Russian Disinformation Warfare: LIVE Updates

May 25, 2023
Regular updates on Russian disinformation narratives targeting Ukraine and its allies.

May 25

How Russian Propagandists Have Reacted To Strengthening the Support for Ukraine

Ukraine is receiving international support to help the country fight for its independence and liberate territories occupied by Russian troops. The provision of Abrams, Leopard 2, and Challenger 2 tanks, modern Stryker and Bradley infantry fighting vehicles, and long-range rockets have strengthened the Ukrainian Armed Forces and broken Russian narratives about their "red lines" over support for Ukraine.

In spite of all previous threats, Ukraine is receiving the support it needs to liberate its territories.

Moreover, the provision of new Patriot air defense systems is protecting Kyiv from Russian missile and drone attacks that have been used to target civilian, industrial and energy infrastructure. While the debris from destroyed missiles and drones still cause damage to the city, the consequences are not as devastating as they were before. On May 16, in Russia's most intense attack on Kyiv of the war, Ukrainian air defenses shot down 18 missiles.

For their part, Russian propagandists try to preserve a fictional reality in which things are going "according to the plan" and reassure their audiences that Russia is winning.

They claim that the Russian military has destroyed dozens of Western weapons systems that had just been provided to Ukraine, make promises to "liberate" other Ukrainian territories, and assert that the West  is tired of Ukraine, all in an effort to maintain popular delusions.

However, when the lies begin to fall apart, Russian propagandists lose their temper and confidence in their own messages about victorious Russia marching forward. It seems that panic among Russian propagandists will increase proportionally to the strengthening of the support for Ukraine.

March 21

Lukashenka calls Zelenskyy "a louse"

Minsk's foul rhetoric about Kyiv and how it sees its own participation in the war.

The self-proclaimed President of Belarus, Alyaksandr Lukashenka, made yet another derogatory comment about Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. This time, he spoke about how Ukraine allegedly facilitated the sabotage of a Russian A-50 airborne early warning & control aircraft operating from Belarusian territory to monitor Ukrainian airspace.

Lukashenka believes that Ukraine and the CIA were behind this incident, and that "there is only one conclusion [to take from the incident]: President Zelenskyy is just a louse.

While mocking Kyiv's alleged earlier attempts to sign a non-aggression pact with Minsk under the auspices of the UN, Lukashenka nevertheless emphasized that Belarus has no intention of entering the war.

According to the self-styled Belarusian leader, it is Ukraine that is seeking to drag Belarus into the war "at the behest of the Americans." Without explaining why Ukraine would want to do this, Lukashenka repeated that his country would not be drawn into this war "which is already going on all over Europe today." It is worth noting that Lukashenka frequently uses the term "war" instead of the preferred Russian term "special military operation." This is a crime in Russia.

While insisting that the aircraft did not suffer any significant damage "except for scratches and one hole in the hull", Lukashenka reported that the A-50 was sent back to Russia and replaced with another one.

Lukashenka has spewed vitriol not only at Ukraine, but also other Belarusian neighbors. Among other things, the Belarusian usurper has referred to Poland and Lithuania as "scumbags who are working against Belarus."

Lukashenka, like Russian politician Dmitry Medvedev, allows himself to do what even Putin usually avoids - level direct personal insults. In Belarus's current hopeless situation, this is the only role its self-proclaimed President can play:  a tough-talking hardliner who in reality has no power or authority outside what the Kremlin allows him.

March 17

Russia indignant at EU plans to intensify military support to Ukraine

The EU is developing a new approach to speed up the provision of ammunition to Ukraine and boost its production in Europe.

On March 8, at an informal summit in Stockholm, EU Defense Ministers agreed to allocate an additional €2 billion to the European Peace Facility to provide military assistance to Ukraine. However, the details of this initiative will be determined at the meeting of EU Foreign and Defense Ministers in Brussels on March 20--21.

So far, the EU diplomacy chief Josep Borrell has proposed a three-pillar plan whereby EU states would get financial incentives worth €1 billion to send their artillery rounds to Ukraine, while another €1 billion would fund joint procurement of new shells.

The third component involves increasing the production capacity of the European defense industry.

Some Russian media were quick to release headlines like "EU defense ministers agreed to urgently supply Ukraine with everything they have."

Another news outlet depicted this plan as "inflating Ukraine with weapons." It blamed the United States as the ultimate culprit, saying "[w]ith all this, Borrell is trying to present himself as a supporter of peace, saying that it would be better to discuss peace negotiations and not arms deliveries. He does not say what is hindering the carrying out of peace talks... Apparently, it is difficult to pronounce the word 'Washington', which keeps in its hand the entire European bureaucracy."

Propagandistic news outlet Svobodnaya Pressa (ironically, The Free Press) also wrote that Europe was facing a "catastrophic shell hunger," spreading the narrative that Western weapons have been smuggled to European mafias and Middle Eastern terrorists. Svobodnaya Pressa also mocked the idea of joint EU procurement of weapons inspired by the experience of joint procurement of vaccines during the COVID-19 pandemic and scoffed at an Estonian proposal to commit €4 billion for this purpose. Moreover, it accused the European Peace Facility of funding "the deadly supply of weapons for attacks on Russian civilian populations". Western support for Ukraine outraged the article's author, who resentfully argued that "all of Volodymyr Zelenskyy's requests are fulfilled without questions, as if Ukraine has long ago become a member of the European Union."

Vladimir Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on March 3 that the US had been increasing weapons delivery to Ukraine and had been persuading its "European wards" to do the same. He also noted that Western military assistance to Ukraine would not decide the outcome of the war, but merely aggravate it and bring misfortune to Ukrainians. 

Western support has remained effective and is poised to even further increase one year into Russia's invasion. Russia is thus trying to find weaknesses to show its audiences, and it seeks to spin its usual tales about American influence on the EU and European exhaustion from the war. Their new trick is convincing Russians that the West is so short of shells that Ukraine will eventually lose the war. Thus, when the EU discusses urgent measures to provide Ukraine with the support it needs to win, this frightens Russia.

February 20

How Hungary's Minister of Foreign Affairs came to Minsk to talk about “peace in Ukraine”

On February 13, Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó  arrived in Minsk on an official visit. In addition to remarks about the "threat of Western sanctions" for Hungary and Belarus, the topic of the war in Ukraine was also included in the agenda.

"I came from a country that is also a neighbour of Ukraine. It is really hard and painful. To see so many refugees and torn families... Now, the main task is to save people's lives," said the Minister during a briefing.

  • The Minister's emotional appeal has a clear aim: to try to center the Russian idea of "peace talks" that would allow Russia to lock in its gains from its aggression in Ukraine, rebuild its forces for another campaign against Ukraine or even beyond, and avoid any sort of accountability for its crimes.

In addition to repeating the idea that negotiations are the only way to stop the war in Ukraine (and thereby ignoring Russia's responsibility for war crimes and savage attacks on Ukrainian cities), Szijjártó also took the opportunity to accuse the West of "militarism" and paint himself as a victim of inevitable outrages "the international liberal media, Western politicians, and their partners".

However, the key idea of this meeting was not simply repeating propagandistic narratives about the "militarist West" or "peace agreements between Ukraine and Russia." It can be also seen as an attempt to resurrect the so-called "Minsk process," which instituted ineffective ceasefires in 2014 and 2015. Foreign Minister Szijjártó also proposed making Belarus or Hungary a "place for negotiations to stop the war."

This idea was immediately taken up by Russian propagandists with messages about "building bridges, not walls" and hailing a "brave step by Hungary in spite of the EU dictatorship."

In remarks published on the Foreign Ministry's website, Belarusian Foreign Minister Siarhei Aleinik declared that "both Minsk and Budapest pursue their foreign policies based first and foremost on national interests, taking into account the national traditions and peculiarities of our partners."

However, these "peculiarities" and attempts to resurrect the Minsk process mean indirect support for and acceptance of the war crimes Russia is committing in Ukraine under the guise of  "peacemaking."

February 6

What Kadyrov Thought About Chechen Independence

"Where were you when we were fighting for Ichkeriya?" was a rather unexpected comment to hear from  Ramzan Kadyrov, the aggressively pro-Putin head of the Chechen Republic. Beyond his repetition of the major Russian narrative of "where were you for 8 years when Ukraine was bombing Donbas" and threatening the West and Ukraine with "the holy war against fascists and satanists,"  this speech has more aspects that can be analysed.

