Russian war information – from the Bucha massacre to the sinking of the Moscow battleship – continues to grow

From the run-up to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and throughout the conflict, Moscow has pursued a strategy of aggressive public proliferation, quarrels and disinformation aimed at creating an alternative reality to explain how events unfolded on earth.

In Russia itself, the rules for talking about Ukraine itself have become Orwellian, with citizens now facing lengthy potential prison sentences for simply saying their country is at war, let alone expressing opposition to it. (The Kremlin-approved term for the conflict is “special military operation”, not war.)

While Ukraine has also focused on using social media to showcase its military victories in the conflict and to disperse the horticultural powers of its president, Volodymyr Zelensky, the information war fought by Kyiv has largely reflected what can actually be documented.

President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky. (Sergei Supinsky / AFP via Getty Images)

In contrast, Russian state media and Russian top officials have repeatedly spread a completely false reality, with Moscow, not Kiev, facing an existential military threat; where Ukrainians, not Russians, commit horrific war crimes against Ukrainian civilians; where Ukraine is led by neo-Nazis; and where Russia’s war goals are going exactly according to plan.

Here are some of the most obvious untruths put forward by Moscow about Russia’s attack on Ukraine:

The massive build-up of troops on the Ukrainian border prior to the invasion was for “training exercises”

From last summer, an increase in Russian military personnel and equipment assembled on the Ukrainian border triggered alarm bells in western capitals. Russia repeatedly and persistently denied that the build-up was for anything other than routine military exercises. Moscow even continued to deny its goal of invading Ukraine after troops it had sent to Belarus for joint military exercises did not return to Russia after the end of the exercises.

As some 200,000 Russian troops swelled at Ukraine’s northern, eastern and southern borders, and an invasion appeared imminent, Russian officials called US warnings of an attack “absurd” and “hysterical” just weeks before Moscow’s aggression was triggered. the largest land war in Europe since World War II.

Russia’s invasion is going according to plan and according to plan

A broken Russian tank

A wrecked Russian tank on the outskirts of the village of Buzova, west of Kiev, on April 10. (Sergei Supinsky / AFP via Getty Images)

Moscow has repeatedly claimed that its “special military operation” in Ukraine is proceeding as planned. But this is demonstrably false. Russia’s original plan was to make a lightning strike against the capital Kiev, capture or kill Ukrainian leadership and force Ukrainian lawmakers to vote in a pro-Russian puppet government.

But that plan disintegrated under fierce Ukrainian opposition, including a critical victory at an airport near Kiev that prevented Russian troops from establishing a beachhead near the capital. Excited by these early victories, Ukrainians have managed to repel Russia’s attacks on Kiev and other major cities such as Kharkiv, which has prevented Moscow’s forces, so far, from taking these large population centers.

To further substantiate the claim that the war is continuing according to plan, up to 15,000 Russian soldiers have been killed so far, according to NATO estimates, including over half a dozen generals. Ukraine has also assumed responsibility, via rocket attacks, for sinking Russia’s Moscow cruisers, Russia’s Black Sea Fleet flagship and the largest military ship sunk since World War II. (Russia has said the vessel sank due to a storm after catching fire.)

Russia, which has withdrawn its troops all the way from Kiev and the surrounding area, has refocused its attack on Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region. Moscow now claims that it has always been its primary war goal to cut this region out of Ukraine in order to create an independent state – in fact, a Russian puppet regime. But this is a comprehensive rewriting of much more recent history, with Russian President Vladimir Putin claiming that the central goal was the “de-Nazification” of the whole of Ukraine.

The Ukrainian government is led by neo-Nazis

Members of the Ukrainian Azov Battalion in Kharkiv

Members of the Ukrainian Azov Battalion in Kharkiv. (Sergey Bobok / AFP via Getty Images)

Putin’s attempts to connect Ukraine with Nazism have also proved to be a stretch. Russia has claimed that the Ukrainian government is an outlawed state run by neo-Nazi extremists. In fact, Zelensky is Jewish and won the 2019 election as moderate. And although Ukraine has struggled with corruption, its government is completely mainstream – and in fact far less right-wing than some European states like Hungary.

Russia’s reference to “neo-Nazis” appears to stem from the activities of Azov Battalian, a Ukrainian militant group with neo-fascist views that were integrated into Ukraine’s National Guard in 2014. But Azov – affiliated companies make up a small percentage of Ukraine’s total military. forces, and Azov’s own leadership has sought to distance the organization from its more overtly neo-fascist past.

Moreover, Russia’s alleged “de-Nazification” goals sound particularly hollow, as Russia has hired its own neo-fascist paramilitary operators to fight in Ukraine, including the Wagner group, which is closely linked to the Russian government, and the Russian imperial movement designated by the United States. a terrorist group in 2020.

The massacre in Bucha was staged (and if it is not, Ukraine is to blame)

French forensic scientists

French forensic investigators are supervising workers carrying a body bag exhumed from a mass grave in the Ukrainian city of Bucha. (Sergei Supinsky / AFP via Getty Images)

After Russian troops withdrew from the Kyiv region, Ukrainian forces flew over the city’s suburbs, which had experienced some of the war’s toughest fighting. What the Ukrainians discovered shocked them as well as large parts of the world: Widespread evidence of war crimes and atrocities committed by Russian forces. Russian forces in Bucha appeared to have executed people they knew were civilians, including women and children, and forced women into sex slavery.

Russia immediately offered a series of conflicting explanations on the scenes in Bucha: that Russian troops had left the city before the killings began (which was false); that the killings were staged (false); and that if the killings were real, the massacre was a “false flag” of the Ukrainians (also false).

In fact, the transfer of blame to Ukraine for Russia’s own heinous acts has been a hallmark of the war. Russia also claimed that its attack on the Kramatorsk train station, which killed more than 50 civilians trying to escape the violence in eastern Ukraine, was committed by the Ukrainians themselves.

And Russia has a long history of trying to commit false flag operations in order to blame the war. In the run-up to the invasion, these plans included a staged, or even real, chemical attack by Russia in eastern Ukraine, which US officials warned would be made to resemble the work of Kiev forces, to provide Moscow with a casus belli.

Moscow has also claimed, without evidence, that the United States plans to use an army of infected birds to send biological weapons into Russia.

U.S. officials continue to worry that Russia will use chemical weapons and blame Ukraine.

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What happened last week in Ukraine? Check out this explanation from Yahoo Immersive to find out.

Where are Russian forces attacking Ukraine?  Check out this explanation from Yahoo Immersive to find out.

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