Media Monitoring Press News Disinformation
Welcome to 8th edition of our regular weekly newsletter where you will find an overview of pro-Kremlin narratives about the war in Ukraine. Our newsletters offer a unique insight into two different worlds – the world of Russian media and how they interprete the ongoing “special military operation” in Ukraine and world of facts as reported by independent media. This edition offeres these narratives, topics and events:
From 20 to 26 June, the monitored Russian media reported on:
During the same period, international media coverage of the war focused on:
Nina from Lysychansk and her four daughters have spent four months living in their basement before being evacuated by volunteers from the besieged city (23 June, BBC)
The demonization of Russia is gaining unthinkable momentum, according to Soloviev (26 June, Russia1)
"Putin has been counting on it from the beginning that somehow NATO and the G7 would splinter. But we haven't, and we're not going to, - US President Joe Biden at the G7 Summit (26 June, France 24)
"When World War II began, Hitler gathered a large part, if not most, of the European countries for the war against the Soviet Union. Now also, including the European Union together with NATO, they are gathering such a modern coalition to fight, and by and large to wage war against the Russian Federation." - Sergey Lavrov at a press conference with the head of Azerbaijan's Foreign Ministry (24 June, RIA Novosti)
The narrative which dominated talk show programs this week was that the EU is controlled by the US. Other messages included:
Russia is being decisive regarding the situation in Kaliningrad
Russia is extremely determined to deal with the transport blockade of Kaliningrad, said Russian presidential press secretary Dmitry Peskov. "There is no need to rush here, but at the same time, of course, we are determined enough," he was quoted saying by TASS. (24 June, Ren TV)
Russia is ready to help to export grains from Ukraine with foreign ships, and the food crisis is caused entirely by Ukraine - Zakharova
Mariya Zakharova, an official representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry, has said that Russia was ready to help export grains from Ukraine with foreign ships under security guarantees. She reiterated earlier statements that the crisis is caused by the mining of ports by the Ukrainian side. "Ukrainian authorities have installed around 420 anchor mines in Black and Azov seas. Also, Kyiv has blocked 70 foreign ships in 6 ports", - claimed Zakharova. (22 June, NTV)
(NOTE: US intelligence claims that the Black Sea was mined by Russia, more information in theinternational media section below).
Luhansk People’s Republic and Russian forces have entered Lysychansk
LNR and Russian forces have entered embattled Lysychansk, where there are already street fights, reports Ren TV, referring to a source close to LNR militia. Earlier it was reported that around 600 "nationalists", including wounded ones, surrendered near Lysychansk. (25 June, Ren TV)
Sievierodonetsk industrial zone and airport have been fully liberated from Ukrainian forces, and 800 civilians have been evacuated from the Azot plant
Sievierodonetsk industrial zone and airport have been fully liberated from Ukrainian forces, wrote Ramzan Kadyrov in his Telegram. (25 June, Ren TV) It was also reported that 800 civilians had been evacuated from the Azot plant. The Ukrainian military has been allegedly holding civilians and plant employees captive in the basements of Azot. There are many elderly people among the evacuees. They did not go outside for several months, hiding from the Ukrainian nationalists in the dungeons. (25 June, Ren TV)
Lavrov compared the coalition of the EU and NATO to Hitler's coalition
At the conference with the foreign minister of Azerbaijan, Lavrov compared the coalition of EU and NATO to Hitler's coalition, which included many European countries. He also said he doesn't see that the Russophobe direction of the European Union will somehow dissolve in the near future. (24 June, Russia 24)
Peskov called granting EU candidate status to Ukraine and Moldova an internal European matter
Putin's press secretary Peskov said that the grantingEU candidate status to Ukraine and Moldova is an internal European affair. "It is very important for us that all these processes do not bring more problems to us and more problems in the relations of these countries with us. We already have enough problems", he emphasized. (24 June, Russia 24)
Candidate status is an “empty shell” for Ukraine
The Russia 24 report cites "Welt" newspaper claims that Ukraine's candidate status is a dummy because neither Ukraine nor Moldova will become EU member states in 10-15 years. It also cites Serbia's internal minister saying that in order to join the EU, the state just needs to be in conflict with Russia, and the rules are not applying to the countries that have been bombed by NATO. (25 June, Russia 24)
A referendum regarding the integration of the Kherson region into the Russian Federation will be held in autumn
