kremlin media blame Ukraine for spreading fakes. The Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine published lists of commanding staff of military units of the Air Force of the Republic of Belarus on the 1st of March that bombarded Ukrainian territories and killed civilians. Among the published data were lists of staff as of 2005 that included names of Alexander Marfitsky and Alexander Zhuravlevich, who really died in 2009. However, intelligence further published the lists of 2016, 2021, and 2022 where those pilots were not mentioned. 

Debunked by StopFake

02.03.2022 FAKE: “Ukrainian nationalists” killed a column of refugees from Kharkiv.

This news is fake: in reality, on the 26th of February, a bus with civilians on the “Izyum-Kharkiv” road was attacked by Russian militants. 5 people were killed, other 6 were wounded. A fake post was published on Facebook on the 28th of February by a propagandist source Donbas Segodnya and wasn’t supported by any proofs. 

Debunked by VoxCheck Ukraine

02.03.2022 FAKE: Security Service of Ukraine launches new rules of communication.

Russian propaganda has once again started a campaign on social media that due to situation in Ukraine, there will be new ways of the Internet communication. Ostensibly, that all phone calls would be recorded, as well as calls on Whatsapp, and accounts in Twitter and Facebook would be monitored. The Security Service of Ukraine refuted this information.

Debunked by Ukrinform

02.03.2022 FAKE: Ukraine has launched a missile on the Kharkiv city center.

This false information has spread over the Internet on the 1st of March. In reality, the rocket attack on Freedom Square was conducted by Russian occupiers. As a result, a part of the Kharkiv Regional State Administration building had been damaged. Moreover, Ukraine does not possess “Caliber” cruise missiles with such a combat radius.

Debunked by Detector Media

02.03.2022 FAKE: Some regions of Ukraine surrendered and are creating the “Federal Republic of Ukraine”.

Pro-Kremlin resources have been spreading fake information since the 27th of February about the pseudo-creation of a republic on the ground of such regions as Kharkiv, Mykolaiv, Sumy, Chernihiv, and others. In fact, all Ukrainian cities are resisting invaders. Kharkiv, Mykolaiv, Sumy are opposing occupants and do not plan to give up.

Debunked by Detector Media

02.03.2022 FAKE: Pro-Kremlin media spread manipulations that Ukraine isn’t declaring war on Russia.

Russian Telegram channels are full of comments on “Why Ukraine isn’t declaring war on Russia and whether it means that it recognizes a special military operation of Russia against Nazis?”. In reality, Ukraine, since the start of the full-scale Russian invasion on the 24th of February, has imposed martial law and recognized such aggressive actions of Russia as a real declared war against Ukrainian sovereignty. Such manipulations are just targeted at the Ukrainian population to undermine their belief in the government.

Debunked by Detector Media

02.03.2022 FAKE: Ukrainian nationalists captured 20 automobiles of SMM OSCE in Kramatorsk.

Kremlin media and some propagandist sources of the contemporary occupation authorities in the so-called DPR spread information on the Internet about the Ukrainian army’s capturing 20 cars of the OSCE special monitoring mission. This information is false and was refuted by a representative of the OSCE Mission in Kramatorsk.

Debunked by StopFake

02.03.2022 FAKE: Kherson authorities handed over a city to the Russian army.

The information is spreading on the network that around midnight authorities of Kherson collaborated with the Russian army and “handed over” the city. A photo from a webcam, where Russian military equipment is located opposite the Kherson Regional State Administration, is used to as a proof. This is fake. Street fights of Ukrainians with the occupying Russian army are currently underway in Kherson. The Mayor of Kherson said that Russian troops had taken over the railway station and the river port. He also said that local authorities remain in the city council building and continue to sustain life in the city.

Debunked by StopFake

01.03.2022 Disinformation: The TV station in Kyiv is destroyed.

The TV station is alright. Only the hardware speaker was damaged after the Russian missile strike. Thus some TV channels may not work. However, the backup broadcast of the channels has been turned on almost immediately.

Debunked by Voxcheck Ukraine

01.03.2022 FAKE: The UN forces evacuate Ukrainians.

The information about the so-called “evacuation” is spreading around the Internet. In such messages, there are appeals to users to share their contact information and personal data to be able to leave the country by plane. Center for Strategic Communications and Information Security denies such information.

Debunked by Ukrinform

Article is provided by representatives of Kyiv-Mohyla University who have made their services available to provide accurate, timely, on-the-ground reporting about the war in Ukraine, including nuanced localized ongoing updates on what is happening across the country, as well as commentary and analysis.

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