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Burn the Ukrainian Children? Genocidal Rant is Now Mainstream Russian Propaganda

Children look through car windows as they and other refugees from Ukraine's Kharkiv Region come to a temporary camp in Belgorod, Russia, on September 14, 2022. (Associated Press)
Children look through car windows as they and other refugees from Ukraine's Kharkiv Region come to a temporary camp in Belgorod, Russia, on September 14, 2022. (Associated Press)
Sergey Markov

Sergey Markov

Russian political pundit

“It is obvious that [RT presenter Anton] Krasovsky did this on the instructions of the special services of Ukraine or the United States.”


Update: The CIA declined's request for comment on this fact check.

On October 24, Russia’s state-run RT suspended Anton Krasovsky, the broadcasting director for its Russian-language service, for advocating the violent murder of Ukrainian children on his program.

“Straight-up drown these children. … Whoever said [Russians] occupied them, you immediately throw them into a river with a strong current,” Krasovsky said.

When his guest, science fiction writer Sergey Lukyanenko, suggested it was better to use a “rod” to deal with such children, Krasovsky went on an expletive-ridden rant about housing in Ukraine, saying they should “shove [Ukrainian children] right into those little huts and burn them up.”

RT Editor-in-Chief Margarita Simonyan called his comments “wild and disgusting.” Russian law enforcement ordered an investigation into his comments.

But then, a former adviser to Russian President Vladimir Putin falsely said Krasovsky’s genocidal rhetoric was the fault of the United States or Ukraine.

Sergey Markov, now also a pundit, wrote on his Telegram channel:

“[Anton Krasovsky] has voiced terrible, bloody, genocidal ideas against Ukraine's children on state-run Russian TV at a time when the U.S. and Kyiv desperately need arguments to make everyone believe that Russia is ready to use nuclear weapons against Ukraine.

“It is obvious that Krasovsky did this on the instructions of the special services of Ukraine or the United States. I am sure that after some time Krasovsky will turn up in the West or in Ukraine and under the protection of the special services.

“Rosovsky said this genocidal statement on the instructions of the Ukrainian authorities. They have now launched a broad campaign based on Krasovsky’s words.”

Krasovky’s comments and Markov’s fairy-tale rationalization for them are just two more examples of a Russia’s propaganda campaign that’s regularly punctuated with hate speech and genocidal rhetoric against Ukrainians.

Taisiia Kovaliova, 15, stands next to the rubble of a park in front of her house, which was hit by a Russian missile in Mykolaiv on Ocober. 23, 2022. (Emilio Morenatti/AP)
Taisiia Kovaliova, 15, stands next to the rubble of a park in front of her house, which was hit by a Russian missile in Mykolaiv on Ocober. 23, 2022. (Emilio Morenatti/AP)

The CIA declined's request for comment.

Krasovsky has since been suspended by RT [formerly Russia Today] and has apologized. But he is no stranger to extreme rhetoric. He previously called Ukrainians “animals” and faced no consequences from his employer.

As previously reported by, Russia’s eliminationist rhetoric against Ukraine goes back more than a decade. In May, more than 30 independent analysts said Russia was responsible for inciting genocide in Ukraine, The Washington Post reported.

Putin has denied the “historical basis” for the “idea of Ukrainian people as a nation separate from the Russians.”

Former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, now deputy chairman of Russia's Security Council, said “deep” Ukrainianism, “fueled by anti-Russian poison and all-consuming lies about their identity,” is “one big fake” which has never existed in history, and “doesn’t exist now.”

Vladislav Surkov, a Russian politician and Putin’s former point man on Ukraine, likewise claimed “there is no Ukraine.”

“There is Ukrainian-ness. That is, a specific disorder of the mind,” Surkov said.

Pundits on Russian state TV and other pro-Russian figures have gone much further in their rhetoric. Many of their comments advocating violence against Ukrainians and genocide have been documented and translated by Julia Davis, a columnist for The Daily Beast and creator of the Russian Media Monitor.

