How Russian Propaganda Reacted to the Murder of Viktoriia Amelina

July 12, 2023
Viktoriia Amelina’s death from a Russian missile strike on Kramatorsk sparked a wave of Russian disinformation.
Photo credit: Facebook / Victoria Amelina

Viktoriia Amelina, a prominent Ukrainian writer, journalist, and human rights activist, died on July 1 after sustaining life threatening injuries from a Russian missile strike on Kramatorsk, June 27.

Viktoriia was writing novels and war poetry. She founded the New York Literature Festival in 2021 in the small town of New York near Bakhmut. In addition to this, since the beginning of the full-scale war, she had been documenting  the horrors of Russian war crimes committed in Eastern, Southern and Northern Ukraine in order to expose life under Russian occupation.

For instance, she found and consequently published the diaries of the writer Volodymyr Vakulenko, who was kidnapped and killed by Russian occupiers in the village of Kapytolivka,Kharkiv oblast.

Photo: International Publishers Association

On 27 June, when Russian troops launched a missile attack on the downtown of Kramatorsk, Viktoriia was having dinner with a delegation of Colombian writers and journalists at "Ria Lounge" restaurant.

Viktoriia was seriously injured and despite the best efforts of doctors and paramedics, died four days later in hospital in Dnipro.

Viktoriia Amelina's death is a tragedy and a great loss for Ukraine. However, Russian propagandists used this tragedy to spread disinformation about Ukraine and deny Russia's attack on the civilian infrastructure in Kramatorsk, killing 13 and wounding 61 people.

For instance, the Director of the Information and Press Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation Maria Zakharova cynically stated that "it is essential to investigate the true intentions of this woman [Viktoriia Amelina], as Kramatork has never been a capital of gastronomy in the region".

Furthermore she goes on to accuse Viktoriia of taking part in "sabotage operations for the Kyiv regime". Zakharova further accused Viktoriia of a "well-planned provocation against Russia" or "inviting the Colombian delegation to the place [of the Russian attack] not without reason".

This is not only defamation of the memory of Viktoriia, but also an unprincipled attempt of the Russia`s Ministry of Foreign Affairs to deny their own war crime.

Moreover, Russian propagandists discredited Viktoriia by calling her work on documenting Russian war crimes and torture of pro-Ukrainian people in occupied territories "creative publication".

To summarise, Russian propagandists and governmental officials use this crime to deny Russia's responsibility for the attack. Russian missiles killed 13 people in Kramatorsk, among whom was Viktoriia Amelina, a writer aimed at unearthing Russian war crimes.

Even after her death, Russia cynically continues to lie to further legitimise its own attack.

Analyst and Journalist at UkraineWorld