Media Monitoring Press News Disinformation
Between May and October 2022, we will be issuing a weekly newsletter containing the results of our monitoring, looking at the main propaganda narratives detected on Russian media during the week. This will be complemented by news from independent international media sources to distribute these insights outside the country. The newsletter will include main spotlights from Russian and international news coverage focusing on relevant information, key propaganda and disinformation narratives, statistics, quotes, interviews, expert opinions, independent views, as well as other pertinent developments. This is the fifth issue of the newsletter covering the period 30 May-5 June. All previous issues (since the beginning of monitoring on 4 May) can be found on our website.
You can subscribe to the public newsletter Media Insights – War on Ukraine here.
Between 30 May – 5 June, the monitored Russian media reported on:
In the same period, international media coverage of the war focused on:
A wooden hermitage (church) of the saints in Svyatogorska Lavra is on fire (Twitter account of Ukrainian mission to the OSCE).
In Russia, the first sentence was passed for "fake news" about the war. For two messages in the chat, the court imposed a fine of one million rubles (2 June, Medusa).
"In general, all this fuss about additional arms supplies, in my opinion, has only one goal - to prolong the armed conflict as long as possible," Putin said in an interview. (5 June, Meduza)
“We do not seek a war between NATO and Russia. As much as I disagree with Mr. Putin and find his actions an outrage, the United States will not try to bring about his ouster in Moscow”, US President Joe Biden in his Opinion for New York Times. (31 May, NYT)
“Putin mustn't achieve his goals. He mustn't get away with this military onslaught against another country. This is imperialism, which we in Europe won't accept", Olaf Scholz during his address to the lower chamber of Bundestag. (1 June, Deutsche Welle [DW])
“The scale of destruction in cities defies comprehension,” said the director-general of the International Committee of the Red Cross, Robert Mardini (3 June, NYT)
(30 May, Russia 1/Smotrim – 60 minutes)
"It's not about Ukraine." The West leaves Russia no choice (1 June, RIA Novosti [RIA])
[NOTE]: Very controversial piece, no authorship. Stretched and twisted facts, contradictory conclusions and a mixture of different conspiracy theories of western countries including Ukraine against Russia.
Medvedev threatened Kyiv with strikes on decision-making centres
In his speech, Medvedev actively pushed the thesis that Ukraine is ruled from the outside.
“Russia will target the decision-making centres in Kyiv if authorities decide to use the weapons received from the United States against Russia”, said Deputy Chairman of the Security Council, Dmitry Medvedev. According to him, Moscow will have no other choice if the country's territory is attacked. Medvedev stressed that a blow to kill would be inflicted on key centres of the Ukrainian authorities, including the Ministry of Defense and the General Staff of Ukraine. “But you need to understand that the final decision-making centres in this case, unfortunately, are not even located on the territory of Kyiv. Therefore, this is, of course, a threat that will need to be taken into account,” the deputy head of the Security Council of the Russian Federation emphasized. (2 June, Argumenty I Fakty [AiF])
The West has forbidden Ukraine to continue talks with Russia, Lavrov said
In Lavrov’s opinion, the United States and Great Britain are using Ukraine as a bargaining chip. The two countries have formed an ‘Anglo-Saxon collective’, led by the West, to which NATO and the European Union, which has lost its independence, are completely subordinate. "They run the Ukrainians as a tool to deplete and defeat Russia on the battlefield," Lavrov stressed, adding that European diplomacy chief Josep Borrell, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, and some politicians in the United States are also talking about this. (4 June, RIA)
Hackers confirmed that Kyiv was preparing an attack on Crimea and Donbass
Russian hackers from the RaHDIt group have confirmed that Kyiv was preparing to attack the Donetsk and Luhansk People's Republics and Crimea, RIA Novosti reports. According to one of the hackers, in early February, the 72nd Center for Information and Psychological Operations, located near Kyiv, received three crews with Javelin anti-tank systems in armored vehicles. (2 June, AiF)
Putin claimed the destruction of Ukrainian weapons by dozens
The Russian president, in the interview during the program ‘Moscow. Kremlin. Putin.’ commented on the U.S. head's decision to send new weapons to Kyiv and assessed the effectiveness of Russian air defense: "Our air defense systems are snapping them like nuts. Destroyed dozens of them!" (4 June, Rossiskaya Gazeta [RG])
"The number of disgruntled people is growing”. Is another coup d'etat looming in Ukraine?
