ALERT: Sourced from Russian State-Controlled Media
The Russian military operation in Ukraine and the dramatic downturn in relations between Russia and the West over the past three weeks have been accompanied by a torrential storm of fake news. On Wednesday, the Russian Embassy in Washington called on US media to “stop lying” and to cover events in Ukraine in a more impartial manner.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova has taken to Telegram to disassemble a pair of European newspaper fakes about Sergei Lavrov and the crisis in Ukraine.
On Thursday, German tabloid Bild released a report claiming that the Russian foreign minister was on his way to Beijing, China for a secrecy-laden visit before his plane turned around in mid-air over Siberia and flew back to Moscow. “The world is puzzled: Did Beijing not want to receive Putin’s Foreign Minister (Western nickname: ‘Lying Lavrov’), or did Putin order him back because the hut in Moscow was on fire?” the paper wrote.
“The German newspaper Bild has taken the lead when it comes to fakes,” Zakharova wrote in her response to the story. “Sergei Lavrov worked until late in the evening at Smolenka, and early in the morning began preparations for negotiations with his Middle Eastern colleagues in Moscow. I wonder – will the German journalist who thought up this story be given a bonus?” Zakharova asked.
Lavrov met with UAE Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan in Moscow on Thursday afternoon.
Zakharova also slammed Italy’s La Stampa newspaper for using a photo from the aftermath of the deadly Ukrainian tactical ballistic missile attack on the city of Donetsk, which claimed the lives of 20 civilians and injured 36 others, on the front page for a story about the situation in Kiev.
“Just listing the names of newspapers that circulate misinformation would take all day, but there are examples of a special sort of cynicism which cannot go unnoticed. La Stampa has put a photo from Donetsk on its front page. Rescuers, dead bodies, people in grief, signs of destruction. All of this was the consequence of shelling carried out by the Ukrainian military in the Donetsk People’s Republic using the Tochka-U tactical missile system. But the inscription on the front page reads ‘And so the last assault threatens Kiev’,” the spokeswoman wrote.
“Apparently the photo from the DPR simply turned out to be too good not to use, and the Italian journalists didn’t care that they created a fake, passing off the victims of the Ukrainian military and volunteers in Donetsk as residents of Kiev. Everything is acceptable for the sake of creating a shocking presentation of information in the current anti-Russian frenzy. And no one cares about the truth,” she suggested.
The fakes exposed by Zakharova are just the latest examples of a campaign of misinformation and disinformation which kicked off immediately after Russia began its military operation in Ukraine, starting with the legend of Snake Island, where the tale of the heroic Ukrainian defenders who bravely died telling a Russian warship to ‘go f*ck yourself’ being found alive and well after surrendering to Russian forces.
The fake news campaign has become more and more dangerous and dirty with time, with the Russian military dismantling Western reporting Wednesday claiming that Russian troops mercilessly “shot and killed 10 people queuing for bread” in Chernigov, Ukraine by pointing out that Russian forces never even entered the city.
Also on Wednesday, after US media reported on an alleged Russian airstrike against the famous drama theatre building in Mariupol, despite Russian MoD assurances that its aircraft did not carry out any operations over the city that day, the Russian Embassy in Washington called on US media to “stop lying and engage in objective coverage of events in Ukraine.”