Firstly, this marked the first time Kadyrov had publicly spoken about Chechnya's independence movement since becoming Russia's ruler of the Chechen Republic. He could have articulated a decolonial message called for independence from Russia and its politics.

However, since freedom and self-determination in Russia is always limited by the Kremlin's will, he accused the West and Ukraine of not supporting independent Chechen Ichkeriya in the 1990's, leading to its defeat in its independence struggle.

Returning to the message that it was  "the people's will" to become a part of Russia and "the independence is impossible now, especially in economic terms," he legitimises the status quo and creates an illusion of overwhelming support in the Republic for Russian rule.

To summarise, Kadyrov`s speech is an exemplary case of a pro-Russian leader who has supported all of the Russian government's actions, particularly its aggression in Ukraine, and then begun to talk about the independence from Russia and regretted its impossibility due to economic circumstances.

Does this mean that Russia is beginning to disintegrate from within?

December 22

"Putin should be held accountable for the war" -  Smolensk deputy sent an appeal because of Russia`s President calling war in Ukraine "the war"

Speaking at a press conference on December 22, Russian President Vladimir Putin stated, "our goal is not to escalate this war conflict, but to end this war. We are striving for this and will continue to strive." It marked the first time Putin  told the truth about what Russia was doing to its neighbor by calling the war against Ukraine a "war."

Ironically, back at the beginning of Russia's full-scale invasion, the Russian government made changes to its Criminal Code criminalizing "fakes and discrediting of the Russian Armed Forces." These changes made it illegal to refer to Russia's actions in Ukraine as a "war," as it would discredit the Russian Armed Forces to use this term instead of preferred ones like "special military operation."

After Putin's statement about "ending the war," a St. Petersburg municipal council deputy posted that he had filed a criminal complaint against the Russian President for "spreading fakes about the Russian army."

Rhetoric about "mistakes in waging war" is becoming more and more visible among different Russian propagandists. The victories of the Ukrainian army, the de-occupation of Ukrainian territory in Kharkiv and Kherson Regions, and growing international support for Ukraine have raised "uncomfortable" questions about the goals of the war and discrepancy between what Russians are shown on their TVs and the reality. It is also essential to note that these questions are appearing in rhetoric of propagandists who have supported the " Russian world" project and the war in Ukraine in particular. This means that  means that hatred and desire for imperialist conquest remain fully present in these complaints about the course of the war, and that the feelings of resentment held by those espousing them will only increase.

Russian propaganda and political leaders continue to live in a delusion where everything is going according to plan, though they are not able to face the "uncomfortable" reality. The dissatisfaction of those who have supported the war in Ukraine and believed in a "strong and invincible Russia" is already beginning to appear in the public discourse. This means that Russian propagandists have stymied themselves.

December 22

"We should go and take Kyiv" - How Russian Propaganda reacted to Zelenskyy's visit to the USA

On 21 December, Ukrainian  President Volodymyr Zelenskyy visited the United States for a meeting with Joe Biden. It was the first time since the start of the full-scale Russian invasion that he left the country. However, this visit also presented an opportunity for Russian propagandists to repeat their well-worn narratives about how Ukraine is "a failed state and US colony," as well as try out new ones.

"Zelenskyy is not in Ukraine, so it's time for us to take Kyiv" was the line of the night on one of the biggest programs on the Russian TV. It offers yet further proof that Russia has not abandoned its ambitions to annex Ukraine, in spite of words about negotiations and Russia's supposed desire "to talk about peace, in contrast to the West and Ukraine".

Moreover, this visit also conjured up anti-Western rhetoric and "traditional" nuclear threats from Russia. Describing the details of Zelenskyy`s visit, there were claims that "Russian nuclear forces successfully practiced a nuclear strike, of course, as a response to the use of a weapon of mass destruction, so Russia has conditionally destroyed conditional Washington." Therefore, in addition to threats to "take" Kyiv, Russian propagandists began to think "more globally" and threatened the world with talk of  nuclear war against the West.

Lastly, to legitimize previous falsehoods, Russian propaganda claimed that Zelenskyy "sold" Ukraine to the US and that Russia has been right all along. To prove it, they presented "indisputable" evidence in the form of photos of Zelenskyy with an American flag given to him as a present, his outfit, and a joke picture shared in Twitter.

These claims and cliches are nothing new. Every time Ukraine receives any international support, Russian propaganda forgets previous narratives about "Russia as the guarantee of peace" and  begins to make threats of either escalation of the war in Ukraine or nuclear weapons against the West.

December 19

Russia strengthens its "anti-Western" alliance with Belarus

On December 19, Russian President Vladimir Putin traveled to Minsk to meet with the self-proclaimed President of Belarus Aliaksandr Lukashenko. However, this meeting is remarkable not only for its  negotiations about strengthening Belarusian  economic, political, and military integration with Russia, but also for the new narratives it has launched in Russian propaganda.

Putin described Russia and Belarus as "the closest of allies and strategic partners, connected with a common history, spiritual values, and family ties between many Russians and Belarussians.". The Russian dictator also claimed that Belarus and Russia are opposing the West because of  "illegal sanctions pressure" and stated definitively that Russia and Belarus are "allied states". For his part, the Belarusian dictator claimed that "Russia can do without us [Belarus], but we can't do without Russia". The meeting was summarized with Lukashenko's (supposedly) sarcastic comment, "We, together, are co-aggressors, the most toxic people on this planet," but this also underscores the anti-Western rhetoric of their alliance.

These narratives aim to rhetorically solidify Belarus and Russia as allies in opposing the West and Ukraine, in particular. Moreover, Russian propaganda has begun to develop the idea that Belarus should become a part of Russia to be "strong in opposition to the West." Ironically, this comes after Vladimir Putin stated that "Russia has never aimed at the absorption of any country".

December 10

Putin's explanation for attacks on Ukrainian infrastructure

Russia has chosen «a new strategy» and wants to blame the West and Ukraine again. Since October, Russia has attacked energy facilities across Ukraine, which has led to rolling blackouts and deprived entire cities of water, electricity and heat. It became most noticeable with the winter coming. 

Forgetting who launched the missiles first, propagandist RIA.Novosti cited Russia's President's statement and recalled that the Ukrainian authorities have repeatedly committed acts of sabotage on Russian territory. Arguing his remark during Thursday's awards ceremony in the Kremlin, Vladimir Putin underlined that "There is much noise now about our attacks on the energy infrastructure of a neighbouring country. Yes, we are doing it. But who started it?" Russia's President Vladimir Putin has thus admitted that Moscow is targeting Ukraine's critical infrastructure and has vowed to continue the strikes, jeopardising the ability of millions of people to survive without heat, electricity or water in the winter.   Demonstrating disrespect and disdain for the opinions of world leaders and organisations, with a glass of champagne in hand and a smirk on his face, Putin said that international condemnation of the strikes "will not prevent us from fulfilling our military tasks."

So what is happening in the Kremlin? At first, they fought back against attacks on Ukraine. Now the head of the Kremlin does not hide the fact that Russian war crimes are part of the so-called "special military operation".

December 12

And what, there will be no annual President's speech?

For the last ten years, the head of the Kremlin has annually held a meeting at the end of the year, "a meeting best of the best". Last year, a big press conference occurred on December 23rd, where Vladimir Putin talked for almost 4 hours, responding to 55 questions. However, this tradition continued until Russia started "a special military operation" in Ukraine, and this year, the annual big press conference of Russia's President Vladimir Putin won't occur. Answering the question of whether Putin's big press conference was planned, Russian Spokesman Dmitry Peskov confirmed, "It won't be until the New Year." Well, there are probably no "noticeable achievements" worth talking about during the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine, or there might be some questions related to Russian international status that can't show off at the end of the year. At the same time, the Kremlin expects the President to find an opportunity to communicate with the media, as he regularly does, "including during foreign trips", Peskov stressed. But because of its outlandish imperialist plans, Russia is a pariah at the international level, and only a few countries are ready to meet with a terrorist president. Peskov was also asked if the message of the head of state to the Federal Assembly would take place this year, to which he replied: "According to the message, it is necessary to clarify. We will still be guided by the message."

Peskov has repeatedly reported that there are no exact dates for the President's message yet.  Before this statement, on November 9, Peskov said that the appeal to the Federal Assembly and "the direct line" with Russia's President would depend on his schedule, which he described as "very dynamic." 