Deputy head of the military-civilian administration of the Kherson region, Kirill Stremousov, said that a referendum regarding the integration of the Kherson region into the Russian Federation is planned for the autumn. (RBC, 21 June)
Law and order returned to Melitopol, which was a capital of drug trafficking under the Kyiv regime
Law and order are returning to Melitopol (a town in the Zaporizhzhia region), which was a capital of drug production and drug trafficking under the Kyiv regime. Ukrainian police not only covered up the growing of cannabis but also led it, claims the Russia 24 report. (24 June, Russia 24)
Ukrainian captives tell how their command has abandoned them
The NTV report shows Ukrainian soldiers who surrendered near Gorske, among them was Maksym Butkevych, a well-known human rights activist from Kyiv (but the video doesn't show his name). They say the following on camera:
There is growing discontent among US and European citizens with the supply of Western weapons to Ukraine
Citizens of the US and European countries are increasingly discontent with the supply of weapons to Ukraine as the economic conditions are worsening through inflation and petroleum prices, reports Russia 24. Allegedly, US citizens are questioning why Biden spends so much on ammunition for Ukraine. Germany faces possible shortages of gas as its reserves are diminishing. (20 June, Russia24). Another report shows 70,000 people protesting in Brussels against the financing of the Ukrainian army. (21 June, Russia24)
Ukrainian soldiers don't know how to use Western weapons
The NTV report cites the report of a NYT article where a Ukrainian sergeant, Pysanka, who admits that using the Western weapons is like having iPhone 13 and being able to use it only for calls. He had to use Google translate to read the manual and understand how to use the supplied weapons. Military expert, Viktor Litovkin, claims that for the West, this is a "blood business" as Ukraine will pay for every supplied weapon in the future. Meanwhile, Ukrainian soldiers often exchange these weapons for food or just abandon them. There is little prospect of future training as many NATO training centers have been destroyed, according to Litovkin. (21 June, NTV)
The West incites the Ukrainian regime to violence and Russophobia
Russia's permanent representative to the UN, Vasily Nebenzia, speaking at the UN Security Council meeting, accused Western countries of prolonging the crisis in Ukraine. He said: "You are spending billions on an indirect war with Russia to be fought until the very last Ukrainian. And this is real incitement to violence on your part. You are also supporting rabid Russophobia". (21 June, NTV)
The West doesn't allow Kyiv to return to negotiations with Russia
The West, particularly, "Anglo-Saxons", are not allowing Kyiv to return to negotiations with Russia, said foreign minister Lavrov in an interview. After the visit ofPentagon and US Department representatives to Kyiv, the Ukrainian side has paused negotiations.
Lavrov added: "If they (Ukraine) address us regarding negotiations, we will look at how the situation is on the ground. The liberated regions do not allow the thought of returning under the control of neo-Nazi authorities. I think the West is not in a very nervous state." (24 June, NTV)
The Geneva Convention is not applicable for the US mercenaries, - Peskov
Vladimir Putin’s press secretary, Dmitriy Peskov, claimed that the Geneva Convention is not applicable to the US mercenaries captured in Donbas because "they are mercenaries who were encroaching on the lives of our servicemen. And not only our servicemen, but also servicemen of the Donetsk and Luhansk people's republics." Their crimes should be investigated. (21 June, NTV). Peskov has repeated that the mercenaries were attacking Russian servicemen in an interview for US channel NBC. (20 June, NTV). He also called them "soldiers of fortune." (20 June, RBC)
Latvia discusses fatigue from Ukrainian refugees
Latvia's interior minister, Kristaps Eklons, has said that citizens of Latvia are tired of Ukrainian refugees. He drew attention to the fact that the population was looking forward to "a speedy resolution of the conflict and, accordingly, the return of the refugees to their homeland." (21 June, Ren TV)
EU awards Ukraine and Moldova candidate status "in blow to Putin"
Ukraine and Moldova have both been granted EU candidate status, the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, announced. "Today marks a crucial step on your path towards the EU," Mr. Michel said, describing the European Council's decision as a "historic moment."
Ukrainian President Zelensky tweeted: "It's a unique and historical moment in UA-EU relations. Ukraine's future is within the EU." (23 June, BBC). Zelensky added: "It's a victory… We have been waiting for 120 days and 30 years," he added, referring to the duration of the war and the decades since Ukraine became independent after the breakup of the Soviet Union. (23 June, Guardian)
Earlier, the Guardian wrote that Brussels had dramatically accelerated the process amid outrage over the brutality of the unprovoked Russian attack, and it does it "in a blow to Putin." (23 June, Guardian).
