By Iryna Vovk, 24TV.ua
Translated and edited by Voices of Ukraine
With every passing day, Russian media become more and more outrageous in their lying reports about the events in Ukraine. Lately, they have moved on to speculating even on human lives and deadly tragedies. Take a look at the twenty most despicable examples of lies by Russian media, bloggers, and social network users.
1. The boy allegedly wounded in Donetsk turned out to be in Syria.
Using children in reports is one of the most popular tactics of Russian media. On May 27, Ermina Kotandzhyan, a journalist of the Russian LifeNews channel, published a photograph of an 8-year-old boy, allegedly killed by Ukrainian militaries in the Donetsk airport.
VoU note: after this piece of fake news was widely debunked online, Ermina deleted the tweet, but it still shows up in Google’s search results.
Earlier, the same photo was used by some Russian media, claiming that the boy was wounded in Sloviansk on May 10. (The article is still up at BK55.ru.)
But the truth is, the photograph is entirely unrelated to any of the events in Donetsk or Sloviansk. The photo was taken over a year ago, in April 2013, in Aleppo, Syria, when the city and its peaceful residents were shot at by the government forces of Bashar Assad. (See the news piece at the Islamic World portal.)
2. A movie still used to illustrate news from Donbas.
Bloggers and social network users actively spread a photograph of a little girl, sitting crying next to a dead woman – presenting it as a photograph of events in Donbas.
VoU note: Unlike the journalist, this twitter user did not bother to remove the lies from her twitter. Moreover, she’s keeping up the good work, using a slightly rehashed version of the same still. See for yourself.
In reality, this is not even a photo of real events – but a still from the Belarusian-Russian jointly produced movie, The Brest Fortress (2010).
3. A woman talking about Putin’s cruelty was presented as someone who hates the “Kyiv junta.”
A video titled “Excerpt from the address to the Kyiv junta from the mother of a killed Ukrainian soldier” appeared in the Odnoklassniki social network. The woman in the video is the mother of Oleksandr Anischenko, a Ukrainian soldier from Sumy and an ethnic Russian. He was killed by terrorists on May 5, 2014.
The woman is not addressing the government in Kyiv. She is talking to the Russian president Vladimir Putin, accusing him of her son’s death. Her full speech is titled “Address to V. Putin from the mother of a Russian killed by Russian mercenaries in Sloviansk.”
|The video edited to cut any mentions of Putin||The original, full video|
(Original postings of both videos are available on YouTube.)
4. Corpses of Mexican drug dealers presented as those of Ukrainian soldiers.
A number of Russian media, journalists and bloggers posted photographs that were allegedly taken in a morgue in Sloviansk, of corpses of Ukrainian militaries, fighters of the National Guard, and Right Sector members. Supposedly, they are all going to be “dumped in the ground” without identification.
(See the article below at Politicus.ru.)
In reality, the photograph above was taken by an Associated Press journalist, five years ago (February 18, 2009), in the morgue of a Mexican city. The bodies were the result of a deadly drug war.
5. Brutality in Dagestan was presented as horrors from Donbas.
Another horrible lie – Russian media showed supposedly Ukrainian servicemen dumping dead bodies from a military vehicle, on May 3, 2014. The video footage used in that report was filmed much earlier, and not in Ukraine. The events in the video take place in Dagestan in November 2012. The video was titled “Public atrocities of the Kafir [Infidels] over the bodies of the Shakheed.”
(Both videos are available on Youtube, 18+ content. Warning: violent images!)
|Russian media claim:
Ukrainian soldiers dump bodies off a vehicle – 2014
Public atrocities of the Kafir [infidels] over the bodies of the Shakheed – 2012
6. The man killed in Kabardino-Balkaria “became” a Ukrainian.
To “demonstrate” the cruelty of Ukrainian servicemen in Sloviansk, Russia 1 Channel went ahead and ran a two-year-old video from Kabardino-Balkaria (Northern Caucasus). Later, when the lie was exposed and created a lot of uproar in Ukraine, Dmitry Kiselev, Deputy General Director of the VGTRK [All-Russia State Television and Radio Broadcasting Company] said that the footage “was used by accident.”
VIDEO WITH SUBTITLES (18+ content. Warning: violent images!)
7. Cries of “Allah Akbar!” edited out to present Syria as Donetsk.
Russian activist Maxim Rudnev [Chair of the Coordination Committee of the Young Guard of United Russia, the youth wing of the pro-government United Russia party] posted a Youtube video of a helicopter being shot down.