The Ukrainian media is increasingly reporting on the disastrous situation of the Ukrainian Armed Forces in Donbas. Soldiers complain about the lack of ammunition, huge losses, and the superior firepower of the Russian Army. Against this background, the unity of the country's political elite is crumbling. See RIA Novosti for a story about how Vladimir Zelensky is trying to retain power. (4 June, RIA)
Ukrainian formations are retreating and taking out their anger on civilians
About two and a half hundred shells, mortar shells, and Grad rockets were fired by Ukrainian formations at 15 populated areas of the Donetsk People's Republic. One civilian was killed, five were wounded, and almost 80 residential buildings were damaged in just one day. And in the latest news, Donetsk has been left without television coverage. The city has never known fire of this intensity, and there's more to compare than in eight years. Ukrainian troops, having received long-range artillery from the United States, are now also waiting for American heavy drones, as well as systems similar to Grad, the range of which is a cause for separate concern. Vladimir Putin has said that Russia will not ignore these deliveries. (5 June, First Channel)
The West continues to ignore nationalism in Ukraine (5 June, First Channel)
An intermediate tribunal over Ukrainian militants will be held in Mariupol
An interim tribunal over Ukrainian militants may be held in Mariupol, Elena Shishkina, chairman of the committee on criminal and administrative legislation of the People's Council of the Donetsk People's Republic, told RIA Novosti. According to a representative of the republican parliament, the process will not be tied to national legislation. Representatives of European countries may also be called to the tribunal, but which ones have not yet been specified. (2 June, RIA)
Zelensky has psychological problems, - László Kovér
According to the speaker of the Hungarian parliament, László Kovér, Zelensky has psychological problems as he dared to “threaten” Hungarian leaders and even Olaf Scholz. (5 June, Russia 24)
Zelensky will capitulate on September 17 and flee to Lithuania
Zelensky will capitulate on September 17 and will flee to Lithuania, predicted the 86-old former KGB officer with paranormal abilities. Russian TV called him “Ded Vanga” (Grandfather Vanga), referring to the famous Bulgarian fortune-teller Vanga. The NTV report seems to take these predictions quite seriously. (5 June, NTV)
Lavrov: many Europeans are threatened with poverty because of sanctions against Russia
Many residents of European countries are threatened with poverty because of anti-Russian sanctions. This was stated by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in an interview with the Bosnian-Serbian television and radio company Radio-Television Republika Srpska. Tens of billions of dollars and euros go to Ukraine's armament, Lavrov continued. He recalled that German authorities decided to allocate $100 billion to militarize their country instead of supporting their citizens at a time of rising prices. (4 June, AiF)
Ukrainian refugees are expelled from hotels in Bulgaria and beat taxi drivers in Wien
Ukrainian refugees are expelled from hotels in Bulgaria but refuse to go to the specialized refugee camps, reports Russia 24. Allegedly the Ukrainian war refugees are often called now in Europe “бешенцы” - a word that sounds similar to the Russian word for refugees, “беженцы”, but means frantic, mad. The report also calls the displaced people beggars, spongers and pseudo-sufferers who think that everyone owes them help. It is also reported that Ukrainian refugees have beaten a taxi driver at the center of Wien.
[NOTE] The report about this incident was presented on RT, and while seen in other sources, there it was said that the Ukrainian identity of the attackers is still to be confirmed (30 May, Russia 24). As usual, Russian propaganda makes a frightening concoction of unconfirmed reports and distorted information using a lot of derogatory languages.
