False claims about Romanian Red Cross, Russia concealing war crimes, and evidence conflicts with helicopter attack claims
A round up of disinformation narratives related to the Russian invasion of Ukraine for the second week in April 2022.
False claims about Romanian Red Cross
Pro-Kremlin social media accounts and Russian media spread claims that the Romanian Red Cross is suspending humanitarian aid in Odessa due to corruption of local officials.
The Romanian Red Cross denied the Russian claims and assured that it continues to provide assistance to Ukraine, including in the Odesa region.
A Romanian Red Cross spokesman told StopFake, “Fifty-eight humanitarian aid trucks have already been shipped, carrying 1,450 tons of aid.”
Exaggerated claims about surrenders
Russia spread fantastical claims that the story about the sinking of the Moscow was to distract from the "thousand Ukrainian Marines who laid down their arms in Mariupol."
Oleksiy Arestovych, an adviser to the head of the President's Office, confirmed that during the breakthrough of the 36th Marine Brigade to the positions of the Azov Regiment in Mariupol, some Marines were indeed captured, but he clarified:
All this thousand people is a complete lie, multiplied several times.
Russia aims Bucha massacre denial at home
Efforts to conceal the Russian army's crimes in Bucha have shifted toward a domestic audience. A man who is portrayed as a soldier of the Ukrainian Armed Forces says:
"I witnessed how the Right Sector brought 20 civilians to Rubizhne, they had white armbands on their hands… and there was a team to shoot them. When we asked him why he was doing this, the senior answered that it was revenge for Bucha… We refused to do it, for which we were disarmed and lowered into a pit.”
On April 14, International Criminal Court Prosecutor Karim Khan visited Bucha and Borodyanka. Khan stated unequivocally the massacre was not fake.
A video circulated apparently showing the shooting of people's homes by the Ukrainian military eyewitness testimonies about this are being spread on social networks.
According to VoxCheck, the story with the evacuees of Bucha, where they talk about life in the Russian occupation, is interrupted.
The video only shows a half-minute of what was a three-minute video that talks about Russian shelling.
Russians covering up their crimes in Mariupol
Mariupol City Council reported that Russians are digging up and collecting the bodies of the dead over a week ago.
The council speculates the Russians intend to use the mobile crematoria to cover up their crimes. The Council states guards no longer allow them to bury the dead.
The Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine published supporting evidence, and the Commissioner for Human Rights of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine stated:
Mobile crematoria are working hard in Mariupol. The occupiers continue to clean the streets of the bodies of the dead. The clean-up has already been carried out in the Livoberezhny district, the Parkovy and Novoselivka private buildings districts, and the central streets. The crematorium is located in the industrial zone of warehouses on Volodarsky Highway near the “Metro” shopping center.
CONTEXT: Russia is expending resources to deny the claims, following a recent pattern of behavior where they vehemently deny actions that evidence shows they committed. Examples include denying the Bucha massacre and denying the Mariupol maternity hospital bombing.
The effort to conceal Russian crimes
Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov reiterated the peaceful nature of the so-called special operation saying:
“Where nationalist battalions do not take civilians hostage, where nationalist battalions do not shoot social facilities, houses, there is a peaceful life."
A day of peaceful Russian occupation:
Russians opened fire on an evacuation bus. The exact number of dead and injured, the circumstances, and routes of buses are being established. So far we know of seven people who died and twenty, injured.
Russian troops opened artillery fire on the town of Mikhailovka and the village of Orlyanske. As a result of the shelling, one person was killed and five others were injured.
According to the Center for Strategic Communications and Information Security, more than 900 bodies of civilian victims were found, examined, and taken to forensic facilities for detailed examination by police. Most victims were found in Bucha - more than 350 bodies were removed from the city.
Russia says Ukrainian helicopters attacked a Russian city but video shows land mine debris
Russia is expected to accuse Ukraine of shelling the border Bryansk region. According to the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation (SCR):
“Using two combat helicopters equipped with heavy offensive weapons, the UAF servicemen illegally invaded the airspace of the Russian Federation. "
Unlike a previous helicopter attack that the Russians and some outside analysts attributed to Ukrainian helicopters, in this case, no video footage of the attack was provided.
Instead, a video of a fire in a Russian village has been offered as evidence of a helicopter attack.
The video shows, according to Spravdi, the remains of mortar mines suggesting an assault that did not come from helicopters. StopFake published text from a local Russian chat after the alleged helicopter attack.
There is a recording of the SBU intercepting a telephone conversation between the Russian occupier and his wife. The woman told about the victims of the Klimov shelling, to which the Z-soldier replied that the Russian troops themselves had struck at facilities in the Bryansk region.
CONTEXT: If the Ukrainian Armed Forces fired inside of Russia it would likely be directed at a strategic target like the Russian Armed Forces stationed in the Bryansk region. The earlier attack attributed to Ukraine targeted a fuel station in Belgorod.
"Satanists" from the "Right Sector"
The "Right Sector" became popular with pro-Kremlin actors on April 14. The satanic-panic-like narrative talks about children's checkpoints and symbols of the "Right Sector.”
Alexander Yegortsev talked about the left satanic temple from "Right Sector."
This narrative carries themes found in Nazi propaganda—most recently repackaged in QAnon narratives—and warrants no address.
Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. None exists for these claims.
More importantly, we have seen these narratives used to justify mass killings in the past.
Credit: Content from Spravdi, VoxUkraine, StopFake, and the Center for Countering Disinformation were used in the writing of this blog.