The caption says “Pro-Russian activists storm the military airfield in Kramatorsk, shooting. A helicopter of the Ukrainian Air Force wanted to land on the airfield, but was shot at by unknown people.”
In reality, the video shows footage from Syria. Local insurgents posted a video of the combat operation near Aleppo, carried out by a battalion of the Free Syrian Army. One of the insurgents fires a surface-to-air missile at a helicopter of the Syrian Air Force.
|Russian media claim:
Ukrainian helicopter shot down in Kramatorsk, May 28, 2014
Syrian helicopter shot down by insurgents near Aleppo, February 26, 2013
VoU note: the original video came from Russia Today, a channel infamous for its propaganda. Fake-creators don’t bother going far in their search of footage, it seems.
8. Syria becomes Donbas again.
Another video gaining popularity on the web is footage titled “May 28, 2014, Donetsk. Local militia blew up the terrorists (Ukrainian National Guard) anti-aircraft system.”
The awkward thing is, the original date of this video was May 2014, and once again, it took place in Syria. Russian media managed to edit out “Allah Akbar!” cries again, and tried to sell the footage as Donetsk.
|Russian media claim:
Local militia blow up AA-system of the Ukrainian National Guard – May 28, 2014
Syrian footage, May 15, 2014
9. Russian media concoct a terrifying story about Christian worshipers burned alive.
Russian media, including Izvestiya (http://izvestia.ru/news/571605) were spreading reports that Orthodox Christian believers who came to the Donetsk airfield on May 28, “to prevent bloodshed,” were burned alive. The media claimed to get their information from Andriy Purgin, “Deputy Prime Minister” of the so-called “Donetsk People’s Republic.”
Following this report, the Donetsk Episcopate denied both the prayer procession to the airport and the deaths of its participants. The first response on this came from Archpresbyter Georgiy Gulyayev, press-secretary of the Donetsk Episcopate, who posted a link to the rebuttal in social networks.
The rebuttal at the Orthodoxy and the World website reads:
The Donetsk Episcopate stated that no prayer procession was held in the direction of the airport. Archpresbyter Georgiy Gulyayev, press-secretary of the Donetsk Episcopate informed Pravmir [Orthodoxy and the World] that public prayers are being held in the city every day, for several weeks now, but the prayer processions walk around the city hall.
Father Georgiy confirms that the prayer procession was also held on May 28, but rebuts media statements that claim that the praying people walked towards the airport.
“There was no organized procession towards the airport. There could be casualties among the people who live there. But we received no reports about people [in a praying procession] getting killed there,” the priest noted. He repeated this when answering an internet user’s question in the Orthodoxy and the World group on Facebook.
10. Bomb-struck Belgrad became Donbas.
Pro-Russian bloggers, journalists and activists flooded social networks with an old photograph of bomb-struck buildings in Belgrad (at the time, Yugoslavia, currently, Serbia), presenting the sight as the result of actions of the Ukrainian army. The picture, taken by photographer Ivan Tregubenkov, can be found in this blog post, titled Echoes of War.
VoU note: after several days of internet-wide debunkment, this particular piece of fake stopped circulating.
11. A train crash in Quebec presented as explosions in Sloviansk.
Separatist groups in social networks spread around a shocking picture of “powerful explosions in Slovyansk,” claiming that they happened in residential quarters and imploring to protect women and children. The picture, with some passionate captions, was posted in all social networks.
The events shown in the photograph, however, are the result of a derailment of a train with oil tanks, which took place in Quebec, Canada, in 2013. The picture can still be found on the Wikipedia page about the disaster.
12. According to Russian media, [western Ukrainian] Lviv Oblast [region] now borders the Russian Federation.
Journalists of Channel 1 wanted to report about the crowds of Ukrainian refugees, fleeing from Ukraine to Russia. They wanted to make that report so bad that they showed the border at the town of Shegyni, located in Lviv Oblast, which has a border with Poland [roughly 1,500 km from the Russian border in eastern Ukraine].
VoU note: This was one of the earliest failed propaganda attempts by Russian media, soon after the beginning of their invasion of Crimea. Voices of Ukraine reported about it in early March.
13. A drunk became an “activist” of the so-called “Donetsk People’s Republic.”
On May 8, a video was posted to Youtube, showing a man falling from a tall chimney. The video’s description said that an “activist” of the self-proclaimed “Donetsk People’s Republic” [“DNR”] wanted to hang the flag of that “republic” on the chimney, but was shot down by a sniper. The sound of a gunshot is audible in the video.
