- Russia has launched ‘a special operation’ for the liberation of Donetsk and Luhansk regions.
Russia claimes its aggression is an effort to liberate Russian-speaking residents of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions (Donbas) from suffering. Russia claims that, for eight years, the Ukrainian military has been attacking and committing genocide in these regions, thus forcing Russia to start a war to liberate the people of Donbas.
Truth: Since 2014, there have been no documented reports of targeted mass killings of civilians in Ukraine. The OSCE Special Monitoring Mission deployed in March 2014 has never reported any evidence to this effect. On the contrary, Russia’s illegal occupation of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions has led to around 1.5 million internally displaced people. Similarly, no evidence of genocide targeting the local population by Ukraine has been recorded. The International Criminal Court (ICC) has launched proceedings based on the allegations of Genocide under the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (Ukraine v. Russian Federation). After the initial proceedings, the preliminary decision went in favor of Ukraine and called for the immediate halt of Russia’s military activities.
- ‘Denazification’ is necessary to liberate Ukrainians from ‘neo-Nazi’ regimes.
The Russian media said that Russia’s “special military operation” is intended to stop the alleged mistreatment and ‘genocide’ of the Russian-speaking population in Donbas; therefore, Russia must ‘strive to demilitarize and denazify Ukraine’.
Truth: The current Ukrainian government is not a ‘Nazi’ of ‘fascist’ dictatorship or in any way associated with the Nazi past. Its president, Volodymyr Zelensky, was democratically elected in a fair election, winning 73% of the vote in the 2019 presidential election. While there are far-right groups in Ukraine, they are relatively weak compared to those in many European countries. The united front of all radical right-wing parties in the last parliamentary elections in 2019 won a total of 2,15% of the vote and have not taken seats in Ukraine’s Parliament.
- Development of biological and nuclear weapons on the territory of Ukraine.
The Russian media claim that the Security Service of Ukraine was preparing provocations in Kharkiv with radioactive contamination. They spread information that a detailed map of the country’s territory with objects and types of stored poisonous substances was found among captured Ukrainian combat documentation.
Truth: ‘Secret US Biolaboratories in Ukraine’ is a myth of Russian propaganda. The Soviet Union had its own biological weapons program. After its collapse, dangerous biological materials remained on the territory of Ukraine. In 2005, the USA started a partnership with the Government of Ukraine to support peaceful and safe biological detection and diagnostic capabilities and to reduce the threats posed by pathogens. It launched the Biological Threat Reduction Program, a U.S. program that aims to ensure that these materials are not stolen or used for non-research purposes. Until 2014, the program also extended to Russian laboratories.
For nearly 30 years, as a result of the Budapest Memorandum, Ukraine has been a nuclear-free country. It agreed to give up nuclear arms in return for security guarantees by the other co-signers of the document.
- Ukraine is shelling its own territories to blame Russia.
Official representatives of the Russian Defense Ministry claim that Ukrainian military forces were preparing a provocation in Kharkiv, with the participation of Western media. He said that the purpose of the provocation was to provoke return-fire from Russian artillery on the residential sector of Kharkiv.
The Russian Ministry of Defense also stated that they did not carry out an airstrike on the drama theater in Mariupol. Instead, they asserted that the militants of the Azov National Battalion committed ‘a new bloody provocation’ by blowing up the theater building themselves.
Truth: Russia carried out all of these attacks. Press-secretary Lavrov confirmed Russia’s shelling of the maternity hospital as well as took responsibility for the bombing of the Kharkiv Institute of Physics and Technology. Russia is trying to justify its crimes and blame others. The European Commission condemned Russia’s attack on Mariupol.
- Most Ukrainian refugees are moving to Russia.
The Russian Defense Ministry claims that 2,5 million Ukrainians have asked to be evacuated to Russia. Among other statements, Russia asserted that almost all of the citizens evacuated from Mariupol refused to move to the territories controlled by Ukraine.
Truth: More than ten million people have now fled their homes in Ukraine because of the Russian invasion. In addition to the 3.8 million who have left for neighboring countries, another estimated 6.5 million people are thought to be displaced inside the war-torn country itself. Refugees are also crossing to neighboring countries to the west, such as Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Hungary, and Moldova. Some Ukrainian citizens have voluntarily evacuated to Russia (or did so under duress from the occupied territories). However, the numbers from Russia are greatly exaggerated. The UNHCR says that, as of 29 March 2022, just 271,254 Ukrainians have evacuated to Russia, with another 9,075 going to Belarus.