Ukraine's foreign minister sees E.U. candidacy as a crucial step toward joining a "liberal empire"
Mr. Kuleba said that for decades, as Ukrainians fought for democracy in protest movements in 2004 and 2014, Brussels and other European capitals still "were entertaining this idea of a buffer zone of something in the middle, a bridge between Russia and the E.U." And now, he saw the European Union as "the first-ever attempt to build a liberal empire" on democratic principles, contrasting it with Russia's aggression toward former Soviet states under President Vladimir V. Putin. (24 June, NYT).
Leaders of G7 countries demonstrate unity and solidarity with Ukraine
At the start of a bilateral meeting between the US President and German Chancellor at the G7 Summit, Joe Biden thanked Olaf Scholz for showing leadership in Ukraine and said Russian President Vladimir Putin had failed to break their unity. "Putin has been counting on it from the beginning that somehow NATO and the G7 would splinter. But we haven't, and we're not going to," Biden said. (26 June, France 24) British prime minister Boris Johnson urged G7 leaders to not "give up" on Ukraine as he pledged additional financial support for the country as it attempts to fight the Russian invasion. "Ukraine can win, and it will win. But they need our backing to do so. Now is not the time to give up on Ukraine," Johnson said on Saturday. (25 June, Guardian)
Russia's blockade of the export of millions of tons of Ukrainian grain is a war crime, and Africa is a hostage
Russia's blockade of the export of millions of tons of Ukrainian grain is a war crime, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell has said: "It is inconceivable, one cannot imagine that millions of tons of wheat remain blocked in Ukraine while in the rest of the world people are suffering hunger." (20 June, Guardian). He added: "This is a real war crime, so I cannot imagine that this will last much longer." (21 June, BBC). Ukrainian President Zelensky said in his address to the African Union that the African continent is held hostage: "Africa is actually a hostage...of those who unleashed war against our state. The food prices that are catastrophically rising have already brought [the war] to the homes of millions of African families." (21 June, BBC)
Finding an alternative route for Ukrainian grain exports is not so easy, according to experts
Experts say that alternative routes for exporting Ukrainian grain are not so efficient, as there is not enough storage, too few ferries on the Danube River, and Ukraine's railway system runs on a different gauge from those of most other countries in the European Union. President Zelensky of Ukraine has acknowledged the limitations of the alternatives being considered. He said in a speech on Monday that only a "much smaller volume can be supplied via new routes" and that "this results in a much more expensive supply." (22 June, NYT)
Putin calls on BRIC nations to offset the effects of Western sanctions
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday called on the leaders of Brazil, India, China and South Africa – known as the BRIC nations – to cooperate in the face of the West's "selfish actions" as Moscow is pummeled by sanctions over Ukraine. "Only on the basis of honest and mutually beneficial cooperation can we look for ways out of this crisis situation, which developed in the global economy because of the ill-conceived, selfish actions of certain states," Putin said in televised remarks at the BRIC leaders virtual summit, referring to Western sanctions on Russia. (23 June, France 24)
Ukrainian historian: "Possibility of a major nuclear accident as long as the war in Ukraine continues"
Bianna Golodryga speaks with Ukrainian historian Serhii Plokhy about current and past nuclear disasters in his new book, "Atoms and Ashes: From Bikini Atoll to Fukushima." Plokhiy underscores the barbarity of the Russian invasion that they captured the largest active nuclear plant in Zaporizhzhia. Plokhiy emphasizes that "this is the first time in history when we see an army taking over the nuclear sites, waging war on those nuclear sites" (22 June, CNN)
Kaliningrad: Russia warns Lithuania of consequences over rail transit blockade
Russia has warned Lithuania of "serious" consequences after it banned the rail transfer of some goods to the Russian territory of Kaliningrad. In particular, the secretary of Russia's Security Council warned that "appropriate measures" would be taken "in the near future". While Lithuania argues it's implementing EU sanctions imposed over Russia's invasion of Ukraine, Russia says that the curbs break international law. (22 June, BBC).
