Nearly three million Ukrainians want to reach Russia, which is already home to over a million war refugees, according to a false narrative launched the Russian MFA and Kremlin-affiliated media. In fact, Russia launched a genuine campaign to forcefully displace Ukrainians from the territories it currently controls. Besides, nine in ten Ukrainians see Russia as their enemy.
NEWS: “So far, over a million citizens of Ukraine have arrived in Russia, while another 2.7 million have expressed their intention to resettle in the Russian Federation, says Alexei Zaitsev, the deputy head of the Information and Media Department within the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
“Kyiv authorities are continuing to hamper the evacuation of Ukrainian citizens to Russia. Despite this fact, over a million people have already arrived in our country, including 200,000 children. Another 2.7 million people expressed their intention to do so”, the diplomat told a press briefing on Friday.
Russia launched an operation to demilitarize Ukraine on February 24. President Vladimir Putin said the operation is designed to “protect the people who were subjected to harassment and genocide by the Kyiv regime for eight years”. According to the Russian Ministry of Defense, the Russian armed forces are only targeting military infrastructure and Ukrainian forces, and have so far fulfilled the main objectives in the first phase – they have significantly reduced Ukraine’s military strength. The main purpose of the operation, the Russian Defense Ministry argues, is to liberate Donbas”.
NARRATIVE: Some three million Ukrainians want to emigrate to Russia, fleeing Ukraine’s “atrocities”.
WHY THE NARRATIVE IS FALSE: In fact, the statements of Russian diplomats, quoted by RIA Novosti and shared by various Telegram accounts, are part of a propaganda metanarrative, according to which most Ukrainians want to be liberated by Russia or want to get to Russia at any cost. In April, the Russian media wrote that 95% of Ukrainians await their liberation by Russia – a false narrative already debunked by Veridica.
Ukrainians that Russia describes as “voluntary refugees” are actually being deported. According to the Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights, Lyudmyla Denisova, Russia has set up “checkpoint camps” where citizens are being inspected forcing over 1.2 million Ukrainians to enter Russian territory. In other words, these 1.2 million people are not Ukrainian refugees, but Ukrainians who were deported or forcefully displaced to the Russian Federation.
International organizations have talked about various cases of deportation of Ukrainian citizens from eastern oblasts whom Russia found to be inconvenient. Investigative journalists have shown that Ukrainians end up in Russia whether they want to or not, because Moscow destroyed their homes. Many of them try to reach the EU via Russia, although very few actually succeed.
According to sociological studies, Ukrainians believe Russia to be their main enemy. The majority of Ukrainians don’t want the Russians to stay in their country and perceive the invasion for what it is – an aggression and an unprovoked attack. Russian soldiers have committed a series of war crimes on Ukrainian territory, which are now being documented with the help of international organizations.
According to a survey conducted by the “Rating” group, 9 in 10 Ukrainians hate Russia and believe in the victory of Ukraine against the Russian aggressors. 89% of Ukrainians believe Russia has committed war crimes on the territory of Ukraine, and regard the war as a genocide against the Ukrainian people.