Ukrainian refugees became a problem for Europe
In a similar report, Russia 24 tries to create a narrative that Ukrainian refugees are no more welcome in Europe and that they are lazy beggars and don’t like to work, preferring to fool their fellow refugees with psychological and astrological services. In Italy, the Ukrainian flags are allegedly being slowly removed from the buildings, according to a local resident. Prague announced the closure of the refugee center from June 15 because there is no more accommodation for refugees, while Poland announced that it would not pay allowance for food and accommodation (2 June, Russia 24)
The main winner of the EU Summit is the Hungarian PM Viktor Orban
The main winner of the two-day EU summit is the Hungarian PM Viktor Orban, who achieved “oil independence” from the European Union. Hungary has become an exception from the embargo for sea oil imports (31 May, Russia 24/Smotrim.ru)
Ukraine deliberately freezes negotiations with Russia
Putin’s press secretary Peskov claimed that Ukraine deliberately froze negotiations with Russia under pressure from its Western “mentors”. (3 June, Ren TV)
The European Union reached an agreement on the Russian oil embargo late Monday. The deal bans Russian oil imports arriving by sea by the end of the year (but not pipeline oil, following opposition from Hungary), which will cut off two-thirds of the bloc’s total imports and cost the Kremlin billions of dollars a year. It applies “maximum pressure on Russia to end the war,” the president of the European Council, Charles Michel, said on Twitter. According to the NYT journalists, this is the harshest economic penalty yet imposed on Russia for its invasion of Ukraine and potentially the biggest sacrifice by Europe itself. (31 May, NYT). According to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, the scope of the ban will be wider because Germany and Poland have volunteered to wind down their own pipeline imports by the end of this year (31 May, BBC)
Despite Russia’s control over 20% of Ukraine’s territory, victory will be ours - Zelensky
“We're defending Ukraine for 100 days already. Victory will be ours. Glory to Ukraine!”, President Zelensky pledged in his video address, marking the 100 days of the war in Ukraine (3 June, BBC). A day earlier, Zelensky said that those Russian forces were now in control of 20% of Ukrainian territory. He said almost 125,000 sq km (48,260 sq miles) was now in Moscow's hands. (2 June, BBC)
Media coverage of 100 days in Ukraine and Russia
Ukrainian television covered developments under the slogan "100 Days of Fortitude". This is in stark contrast to Russian TV. BBC emphasizes that Russian media remains mostly silent on the fact that the “special operation” in Ukraine has already lasted for 100 days. A day before, the independent website Meduza quoted sources saying that the government had ordered state media not to mention the 100 days. "Focusing on dates linked to the war may make Russians think about the objectives of the invasion and about how successful it has been," one Kremlin source reportedly told Meduza. (2 June, Meduza; 3 June, BBC)
However, some channels, including Ren TV, quoted the words of Putin’s press secretary Peskov who said: “Many settlements have been liberated from the pro-Nazi Armed Forces of Ukraine, as well as from the nationalist elements themselves, and people have been able to begin to establish a peaceful life.” (3 June, Ren TV)
Huge losses for Ukraine: 100 days of the war
“Fifteen thousand dead and far more wounded. About six million refugees. Half of the businesses closed, and 4.8 million jobs were lost. More than 1.5 million people were displaced internally. At least $100 billion in damage to infrastructure”, the paper sums up the tragic war tally for Ukraine (3 June, NYT)
“The scale of destruction in cities defies comprehension,” said the director-general of the International Committee of the Red Cross, Robert Mardini. “Homes, schools and hospitals have been destroyed, and civilians have suffered the horrors of conflict, with lives lost and families torn apart.” The UN brings, however, a higher figure of displaced persons – “14 million Ukrainians have been forced to flee their homes, the majority women and children”, said the United Nations Crisis Coordinator for Ukraine, Amin Awad on Friday. (3 June, Guardian)
Russian war propaganda in brief
BBC created an informative short report, presenting the main Russian propaganda narratives regarding the war: Russia never attacked anyone; the Russian Army retreated because it had mercy for the Russian people being held hostage in Ukraine; Russia is leading an existential war against the USA and the West, and others. The report emphasized that television is the main source of news for 70% of Russians. (3 June, BBC).
