A concentration camp was discovered in the region of Luhansk, where Russian speaking people were tortured, according to a false narrative disseminated by the Russian state media. It presents Russia as a state that, through its “special military operation” in Donbass, freed the local population and chased away “the Nazis” and “the nationalists”.
Russia has been trying for years to keep a foothold in the Western Balkans, especially through its connections with Serbia and Serb groups in the region. The war in Ukraine may now push Moscow’s allies closely in the Western camp.
Russian propaganda continues to seek to justify the invasion of Ukraine and the bombing of civilian targets, including schools and hospitals. According to a recent narrative, a Ukrainian attack on Donbass was imminent, and Kiev was hiding its intentions by deploying troops to schools and hospitals.
An important part of Ukraine's population has close ties with Russia and wants good relations with it, according to the Russian propaganda, which also claims that Russian-speakers are being used by Ukrainian nationalists as human shields.
The Ukrainian army has shot down a fighter jet and a helicopter of the Romanian Armed Forces in Dobruja, after mistaking them for aircraft of the Russian army. This fake piece of news is promoted by publications and public figures (of whom some are associated with the far right) that over the years have been spreading disinformation, fake news and narratives promoted by Russia.
Ukraine is responding to the Russian propaganda by launching its own narratives, aimed at encouraging the population and demoralizing the enemy. So far, Kyiv and Ukrainians – since journalists and regular citizens are also pulling their weight – seem to be winning the information war.
The Republic of Moldova has always been one of the easiest targets for the Russian propangada, which keeps working even if, against the background of the war in Ukraine, the Chisinau government has taken measures to contain and combat it. The narratives promoted in Moldova by Russia or pro-Russia entities and politicians are mainly about the war and seek to either present the Russian version of the war, or to discredit Ukraine and its citizens.
Putin’s regime has introduced a near-total censorship in Russia, and the new law about “fake news concerning military actions” imposes prison sentences on anyone writing or using the word “war”, considering that the government’s official discourse states that Ukraine’s invasion is merely a “special operation”. Nevertheless, Russian independent journalists are still making efforts to reach their public. All they have left is the Internet, which is itself subject to certain limitations. Independent journalists write about the massive wave of people leaving the country, comparable to the mass-migration of 1917. They also continue to provide information about the “special operation” and are trying to counter the extensive propaganda aggressively promoted on all federal channels.
Ukraine was preparing to attack Russian and Belarussian troops on the day Russia launched the “special military operation” in Ukraine, Belarus’s president, Alexander Lukashenko says. This false narrative was also picked up by the media in Russia and Belarus.
Ukrainian refugees are disrespectful towards Moldovans, try to impose their political views and break the law, according to the Russian press, which also writes that the Kyiv authorities intend to draw the Republic of Moldova in the war against Russia.
Romania needs to proclaim its neutrality with respect to the conflict in Ukraine, the controversial former minister of foreign affairs and convicted criminal, Adrian Severin, has said. In a letter addressed to Romanian authorities, Severin, who in recent years has been promoting sovereigntist and anti-Western theses similar to those appearing in narratives spread by Russia, is also reiterating some of Russia’s war propaganda themes.
Ukraine’s biological laboratories were conducting experiments on bats to produce coronavirus, the Russian media writes. This is part of the metanarrative about biological laboratories, where Ukraine was producing weapons of mass destruction, with support from the United States.
On Sunday, March 6, 11 days after the start of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the number of Ukrainians seeking refuge in Poland exceeded one million people. What is happening at the border crossings, in the cities and is Poland ready to accept millions of refugees? Veridica’s Michal Kukawski reports from the epicenter of the Ukrainian refugee crisis, a crisis that may be on the verge of becoming dramatic.
Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, is ready to talk terms with Russia about Donbas and Crimea with a view to ending the conflict, according to the Russian media, which continues to spread fake news about the Russian-Ukrainian war.
Putin wants to change the European Order, and he probably will, just not the way he imagined. The war in Ukraine, which has prompted a reaction in block in the West, throwing sanctions at Russia from all sides, might just be the last for Putin. But perhaps the most important development is the restructuring of NATO forces on the eastern flank.
The Russian government media published a series of documents designed to prove Ukraine was planning an invasion of Donbas in March. The narrative was launched with a view to justifying Russia’s military operations against Ukraine.