Russia's President has nothing to say to his people. Moreover, another "truth" may raise more questions than the Kremlin has answers. Considering the international support level for Ukraine and the Ukrainian military's successes at the front, this year, the Russians may be left without a New Year's address from the head of the Kremlin.

December 13

Russia accuses Ukraine of using EU missions as a "human  shield."

As of November 20, Russia used more than 4,700 missiles. In December, Russia continued striking thermal power plants, nuclear power plants and other energy-critical infrastructure across Ukraine. At the international conference "Solidarity with the Ukrainian People" in Paris on December 13, Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called on the European Union to send special missions to the objects of the energy infrastructure of Ukraine to stabilise the situation and provide proper international control. Russia has already reacted to Zelenskyy's initiative. Deputy Chairman of the Russian Security Council Dmitry Medvedev said that Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy intends to use EU missions as "a human shield". "He wants the Europeans to sit there as a human shield. ... The cannon fodder of the Armed Forces of Ukraine is not enough for him. Fresh blood is needed," Medvedev said, calling the Europeans "fools" who " are those who don't mourn."

In conclusion, Medvedev called on the European Union not to agree to the role assigned to it by Zelenskyy.

Medvedev should check the meaning of the term "human shield" in international law documents because this is Russia's tactic - to use the civilian population in the occupied territories to cover the withdrawal of its troops. Russia openly threatens the whole world, first energy, then nuclear blackmail. Now the representative of the Russian authorities hints that even the presence of EU missions will not stop the Russian Federation from continuing the shelling.

December 9

Not enough money to support its own "second army of the world."

On the nightly broadcast of Evening with Vladimir Solovyov, Margarita Simonyan, editor-in-chief of Russia's state-funded media outlet RT, called for the raising of income taxes in Russia on individuals who earn more than 5 million rubles (approx. $80 thousand) a year. "Raise taxes on rich, wealthy people. With our current incomes, if our country can't provide a decent life for our army and our officers, then raise taxes for us. Raise my taxes; I'm ready."

In saying this, Simonyan confirmed two things. First, she made clear that the Kremlin's propagandists earn many times more than its soldiers. Secondly, she admitted that Russia is having serious problems financially supporting those whom it has sent  to "liberate Ukrainians". According to her, this issue can be resolved in other ways, for example, by reducing funding for non-critical projects. Simonyan believes, however, that raising taxes on the rich would be more effective. She says that a society in which "officers receive less than taxi drivers" is " sick," and that "if there are people in our society who think that this is normal, they are sick." Even in this situation, Simonyan is not surprised that the so-called "special military operation" has killed many Ukrainians, destroyed homes, and brought continuous Russian  war crimes which the whole world has seen. But the key pressing question for Simonyan is where to find the money to maintain Russia's supposedly "second-best army of the world." Russia is a country where a doctor, engineer, teacher and military officer combined earn much less than a single TV propagandist like Margarita Simonyan, just because she has dedicated her professional life to spreading the Kremlin's malinformation.

Is Ukraine "a colony of the West"?

Speaking at a meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and the Commonwealth of Independent States, Russian President Vladimir Putin stated that Ukraine is "a colony of the West," and accused the West of "destabilizing the world`s order."

Russia is trying to push a narrative portraying the West as a "threat not only for Russia, but for the whole world, which tries to maintain its dominance by all means."  To do this, Putin assembled a number of well-worn Russian propaganda cliches. One of them was the trope of "color revolutions [used] to get rid of inconvenient leaders." This is how Russia talks about popular  revolutions against corrupt, pro-Russian leaders in Georgia, Belarus and, especially, Ukraine during protest movements in 2004 and 2014 in order to discredit them as " Western manipulations."

Another key propaganda message he pushes is the claim that "Ukraine is a colony of the West." Russian propaganda portrays Ukraine as a "dependent failed state" in order to dismiss its agency and reinforce their claims about "the West's war against Russia." Therefore, Putin spoke about the "exploitation of Ukraine's resources by the West and support for genocide in Donbas region." Moreover, his claim about Western military assistance to Ukraine constituting "throwing Ukrainians as cannon fodder against Russia" comports with the portrayal of Ukraine as a mere "colony," along with other Russian rhetoric about the West "escalating"the war. At the end of his speech, Putin claimed that there must  be "an alternative to NATO and the West," and that it is essential for Russia's friends to be able to defend themselves from all threats. These words, together with the other messages in Putin's speech, make clear  that the idea of a" war against the West" and a total  refusal to recognise Ukraine's independence have become crucial for Russian politics.

Russia wants to hide the fact that it is an empire itself, and that it has been a cruel colonizer  throughout its history, but unlike the former empires of the West, it has never recognized this legacy. Russia is an empire trying to denounce the imperialism of others: this is its key message to the world.

November 30

Nine months into their "3-day-war", Russia's self-confidence is falling

After 9 months of Russia's "3-day war," top Russian propagandists have started losing confidence in their country's victory. Margarita Simonyan, director of the Russian propaganda outlet RT, recently discussed the hypothesis that Russia might lose the war. But, she says, this prospect should only increase Russian decisiveness to destroy Ukraine's civilian infrastructure. Suggesting "the hypothetical" possibility of a Russian military defeat in the #RussiaUkraineWar, Simonyan began to realize that Nuremberg trials may await Russia. At the same time, she speaks urgently  about the need to continue destroying Ukraine's infrastructure killing Ukrainians, lest Russians have to answer for their genocide. "I want to say that if we lose, the Hague, conditional or concrete, awaits even  the janitor who sweeps the paving stones behind the Kremlin wall," the senior Kremlin propagandist said during a broadcast of Evening with Vladimir Solovyov on the channel Rossiya-1.

It seems that the Russian military machine has begun to sag not only on the frontline in Ukraine, since such statements from top propagandists are more reminiscent of fear than assumptions. "What's it to us if yet another district of Kyiv goes without power or not? The scale of the catastrophe for our country, if we lose, is unimaginable." 

Changes to the plans of the "special military operation" have to be made quite often now: while only professional military personnel were involved from the war's initial stages up until now, today "professional units" are being assembled and "trained" in Russian prison colonies. The rhetoric from Russia's propagandists is beginning to gain momentum, trying to prepare the population, explaining that even if life is not good in Russia now, defeat would mean that everyone, "up to the janitor, will live incomparably worse."

Will the Russian population respond to these calls?

November 1, 2022

Medvedev stated that Ukraine's de-occupation of its territories is a reason for Russia to use nuclear weapons.

Ukraine officially declared itself an independent country on 24 August 1991. Under the Constitution, Ukraine is a unitary state consisting of 24 regions, the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and two cities with special status: Kyiv, the capital and largest city, and Sevastopol. But Russia is occupying some part of Ukraine's territory starting from 2014, particularly Crimea, Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

Russia continues to blackmail the world by manipulating the use of nuclear weapons. However, now the reason for this is slightly different. Dmytro Medvedev, ex-President of the Russian Federation, and today Deputy Chairman of the Security Council of the Russian Federation, stated that Ukraine's de-occupation of its territories is a "direct reason" for Russia's use of nuclear weapons. He wrote about this on Tuesday, November 1, in Telegram.

Starting from promoting Russia’s one of the most favourite theses about "Western countries", and continuing to develop the idea of nuclear weapons, Russian politician quite seriously states that this is how Ukraine is "planning a nuclear conflict" meaning the attempts to return all territories that previously belonged to it.

“Therefore, this is a direct reason for the application of Clause 19 of the Fundamentals of State Policy of the Russian Federation in the field of nuclear deterrence,” he says in the message.

According to Medvedev, the West is pushing the world towards a global war. He also stated that "only the complete and final victory of Russia is a guarantee against a world conflict."

October 28, 2022

Before the beginning of the full-scale invasion, Russia continues to insist that Ukraine is "under US's influence" as one of the narratives that Russia regularly returns to.

During a speech at the Valdai Forum, Russian President Putin repeatedly emphasised that the "negotiation with the Kyiv regime is impossible" and once again sounded the words that Russia "is ready for peace negotiations with Ukraine, but Kyiv decided not to continue them." Thus Russia is trying to confirm the status as a "peacemaker" and Ukraine is an "aggressive and dangerous country" close to Russia's borders as this is convenient for explaining the reasons for so-called "the military special operation".

In addition, one more time Russia convinced about the "Ukraine's external management" somewhere else. According to Russian media, Putin recommended that the US "give a signal to Kyiv so that Ukraine solves problems peacefully."