Fact-checking: Debunking the claim that Ukrainian refugees are evicted from hotels
According to the France 24 report, Ukrainian refugees are not “evicted” from hotels in Bulgaria as Russian media says. They are being relocated because of the start of the tourist season. The report also debunks the information that Ukrainians were banned from entering some shops in Prague. (2 June, France 24)
While Russian media promotes a narrative of a lack of international support for Ukraine, including the fatigue from Ukrainian refugees, the international media last week provided many stories of the military and political support for the country, including the US breakthrough decision to supply modern mobile artillery systems and the unity of the European countries against the aggression.
The 27 members of the European Union have come together and made a “fist” and welcome refugees without complaint
EU countries have become very united against the Russian aggression, making a “fist”, - writes Thomas Friedman in his op-ed for New York Times. “Maybe the most impressive thing is how many Ukrainian refugees E.U. nations have been willing to house without much complaint. There is an awareness that Ukrainian menfolk are fighting to defend them, too, so the E.U. nations can at least house their women, children and elderly.” (31 May, NYT).
President Zuzana Čaputová of Slovakia reiterated her country's support for Ukraine
The Slovak head of state expressed her support for Ukraine in a meeting with President Zelensky in Kyiv on Tuesday, a day after an E.U. deal to ban most Russian oil imports was reached. Slovakia is heavily dependent on Russian oil but had already indicated it was working on transitioning its supply. (31 May, NYT)
I will not pressure the Ukrainian government — in private or public — to make any territorial concessions, Joe Biden
In his opinion piece for New York Times, US President Joe Biden reassured Ukrainians that he would not pressure the Ukrainian government for any territorial concessions. He also emphasized that America’s goal is straightforward: We want to see a democratic, independent, sovereign and prosperous Ukraine with the means to deter and defend itself against further aggression. (31 May, NYT)
The US will supply medium-range mobile rocket systems that are a game-changer
Joe Biden announced that the US would supply medium-range mobile artillery rocket systems (HIMARS) that can reach targets as far as 72 km away to Ukraine as part of a new $700 million aid package. The weapons, long requested by Ukraine, are to help strike enemy forces more precisely from a longer distance. White House officials said they agreed to provide the rockets only after gaining assurances from President Volodymyr Zelensky that the weapons would not be used to attack targets inside Russia. According to BBC correspondent Paul Adams, these rockets will be a game-changer for Ukraine in its struggle for Donbas. (1 June, BBC)
Germany will supply modern IRIS-T air defense systems to Ukraine
According to German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, with the help of these systems, Ukraine will be in a position "to protect an entire major city from Russian air attacks." Germany will also supply tracking radar which is capable of detecting enemy howitzers, mortars and rocket artillery. Scholz also added: “Putin mustn't achieve his goals. He mustn't get away with this military onslaught against another country. This is imperialism, which we in Europe won't accept." (1 June, DW)
Biden announces new rockets and munitions to Ukraine
Writing in a New York Times op-ed, Biden said the US goal is "to see a democratic, independent, sovereign and prosperous Ukraine with the means to deter and defend itself against further aggression." The UK will give Ukraine rocket systems capable of hitting targets about 50 miles away, defense secretary says on 2 June, CNN. The move has been “coordinated closely” with the United States' decision to provide Ukraine with its High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) — a variant of the multiple-launch rocket systems that will be gifted by the UK, the statement added. (2 June, CNN)
Russia is using food as a war weapon and wants to create a new wave of migration to Europe
The African Union has warned EU leaders that Moscow’s blockade of Ukraine’s ports risks “a catastrophic scenario” of food shortages and price rises. Senegal’s president, Macky Sall, who chairs the union, said that African countries strongly depend on Russian and Ukrainian wheat. After the talks with Sall, the president of the European Council, Charles Michel, tweeted: “Russia is using food as a weapon of war. Destroying crops, blocking tonnes of grain, risking global famine.” Some EU diplomats believe Russia wants to add fuel to the fire of a global food crisis with the aim of stoking a wave of migration from the Middle East and Africa that could destabilize European countries. (31 May, Guardian)
