Russian propaganda has always been renowned for its vivid imagination, and for fabricating pretexts to discredit the Armed Forces of Ukraine. During the war, there have been many such provocations, including fakes about atrocities committed by the Ukrainian military and about the bombing of residential buildings, chemical attacks, and more. But nobody believes the Kremlin’s blatant lies any more.
Again the Kremlin propaganda machine has accused the Ukrainian army of a chemical attack. On the evening of 20 August, all Russian media and social media communities, quoting the statement of the Russian Defence Ministry, launched an information campaign aimed at discrediting Ukraine to its international partners. A statement from the Russian military said that several Russian soldiers were hospitalised with signs of chemical poisoning on 31 July in the Zaporizhyia region. Allegedly, as a result of analysis, a toxic substance, botulinum toxin type “B,” was found in the bodies of Russian servicemen. Moscow claims “chemical terrorism” on the part of Ukraine and threatens to send documents about these “poisonings” to international organisations.
The “examination” of Russian servicemen was conducted by a scientific military institute associated with the testing of the Novichok warfare agent that was used to poison the Skripal family in 2018, in Salisbury, UK.
Russian propaganda has gone so far as to accuse Ukraine of allegedly chemically attacking its soldiers, by making reference to research by scientific agencies involved in preparing poisons to kill people.
This is scarcely credible. Such false accusations against Ukraine show that Moscow is struggling to make up new propaganda stories and is spinning around the same topics. But we should be aware that it is a classic Kremlin playbook to make false accusations against their opponents while they may be preparing to use just such tactics themselves. As Ukraine prepares to celebrate the anniversary of its independence, the country should be on high alert to any terror threats from Russia.