"West is blamed for everything"

Vladimir Putin met expectations as most of his speech at the Valdai Forum was once again devoted to criticism of the West. He continued to blame the West for "escalations", mentioning Russia's "special military operations" in Ukraine as the solution for Russia's security, "conflict in Taiwan" as an example of the US readiness to defend Taiwan from China etc.

Putin said that Russia "does not consider itself an enemy of the West," providing the arguments on his own "theory" and continuing to split this time already the West into 2 camps: "one is aggressive and colonial, distorting the old ideas about democracy, liberalism and globalisation. And the second West, based on traditional Christian (and now Islamic) values. The "Russia's dialogue with a genuine, traditional West will be an important contribution to building a multipolar world order." 

Putin underlined he had no regrets about what he called "a special military operation" and accused the West of the war and of playing a "dangerous, bloody and dirty" game that was sowing chaos across the world.

Everytime Russia returns to its own narratives trying to "improve" them. The "new theory" of divided West has occurred on Valdai Forum, which might mean that Russia is trying to justify its inability to accept defeat again on the battlefield of #RussiaUkraineas well as in diplomacy.

October 27

Russia is at the war with NATO on Ukrainian territory: How Russian propaganda imagines its invasion of Ukraine

Since Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine began in February, speculations on negotiations between Russia and Ukraine have been circulating in the Russian media. Some outlets have reported that Russia and the United States were approaching talks on Ukraine, while others have insisted that the US has interfered with "peace talks" between the two countries.

On October 5, the Russian version of the Kremlin's outlet RT quoted Secretary of the Russian National Security Council Nikolai Patrushev saying during a meeting in Sevastopol saying that "the NATO bloc is fighting against Russia."

In its supposed fight to free the Ukrainian people from so-called "neo-Nazism," Patrushev insisted that Russia was fighting against NATO itself, and "not only against nationalist formations and Ukrainian troops." According to Patrushev, NATO member states are providing Kyiv with heavy weapons, ammunition, and intelligence data, as well as training military specialists.

According to another article on the RT website, Patrushev said that the United States has thwarted attempts to negotiate between Moscow and Kyiv.

Later, on October 16, in an interview for Moscow. Kremlin. Putin, Russian presidential press secretary Dmitry Peskov argued that NATO has de facto entered the Ukrainian conflict, but "this does not affect Russia's goals." 

Russian media has also quoted Ambassador Gennady Gatilov, Russia's Permanent Representative to the UN and Other International Organizations in Geneva, and Permanent Representative to the Conference on Disarmament, who has charged that the United States is convincing Ukraine of its military strength in order to prevent peace negotiations with Moscow, calling it a "tragedy." 

Moreover, shared the message during a news programme, which said "the United States has convinced the Kyiv regime that Ukraine can defeat Russia on the battlefield. This is a huge tragedy for our countries, as there will be more and more senseless deaths until Washington orders Kyiv to sit at the negotiating table."

National News Service argues that Kyiv refuses to negotiate with Moscow, but politicians and "experts are betting on a meeting between Putin and Biden at the G20 Summit in November." Thus, many supposed Russian experts also believe that US policy in Ukraine will change in November after the congressional elections. In a conversation with the Telegram channel Radiotochka NSN, the president of the American University in Moscow, Eduard Lozansky,  expresses confidence that if the Republicans retake control of the House of Representatives in the November elections, they will force President Joe Biden to start negotiations with Vladimir Putin.

Russian media has used arguments from "political propagandists" like Rostislav Ishchenko, who spoke about possible negotiations between Russia and the United States on Ukraine. Ishchenko argues that both Russia and the United States can easily afford a relatively long confrontation, and that even if Russia blows the Armed Forces to smithereens, the United States is ready to throw a 400,000-strong army of the Poles and the Balts into battle. "The Americans have not run out of resources in Europe yet, and they will constantly put them on the negotiating table and say: "We understand that Ukraine has run out, but look at this, think about it, do you want to continue further? Now you will send your mobilised people home, and everyone will be fine. Otherwise, they will go to war again, and new waves of mobilisation will still be needed. And then the threshold of confrontation rises. These are NATO countries, which makes it even closer to a nuclear war. Do you need it? This is how they will extort from us the concessions they need."

Russian propaganda is trying to raise the stakes of its invasion of Ukraine, saying that Russia is actually waging war not against Ukraine, but against the "collective West" and "NATO." An important part of this narrative is that the US is pushing Ukraine to continue this war and obstructing possible "peace talks" with Russia. Russian propaganda spread the narrative that Ukraine is a "failed state" for decades, and is now trying to cover forits weakness in facing this "failed state" behind statements that Russia is actually waging war against a much stronger enemy.

October 24

Since the beginning of its full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Russia's media has been discussing the possibility of using nuclear weapons.

At the beginning of October, Russia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs Press Secretary propagandist, Maria Zakharova, stated that "the West was fueling a nuclear war," stressing that every person on the planet must realise "that the puppet and unbalanced Zelenskyy, pumped up with weapons, has turned into a monster whose hands can destroy the planet." Russian propaganda websites even used comments from political propagandist Sergei Markov, who continued blaming America and NATO for "provoking the use of tactical nuclear weapons on the territory of Ukraine at any cost to add points to the team of US President Joe Biden in congressional elections." An important question now is whether Russia is setting up nuclear weapons facilities in Belarus. RIA Novosti published an article that quoted  Konstantin Vorontsov, deputy head of the Russian delegation at a meeting of the First Committee of the UN General Assembly, saying Russia "doesn't yet plan to transfer technology to Belarus to convert aircraft into nuclear weapons carriers." He assured that there were no such plans at present, and "it is also not planned to equip Belarusian systems with nuclear warheads physically, nor to move such warheads to Belarusian territory." At the same time, he confirmed that Russia was transferring nuclear-capable Iskander-M complexes to Belarus and converting part of the Belarusian fleet of Su-25 aircraft to be technically capable of carrying nuclear weapons, justifying these moves by "the possible advancement of NATO's nuclear infrastructure to the east."

Despite statements from Ukraine's official representatives like Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba and Secretary of the NSDC Oleksiy Danilov rejecting any Ukrainian intentions to develop nuclear weapons, Russia continues to insist on the opposite. According to Russian TV channel NTV, Moscow has been concerned about "Ukraine's statements about the possibility of reviewing its nuclear-free status," which "would mean an attempt to acquire nuclear weapons to the detriment of the NPT (Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty) regime." Meanwhile, at the First Committee of the 77th session of the UN General Assembly, Russian official Konstantin Vorontsov said Russia is not threatening Ukraine with nuclear weapons.  Moreover,  political propagandist Sergei Markov expressed the opinion that during "the offensive of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in the Kherson Region, the US could launch a nuclear strike on Ukraine and blame Russia for it."  In October, Russian officials accused Ukraine of  "attempt[ing] to create banned weapons," and Russian Minister of Defense Sergei Shoigu raised phantom alarms about supposed Ukrainian nuclear attacks during a series of phone calls with world leaders. Shoigu told his French counterpart about a Ukrainian "dirty bomb" and that "the Kyiv regime is ready to use it, to blame Russia, and [to draw] NATO countries into a direct armed confrontation with Russia." In addition, Shoigu tried to argue that "the Ukrainian authorities were asking Britain to share nuclear technologies with Ukraine."  They themselves came up with and  they themselves believed.

The Russians are now playing a "mirror game:" what Russia is accused of, it wants to accuse others of. Ukraine doesn't have nuclear weapons, has been nuclear weapons-free since 1994, and doesn't have any technologies to restore them (which Ukraine's official representatives have repeatedly affirmed). However, Russia initially threatened Ukraine with a nuclear attack, and is now trying to convince the world that Ukraine itself seeks to do this on its territory in order to blame Russia and expose Russia as a terrorist state.

An absolutely Orwellian strategy: "call the victim the aggressor, and the aggressor the victim."

OCTOBER 21, 2022

How Russia accuses democracies of fabricating "fake news"

As Russia is known for spreading fake news and propaganda, its officials are now doing their best to accuse the democratic world of doing the same.