Putin thinks the West will blink first in the war of attrition; Russian elites say
Russian President Vladimir Putin is digging in for a long war of attrition over Ukraine and will be relentless in trying to use economic weapons, such as a blockade of Ukrainian grain exports, to whittle away Western support for Kyiv, according to members of Russia’s economic elite. (3 June, WP)
Russia is selling the stolen Ukrainian wheat to Africa
The United States has warned that the Kremlin is trying to profit by selling stolen wheat from Ukraine to drought-stricken countries in Africa, some facing possible famine. NYT reports that in mid-May, the United States sent an alert to 14 countries, mostly in Africa, that Russian cargo vessels were leaving ports near Ukraine laden with what a State Department cable described as “stolen Ukrainian grain.” The cable identified by name three Russian cargo vessels it said were suspected of transporting it. (5 June, NYT)
Putin blames the West for the international food and energy crisis
Russian President Vladimir Putin reiterated that Moscow’s actions have nothing to do with the looming energy and food crisis in the world and again blamed the economic and financial policies of the West for creating such a scenario. (5 June, CNN)
A French journalist killed near Severodonetsk
A French journalist Frédéric Leclerc-Imhoff who was covering an evacuation operation for broadcaster BFMTV has been killed near the battle-hit city of Severodonetsk. Officials say he suffered a fatal wound to the neck after shrapnel pierced the armored vehicle he was travelling in. (30 May, BBC)
Men who escaped from Kherson share their stories of being tortured by Russians
A journalist from Kherson, Oleh Baturin, shares his story of being detained and tortured in Kherson. He was imprisoned for eight days, and four of his ribs were broken. Another protagonist, Olexander Guz, who took part in pro-Ukrainian rallies, shows pictures confirming that he was severely beaten. However, there is not a lot of evidence, as those who manage to leave often delete all the photos and videos from their phones for fear of being stopped and detained at Russian checkpoints. (1 June, BBC)
Russia is attempting to “extinguish civilization” in Donbas, Baerbock
During a speech to the German parliament, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said Russia intends to "depopulate and extinguish civilization" in the eastern Donbas region of Ukraine. "City by city, village by village, Russian troops are destroying them from a safe distance," she said. "First the missiles, then the warplanes with artillery, and then, when everything is flattened, the tanks roll in. (1 June, DW)
Sooner or later, a deal with Putin must be made - Larry Elliott
In his opinion piece, Larry Elliott, the Guardian economics editor, questioned the effectiveness of sanctions against the Russian economy, claiming that the sanctions have had the perverse effect of driving up the cost of Russia’s oil and gas exports, massively boosting its trade balance and financing its war effort. In the first four months of 2022, Putin could boast a current account surplus of $96bn (£76bn) – more than treble the figure for the same period of 2021. According to Elliott, at Davos privately, there was concern about the economic costs of a prolonged war for Europe. As a result of the war, western economies face a period of slow or negative growth and rising inflation, while developed countries may face not stagnation but starvation. Elliott concludes that a negotiated settlement may be a way to prevent economic disaster. (2 June, Guardian)
Ukraine must meet all the necessary standards and conditions for EU accession - von der Leyen
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said that Ukraine must meet all the necessary standards and conditions for accession but called on the EU to help Ukraine achieve its goals. (3 June, Guardian)
Russia must not be humiliated in Ukraine, says Emmanuel Macron
Giving an interview with a group of regional newspapers in his home country, the French president said: “We must not humiliate Russia so that the day the fighting stops, we can build a way out through diplomatic channels.” (4 June, Guardian)
As Luhansk falls to the Russians, civilians are desperate to evacuate
As Russian forces push deeper into Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region, hundreds are fleeing towns and villages every day, including areas once viewed as safe. Russian missiles and rockets are expanding their reach, striking civilian areas as far as 200 miles from the front lines. Severodonetsk and the communities that surround it are growing more desolate by the day. (31 May, WP).
