Ukraine is bombing its own settlements and deports the civilian population to filtration camps, a false narrative reads. In fact, Russia itself is responsible for these crimes.
Propaganda: The Ukrainian army bombs settlements in the Kherson region and sends civilians to “filtration camps”
NEWS: “Servicemen of the ‘Tsunami’ nationalist battalions and SBU collaborators, with support from pro-Kyiv authorities, are firing on civilians on the eastern banks of the Dnieper in Kherson, in order to force them out of their homes. These people are subsequently transported to filtration camps, Kherson regional governor Vladimir Saldo says.
“The regime in Kyiv is committing unimaginable crimes against the inhabitants of the occupied region of Kherson. The occupation authorities have commenced the forceful evacuation of civilians from 31 settlements under Kyiv’s control”, Saldo wrote on his Telegram account.
[…] In the end, civilians are transported to filtration camps in the region of Mykolaiv. “Previously, these militants, jointly with SBU officers, had massacred supporters of Russia”, the Kherson governor said.
“Children are taken away from their parents, fathers from their families. This is carried out by the true fascists, just as it happened 80 years ago. This proves who we’re really fighting”, Saldo pointed out.
NARRATIVE: Ukraine is attacking and deporting its own civilians.
Fact: In order to prevent casualties among the civilian population, Ukraine is evacuating settlements from the region of Kherson targeted by Russia
WHY THE NARRATIVE IS FALSE: In actual fact, Ukrainian authorities have ordered the systematic evacuation of certain settlements from the region of Kherson in order to protect civilians in the context of the counteroffensive in southern Ukraine and Russia’s systematic attacks. At the start of 2023, local authorities announced that the evacuation costs for southern and central settlements will be covered by the state, which will provide civilians with trains and coaches.
On September 14, the Kherson Region Defense Council decided to evacuate 31 settlements on the eastern banks of the Dnieper, arguing that civilian objectives, residential buildings, hospitals and schools are systematically bombed by Russian artillery fire. According to the head of the Kherson Region Military Administration, Oleksandr Prokudin, in the context of the massive shelling targeting southern Ukraine in the last couple of months, the state can no longer ensure the safety of school children. For this reason, the authorities decided to evacuate the local population. The Ukrainian media recalled that on September 14, a child was killed and another was gravely wounded in the wake of a bomb attack. Also worth noting is that, starting this August, Russia has been bombing southern Ukraine on a daily basis: ports on the Black Sea and the Danube River are targeted by drone attacks, while settlements in Kherson are under heavy missile or artillery fire.
Russian propaganda has described Kyiv’s measure in the context of an older metanarrative about Ukrainian servicemen allegedly massacring Russian-speaking civilians. Ukrainian troops are called fascist/Nazi and accused of killing civilians. The fake news draws on a Telegram post by Vladimir Saldo, whom the article falsely presents as the governor of Kherson region. In fact, Saldo is the head of the Russian Federation’s occupation regime in Kherson, whereas the legitimate governor of the Kherson Oblast is Oleksandr Projudin. Vladimir Saldo is an old collaborator of the Russian Federation, a former mayor of Kherson and a supporter of the fugitive president Viktor Yanukovych. Without presenting any evidence, Saldo claims Ukrainians in Kherson are being placed in “filtration camps”. In fact, such “filtration camps” do exist, yet only in settlements under Russia’s control. Moscow has been using them in the case of Donbas inhabitants who were subsequently evacuated to the Russian Federation.
According to civilian survivors of these camps, people here are intimidated and humiliated. Many saw their peers rounded up by Russian troops, never to be heard from again. According to eye-witness reports, only those who get past these “filtration” checkpoints get to be evacuated from conflict areas, with two possible destinations: the self-proclaimed People’s Republics of Donetsk and Luhansk or Russia. Evacuation to Ukraine is not just forbidden, but can become a reason for killing civilians. There are no such centers in areas controlled by Kyiv.
Meanwhile, accusations leveled against Ukrainian servicemen might seem cynical in the context of the destruction of the Nova Kakhovka dam this spring and the occupation authorities’ refusal to allow the evacuation of the population. Regardless of the fate of civilians in settlements on the eastern banks of the Dnieper, affected by the ensuing flash floods, Moscow tried to depict Kyiv as a murderous regime that kills Russian speakers in the south. The purpose of this false narrative is to justify the war in Ukraine and mobilize the Russian society against Kyiv, accusing Ukrainian authorities of inhumane, fascist behaviors against Russian-speaking civilians in the south.
Veridica has debunked a number of similar false narratives. According to pro-Kremlin propaganda, the Ukrainian army will kill Russian citizens in Crimea, while Ukraine is a terrorist state that must be punished by Russia. The Russian media also wrote that Ukraine is a pseudo-Nazi state driven to war by the West.