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WAR PROPAGANDA: Israeli mercenaries have arrived in Ukraine to fight Russia alongside soldiers from the “Azov” battalion

A member of the Ukrainian National Guard regiment 'Azov' holds a hammer with portrait of Yevhen Konovalets, a military commander and political leader of the Ukrainian nationalist movement in 1929-1938 during their march in the eastern Ukrainian city of Mariupol, Ukraine, 15 June 2019.
©EPA-EFE/SERGEY VAGANOV  |   A member of the Ukrainian National Guard regiment 'Azov' holds a hammer with portrait of Yevhen Konovalets, a military commander and political leader of the Ukrainian nationalist movement in 1929-1938 during their march in the eastern Ukrainian city of Mariupol, Ukraine, 15 June 2019.

Having joined Ukrainian fighters with the “Azov” battalion, Israeli mercenaries have arrived in Ukraine to fight Russia. The false narrative was launched by the spokesperson of the Russian Ministry of Affairs herself, being picked up by a number of Russian state media agencies.

NEWS: “Israeli fighters are fighting in Ukraine alongside the “Azov” regiments (against whom the Russian Federation has started criminal proceedings), the spokesperson of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Maira Zakharova, has said.

[…] the Russian Foreign Ministry official added that Israel must be aware. “We have seen the video, the invoices, the materials”, Zakharova explained.

Previously, Israel’s Foreign Minister, Yair Lapid, said he was expecting an apology from Russia for the statement made by his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, whereas Russia’s, Anatoly Viktorov, was summoned at the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs to provide explanations. On Sunday, Lavrov told the Italian TV station “Mediaset” that Ukraine is currently undergoing a process of nazification, while the soldiers who were part of nationalist battalions and who were captured by the Russian army were displaying Neo-Nazi symbols. At the same time, Lavrov called into question the statement made by president Volodymyr Zelensky, who denied Nazism in his country, since he is himself a Jew. The head of the Russian Foreign Ministry said “this doesn’t mean anything”, because “wise Jewish people say that the most ardent anti-Semites are usually Jews themselves”.

NARRATIVE: Israeli mercenaries are fighting in Ukraine alongside the Azov battalion

BACKGROUND: Since the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky said he would create an International Legion made up of volunteers, which will support the defensive efforts of the Ukrainian armed forces. Kyiv announced that a large number of Russian citizens have also enrolled in the International Legion.

In the last two months, the Russian media has claimed that foreign mercenaries are fighting in Ukraine, discrediting Kyiv’s initiative to create a group of voluntary combatants. Veridica has already disproved such a false narrative, according to which the USA will send to Ukraine ex-military of the national army of Afghanistan. The Kremlin is looking for justifications to present to its own citizens, as well as to the international community, in connection with having to use mercenary outfits (the Wagner Group, Syrian combatants). At the same time, Moscow is trying to prove that Ukrainian resistance is based on external support, not the result of its own army.

WHY THE NARRATIVE IS FALSE: After Israel demanded Russia an apology for the statements of the head of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, it merely became another target of the Kremlin’s propaganda and disinformation. In this respect, Moscow mixed two older false narratives: the one regarding the atrocities of the “Azov” battalion, accused of being Neo-Nazis, and another one about Israeli mercenaries fighting on the side of Ukraine.

Russian propaganda has expanded the already confusing message conveyed by Lavrov by launching a much broader narrative, according to which Israeli soldiers are allegedly fighting side-by-side with Ukrainian Neo-Nazis! Hence the assumption that Russian military are actually fighting Jews and Neo-Nazis in Ukraine, which is designed to reinforce the idea that Russia is a citadel under siege.

In fact, Ukraine has provided an in-depth explanation concerning the status of the military who have volunteered to fight on its territory in compliance with international law. The Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs wrote these are foreign nationals who are part of the Ukrainian Armed Forces based on voluntary military contracts that fully comply with the provisions of the 1949 Geneva Convention. The foreign fighters receive equal pay and must be given fair treatment if they fall into enemy hands.

The Russian-language media of the Jewish community in Israel actually published images of Jewish volunteers fighting under the colors of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, who are by no means professional mercenaries. Many of them are not even citizens of Israel.

Therefore, there are no foreign mercenaries fighting on the territory of Ukraine, but only volunteers, including Jews, Russians and Belarussians, who enrolled in the International Legion subordinated to the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense.

Russia has never presented any evidence attesting to the presence of Israeli military in Ukraine or their collaboration with fighters from the “Azov” battalion. Rather, the Russians merely pretended there are certain invoices that would corroborate their claims, in a manner that recalls other propaganda campaigns based on fake news and disinformation.

Moreover, Israel has highlighted the fact that under no circumstances will it get involved in the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, merely stipulating that most Israeli officials have supported the need to increase military and civilian support for Ukraine, which triggered Moscow’s disgruntlement. Israel is forced to remain cautious when it comes to its national interests, given that Russia is present also in Syria, a country where the Israeli air forces are conducting regular missions in order to prevent the creation of Iranian military bases that could threaten Israel’s security. Russia has so far chosen not to hinder in any way Israel’s operations in Syria. On the other hand, there are also important economic ties between Israel and Russia, while part of Israel’s population was born in Russia.

Tags: Ukraine , Russia , Israel , disinformation , War in Ukraine , propaganda , information war
Turneul Stradivarius 2022
Propaganda de Razboi - Razboi in UCRAINA
  • Publication / Media:
    Ria Novosti
  • Date of publication:
    04/05/2022
  • Target audience:
    The Russian-speaking population in ex-Soviet republics, as well as readers from other states
  • Amplification:
    Belta, Gazeta.ru, Mk.ru, Russian state-run TV stations, the Telegram accounts of Russian news outlets
  • Political affiliation:
    The Kremlin
  • Key narrative:
    Israeli mercenaries have arrived in Ukraine to fight Russia alongside soldiers from the “Azov” battalion
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