At a glance.
- Russian disinformation themes.
- Face-saving disinformation.
Russian disinformation themes.
The UK's Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Office, which has been tracking Russian disinformation over Russia's war against Ukraine, last week published a quick enumeration of Russian themes surrounding atrocities in Ukraine. Moscow has said, variously, that these were the work of "Ukrainian Nazis" or "western technologists," that they were "all staged," "a media campaign," "a film set," or, most implausibly, the work of "the British." In sum, the Kremlin's line is that it's all "a false provocation."
Russia has claimed that the guided missile cruiser Moskva was lost due to a combination of an internal explosion followed by unfavorable weather while the damaged vessel was under tow. Most foreign intelligence services seem to have concluded that the Ukrainian account of having hit the Moskva with Neptune anti-ship missiles is correct.
A wave of intense, long-rang fire was over the weekend delivered against Ukrainian targets by Russian rocket and missile units. According to the Telegraph, Russian official source said the strikes were retaliation for Ukrainian "sabotage" and "terrorism." On Friday the Russian Ministry of Defense said that such attacks were coming, and would intensify. Military Times reports that the strikes are, in Moscow's telling, legitimate retaliation for what the Kremlin calls Ukrainian “diversions on the Russian territory.” Most foreign observers regard the attacks as revenge for the sinking of the Moskva, and as providing a slantendicular confirmation of Ukraine's account of the sinking.
The Moskva had a crew of five-hundred-ten, and, while TASS and other official sources initially claimed they'd all been evacuated from the damaged vessel, subsequent accounts eliminated the word "all," and survivors' homecoming have not been featured in Russian news sources. The Telegraph cites observers' informed speculation that casualties may have been very heavy, perhaps numbering in the hundreds, but these estimates are unconfirmed.
Some video and images that appear to show the sinking of the Moskva have appeared. These too are unconfirmed, the Guardian reports, but they appear to have been taken from one of the tugs that came to the cruiser's assistance.