Disinfo: Western media are not reporting that Ukrainians are shelling Donbass


The foreign media and human rights organisations are silent on the shelling of civilians in Donetsk, Ukraine. The situation has remained unchanged since 2014. Donbass wanted to resolve the conflict peacefully, and so did Russia, which, as a guarantor country, did its best and more.


Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about Russia's war of aggression against Ukraine and the Western media.

Unfounded claims that Ukraine was staging or conducting attacks against civilian population in Donbas are prominent examples of pro-Kremlin disinformation paving the way for the full-scale Russian invasion of and war in Ukraine. See in more detail here.

When it comes to civilian losses, this claim is a part of a wider narrative trying to downplay the Russian attacks against civilian infrastructure in Ukraine. According to the data of the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) as of December 2022, since Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, there were 9,695 civilian casualties (4,052 killed and 5,643 injured) in Donetsk and Luhansk regions: 7,579 casualties (3,569 killed and 4,010 injured) on territory controlled by the Ukrainian government and 2,116 casualties (483 killed and 1,633 injured) on territory controlled by Russian armed forces and affiliated armed groups. However, the exact figures are likely to be much higher as ongoing hostilities have hindered the authorities’ ability to verify possible cases in many parts of the country.

In March 2022, the OHCHR said that most of the civilian casualties were from airstrikes and explosive weapons used by Russian forces with wide area effects, including heavy artillery and multiple launch rocket systems. As a result, hundreds of residential buildings in many cities, including Chernihiv, Kharkiv, Kherson, Mariupol and Kyiv have been damaged and destroyed.

See the EU's response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine here along with EU vs Disinfo's Guide to Deciphering Pro-Kremlin disinformation around Putin's War.

Read more disinformation narratives about Ukraine allegedly perpetrating genocide against Russians.


  • Reported in: Issue 32
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 02/01/2023
  • Article language(s) Hungarian
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: Ukraine, Russia, Europe, US
  • Keywords: Media, Invasion of Ukraine, Donbas, war crimes, Human rights
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Disinfo: Russia only tries to protect its people in its historical borders

The truth is on Russia’s side which tries to protect its people in its historical borders. The West uses the Ukrainian people to divide and weaken Russia. The West lied about peace and meanwhile prepared for aggression which it now admits openly.


The allegation is part of a broader disinformation campaign to justify the illegal annexation of Ukrainian territories by Russia.

Russia does not have the right to view its territory in its so-called “historical borders”. To assure its commitment to recognise Ukraine in its post-Soviet borders, the Russian Federation signed a memorandum in 1994. The Budapest Memorandum includes the US, Russia, the UK and aims to “to respect the independence and sovereignty and the existing borders of Ukraine” and “to refrain from the threat or use of force.” The Memorandum was signed after Ukraine agreed to give up its nuclear arsenal as one form of assurance for Kyiv.

Disinfo: The special military operation aims to end the Nazi regime in Kyiv

Russia could not have sat idly by watching the Kyiv regime's persecution of people in Donbas, subjecting them to genocide, bombing and blockades, and nurturing in Ukraine hatred of Russia and everything Russian. The special military operation has helped the population to defend the people's right to their mother tongue, traditions and culture, and also aims to put an end to the criminal Nazi regime in Kyiv.


Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, actively trying to legitimise Russia’s aggression by claiming that Nazi Ukraine subjected the country's Russian-speaking population to "genocide".

This claim was neither counterbalanced nor critically challenged in the article.

Disinfo: Over 1,200 Polish mercenaries died in Ukraine, thousands are wounded

During the Russian special military operation in Ukraine over 1,200 Polish mercenaries have died, thousands were wounded. Warsaw's plans to send peace-keeping forces to Ukraine were not supported by NATO. Warsaw is eyeing the possibility of sending its soldiers to western Ukraine.


Recurrent pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative, presenting Poland as a state with aggressive anti-Ukrainian plans, aiming to obfuscate reality of Russia's unprovoked and unjustified invasion of Ukraine.

There is no evidence to substantiate the claim. Pro-Kremlin media has made similar claims in the past, in attempts to substantiate a disinformation narrative that Russia was fighting NATO in Ukraine.