People previously promoted by Sputnik, who in the past were accused of defending the interests of Russia and/or were associated with the anti-vaxx movement, launched a number of anti-Ukrainian disinformation narratives after war broke out. Cozmin Gușă, Diana Șoșoacă and Iosefina Pascal are among those who promote these disinformation themes, ranging from false justifications for the invasion (the existence of laboratories manufacturing biological weapons), to complete denial of an actual war.
Russian soldiers have identified and destroyed 13 labs in Ukraine where biological weapons were being produced. According to these narratives, Russia must bomb the Ukrainian cities ‘in order to save humanity.”
With the outbreak of war in Ukraine, the Kremlin has tightened its grip on information reaching the Russian public. The little independent press that still existed and was trying to provide information about what was really going on in Ukraine was practically silenced. Veridica flipped through independent media articles published just before total censorship was installed in Russia.
Russia reportedly attacked certain sites in Ukraine in order to prevent Ukraine from producing military weapons. This is how the Russian media describes the attacks on Kharkiv, the capturing of the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant and the occupation of the disaffected nuclear power plant in Chernobyl, where the world’s biggest nuclear disaster occurred in 1986.
By supporting Ukraine, the West has actually declared war on the Russian Federation, and the Chisinau government has sided with the West, which might have serious consequences, Mejdurecie.md reads. The article is trying to justify a potential replication in the Republic of Moldova of the situation in Ukraine, if the first maintains its current stand towards Russia and the West respectively.
Russian media and media in the self-proclaimed republics of Donetsk and Luhansk are disseminating fake news about war crimes committed by Ukrainian soldiers, nationalists in particular, against civilians in eastern and southern Ukraine. In reality, Russia is the one bombarding Ukraine’s cities and destroying lots of civilian targets, including blocks of flats and schools.
The Moldovan social media has witnessed a surge in hate-inciting comments targeting refugees coming in from Ukraine. According to the main narratives stemming from the messages that flooded social networks, Ukrainians are troublesome, and the authorities must tend to the citizens of the Republic of Moldova, not the refugees. Moldova is poor, but it is helping Ukrainian millionaires. Other countries are facing similar problems related to the arrival of refugees, and this is just the beginning. This seems to be a concerted campaign designed to divide society, Moldovan president Maia Sandu has warned.
The city of Mariupol in Donbass is turning into a concentration camp, blocked by Ukrainian soldiers and paramilitary groups, the Russian press reads, quoting representatives of the separatist militias of Donetsk and Luhansk. In reality, the humanitarian corridors are blocked by Russian soldiers who are firing at critical infrastructure.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has mostly been condemned in Europe and beyond. However, there are a handful of exception, and Moscow’s main ally in the Balkans, Serbia, is one of them. Officially Belgrade spoke in favor of Ukraine’s integrity, but sanctions or even a harsh condemnation of Moscow are out of the question. Moreover, the media – which is mostly under some sort of government control or influence – is unabashedly showing its support for Putin.
The recognition of the separatist republics in Donbass, which was an intermediate step towards the total invasion of Ukraine, could prove to be one of Putin's biggest mistakes and the beginning of the end for his regime.
The media and social media users in Ukraine have mobilized in order to encourage the population to resist and spread information about the war from Kyiv’s perspective as much as possible, including in Russia. It is interesting to note how Ukrainians have intercepted messages and symbols used by the Kremlin’s propaganda, including in the information war against Ukraine.
The Republic of Moldova has violated its neutrality status since it allows NATO to deliver weapons to Ukraine, currently at war with Russia, which invaded this country on February 24. This false narrative is promoted by politnavigator.net, which references a commentary of a Russian expert.
A neighbor of Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova is directly interested in the way the war in Ukraine is unfolding, for both military and humanitarian reasons.
Despite the government's censorship and the triumphant image of the war that the Kremlin sells to the public, the Russian independent media is trying to accurately report on both what is happening on the ground and the possible consequences of Vladimir Putin's war.
The tension between Russia and NATO put forward the question on how Bulgaria’s army can be reformed after decades of neglect and whether the country is the alliance’s “weak link”. PM Kiril Petkov looks like he’s on a solitary mission to prove this is not the case.
The United States does not consider Russia is invading Ukraine by sending troops to the separatist republics of Donetsk and Luhansk, since it didn’t adopt harsher sanctions. This false narrative is promoted by Sorin Roșca Stănescu, a journalist known for being involved in criminal investigations, and whose articles regularly reference narratives similar to those publicized by Russian propaganda.