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.
NEWS: “Ukrainian men who fled to poor Moldova behave defiantly and arrogantly. The locals are annoyed not only by how they are driving their expensive foreign cars, breaking the rules (15 serious accidents already), but also by their chauvinistic attitude. They scold waitresses in restaurants and shopkeepers because they speak the language of the Russian “occupiers” (do they understand Romanian better?), they ask the Moldovans to shout “Glory to Ukraine” and, in one village, the outsiders painted in yellow and blue the memorial of the heroes of the Great War for the Defense of the Fatherland, which aroused Moldovans’ genuine indignation.
The Moldovans’ fear of the pressure put by the Ukrainian patriots is understandable, given that there are very alarming signals coming from Ukraine. Recently, the Military Television of the Armed Forces of Ukraine has stated that the airport in Vinnytsia was bombed with “Kalibr” missiles launched from Transnistria, although there are no such weapons there. The Ukrainian Ministry of Defense had to deny this information only after the authorities in both Chisinau and Tiraspol described it as fake”.
Given that Ukraine's intention to persuade the West to take major action against the Kremlin has failed, Kiev and certain Ukrainian forces are actively trying to draw our country into the Russian-Ukrainian conflict and thus expand it, providing new arguments for prolonging the political sanctions against Moscow”, writes the Moldovan political scientist Serghei Ceban.
NARRATIVES: 1. Ukrainian refugees arriving in the Republic of Moldova have an aggressive behavior towards the local population. 2. Ukraine is trying to attract the Republic of Moldova into the war against Russia.
LOCAL CONTEXT / ETHOS: Since the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, approximately 300,000 Ukrainian citizens have taken refuge in the Republic of Moldova, of which just over 100,000 were still in that country on March 12th. The Republic of Moldova is the country hosting the largest number of Ukrainian refugees, relative to its population (approximately 4% of the total population). However, it is expected that most of the remaining Ukrainians will move further west, or return to the country after the end of the war.
Central and local authorities have set up refugee centers, but many of them are hosted by private individuals. The international community has announced that it will provide financial support and humanitarian aid for the refugees.
The Republic of Moldova has condemned the Russian military aggression, but has not joined international sanctions.
Since the beginning of the war, there has been news of alleged military training in the Transnistrian separatist region, de facto controlled by Russia, where a Russian military contingent is stationed and there is a big Soviet-era weapons and ammunition depot. One of the fake news was that the Vinnytsia Airport was attacked with rockets fired from Transnistria, but both Chisinau, Kiev and Tiraspol have denied the rumor.
A poll conducted in early March shows that most respondents are on Ukraine's side in the war started by Russia, and more than 60% condemn Vladimir Putin's handling of the Russia-Ukraine conflict.
PURPOSE: To discredit the Ukrainians and Ukraine, to fuel the fear that Moldova might be drawn into the war and to diminish the empathy of the majority of citizens towards the Kyiv authorities who are defending their country against the Russian invasion.
WHY THE NARRATIVES ARE FALSE: With the increase in the number of Ukrainian refugees in the Republic of Moldova, a campaign to discredit them was launched on social media and various information appeared – usually fake - about their involvement in road accidents, aggressive behavior, etc. Former pro-Russian President Igor Dodon has even proposed that Ukrainians “who do not behave themselves” be sent back or deported to Romania. Much of this information about the behavior of Ukrainians turns out to be fake.
Police have denied the involvement of Ukrainians in major road accidents or serious violations of public order. “To date, we have not recorded any offense involving refugees. There’ve been some contraventions, i.e. acts with a lesser social and legal danger than a crime. We have, for example, traffic violations”, said the head of the General Police Inspectorate, Viorel Cernăuțeanu.
The preparations to involve the separatist army in the conflict and even military actions undertaken by that army are other theses promoted on social media.
The alleged intention to draw the Republic of Moldova into the war with Russia is a new thesis. The Republic of Moldova, as a neutral country, cannot get involved in a military conflict. Moreover, the Republic of Moldova is in a vulnerable situation due to the superiority of the separatist forces combined with the Russian ones in Transnistria, so it is not interested in a war that it would lose. Also, Ukraine does not want a new front to be opened in its western part, given that its forces are barely able to cope with the Russian assaults in the east, north and south.
GRAIN OF TRUTH: The police have recorded several misdemeanors, including traffic violations, committed by Ukrainian refugees.