Fedor Strzhizhovsky, Spokesperson of the Russian Permanent Mission to the UN, accused the UN of spreading rabid and absurd fakes about Russia. "Moscow considers it unacceptable to spread "rabid fakes" through UN platforms," Fedor Strzhizhovsky said, speaking at a meeting of the Fourth Committee of the General Assembly. Strzhizhovsky was commenting on a recent statement by  Representative of the U.N. Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict Pramila Patten about alleged sexual crimes committed by the Russian military in Ukraine since Russia invaded in February 2022. According to him, "speaking such nonsense calls into question the level of expertise of UN officials who make such statements unsupported by facts." Strzhizhovsky also spoke about "unprecedented informational aggression of the collective West against Russia, as well as other states pursuing an independent line of foreign policy." Meanwhile, according to him, "Russian media are subjected to direct bans and blocking of broadcasting, freezing of bank accounts, intimidation, defamation, and pressure from special services," asserting that journalists are subjected to criminal persecution with real prison terms. According to Strzhizhovsky, Western (primarily American) IT giants have finally revealed their true essence. He claims that the leadership of some of them, in particular the Meta corporation, "did not hesitate to openly admit to the direct interference of American intelligence services in management processes."

"Internet intermediaries from the cluster of virtual monopolists of the digital services market have actively joined this unprecedented information aggression, which has finally destroyed the myth of their impartiality. We are convinced that the concentration of a colossal media resource in the hands of private providers of digital services acting in the interests of a narrow group of countries is a most dangerous challenge requiring a search for a collective solution," he concluded. So Russia still follows a strategy of condemning what its representatives called "double standards" allegedly being used by people around the world in favor of Western democratic values at the expense of providing false information about the Russian Federation.

October, 1

Russia's State Duma Chairman Volodin rebuked Zelenskyy for sending pregnant women and mothers to the front

Women who received one of the 14 specialities specified by order of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine No. 313 must register for military service from October 1. Nevertheless, being registered for military service does not mean immediate mobilisation, as Volodymyr Smilka, a lawyer of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine, reports for Ukrainian media

Russia's State Duma Chairman Vyacheslav Volodin expresses his opinion on this topic on his Telegram channel.

He recalls that Ukraine's authorities will begin sending pregnant women and mothers with young children to the front. At the same time, the United States authorities demand that Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy conducts military operations "to the last live Ukrainian."

According to Volodin, for Kyiv and Washington, "people (ed. Ukrainians) are only consumables," Russian propagandist website reads. At the same time, the Chairman of the State Duma has drawn attention to the fact that Zelenskyy's wife is abroad, which is why this will not affect the Kyiv regime.

The Russian propagandist website Ria.Novosti indicates that Volodin urges Ukrainian women to leave the country (ed. Ukraine) and move to any other state while they have such an opportunity. If the women have remained on the territory controlled by Kyiv, "all this will end with mobilisation" and sending "for slaughter," he warns.

August 2

Russian propagandists link Ukraine, Taiwan, and Kosovo into one story of "resisting American hegemony."

An article on the Russian propagandist website reads that the U.S. "is fueling conflicts in Balkans" so that it could remain "an arbiter" in the region. To this end, the article's author argues that "the U.S. stands behind the most recent provocation by Kosovo." "By creating and maintaining conflict zones, Washington is trying to maintain dominance over this complicated region," the article reads.

The article's author alsoargues that Russia might have helped Serbia "to solve the Kosovo problem" if it was not busy in Ukraine. At the same time, according to the text, "Russia, previously very far from the Balkans, came close to the region." "Now it [Russia] is separated from Serbia, only by Mykolayiv, Odesa, and the territory of Romania," the author writes.

This statement shows us that if Russia was to gain victory in Ukraine, it might start the war in the Balkans. "After the Russian victory in Ukraine, no NATO will risk fighting Belgrade because of Kosovo," the article reads.

The article also indicates that Russia hopes for China to invade Taiwan. "Now the fate of another Balkan crisis is being decided in the waters of the Pacific Ocean and in the steppes of Ukraine, where Russia and China score an aspen stake and shoot a silver bullet in the heart of freshly bleeding American hegemony," Russian propagandist writes.

July 29

Russia’s defence ministry claimed that Ukraine’s Armed Forces had hit a detention facility in occupied Oleninvka, Donetsk regions. Russians say that 40 Ukrainian prisoners of war were killed and 75 wounded, including the members of «The Azov» regiment. Let’s unpack this.

In this statement, Russians say this is a «bloody provocation» because «a lot of Ukrainian soldiers see a good treatment of the Russian side and surrender». Hence, Russians claim Ukraine hit the detention facility with HIMARS to intimidate its soldiers.

This is a massive load of propaganda BS. Just yesterday, we’ve seen a video of Russian soldiers torturing a Ukrainian prisoner. We also know that Russians wanted to kill members of «Azov». We’ve also seen the Ukrainian Army precisely use HIMARS to hit Russian ammo depots. Also no evidence of Ukrainian soldiers voluntarily surrendering in significant numbers. Hence, it’s more likely that Russians killed Ukrainian prisoners of war and now blame Ukraine for this.

July 28

As Russians cannot score a military win in Ukraine, they count on the economic problems in Europe, hoping that the West would abandon its support of Ukraine. Russian propagandists already talk about "the looming economic collapse of Europe".

For instance, the Russian propagandist website Politnavigator writes that "Europe will see problems unseen since World War II". "What is happening between Russia and the West will lead to a conflict of attrition that Europe will fall victim to. Ahead of the once successful European states, in particular, Germany will see riots and shortages," an article on the website reads.

Russians also claim that Europe's refusal to buy gas from Russia would mean "enormous economic problems". Another article on Politnavigator reads: "The restriction on gas consumption has become a political slogan that Brussels intends to spread throughout the European Union. But such a policy risks plunging the EU countries into economic stagnation, and the search for new energy sources is fraught with high financial costs. The energy crisis approaching the European Union is an artificial phenomenon, artificially created by the political leaders of E

June 1

Our partners at noticed that the crazy Russian propaganda narrative about "Poland occupying parts of Ukraine" is increasing in popularity.

On May 31, Nikolay Patrushev, the secretary of Russia's security council, said that "Poland has already started capturing territories on the West of Ukraine". This is the latest statement among many (we already reported on such anti-Polish narratives on May 11, April 28 and April 20).

Remarkable, isn't it? Russia invades Ukraine, destroys and swallows its territories, and blames other countries for planning to do what Russians have been doing for eight years already.

May 31

Russian officials constantly manipulate the term "Nazism" when they talk about Ukraine. Even one of the "military special operation in Ukraine" goals is "denazification." So, what is Nazism in Ukraine according to Russian propaganda?

The short news does not explain the essence of "Nazism in Ukraine," so from time to time, the Russian media help to interpret this term "correctly." For example, they invite to comment "necessary" political commentators and historians and publish large articles such as "What was the process of Nazification of Ukraine."

Not surprisingly, according to Russian media, 1991 marked the beginning of an active phase in the rise of Nazism in Ukraine. The narrative that the collapse of the USSR was a wrong decision is widespread in Russian propaganda.

Russophobia, according to propagandists, is one of the elements of Nazism in Ukraine. For example, it is mentioned in the articles "The Russophobic beast has been grown from the Ukrainian people for 30 years, but the heresy of Ukrainianism can be eradicated" or "Ordinary Nazism, or How Russophobia ruined Ukraine."

Since the beginning of the full-scale war, Russian propagandists also have been trying to find some evidence for their narratives about Nazism in the temporarily occupied territories.

Thus, the Russian media explain that "Nazi ideology is hammered into Ukrainian teenagers through school textbooks." Also, the Minister of Education of the Russian Federation Sergey Kravtsov said that "Ukrainian history textbooks describe the" aggression "of Russia. They serve to prepare children for war with the Russian Federation." But propagandists do not mention that it was Russia that violated the borders and sovereignty of Ukraine in 2014.

At the same time accusing Ukraine of Nazism, Russian propagandists themselves write about their atrocities, talking about what is "denazification." In their opinion, "Denazification is when neo-Nazis from the Azov regiment rot alive in cold factory basements. And the bodies of other Nazis rot in destroyed positions. [...] The war against Nazism is not an abstract thing, not a slogan. It is what the Russian army is successfully doing today."

May 30

On May 30, at 7:50, an explosion took place in temporarily occupied Melitopol near the so-called "military-civic administration." This is the latest act by the Ukrainian underground in the occupied territories of the Zaporizhzhya region.

Vladimir Rogov, a local collaborator with Russian occupants, wrote on Telegram that "such attacks will not stop as long as the UGIL (Ukrainian state of Ivano-Frankivsk and Lviv) terrorist entity exists." Here Rogov compares Ukraine to Islamic State ("ИГИЛ" in Russian), which is very similar to the "УГИЛ" term used by the collaborator.

"The Zelensky regime hates peaceful life in Melitopol and other liberated territories. #Demilitarization and #Denazification must be carried out in the entire post-Ukrainian space!" Rogov decried. Russian media quickly picked up his post, including, regnum,,,, and many others.

This is the latest example of how Russian propaganda tries to turn the tables on its actions in Ukraine:

  • Ukraine and some of its allies say that Russia is a terrorist state — Russian propaganda says Ukraine is a terrorist state.
  • Ukraine says that Russia steals grain in the Kherson region — Russian propaganda says Europe (and Germany in particular) steals Ukrainian grain.
  • Ukraine and its allies say that Russian invaded Ukraine — Russian propaganda says that the West has used Ukraine to prepare an attack on Russia.

May 26

As we established yesterday, Ukrainian anti-vax groups on Viber have become a haven for all kinds of conspiracy theorists. In these groups, Russian conspiracy narratives flourish, particularly those about "zrada" (betrayal). Below are a few more examples of what narratives are shared in these groups.

This message argues that Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyi prolonged the duration of the martial law so that public officials could "shamelessly steal" for one more month.

Ostap Stakhiv, one of the leaders of the anti-vax movement, argues that the ongoing fuel shortages in Ukraine are "artificial" so that those in power could enrich themselves. Stakhiv does not mention Russian invasion, of course.

Ukrainian military is also the target of such narratives. This video is about "generals stealing and giving away the East [of Ukraine]." It is very emotional and has no proof.

This message shares an old map in which Vladimir Zhyrinovskiy, a dead Russian madman, suggested his idea for splitting Ukraine. The author of this message argues this plan is implemented right now.

This picture is an alleged quote from Vasyl Shcherbakov, a commander of the "Kyivska Rus" regiment, who argues that the war won't end until children of MPs and the General Staff are sent to the frontline. This quote is at least 5 years old. Russian propaganda used it on multiple occasions before.

May 25

As our colleagues at discovered,the Ukrainian anti-vaccination movement once again becomes a convenient way for Russia to discredit Ukraine and the West. While there is still much pro-Ukrainian and patriotic content in these chats, conspiracy narratives are shared just as well. Here are a few examples.

A video title reads: "Is it possible to change the bloody scenario the global puppeteers have written for Ukraine?

Russian narrative about "Germany stealing the Ukrainian grain" is also spread in these chats. That's why it is likely that Russians are behind this network—because there is no mention of Russia stealing Ukrainian grain from the Kherson region and Mariupol.

Image reads: 1918 — war in Ukraine, Germans take away grain by railway; 1942 — war in Ukraine, Germans take away grain by railway; 2022 — war in Ukraine, Germans take away grain by railway.

Anti-Semitism in these chats has become a new way to convey the Russian thesis about "Ukrainian and Russians being brotherly nations." It is used to distract chat members from the fact that Russia has started the war and is killing Ukrainians every day.

Images read: 1. How foolish we are... 2. There is no way towards a great future for our offspring until all the Slavic nations understand that our strength is in unity, mutual respect and helping each other. 3. Center [of Ukraine will be given] to the Jews, West to the Poles. And then the preZident (sic!) will say in front of the map like he did in "servant of the people" — so there is no more Ukraine:)

May 24

We occasionally hear from Ukraine's Western partners that there should still be a dialogue with Russia, and we should let Putin "save his face." Recently, two top Russian officials made statements which show just how ready Russia itself is for such "negotiations."

Sergei Lavrov, Russia's foreign minister, argued on May 23 that"if the West wants to offer anything to Russia in terms of the resumption of relations, Moscow will think twice whether it needs that." Lavrov also added that those who wish Russia to be defeated "must have done poorly in school." "They have drawn the wrong conclusions from their understanding of the past and of Russia," Lavrov said.

Nikolay Patrushev, the secretary of Russia's Security Council, stressed on May 24 that "Russia is not chasing deadlines as it conducts its special military operation in Ukraine because Nazism must be completely wiped out, or otherwise it will raise its ugly head again." "In liberating Ukraine from Nazism today, our country is pursuing the same objectives that it had back in 1945," Patrushev said. He also added that "this time Britain and the US are supporting Nazism, acting aggressively concerning most countries."

These statements indicate that even Russian top officials believe in the myth about "Russia that can't be defeated" and spread narratives about Russia's superiority. Russians also keep claiming that they are the victims of this "defensive war." We analysed this narrative in our latest video.

May 23

On 18-21 May, Russia held a "press tour" to the temporarily occupied Ukrainian territories, namely Mariupol, the Kherson region, and Crimea. This "press tour" is the latest effort of Russian propaganda to repeat its narrative that Russia's "special military operation" aims to "liberate Ukrainians from Nazis" and "people on the freed territories are happy to see Russia has come."

According to Russian media, "fifty independent journalists and bloggers from France, Germany, India, Serbia and other countries" participated in the "press tour." However, most of these "journalists" are pro-Russian bloggers who have no association with media whatsoever. Nevertheless, Russian media who followed the "press tour" credits these bloggers as "journalists.

For instance, on 22 May, Russian outlet published an article titled "After a visit to Kherson, foreign journalists declared the lies of Western media." This article quotes John Dugan, an "American journalist," saying that "everything seems quiet and peaceful" under Russian occupation. John Dugan is a conspiracy theorist with long-lasting ties to Russia.

Thomas Röper, a "German journalist," told that there was no information in Western media "about what has been happening all these years." "Zero information! All those eight years. About the blockade [of Crimea], terrorist attacks, etc. Zero information about all of this. Nobody knows anything," Röper. Once again, he is not employed by any media, and his blog titled "Anti-Spiegel" has a .ru domain.

Another article on describes how "foreign journalists" visited "bases of Ukrainian militants" in Mariupol. Noteworthy, among all the "fifty journalists" who joined the "press tour", the article quotes John Dugan—again. Why is he so popular? The answer is that everything Russian propaganda does is fake—and this "press tour" was no exception.

May 20

Alternative für Deutschland, a far-right populist party, and Die Linke, a left-wing party, transmit the Kremlin’s narratives about the Russian invasion of Ukraine to German audiences.

Even though Die Linke has repeatedly condemned the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the party has not really done much to help Ukraine in any way. The party's calls for peace, diplomatic solutions, and avoiding escalation may be based on the party's values, but they nevertheless reflect exactly what the Kremlin needs and seeks: a lack of unity in the West on arms deliveries to Ukraine.

AfD, on the other hand, employs a very pragmatic approach. The party sees the Russian invasion of Ukraine as a distant conflict, which Germany has nothing to do with and which should not suffer economically for. That's why members of the party see no problem with continuing to trade with Russia. They rarely mention Russian war crimes, and when they do, they call for "independent investigations." Members of AfD do not see the symbolic value of Ukraine's EU membership and do not recognise the country's achievements. This approach is very understandable and clear for the Kremlin.

This AfD "pragmatism" is far more dangerous than Die Linke's idealism, not only due to the far-right party's influence on social media but also due to their willingness to seek what's more profitable over what's morally right. Die Linke has a long history of ties with Russia, but those ties could at least be perceived as the party's Eastern German legacy. AfD, on the other hand, established its support of Russia after the annexation of Crimea, and will likely keep its ties to Moscow in the future — so long as it makes any economic sense.

Read detailed analysis with examples of rhetorics of both parties in our latest article:

Alternative for “Peace:” German Far-Right and Leftist Parties Help Kremlin Propaganda

May 18

While Russia is stealing tons of Ukrainian grain, blocking access to Ukrainian ports, and provoking a food crisis, Russian propaganda blames the West for a future famine.

According to Russian officials and the media, the cause of famine in Ukraine and the world will be anti-Russian sanctions and the export of grain from Ukraine to Europe.

On May 14, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said that product prices are rising sharply because of Russia, threatening hunger. However, the Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova commented on this statement, explaining that, in her opinion, "prices are rising due to sanctions imposed by the collective West under pressure from the United States."

Secretary of the Security Council of Russia Nikolai Patrushev also pointed to "the threat of hunger due to anti-Russian sanctions."

On May 18, Vladimir Dzhabarov, First Deputy Head of the International Committee of the Federation Council of the Russian Federation, accused the West of "grain exports from Ukraine dooming Ukraine to starvation."

"They are robbing the Ukrainian people, dooming them, in fact, to starvation, but they will say that Russia is to blame for everything," Vladimir Dzhabarov said.

