Russian Colonel General Mikhail Mizintsev claimed in a Tuesday statement that Ukrainian battalions have been staging videos depicting war crimes in Ukraine, such as mass murder by soldiers or looting of local shops, Russian media outlet TASS reports.
"According to the testimonies of surrendered Ukrainian servicemen, nationalist battalions systematically receive orders from Kyiv authorities to prepare staged videos about atrocities, mass murder of civilians, looting and destruction of social infrastructure, allegedly carried out by Russian servicemen," Mizintsev said.
Mizintsev added that Russian military structures received 1,734 requests for evacuation to Russia in the past 24 hours. He also purported that a majority of Ukrainian civilians seek to evacuate to the Russian Federation.
Of the now over 4 million refugees that have fled Ukraine since the Russian invasion began, over 2.3 million have settled in Poland, while Russia has processed just over 350,000 refugees – less than Romania, Hungary, and Moldova – per UN figures.
Russia has been accused of several war crimes and will soon be tried by an International Criminals Court (ICC) tribunal in The Hauge. According to numerous reports, Russia has used cluster munition and thermobaric weapons in residential areas, attacked civilian targets – such as humanitarian corridors, hospitals and schools, and has kidnapped, tortured and forcefully deported civilians.
Russia’s claim that Ukrainians themselves are staging these atrocities is not a novel method of disinformation, as many around the world have claimed that “crisis actors” are used to stage disasters to gain political favor.
In 2012, several alt-right media outlets in the United States claimed that the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting was staged by crisis actors paid by their left-wing political opponents. In July 2021, a British man who was hospitalized with COVID-19 was accused of being a crisis actor on UK social media after footage of him hospitalized was shown on BBC.