WAR PROPAGANDA: Volodymyr Zelenskyy will be tried for war crimes

President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine appears on screen and speaks during a United Nations Security Council meeting on the situation in Ukraine amid the Russian military invasion, at the United Nations headquarters, in New York, New York, USA, 05 April 2022.
© EPA-EFE/PETER FOLEY   |   President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine appears on screen and speaks during a United Nations Security Council meeting on the situation in Ukraine amid the Russian military invasion, at the United Nations headquarters, in New York, New York, USA, 05 April 2022.

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The international community will have to declare the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy a war criminal, according to a false narrative circulated by the Russian state media. In reality, the war crimes blamed on the Ukrainian president are either made up or were committed by Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory.  

NEWS: Crimean State Duma Deputy Aleksei Cerniak is convinced that the international community will declare Volodymyr Zelenskyy a war criminal, and gives a list of the crimes against humanity committed by the Kyiv regime.

 […]

“Zelenski wants a court - he will have it. But he will be on the dock himself. The truth cannot be hidden and the international community will have to declare Zelensky a war criminal”, Cerniak told RIA Novosti.

According to him, Zelenskyy will be tried for a number of crimes against humanity.

“He must answer for the genocide against his own people, which he used as a human shield and hid behind it. He must be held accountable for the biological laboratories where experiments were conducted, for the killing of civilians in Lugansk and Donetsk, for the torturing of the Russian military, for fascist propaganda; and the list can go on”, the deputy said.

NARRATIVE: Volodymyr Zelenskyy will be tried for war crimes

WHY THE NARRATIVE IS FALSE: The news spread by the Russian press and the Telegram channels in Russia and in the self-proclaimed republics of Donetsk and Luhansk is not based on facts, but on the assumptions of a parliamentarian. Some publications did not mention in the title that it was the opinion of a politician, and Zelenskyy being called a war criminal was presented as a fact.

The headline of the news published by RIA Novosti says that right now humanity calls Zelenskyy a war criminal. At the same time, the text of the news reads that Zelenskyy could be tried for war crimes, this being, in fact, the personal conviction of a Russian deputy. In the same manner, intended to manipulate public opinion, the news appears on the page of the Krasnaya Vesna news agency and on the  Tsargrad TV station .

This technique of manipulation with the help of headlines partially extracted from the content of the news is increasingly used by the Russian media in its propaganda narratives.

In fact, the false narrative is a reaction to the statement made by the President of Ukraine, who has called on the UN to provide a definition of a terrorist state based on which Russia could be excluded from the UN General Assembly.

Deputy Aleksei Cerniak and the Russian press have resumed in a much more succinct and systematized form the messages used to spread disinformation about Ukraine in the past 8 years.

The accusations launched by the Russian media against Kyiv regarding the staging of a genocide in Ukraine are quite old, and used now as mere justification for the war the Kremlin started on February 24. In reality, the Ukrainians, including Russian speakers, are fighting the Russian invader on their territory. Russia is bombing Ukrainian towns, including with weapons banned by international law. The casualties in Ukraine are caused by the Russian invasion, not by President Zelenskyy's decision to organize a defense of his state.

Veridica has debunked a string of false narratives whose main theme is “the genocide organized by Kyiv against Russian speakers”. According to the latest fake news of this kind, the Ukrainian troops are massacring Russian speakers while fleeing eastern Ukraine . In reality, the Ukrainian forces continue to resist, and political leaders in Kyiv say they will fight for each locality to defend the local population, including Russian speakers, from the Russian invaders.

The President of Ukraine is also accused of supporting US laboratories, where biological weapons were allegedly created. This false justification of the Russian invasion has been the topic of several press articles and TV shows, without anybody providing any evidence of that in the over four months since the start of the invasion. In reality, there were no laboratories in Ukraine where biological weapons were produced or developed. In 2007, Ukraine joined the Convention on the Non-Proliferation of Biological Weapons.

Veridica has debunked the basic narrative, which is one of the nuclei of war propaganda, according to which Russia is bombing Ukrainian cities in order to destroy bioweapon labs and save humanity.  Moscow has not provided any concrete evidence of such laboratories, but has justified the attack on Ukrainian cities and the Snake Island by the need to destroy them.

Zelenskyy is also accused of promoting fascist ideology, but there is no word about the fact that Nazi, fascist and communist symbolism is banned in Ukraine. In May, Russian media reported that  Ukrainian neo-Nazis were holding captive civilians in the Kharkov region,  but hid the fact that most local councils were reporting war crimes committed by the Russian military.

To exonerate Russia, the pro-Kremlin media have been writing since February 24 that the Ukrainian soldiers are neo-Nazis committing war crimes against civilians in eastern and southern Ukraine. In reality, Russia is the one that is bombing Ukrainian cities and has destroyed many civilian targets, including apartment buildings, schools, etc. The murders are documented by journalists and independent investigators. According to a study by the Kyiv Business School, in just 4 months the damage to the Ukrainian economy caused by Russia stands at some 600 billion dollars.

Therefore, it’s Putin, not Zelenskyy, that should be declared a war criminal, and there are already initiatives in this regard from Kyiv. Evidence collection continues in Ukraine, with the support of teams of EU experts, to hold Russia accountable for its war crimes.

  • Publication / Media:
    Ria Novosti
  • Date of publication:
    30/06/2022
  • Target audience:
    Russian speakers in the separatist republics of Donetsk and Luhansk
  • Amplification:
    ROSSAPRIMAVERA.RU, TSARGRAD.TV, OSNMEDIA.RU, Russian media Telegram channels
  • Political affiliation:
    The Kremlin
  • Key narrative:
    Volodymyr Zelenskyy will be tried for war crimes

EBOOK> Razboi si propaganda: O cronologie a conflictului ruso-ucrainean

EBOOK>Razboiul lui Putin cu lumea libera: Propaganda, dezinformare, fake news

Marin Gherman

Marin Gherman




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