State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin said that "the European Union will help Ukraine empty its grain storage." In addition, he called UN Secretary-General António Guterres and Josep Borrell, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, "piglets from the European Union."

The same comparison was used by the Head of the All-Russian Trade Union Association, Sergey Vostretsov. According to him, "Ukrainian authorities are 'piglets' who want to provide 'fat European pigs' with grain because of their naivety."

May 17

Texty.Org.Ua studied how often the term "denazification" was used in Russian media since the beginning of the Russian invasion. Take a look at the significant decline in usage of the term at the beginning of April, when Bucha massacre was discovered.

May 16

On May 16, a summit of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) leaders (Russia, Belarus, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan) took place in Moscow. CSTO is the Russia-led security bloc trying to position itself as a NATO rival. This way, Russia tried to draw all the CSTO members into its war with Ukraine. During the summit, many noteworthy statements were voiced.

Vladimir Putin, Russia's president:

"Evidence of the maturity of our organization and its real ability to adequately counter acute challenges and threats was the successful conduct of the CSTO peacekeeping operation in January this year in Kazakhstan at the request of the Kazakh leadership. The contingent of the CSTO Collective Forces, introduced for a limited time, prevented the seizure of power in Kazakhstan by extremists, who were also controlled from abroad, and helped quickly stabilize the republic's internal political situation."

"The issue of ensuring biological safety also requires the most serious attention. We have long sounded the alarm about US military-biological activity in the post-Soviet space. As you know,the Pentagon has created dozens of specialized biolaboratories in our shared region, and they are by no means engaged in providing practical medical assistance to the population of the countries where they have launched their activities. Their main task is to collect biological materials and study the specifics of the spread of viruses and dangerous diseases for their purposes. And now, during a special operation in Ukraine, documentary evidence has been obtained that near our borders, components of biological weapons were created in violation of the Convention on the Prohibition of Biological and Toxin Weapons, and possible methods and mechanisms were worked out to destabilize the epidemiological situation in the post-Soviet space."

"Unfortunately, in our neighbouring country, Ukraine, neo-Nazism has been on the rise for a long time, to which they [the West] turn a blind eye, and therefore actually encourage their activities. And all this is accompanied by an unprecedented surge of frenzied Russophobia in the so-called civilized and politically correct countries in Western society."

"As for the expansion of the North Atlantic Alliance, yes, this is a problem that, in my opinion, is being created completely artificially, since it is being done in the foreign policy interests of the United States. In general, NATO is used as an instrument of foreign policy, in fact, by one country — this is done quite persistently, skillfully and very aggressively. All this exacerbates an already difficult international security environment."

Alexander Lukashenko, self-proclaimed president of Belarus:

"Today's meeting is taking place at a difficult time, the time of the revision of the world: the unipolar system of the world order is irretrievably a thing of the past, but the collective West is waging a fierce struggle to maintain its positions. All means are being used, including those in the area of responsibility of our organization: from NATO sabre-rattling near our western borders to a full-scale hybrid war unleashed against us, primarily against Russia and Belarus."

"NATO is aggressively building up its muscles, drawing Finland and Sweden, which were neutral yesterday, into its nets, acting on the principle: whoever is not with us is against us, hypocritically continuing to declare its defensive orientation. Against this background, the genuinely defensive and peace-loving position of the Collective Security Treaty Organization looks in contrast."

"Today, there is no more topical and important issue than the conflict around Ukraine. Since 2014, all of us have provided all the necessary assistance to resolve it. In principle, all of us sitting at the table are ready to do this even now in any format. It is clear that Ukraine was incited and incited, stuffed with nationalism, Nazism — evidence of that is Odesa, where people were burned alive — and fascism, Russophobia and weapons."

"So far, in the West, including in Washington, we see only a desire to prolong the conflict as much as possible. For this, Ukraine continues to be pumped up with weapons. The goals are clear: to weaken Russia as much as possible, "drown" it, as they say, in this war, or you can make it "flare" more widely — we are also observing this. If this is the intention, then, probably, no one will be able to sit this one out."

May 13

Russia keeps using religion as a weapon. Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Moscow Patriarchate (controlled by Russia) stated that Russia invaded Ukraine because its former President Petro Poroshenko established the Orthodox Church of Ukraine (independent from Moscow).

The establishment of the independent Orthodox Church in Ukraine has fundamentally changed Russian influence and soft power structure in post-Soviet countries. It revised the status of Moscow as the leading ecclesiastical center of the Orthodox Church, which remained almost intact for more than 300 years. Back in 2019, we conducted cross-border monitoring of Russian propaganda messages in the local media outlets of Armenia, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine in their reporting on the establishment of the independent Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

Beyond Religion: What media outlets in Armenia, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine say about the autocephaly of Ukrainian Orthodoxy

Furthermore, in 2021 we detected that the Moscow Patriarchate Church in Ukraine campaigned against vaccination from COVID-19 in Ukraine.

The Church Against Vaccines: How the Russian Orthodox Church Opposes Vaccination in Ukraine

May 12

Today, on May 12, Finland formally announced its intention to join NATO. The Kremlin immediately reacted to this statement.

According to Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, "NATO expansion threatens the world's security, and, in particular, the European continent," and "Finland's entry into the Alliance is a threat to the Russian Federation."

Russian political commentator Maksim Bardin in his comment for stated that "The United States needed Finland not as an ally, but as a subordinate." In addition, "in the current situation, Finland occupies an important geostrategic position, the country borders on Russia, so Washington needs to take socio-political control under it."

On April 11, it became known that Finland and Sweden set to join NATO as soon as summer. Since that time, Russian propagandists have again begun to actively spread the narrative that "NATO has begun military development of the territories adjacent to Russia," which "carries a threat to Russia, as it increases the country's land border with the North Atlantic Alliance."

For instance, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko threatened that "if Finland joined NATO, Russia will not remain indifferent to this issue." "Our military will consider all necessary measures required to ensure the legitimate interests of defense," he added.

Also, according to Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova, "if countries join NATO, their territories will become a space of confrontation between the Alliance and Russia." The consequences will inevitably affect "good neighborly relations."

Deputy Chairman of the Security Council Dmitry Medvedev added that "after Sweden and Finland join the Alliance, the United States and Great Britain will immediately deploy nuclear weapons on their territory. Military exercises near the border will become more frequent."\ Russian Ambassador to Canada Oleg Stepanov spread the same narratives. He said that "if Sweden and Finland join NATO, they will have to treat Russia as an enemy. Moscow will have to do the same."

May 11

On April 28, the head of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service, Sergei Naryshkin, stated that "Poland is planning to establish their control over part of the territory of Ukraine." According to him, "Poland and the United States are working out a plan to establish Warsaw's military-political control over 'its historical territories'."

In addition to speculations from the Russian authorities on possible Polish capture of Western Ukraine, Russian media are manipulating the information trying to find some "evidence" for their narratives. This is clear proof that, in fact, Poland has no plans to seize Ukraine, so the propagandists have to create "convenient facts" by themselves.

For example, propagandists manipulated the data of a Polish poll in which 56.8% of respondents supported the participation of the Polish military in the peacekeeping mission in Ukraine if it is organized by NATO, the UN, or the European Union. But many Russian media reported the results of the poll under the headline "The majority of Poles supported the deployment of troops to Ukraine."

Russian propagandists even have an explanation for why Poland still hasn`t captured Ukraine: "Warsaw has danger from Russia that, as Putin said, will give a lightning-fast response. It is holding back both Poland and Romania. [...] Most likely, control will be established during the collapse of Ukraine when the paralysis of the central government occurs."

In any case, Russian propagandists have already stated that "Polish plans for Western Ukraine are dangerous for Russia." As a consequence, they warned that "if Polish troops enter the territory of Western Ukraine, all their military units and weapons will become targets for the Russian army."

Moreover, according to Russian media, "Poland is planning to attack Belarus".

"Now the main threat to Belarus comes not from the Baltic countries, but from Poland, which is accumulating troops on the border with the Republic," a military expert said in an interview with

The self-proclaimed President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko reacted to "Polish plans" during a parade in honor of the 77th anniversary of Victory Day in Minsk. He stated that "if the Poles decide to try to attack the Republic of Belarus, they [Belarus] will immediately 'break off horns' for Poland [Russian idiom that means 'pacify']."

