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WAR PROPAGANDA: The Izium massacre was fabricated in order to compromise the Russian army

Ukrainian workers carry bodies that were unearthed from graves in Izyum, Kharkiv region, northeastern Ukraine, 19 September 2022.
©EPA-EFE/SERGEY KOZLOV  |   Ukrainian workers carry bodies that were unearthed from graves in Izyum, Kharkiv region, northeastern Ukraine, 19 September 2022.

The Russian army is not responsible for the Izium massacre, which was framed by the West or represents an act of provocation from Kyiv, which is killing Russian speakers in the Kharkiv region, a new Russian propaganda narrative reads. The narrative was launched after the Ukrainian army discovered mass graves in the Izium area with the remains of hundreds of people, some appearing to have been the victims of swift executions, as well as the rooms where civilians were tortured.

NEWS: “Moscow is again accused by Kyiv authorities, who claim Russian troops allegedly organized massacres and tortured the population of the Kharkiv region. It appears Ukraine is preparing a new act of provocation in territories that Russia previously controlled, similar to the one in Bucha, when the bodies of the victims of the occupation were presented to the public.

[…]

The head of the Kharkiv region military-civilian administration, Vitaly Ganchev, said that in the towns of Kupiansk and Velykyi Burluk, occupied by the Ukrainian Armed Forces, “mercenaries walk the streets, shooting people, everything is captured on tape”. “I believe these towns must be cleansed, and then they will show the public that it was Russian troops that did that, and all the bodies will be found lying in the streets”, RIA Novosti quotes Vitaly Ganchev.

[…]

“If Kyiv choses to repeat the Bucha scenario, irrespective if this will be a professionally staged act of provocation or not, the West will reject all evidence and arguments presented by Moscow”, the head of the Union of Political Emigrants and Political Prisoners of Ukraine, Larisa Shesler has told Vzglyad. […] Therefore, the West wants to present more evidence in places where the Russian army was framed for committing atrocities”.

NARRATIVE: The Izium massacre was framed in order to discredit Russia.

WHY THE NARRATIVE IS FALSE: On September 12, two days after the liberation of Izium, a local Ukrainian councilman claimed the Russian army had allegedly killed over a thousand people in this town. On September 15, Ukraine announced the discovery of mass graves in the Kharkiv region. A day later, president Volodymyr Zelensky published  images of the mass grave, writing that the bodies have been identified to be the victims of the Russian occupation, some presenting signs they were tortured, but also victims of shelling, both children and military. At the same time, the representatives of the Ukrainian Police said they have discovered at least 10 rooms where civilians had been tortured. Dozens of people who witnessed these atrocities have also come forward. 

Also on September 12, the Russian media wrote the Ukrainian authorities might be preparing to frame a new massacre, similar to one in Bucha. However, a few days prior to the official statements of Ukrainian representatives and the president’s visit to Izium, the Russian media was already preparing public opinion for an avalanche of accusations coming from Kyiv and Western states.

The self-proclaimed leader of the Kharkiv regional administration is cited as saying Ukrainian troops are shooting at civilians, therefore “committing a massacre”, but Moscow will take the blame. In other words, the Russian propaganda admitted, a few days before Kyiv made the announcement, that it did commit a massacre, which is however attributing to Ukrainian forces.

Larisa Shesler, who represents the Union of Political Emigrants and Political Prisoners of Ukraine – an organization set up on Russia’s territory by pro-Russian politicians who left Moscow, is also quoted in the article. Shesler attended anti-European and pro-Kremlin rallies on Ukraine’s territory, collaborating with the Kremlin.

The state of the mass graves and the bodies found inside suggests that between the time they were buried and the moment Ukrainian authorities announced their discovery, a lot more time had lapsed than the five days since Russian troops had left the region, which had been under their control for months.

Western officials have expressed shock with the discovery in Izium. The EU and USA announced they will back Ukraine’s every effort to bring the those responsible for the atrocities in Kharkiv to justice. UN experts said they would visit the town of Izium, at the request of Ukrainian authorities, in order to document evidence of war crimes and verify information about the torturing of civilians. A large number of foreign journalists are now present in the Kharkiv region, providing on-scene reports about the mass graves and torture rooms used by the occupation force. Besides, Ukraine has also launched an official investigation.

Finally, an additional argument contradicting Russia’s narrative is the fact that its troops committed numerous war crimes, some that have been verified by international organizations, while the Kremlin-linked media has been trying to shift the blame on Ukraine.

For that matter, Veridica has disproved a number of propaganda articles on this topic. In June, the Russian state media wrote that the Ukrainian troops are massacring Russian speakers while withdrawing from Donbas, while in July it claimed that Volodymyr Zelensky will be tried for war crimes. Back then, as the international community was appalled by the atrocities of Russian servicemen in the Kyiv region, the Russian media was manipulating its readers / viewers, reporting on a group of American experts who had confirmed that the crimes in Bucha was a fabrication of “Ukrainian propaganda”. Subsequently, the Russian media disseminated another false narrative, writing that Ukraine has invited experts from France who will cover up the traces of Ukraine’s war crimes in Bucha

Tags: disinformation , War in Ukraine , propaganda
Propaganda de Razboi - Razboi in UCRAINA
  • Publication / Media:
    VZ.RU
  • Date of publication:
    21/09/2022
  • Target audience:
    The Russian-speaking population in Russia, ex-Soviet states and Russian-held Ukrainian territories
  • Amplification:
    LENTA.RU, IZVESTIA.RU, RIA NOVOSTI, RUSSIA 1, the Telegram accounts of Russian media outlets and in Russian-held Ukrainian territories
  • Political affiliation:
    The Kremlin
  • Key narrative:
    The Izium massacre was fabricated in order to compromise the Russian army
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