Copyright © 2024

The work of Euromaidan Press is supported by the International Renaissance Foundation

When referencing our materials, please include an active hyperlink to the Euromaidan Press material and a maximum 500-character extract of the story. To reprint anything longer, written permission must be acquired from [email protected].

Privacy and Cookie Policies.

Russian propaganda’s bizzare take on the Mariupol massacre

Russian propaganda’s bizzare take on the Mariupol massacre
Article by: Kirill Mikhailov
Edited by: Alya Shandra

Terrorist speakers and pro-Russian media in Ukraine are notorious for rapidly shifting statements in the wake of disasters they cause. As details of the MH17 crash became known, terrorist propaganda sites and Kremlin news agencies quickly pulled down boasts of shutting down a Ukrainian military cargo plane. Right after the bus massacre at Volnovakha hit the news, a terrorist news group on the Russian social network Vkontakte promptly deleted a post claiming destruction of a Ukrainian checkpoint. Later there were several more twists to the story, unpicked by independent investigator website Bellingcat. The horrific strike at Mariupol on January 24 was no different.

Shortly after the attack Russia Today reported, citing “DNR’s” so-called “Ministry of Defense,” that Ukrainian accusations of terrorists shelling Mariupol were completely untrue:

Another state news agency Lifenews reported of alleged eyewitness accounts putting the blame on Ukrainian forces:

“Locals in Mariupol call the shelling a Ukrainian army provocation”.

These reports came in even as independent investigators and later OSCE observers accused DNR terrorists of the massacre that took 30 lives and left many more wounded.

Later, the story took a turn to the bizzare. Alexander Zakharchenko, the leader of “DNR” terrorists, announcing an “assault on Mariupol” during a mourning ceremony for those killed in another bus massacre in Donetsk on the evening of the tragedy, where two days earlier at least 13 civilian lives were taken by a strike inside the city, apparently by “DNR” forces. Here’s what his address sounded like (with subtitles):


On the evening of After honoring the memory of the dead, Zakharchenko announces the beginning of the assault on Mariupol and, to the cheering of the crowd, expresses hope for advancement of the “DNR” troops in closing the Debaltseve pocket. Cheering for killed civilians in Mariupol at a ceremony dedicated to honoring killed civilians in Donetsk – a chilling example of the result of the brainwashing workings of Russian propaganda.

Apparently after finding out about the carnage left in the wake of the terrorist attack, Zakharchenko denied his own statement:


Instead the terrorist leader claimed his fighters were suppressing Ukrainian positions outside the city, which is partially confirmed by the intercept published by the Security Service of Ukraine, which suggest shelling of a Ukrainian checkpoint outside the city gone horribly awry.

Other sources also shifted their narrative as the scale of loss oflife became apparent. For instance, a pro-Russian military analysis website was caught editing their conflict map in the wake of the tragedy:

These attempts to cover up atrocities are too sloppy to succeed and may even serve as circumstantial evidence to put the blame on the side rapidly shifting their testimony. In an age defined by instant news spread and quick independent investigation, they are not fooling anyone except the victims of Russian propaganda.

Edited by: Alya Shandra
You could close this page. Or you could join our community and help us produce more materials like this.  We keep our reporting open and accessible to everyone because we believe in the power of free information. This is why our small, cost-effective team depends on the support of readers like you to bring deliver timely news, quality analysis, and on-the-ground reports about Russia's war against Ukraine and Ukraine's struggle to build a democratic society. A little bit goes a long way: for as little as the cost of one cup of coffee a month, you can help build bridges between Ukraine and the rest of the world, plus become a co-creator and vote for topics we should cover next. Become a patron or see other ways to support. Become a Patron!

To suggest a correction or clarification, write to us here

You can also highlight the text and press Ctrl + Enter

Please leave your suggestions or corrections here

    Will the West continue to support Ukraine?
    • Know what moves the world.
    • Premium journalism from across Europe.
    • Tailored to your needs, translated into English.
    Special discount
    for Euromaidan Press readers
    Euromaidan Press

    We are an independent media outlet that relies solely on advertising revenue to sustain itself. We do not endorse or promote any products or services for financial gain. Therefore, we kindly ask for your support by disabling your ad blocker. Your assistance helps us continue providing quality content. Thank you!

    Related Posts