The video, however, has no relation to the “DNR,” since it was recorded back in 2013. The original of the video can be found on Ochevidets.ru website, with the caption “Drunk man climbs a 30-meter chimney of an abandoned boiler house, and jumps from it.” The original, naturally, has no gunfire.
(VIDEO: 18+. Warning: violent images!)
|Russian media claim:
‘Activist shot down by sniper’
‘Drunk falls from chimney’
14. Maidan’s Kozak Havrylyuk accused of being a Russian saboteur.
Separatists are actively spreading a lie that Mykhailo Havrylyuk, a Kozak from Maidan, turned separatist and is wreaking havoc in Donbas now. They even took the time to compile some “photo evidence.” On closer inspection, they miscalculated the haircut, the separatist who turns out to be one Yevheniy Ponomaryov, also active on social networks (Ponomaryov’s vKontakte profile), is practically bald, whereas Havrylyuk has a Cossack oseledets/chupryna. The subversive also doesnt have a deep wrinkle line like Havrylyuk. Perhaps the “detectives” who falsely identified him as Havrylyuk, got confused by the hat.
15. An unmanned aircraft shot down in Nagorno-Karabakh (South Caucasus) was claimed to be in Donetsk.
Russian media spread around a photograph of an unmanned scouting aircraft, supposedly shot down by the separatists in Donetsk Oblast. (As reported by Novorossiya Information Agency.)
Later, it turned out that the aircraft in the photograph had been shot down earlier, in Nagorno-Karabakh. (Reported in September 2011 by Novostnik.ru.)
16. Russian media often contradict themselves.
Some Russian media go as far as to present news differently for different cities. For example, here, news for Kyiv and for Moscow were presented in strikingly different contexts.
17. A gym trainer became a Right Sector fighter.
LifeNews, a media agency infamous for its lies, was the first one to find out about Right Sector fighters that allegedly came to Donbas to destabilize the situation. One such “Ukrainian nationalist” “captured” in Donbas is actually a fitness trainer from Kyiv. Donetsk separatists, however, introduced him as Vitaliy Kovalchuk, a Right Sector fighter from Vinnitsya.
VoU note: after this information went public, Kovalchuk’s information has been removed from the website. However, a number of his photographs from the gym, alongside fellow trainers, were found in social networks:
18. Russia falsely claims that Ukrainian servicemen “will use women for target practice.”
At one of his press-conferences, the Russian President Vladimir Putin said, referring to Ukrainian servicemen, “We’ll see if they try shooting at women and children.” Russian subversives remain faithful to that principle – dozens of eyewitnesses confirm that they frequently use women and children as human shields.
Considering this, the psychological questionnaire that Ukrainian servicemen must fill out before shipping off to Donbas contains the question, “Are you prepared to shoot in a blockade situation, and in the presence of civilians (including women)?” LifeNews, however, twisted this to claim that, “Soldiers must confirm they are prepared to shoot at women.” Perhaps their journalists’ poor grasp of the Ukrainian language is to blame for that?
19. A UN aircraft in the Congo mysteriously “redeployed” to Ukraine.
The same tireless LifeNews published a photograph of a UN helicopter, claiming that the Ukrainian army uses it as part of their anti-terrorist operation. Sergey Lavrov, head of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, even requested that the global community “investigate this fact.”
Subsequently, one of the people featured in the fake news report, Lieutenant Colonel Serhiy Shapovalov, head of the command post of the army air force, from Chernihiv, stated that the footage is from Ukraine’s peacekeeping mission in the Congo.
“This piece was recorded a year and a half ago, when I returned after my first rotation in the Congo. My words about the missions of Detachment 18, which continues with those missions even today, were superimposed on footage of military operations in Sloviansk. Secondly, I know that when our aircrafts return from UN missions, the insignia of that organization is painted over, and [is] not used on the territory of Ukraine,” the officer explained. (Reported by Chernihiv Monitor.)
20. Russian television – an extravaganza of lies and brainwash.
To finish off with a shining example of misinformation and brainwash – a Russian talk show prepared a video titled “Evil Spirits of Maidan–the Mysticism of the Ukrainian Debacle.” The documentary was shot immediately after the occupation of Crimea. It lies about the “referendum,” calls Maidan a sect, dubs a Greek Catholic church “a Nazi headquarters,” and does everything possible to show their hatred and fear of “Banderites,” called so by the Russians.
VoU note: we refrained from subtitling this video. We apologize for this deviation from our usual practice, but there are only so many sickening lies one can take. If you understand Russian and have a strong stomach for conspiracy theories and phobias of religious cults, feel free to view it on YouTube.