More than 200,000 children were deported to Russia from Ukraine, Zelensky says
Russia "forcibly removes both adults and children. This is one of Russia's most heinous war crimes. In total, more than 200,000 Ukrainian children have been deported so far. These are orphans from orphanages. And children with parents. And children separated from their families,” Zelensky said. (2 June, CNN)
In Chernobyl’s delicate nuclear labs, Russians looted safety systems
698 computers, 344 vehicles, 1,500 radiation dosimeters, Irreplaceable software, and almost every piece of firefighting equipment made the list of what Russia’s occupying forces stole, blew up or riddled with bullets in and around Chernobyl’s laboratories, although the list is still being compiled. (2 June, WP)
Intense fighting in Donbas, especially around Severodonetsk
Fighting across Donbas reached “maximum intensity,” said Col. Oleksandr Motuzyanyk, Ukraine’s defense ministry spokesman. He added, “Russian invaders shelled the entire front line, trying to hit our deep defensive positions with artillery fire.” (31 May, NYT).
Early in the week, Russia was in control of around 70 percent of the key eastern city of Sievierodonetsk, according to the governor of the Luhansk region Serhiy Haidai. The Ukrainian troops were moving to defensive positions, while the civilians were urged to evacuate to save their lives (1 June, BBC). However, on Sunday, it was reported that Ukraine recaptured 20 percent of the territory they had lost to Russian forces. (5 June, Guadian)
Russia launched airstrikes on Kyiv for the first time in five weeks on Sunday
On Sunday, Russia launched airstrikes into Kyiv, claiming it had destroyed the western-supplied tanks T-72 that had been provided to Ukraine by European countries that were being stored in the buildings of a car repair business, although the claim could not immediately be verified. One person was injured as a result of the strike. (5 June, Guardian)
The first verdict was handed down in Russia for "fakes" about the war. The court imposed a fine of one million rubles for two chat messages
Pyotr Mylnikov, a businessman from the Trans-Baikal settlement of Olovyannaya, is the first Russian to be sentenced under a new article on "fakes" about the war. The criminal case arose after Mylnikov published two messages about the course of the Russian invasion of Ukraine in his Vyber chat room (titled "We Live on Ruins"). On 31 May, a court found him guilty and imposed a fine of one million rubles. "Meduza" spoke with Mylnikov about what "documents" he published in the chat room, how he was treated during his arrest, and why he decided to plead guilty.(2 June, Medusa)
Online animal picket for peace in the Instagram account of Meduza
On the 100th day of the war, subscribers of the Instagram account Meduza arranged an online animal picket for peace and against the war in Ukraine. (4 June, Meduza)
A demonstrator was detained in Moscow with a placard "Putin should resign" (5 June, OVD-Info)
Who quits working for Putin during the war?
A BBC report provides an overview of some top advisers to the Kremlin who quit their jobs since the beginning of the war. They include Valentin Yumashev, a Kremlin adviser who helped Vladimir Putin to become president in the 1990-s, and Arkady Dvorkovich, a former deputy PM and top economic adviser to ex-president Dmitry Medvedev. Dvorkovich condemned the war in an interview with Mother Jones magazine in mid-March. He said, “wars are the worst things one might face in life… including this war”. In mid-March, three prominent journalists resigned from state-run TV news. Channel One’s Europe correspondent Zhanna Agalakova quit, as did two senior journalists at NTV. Lilia Gildeyeva had worked for the channel as a presenter since 2006, and Vadim Glusker had been at NTV for almost 30 years. (3 June, BBC)
Opposition journalist Aleksandr Nevzorov granted Ukrainian citizenship
A Russian opposition journalist Aleksandr Nevzorov was granted Ukrainian citizenship for “outstanding merits” before Ukraine. Nevzorov was arrested in absentia on May 6, 2022, by the Basmanny court in Moscow. He fled Russia in March. (3 June, RBC). His YouTube channel has over 1.8 million subscribers. On this occasion, he wrote on his Telegram channel: "I take the side of the victim. And I am damn grateful to those tormented, desperate, bloodied people of Ukraine who allowed me to take my place among them.”
Nevzorov als Ukrainischer “kozak”. Source – Nevzorov’s Telegram channel
Boris Grebenshchikov on war, collective responsibility, letters from Ukrainians and the abolition of Russian culture
Boris Grebenshchikov, the Russian singer and leader of the rock band Aquarium, was interviewed about current events. Here are some of the main take-aways from the interview:
Here is the Russian version of the newsletter #5.
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