Before the meeting of the UN Security Council on April 5, devoted to the crimes of Russian Invaders in Ukrainian Bucha, Russia tried to assemble an alternative meeting with their “perception” of these outrageous events. Obviously, other members of the Security Council did not support Moscow. The narratives that Russian media prepared on April 3 about the Massacre in Bucha for their internal market the next day were spread by the Kremlin across western social media. This paradigm will continue.
Russians spread the following narratives:
In the French information field Russian propaganda is cynically stating that the Bucha Massacre is a lie aimed at urging Western nations to join the war. “Les zombies de Boutcha sont le dernier fake de Zelensky pour nous pousser dans la guerre” – “Bucha zombies is the latest Zelenskyi’s fake that pushes us to the war”.
In the German information field Russian propaganda is using the phrase “ukrainischen Fälschung” – Ukrainian fake.
However, the key Russian propaganda narratives are the same old “blockbusters”: “there are no Russian troops on the ground”, and “prove those were Russians”.
Moreover, new statements came up: “those were the deeds of Ukrainian Nazis” (as in the tragedy of Mariupol drama theatre), and all photos and videos were “an orchestrated provocation ordered by Western masterminds”.
Still, the real provocation was the video of a blown-up cheap Russian ersatz Jeep of the occupied Donetsk “head of police” filmed before the war. Meanwhile, the atrocity in Bucha is a war crime.
Let’s consider the key manipulative messages of Russian media:
1. Fake news about the “orchestrated video”:
a. “The video from Bucha shows that murdered people move their hands and legs in order not to get under the wheels of military vehicles. One can also see in the cameraman’s car rear view that one of the “dead” gets up as soon as the car passes by.”
However, the good quality video clearly shows: what the propagandists called “a dead body moved their arm” was actually a drop of water on the windscreen, and the moment when “the “dead” gets up” is neither more nor less than distortion in the rear view. All this is easily checked in slow motion.
b. “All Russian units have left Bucha in full on March 30, or March 31 the latest. Fedoruk, the Mayor of Bucha, confirmed in his video that the Russian armed forces have left, and said nothing about people shot in the streets.”
As for the video of Bucha’s Mayor A. Fedoruk regarding the liberation of the town, the metadata prove that it was shot not on March 31, but later.
Besides, on April 1, 2022 the town council Secretary, Taras Shapravskyi, said that Bucha was not yet liberated from the invaders, which corresponds chronologically with the Russian reports on their mopping-up operation.
c. “All dead bodies pictured by the Ukrainian authorities have not stiffened over at least four days, do not show cadaveric lividity, and blood in wounds has not coagulated.”
The New York Times has responded to these speculations. The media outlet has published satellite images of the bodies found in Bucha after it was left by the invaders. Photographs taken from space prove that some of the dead bodies have been lying in the streets for a long time. In particular, the image made on March 11 shows at least eleven corpses in Yablonska St. The bodies were there in the same positions for over three weeks before Russian troops retreated.
Moreover, on March 13, 2022, Andrii Levkivskyi, Director of Irpin Town First Aid Center, informed about a mass grave for 67 tortured Bucha residents.
2. “After Russian troops retreated from Bucha, Ukrainian Armed Forces shelled the town. This could have led to the civilian casualties.”
Analyzing this is just meaningless, as the arms of the dead people were tied, and they were shot in their heart, back of the head, and face.
3. “White armbands show that people sided with the Russian army, and were shot dead by Ukrainian territorial defense for their “collaboration” with Russians.”
Russian fake news mongers indicate that some photos and videos from the liberated territories show dead bodies with white armbands, which Russian soldiers use as an identification mark.
Local survivors deny the statement about revenge. Russian war criminals indeed made local civilians wear white armbands, as proven by interviews with local people in at least two media outlets: Reuters and Public TV. When people were made to wear the enemy armbands, this was indeed intended to deceive Ukrainian defenders. This, however, did not protect the civilians from the invaders’ massacre.
4. “Have you noticed that the buildings were almost intact? Have you thought about why the murdered were buried in mass graves, but not by their relatives (there were 36 thousand people living in Bucha)? Why did the relatives never remove the bodies from the streets?”
It was said by the pro-Russian Polish politician Korwin-Mikke.
One can see here how the “almost intact” Bucha looks like. Obviously, it is hard for Korwin-Mikke to grasp that the bodies were in the streets because this is where the invaders shot them dead. Moreover, the same often happened to the relatives who tried to remove the bodies. Not even mentioning hundreds of Bucha residents who were tortured and raped at their homes.
a. “The collective West wants to present Bucha as “Ukrainian Srebrenica” and blame Russia in the genocide against the local people.”
b. “The photos and videos from Bucha are similar to fake videos of the White Helmets from Syria”.
Here we see the efforts of Russian propaganda to shift the discourse from the Russian atrocities in Bucha to discussions around Serbia, Syria, and the “evil West”. There is another peculiar statement: “Ukrainian military used the fake photos and videos from Bucha to divert attention from tortures against Russian soldiers”. As far as it appeared in media, a number of videos were published showing people, introduced as former POW, who spoke about “tortures” in Ukrainian captivity.
6. One more piece of fake information: “How would you prove that the atrocities indeed took place? An international investigation must take place, and evidence to be collected, which is impossible in the state of war”.
What was impossible in the state of combat and occupation became possible after the shameful retreat of the Russian butchers. On April 4 Bucha hosted representatives of numerous international media, who filmed everything.
Besides, Ukrainian and international investigators started documenting the crimes.
These and other bogus stories on Bucha Massacre are told with the only aim: to out-talk the tragedy, make the world doubt the crime took place, neutralize public resonance and international indignation, as it was in the case of MH17 terroristic act.
We believe these and many other stories and evidences will be useful for those who still doubt:
- A people’s deputy from Bucha, Kateryna Ukraintseva, speaks about how the town lived under occupation;
- Stories of local people, including those about executions;
- CNN story of locals showing murdered civilians in yards;
- NY TImes video from Bucha showing murdered civilians with their hands tied;
- Human Rights Watch report on Russian war crimes, including those committed in Bucha;
- Records of Russian atrocities from a residents chat;
- Stories of our Center right from the crime scene.
All this massive data proves the same: Russians killed Ukrainian civilians.
The Bucha Massacre is qualified in international law as a “war crime” and “crime against humanity”, which is not limited in time. The executioners are already being identified. They are entered in databases, and they will be officially accused. A number of western countries committed to helping Ukraine. They are sending their experts and prosecutors. Bucha Special Group is to be created.
The Russian Federation can be expelled from the UN Human Rights Council. The US and UK are supporting this decision, which will be considered on April 6.
Indeed, there is no space for human rights, when seeing what the Russian troops did to civilians who just wanted to live.