More eastern villages in Luhansk region fall to Russia, increasing the peril for Ukrainian forces
Russian forces' seizure of several more villages in eastern Ukraine has further imperiled soldiers defending two key cities as Moscow seeks to complete its conquest of Ukraine's Luhansk region. The province's governor, Serhiy Haidai, on Wednesday described Russia's "creeping tactics" as he confirmed the capture of three villages (Mirna Dolina, Podlisne and Toshkivka) set in agricultural land south of Sievierodonetsk and Lysychansk. There is a growing danger that the Ukrainian fighters defending Lysychansk could be encircled and cut off, which would make resupply and evacuation virtually impossible. According to Haidai, Lysychansk remained "completely under the control" of Ukrainian forces. But in Sievierodonetsk, Ukraine, holds only a chemical plant where civilians are also reported to be sheltering. (22 June, NYT)
Russian and Russian-backed separatist forces in the Donetsk region of Ukraine have suffered heavy casualties - UK intelligence officials
UK intelligence estimates that the Donetsk militia alone has lost 55% of its original force. While Russia has for months avoided detailing its casualties, the human rights ombudsman in the so-called Donetsk People's Republic said last week that 2,128 of its forces had been killed and 8,897 wounded. For months, there have been reports of civilians being conscripted into the militia by force, with low morale and poor-quality weapons, including rifles that went out of service decades ago. (22 June, BBC)
First heavy weapons from Germany arrive in Ukraine
The first heavy weapons from Germany, namely, self-propelled howitzers, such as the Panzerhaubitze 2000, have arrived in Ukraine, according to the defense minister Oleksii Reznikov. The Panzerhaubitze 2000 are some of the most powerful artillery weapons in the German military's stock. The howitzers can hit targets located up to 40 kilometers (25 miles) away. The German Defense Ministry said it had earlier sent 14,900 anti-tank mines, 500 STINGER air-defense missiles and 2,700 anti-aircraft missiles. (21 June, DW)
Thousands of refugees from Ukraine have been sent to so-called filtration camps, where they have been interrogated and then forced to resettle in Russia
The video report by New York Times called "Surviving Russia's filtration camps" shows Ukrainians who have been forcefully taken to Russia from Mariupol by Russian soldiers. Otherwise, they were threatened with being killed by soldiers. There are thousands of refugees displaced as far as Russian Far East without having a right to choose the settlement place.
Some of them had to go through frightening "filtration camps" where all their belongings and phones were searched. "Filtration" is meant to be a part of the "denazification" campaign that was aimed at finding a potential threat. The featured men have been compelled to undress and checked for tattoos, other people spoke about harsh treatment and days of treatment inside filtration camps. (NYT, 20 June)
A well-known Ukrainian photigrapher Maks Levin and his friend were "executed in cold blood" - Reporters without Borders
Ukrainian photographer Maksim Levin was "executed in cold blood" alongside his friend Oleksiy Chernyshov by Russian forces north of Kyiv on 13 March, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said in a 16-page report on Wednesday (22 June, Guardian)
Ukraine is recording 200-300 war crimes committed by Russian forces on its territory every day, and the overall number is approximately 20,000
Ukraine's prosecutor general has claimed that Russian forces commit 200-300 war crimes on Ukraine's territory each day. She added: War crimes are our trouble. Every day we have 200-300 of them … we have a duty: when there is a crime, we have to start an investigation." (24 June, Guardian)
The prosecutor general office says it has registered 19,530 alleged crimes of aggression and war crimes and 9,678 alleged crimes against national security. Additionally, 339 children have been killed. (25 June, Guardian)
Kyiv's Shevchenkivsky district struck by missiles, but Moscow denies hitting civilian targets
Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko said on Telegram that multiple explosions had taken place in the central Shevchenkivsky district at around 6:30 a.m. local time (0330 UTC) on Sunday. One person was killed, and at least five people were wounded when a missile hit a building. US President Joe Biden said Russian air strikes in Kyiv Sunday morning were "more of their [Russian] barbarism."
But Moscow denies hitting civilian targets, insisting air strikes had struck a weapons factory "Artyom". The ministry blamed a Ukrainian air defense missile for the damage to a nearby residential building. (26 June, DW)
More than 13 million have fled their homes in Ukraine, among them 5 million to neighboring countries, including Russia
According to the UN estimates, more than 13 million Ukrainians have fled their homes in Ukraine, among them, 5 million fled to neighboring countries, and 8 million were internally displaced. The largest number of refugees (over 1 million respectively) went to Russia and Poland. There are more than 780,000 Ukrainians in Germany, 373,965 in the Czech Republic and 129,623 in Italy.