In one exchange between Simonyan and Russian TV presenter Vladimir Solovyov, described as “Putin's voice,” Solovyov compared Russia’s war in Ukraine to a doctor deworming a cat.

In that same exchange, Simonyan said Ukraine “can’t continue to exist.”

While expressing “disgust” at Krasovsky’s words, in February, four days after Russia’s invasion, Simonyan tweeted how war could instill brutality, making a person “not feel sorry for anyone — neither women nor children.”

She also used extermination camp rhetoric to justify Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Other pundits and politicians appearing on Russian state media have seemed to promote genocide, or otherwise deny Ukraine’s right to exist.

For example, regarding Andrey Kartapolov, head of the Russian State Duma Committee on Defense, Surkov, said:

“The day is near when the ‘last Ukrainian’ won’t just be a metaphysical expression or a figure of speech, but a reality."

Andrey Gurulyov, a State Duma deputy and former deputy commander of Russia's Southern military district, said:

“Ukraine does not exist. Ukraine’s history is ending. Perhaps that is a good thing.”

Others have called for bombing Ukraine into the 18th or 19th century by targeting civilian infrastructure, intentionally causing a refugee catastrophe.

Konstantin Dolgov, the former Russian commissioner for human rights, said that Ukraine’s sewage and plumbing system were legitimate targets for war.

In Orwellian fashion, he claimed civilian infrastructure is military infrastructure, and framed Russia’s strikes against civilian targets as an “anti-terrorism” operation.

Pavel Gubarev, a pro-Russia separatist in Eastern Ukraine, explicitly stated his genocidal intent for Ukrainians.

“We aren't coming to kill you, but to convince you. But if you don't want to be convinced, we'll kill you. We'll kill as many as we have to: 1 million, 5 million, or exterminate all of you,” he said.

It is not just rhetoric. Abundant destruction shows Russia has systematically targeted civilian infrastructure, with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy describing Russia’s strategy as “missile terror.”

Amnesty International said Russia’s attacks are “clearly” intended to “sow fear and despair and deprive civilians in Ukraine of heat, electricity and water as the cold grip of winter approaches.”

In April, the United Nations former human rights chief, Michelle Bachelet, said international humanitarian law had seemingly been “tossed aside” by Russia.

“Russian armed forces have indiscriminately shelled and bombed populated areas, killing civilians and wrecking hospitals, schools and other civilian infrastructure, actions that may amount to war crimes,” Bachelet said.

In September, a U.N. report by an independent commission said, "We were struck by a large number of executions and other (rights) violations by Russian forces, and the Commission received consistent accounts of torture and ill-treatment.”

A recent investigation by "Frontline" and The Associated Press uncovered evidence linking Russia’s war crimes, including the massacre of civilians at Bucha, “through the chain of command to one of Russia’s top generals.”

On RT’s show “Beautiful Russia,” Oksana Boyko and guests described Western reporting on Bucha as fake. During one exchange, war correspondent Vladlen Tatarsky said Germans watching the reporting on Bucha, “with the screen covered in blood,” would have their “genetic memory” triggered.

He added: “Yes, that’s how we are – fear us! Fear us, guys!”

Russia is also engaged in “massive, forced deportations of Ukrainians that likely amount to a deliberate ethnic cleansing campaign in addition to apparent violations of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide,” reported the Institute for the Study of War, a Washington, D.C., think tank.

On July 20, a bipartisan group of seven U.S. senators introduced legislation “recognizing Russia’s actions in Ukraine as a genocide.”

The senators accused Russia of “killing Ukrainian civilians en masse,” indiscriminately targeting civilian infrastructure, “heinous acts of sexual violence and forcibly deporting hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian children to Russia,” and “trying to eliminate the Ukrainian language, Ukrainian history and Ukrainian culture.”