May 10

Russian media post "prognoses" from astrologists and mediums about the Russia-Ukraine war, as spotted by our colleagues and friends at * "The existence of Russian civilization is at stake; many are anxious about the future. However, prophecies and predictions say that Russia will withstand the coming trials but will have to work hard.[...]Other countries will turn away from the "rotten hegemon—the United States." —

  • "It is absolutely impossible to say that Zelensky can win, that he is leading his country to victory: the inverted Star card indicates complete hopelessness, that he has no chance." —
  • "At the end of the second summer month, challenging events for Russia are possible. Military conflicts by this time may reach their peak. Moreover, even biological or chemical weapons are not ruled out." —

May 9

Key quotes from Putin's speech at the victory day parade:

  • "Last December, Russia called on the West to an honest dialogue, to search for reasonable, compromise solutions, to take into account each other's interests. All in vain."
  • "Preparations were underway for another punitive operation in Donbas, for an invasion of our historical lands, including Crimea. In Kyiv, they announced the possible acquisition of nuclear weapons. NATO has begun active military development of the territories adjacent to us."
  • "Everything indicated thata clash with neo-Nazis on whom the United States and their junior partners lean would be inevitable [...] Russia gave a preemptive rebuff to aggression. It was a forced, timely and only right decision."
  • "Especially after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the US started talking about its exclusivity thereby humiliating not only the whole world but also its satellites, who have to pretend that they do not notice anything and meekly swallow it all".
  • "Those who crushed Nazism during the Great Patriotic War showed us an example of heroism for all time. This generation of winners, and we will always look up to them".

As you can see, Putin continues to claim that "Russia has only defended itself," and his history-related delusions did not go anywhere. The man is sick and has to go one way or another. Instead of "repeating the heroic deeds of grandfathers," Russians have become the very embodiment of the evil their grandfathers were fighting against in WWII. That's what you get when you let a crazy dictator rule over you.

May 6

On April 28, the US House of Representatives passed a bill to supply arms to Ukraine under a land-lease program. It needs to be signed by the President of the US Joe Biden for the law to take effect. The program will allow the United States to supply arms and other aid to Ukraine faster and without standard bureaucratic procedures. How did the Russian media react to this?

First of all, Russian propagandists are very worried about how Ukraine will pay for the weapons provided under the land-lease program. Russian media emphasized that "this is not free of charge" and "Ukraine will have to pay Washington later for the 'gifts.'"

According to State Duma Chairman Vyacheslav Volodin, "Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is driving his country into debt" because "many generations of Ukrainians will pay the price."

One Russian media even "tried to figure out what ulterior motives the initiators of this act are pursuing." According to it, lend-lease "allows the West to create a model of long-term conflict" and "turns Ukraine into a kind of 'European Afghanistan.'" Furthermore, lend-lease should "satisfy American society, which has been sensitive to the fact that taxpayers' money is being scattered right and left in recent years, " because lend-lease "will not be charity" for Ukraine.

State Duma Chairman Vyacheslav Volodin added one more motive of the USA: "Lend-lease will increase the profits of American military corporations several times over."

According to Dmitry Medvedev, Deputy Chairman of the Security Council of Russia, "Ukraine more and more unceremoniously uses its European sponsors for his own purposes."

Russian media called it the "Lend-Lease of the death." The propagandists compared the lend-lease of the Second World War and the current lend-lease. They emphasize that, firstly, "the old lend-lease was intended to defeat Nazism and fascism, and this one was to support them." Secondly, "the current lend-lease is also the actual legalization of the weapons that the West has already supplied to Ukraine." Thereby "the United States in Ukraine is fighting for the destruction of Russia because this country is preventing the United States from restoring world hegemony."

State-owned outlet RT added that the lend-lease will help the USA continue to "saturate Ukraine and the Kyiv regime with weapons." According to propagandists, "this is a deliberate USA policy to revise the results of the Second World War and weaken the role of the UN."

Russian media also published the list of the weapons that "the United States will share with Ukraine." But propagandists were concerned thatthese weapons "in general pose a rather serious threat to Russian troops." Therefore, in their opinion, "it is necessary to do everything possible in order to not allow weapons from the lend-lease list will never get on the battlefield."

The idea that lend-lease "may complicate the tasks of the Russian army" was also expressed on Radio Sputnik.

May 5

On May 5, Anatoliy Shariy, a popular Ukrainian blogger and politician, was detained in Spain on an international arrest warrant for suspected treason.

Shariy has heavily criticized the Euromaidan of 2013-2014 and Ukraine's post-2014 authorities. UkraineWorld has often tracked his messages in the chorus of Ukrainian anti-Western actors. His commentary is often politically incorrect, frequently featuring hate speech and derogatory statements against his opponents. His narratives often align with those of Russian propaganda. He also echoes Russia's domestic information agenda, mostly by mocking Russia's anti-Kremlin opposition. For years Shariy has supported the Kremlin's narrative of Ukraine being a Western "colony" dominated by Russian-hating neo-Nazis in his videos. Now Russian propaganda tries to use his arrest to fuel its narratives about "anti-democratic Ukraine" and "decaying Europe":

  • Pervyi, one of the most popular Russian TV channels, called Shariy "an opposition blogger" and said that "he has honestly told about everything happening in the country, about the Euromaidan events and what came next." Such a token of recognition from the Kremlin's propagandists means a lot.
  • Zvezda, the official TV channel of the Russian army, quoted Illya Kyva, a former Ukrainian MP who has collaborated with Russia for years, saying that the arrest of Shariy "tells you everything you need to know about political asylum in Europe." "There are no more rules in the world," Kyva decried.
  • Russian outlet published two extensive articles on Shariy. In one of them, the website writes that Shariy's detention means "Europe has started a hunt ordered by Ukrainian neo-Nazis." Another one is an interview with Johan Bäckman, a Finnish pro-Russian political activist. In this interview, he said that Ukraine persecutes its own citizens around the globe just as the U.S. does, and such "widespread repressions" will continue. Bäckman also decried that "Europe has turned into Ukraine" since "there are Ukrainian flags everywhere."
  • Russian news website Politnavigator quotes Ihor Korotchenko, a Russian military expert, saying that in Ukraine, Shariy faces the prospects of "tortures in SBU basements, or even death." Konstantin Dolgov, a former "speaker" of the so-called "foreign ministry of the DPR", told Politnavigator thatShariy will likely be deported to Ukraine and "we [Russians] have to act, but how?"

All this "support" is another proof that Shariy was indeed involved with Russian propagandists.

May 3

Amid anti-semitic statements by Russia's foreign ministry and foreign minister Sergey Lavrov, Russian-organized anti-vax Viber chats are actively spreading anti-semitic propaganda. This is hardly a coincidence. Here are some notable examples of such propaganda discovered by our friends at

According to this picture, Jews pitted Russians and Ukrainians against each other and made them believe that the war is in their best interests. However, only Jews gain from this war, the text on the picture implies.

The caption on this widely shared picture reads: "A nation without land will come to the land without a nation. Not a single synagogue was damaged during the fighting in Ukraine." This pic was made by Russians, since it uses the phrase "на Украине", not "в Украине", as Russians do.

This message is widely shared by anti-wax groups and implies that "under Jewish yoke" the best Ukrainians are sent to the frontline as "cannon fodder." Also, the message calls on Ukrainians to "stop this."

This message "explains" that the war is only taking place in southern and eastern regions of Ukraine because "a new Israel was proclaimed with two capitals in Ukraine: Adessa and Dnipropetrovsk (sic!)"

May 2

Each year on this day, Russian "media" write that Odesa is "occupied by Nazis," building this narrative upon the tragedy in the house of trade unions on May 2, 2014. Forty-eight people, most pro-Russian activists, died from suffocation or burns during a fire that took over the building during the clashes in Odesa. Russian television broadcast images of charred bodies and reported that "Ukrainian Nazis" had "burned alive" fellow citizens friendly toward Russia. However, since then, no similar incidents have ever happened in Odesa.

This year is no different. Russian state-controlled outlet Riafan writes that in 2014, the local government in Odesa "has betrayed" the interests of ordinary citizens and, since then, the "Nazis" have occupied the city.

Apparently, Russians would like to "liberate" Odesa as they did with Mariupol. Over the last few weeks, Odesa has been constantly hit by Russian cruise missiles. As a result of one of such airstrikes, eight people died, including a 3-month-old baby and a pregnant woman. That's how Russians "liberate Odesa from Nazis."

See our updates from January 20 to April 30 here.

UkraineWorld team