On the 25th of October the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) published on Twitter a 10 minutes video allegedly debunking the Western disinformation about the massacres in Bucha, Izyum and Kupjansk, in Ukraine.
It’s nothing new, it’s a mere collage of the Russian propaganda and disinformation spread in the previous months.
The use of the English language, both in the video and in the tweet of the Russian MFA, indicates that those messages are targeted to Western public opinions. The consistent hammering of Russian propaganda in Europe is probably aimed to create confusion and distrust in the possibility of knowing the truth, rather than to convince European public opinions that Russia’s version is the true one. If truth doesn’t exist, and facts don’t either, then is possible to say anything: that Russia is the victim and Ukraine the aggressor, that the war is NATO’s responsibility, and so on.
Bucha – In the video, the Russian MFA claims once again that the massacre of Bucha was staged by Ukrainian forces: the Russian forces left Bucha before there were bodies in the streets, a video of the mayor proves it, the corpses are not rotten enough, there’s a video portraying Ukrainian troops displaying bodies in the streets, etc.
Many independent fact-checking organizations verified those claims (publicly available in EDMO’s database), and they are false. AFP, in particular, matched the traditional fact-checking work with the evidence collected by its team on the ground that reached Bucha on the 2nd of April.
The images from satellites confirm beyond any reasonable doubt that the bodies had been there for at least three weeks, when Russian forces were in control of the town.
Izjum – In the video, the Russian MFA claims that the dates reported on the tombs (9th of March, 2022) are proof that these couldn’t be victims of Russian attacks, because they were dead long before the Russian forces entered the city.
Again, this is false. As verified for example by Correctiv, the Russian attacks on the city, dating back to at least the 28th of February, have been clearly documented. Satellite images show changes in the forest’s aspect during the Russian occupation; the bodies and the graves themselves are well documented. The date of death – the 9th of March – carved on individual wooden crosses is therefore no proof of the innocence of the Russian army in the demise of those buried in Izyum.
Kupjans’k – In the video, the Russian MFA claims that a video showing bodies thrown in mass graves demonstrates atrocities committed by Ukrainian forces.
This is false. As verified among others by Facta news or Open online, the evidence produced by Russia – in particular, the metadata of the video – does not demonstrate the allegations. While on the other hand, there are credible clues that the massacre and the mass graves are the responsibility of Russia.
Tommaso Canetta – coordinator of EDMO’s fact-checking activities
Image: a screenshot of the propaganda video from the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs