Digest countering Russian disinformation and propaganda. As of 06 April 2022

The Kremlin’s propaganda machine mounted and released a fake video in which the soldiers of the 503rd Separate Marine Battalion allegedly surrendered to the Russians. 

The video was published in the TikTok social network by the head of Chechnia Ramzan Kadyrov – the main headliner of the war in Ukraine. Russian propaganda stated that “such a mass surrender took place for the first time during the “special operation”

But in fact Ukraine’s marines from the battalion denied the statement and officially declared that they did not give up to anyone. 

Moreover, adviser to the Mayor of the city of Mariupol Petro Andryushchenko believes that the published video is staged: 

  • there are no Marines from the 503rd Battalion in the video, they did not surrender; 
  • the video was shot in one of the villages of Mariupol district, where the Armed Forces of Ukraine were not actually based; 
  • Russian troops stole Ukrainian uniforms from the base of Azov Regiment in the village of Urzuf; 
  • people in the video are clean and shaved. It doesn’t look like they were in combat for many days. 

The main purpose of this video is to sow panic among the defenders of the city, as well as civilian population, particularly in the context of recent Russian ultimatum to surrender Mariupol. 

It is necessary to stress that many videos of Russian propaganda related to the special military operation are undeniably staged. 

Thus, the “heroic” cameraman of the Russian Information Agency “Novosti” shot a video of Russian military personnel, demining the occupied territory of Ukraine. 

The peculiarity of this video is that the cameraman for some reason goes ahead of the soldiers and they simply follow him with the metal detectors. However, it is quite acceptable for the Russian audience. 

Russian propaganda accidentally confessed to killing 93 civilians near the city of Mariupol. 

However, to cover-up this crime, the Russians had to call the Ukrainian civilians militants who “were disguised in civilian clothes”. This statement was made by the head of the National Defense Management Center of the Russian Federation, Colonel General Mikhail Mizintsev. 

Many Russian media spread Mizintsev’s words. They become a subject of close attention only after the horrific and bloody massacre in the Kyiv region, in particular in the town of Bucha. 

By elaborating the theme of Mariupol, the Interdepartmental Coordination Headquarters of the Russian Federation for Humanitarian Response in Ukraine has invented another story. 

It stated that “intercepted active radio talks between various groups of nationalists, including foreign mercenaries, who remained in Mariupol, show that a fierce struggle has erupted between them over the order of access to the humanitarian corridor: militants threaten to shoot a convoy if they are not in the evacuation lists”

Russian propaganda continues to glorify its military, who turns out to be ordinary criminals and looters. 

In particular, the looting of Russian soldiers and officers has reached enormous proportions. They took home appliances, tools, clothes, shoes and other things from Ukrainian homes in the occupied territories to send them to their relatives in Russia. There are obvious facts that Russian occupiers sent looted items from the Belarusian city of Mozyr to the Russian cities of Rubtsovsk, Birobidzhan, Barnaul, Ussuriysk and others. Some luggage weighed 40 kilograms or more. 

It is worth to note that the looting has recently been decriminalized and actually legalized in Russia. Thus, in the telephone conversations of the occupiers with relatives, intercepted by the Security Service of Ukraine, the latter even encourage them to loot and name specific things that they need. 

Government Office for Coordination of European and Euro-Atlantic Integration