Russian President Putin says his forces helped evacuate 140,000 civilians from Mariupol and insists no one was forced to go to Russia, but the independent reports such as one by NYT show that many people were indeed forced to go against their will. (BBC, 21 June)
Ukraine breaks cultural ties with Russia prohibiting all the music and books created by Russian citizens
Ukraine's parliament voted through two laws on Sunday that will place severe restrictions on Russian books and music. The proposed laws will forbid printing books written by Russian citizens, ban the commercial import of books printed in Russia, and prohibit the playing of music by post-1991 Russian citizens on media and on public transport in the latest attempt to break cultural ties between the two countries. (19 June, Guardian)
UNESCO says more than 150 cultural sites in Ukraine have been destroyed or damaged in the war
UN experts have confirmed the full or partial destruction of 152 cultural and historical heritage sites in Ukraine since Russia invaded the country, its cultural agency UNESCO said Thursday.
The heritage sites include museums and monuments, churches and other religious buildings, and libraries and other exceptional buildings, UNESCO said in an update of its efforts to assist Ukrainian authorities in documenting the damage. "These repeated attacks on Ukrainian cultural sites must stop. Cultural heritage, in all its forms, should not be targeted under any circumstances," UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay said in a statement. (22 June, France 24)
A new nuclear-capable ballistic missile system known as Sarmat has been successfully tested - Putin
Vladimir Putin has announced that a new nuclear-capable ballistic missile system known as Sarmat has been successfully tested and will be ready for deployment by the end of the year. (21 June, DW)
Russian navy ordered to lay mines at Ukraine's Black Sea ports, says US intelligence
In contrast to the statements by Russian officials that Ukraine has mined the Black Sea, US intelligence shows that the Russian navy has been given orders to lay mines at the ports of Odesa and Ochakiv and has already mined the Dnieper River as part of a blockade of Ukrainian grain exports.
"We can confirm that despite Russia's public claims that it is not mining the north-western Black Sea, Russia actually is deploying mines in the Black Sea near Ochakiv. We also have an indication that Russian forces previously mined the Dnieper River," said a US official. (23 June, Guardian)
Nobel Peace Prize laureate 2021, editor-in-chief of "Novaya Gazeta" Dmitriy Muratov, has sold his medal at the auction to help Ukrainian refugees
Nobel Peace Prize laureate 2021, editor-in-chief of "Novaya Gazeta" Dmitriy Muratov, has sold his medal at the auction for the surprising sum of 103,5 million dollars. All the money will be directed to the UNICEF fund, including for the purpose of helping Ukrainian refugees. (21 June, RBC)
"In our editorial office, we felt a sense of helplessness. This sense of helplessness that we feel from the 24 February onwards is familiar to many", said Muratov. Novaya Gazeta was forced to stop working at the end of March. (21 June, DW)
A Russian musician mounts a modest antiwar protest and pays the price
Five weeks after Russia invaded Ukraine, a whip-thin 31-year-old musician walked into a supermarket on Maly Street in the Russian city of St. Petersburg, carrying her guitar and tiny stickers about the war. In a small protest action, she stuck them on top of price tags. Now Alexandra Skochilenko faces 10 years in prison, bullying and abuse as Moscow makes examples of small-time activists. “The Russian army bombed an art school in Mariupol where about 400 people were hiding from shelling," read one of her stickers. And another: "Weekly inflation reached a new high not seen since 1998 because of our military actions in Ukraine. Stop the war." (June 26, WP)
Conchita Wurst dedicated a song to Azov fighters
An Austrian gay singer Tom Neuwirth, better known as Conchita Wurst, dedicated a song to the fighters of the Ukrainian nationalist formation Azov (banned in Russia). Conchita performed the song at the Striving Together TV marathon, which is part of an information campaign to grant Ukraine candidate status to the European Union. The event also organized a fundraiser for the treatment of wounded fighters of Ukrainian armed formations.
British actor Tom Felton recorded a video address for Ukrainians, thanking them for saving animals in the occupied territories
British actor Tom Felton recorded a video address for Ukrainians, thanking them for saving animals in the occupied territories and asking them to support the organization UA Animals.
Source: Telegram channel Stop War.
Here is the Russian version of the newsletter #8.
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