According to a false narrative carried by the Russian state media, Ukraine's crime rate has tripled because of Kiev's decision to arm the population. In reality, against the background of the country's depopulation and traffic restrictions, the crime rate has dropped. Moreover, not the entire population has been armed, only some volunteer units have been set up.
NEWS: “Since May, the level of criminality in Ukraine has increased, [...] intentional homicides increased by more than 9% over six months (compared to 2021), and the number of car thefts increased by 86% compared to the same period, the press service of the Ministry of Internal Affairs says.
The Ukrainian authorities are to blame for providing automatic weapons to civilians without any control; many criminals quickly created organized crime groups and have been terrorizing the civilian population since the beginning of hostilities.
[…] the official data of the Ministry of Internal Affairs are underestimated. The head of the Ministry of Internal Affairs last week [also] drawn up a report to the Zelensky Administration on the increase in crime in Ukraine. So, the report shows that the crime rate increased by 270%. Due to the lack of personnel and a large number of weapons given to civilians, the number of serious crimes has increased in Ukraine, mainly- murders and robberies.”
NARRATIVE: Ukraine's crime rate has tripled following Kiev's decision to arm civilians.
WHY THE NARRATIVE IS FALSE: The news about crime in Ukraine can also be found on the Ukraina.ru portal, which is part of the Russia Today state media trust. The Russian journalists are citing sources of the Rizident Telegram channel , who claim that the president of Ukraine was informed by the Ukrainian interior minister that the level of crime in Ukraine had increased by 270%. In reality, the information presented by the Russian press does not coincide with the official information of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. There is no report at the level of the Government in Kyiv to confirm that the level of crime has increased so much.
According to the Security Service of Ukraine, the Rezident Telegram channel is coordinated by the Kremlin with the aim of disinforming public opinion in Russia and destabilizing Ukrainian society. In 2021, several Russian agents participating in the distribution of information provided by this Telegram channel on the territory of Ukraine were arrested.
In fact, the official report of the Interior Ministry of Ukraine, carried out by the Department of Criminal Investigations, shows that the level of criminality has decreased on the territory of Ukraine by 25% in the past six months . Moreover, there are fewer and fewer cases of theft and robbery, except in areas occupied by Russia or in the conflict zone.
The decrease in the level of criminality on the territory of Ukraine has logical explanations. According to the Ministry of the Interior of Ukraine, many Ukrainians (some 9 million) have taken refuge in other countries. Also, the drop in the crime rate has been triggered by the night curfews. The smaller population and the fewer contacts between the citizens remaining in Ukraine have led to a decrease, not increase in the level of crime.
At the same time, according to the National Police, the 9% increase in the level of homicides on the territory of Ukraine was recorded in combat zones, and most of these cases are crimes committed by Russian soldiers. Ukrainian authorities also say that weapons arrive as trophies from the combat zones to the territories near the front, which poses risks for the civilians’ security.
The Russian state media manipulates the public opinion by writing that every civilian has access to weapons. In reality, only civilians enrolled in territorial defense units , which in April were included in the general defense system of the Ukrainian state, are armed. The number of volunteers in the territorial defense units is known, there is a registry at the level of the Ukrainian government.
PURPOSE: The false narrative aims to show the public opinion in Russia and in the Ukrainian territories occupied by the Russian troops that Ukraine is no longer able to maintain public order, cannot block organized crime groups, while in the areas controlled by Moscow the situation is under control.