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Russia’s Myanmar Embassy Unleashes a Torrent of Ukraine Falsehoods

Aftermath of the shelling of the village of Byshiv, Kyiv region, on March 4, 2022. (Marian Kushnir/RFE/RL)
Aftermath of the shelling of the village of Byshiv, Kyiv region, on March 4, 2022. (Marian Kushnir/RFE/RL)
Embassy of Russia in Myanmar

Embassy of Russia in Myanmar

"The Embassy of Russia in Myanmar noted several articles from the Myanmar media sources to be basing on inadequate information concerning the special military operation [in Ukraine].”


On March 2, Russia’s Embassy in Myanmar proclaimed that it would share “objective information” on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. An embassy statement said the goal was to counter “biased and misleading” media reports.

Myanmar’s military rulers, who took power in a February 2021 coup, supported Russia’s invasion. But Myanmar’s United Nations representative, Kyaw Moe Tun, is a member of the National Unity Government that is in exile.

Kyaw Moe Tun joined representatives of 140 other nations in voting for a U.N. draft resolution condemning Russia’s aggression against Ukraine and calling for an immediate withdrawal of combat forces.

Pro-democracy figures in Myanmar have rallied behind Ukraine. Myanmar’s independent Irrawaddy news website chalked that up to “a common enemy.”

“To the Ukrainians, Russian President Vladimir Putin is their invader. To the Myanmar people, Russia is a close ally of the Myanmar regime, supplying it with military hardware, among other kinds of support,” Irrawaddy said.

The Democratic Voice of Burma likewise called Moscow the junta’s “leading backer,” reporting that the coup leaders rely “heavily on Russian aircraft and ammunition” to carry out daily “airstrikes against civilian areas.”

The Russian Embassy did not specify which media reports it was contesting.

“The Embassy of Russia in Myanmar noted several articles from the Myanmar media sources to be basing [sic] on inadequate information concerning the special military operation announced by the President of Russia Mr. Vladimir Putin on February 24, 2022,” the embassy statement said.

The statement listed claims it wrongly portrayed as false or unsubstantiated.

It also repeated the claim that Russia is not “at war with Ukraine,” but engaged in “a special military operation aimed at demilitarization and denazification of Ukraine to end the eight-year war by Ukraine in Donbass.” has previously debunked this phony pretext for war.

Aftermath of the fighting in Borodyanka, Kyiv oblast, on March 3, 2022. (RFE/RL)
Aftermath of the fighting in Borodyanka, Kyiv oblast, on March 3, 2022. (RFE/RL)

Between May and August 2019, Ukraine was the only country outside of Israel to have a Jewish head of government (then prime minister Volodymyr Groysman) and a Jewish head of state (Volodymyr Zelenskyy). Zelenskyy, who is currently president, lost his great-grandfather and three great-uncles during the Holocaust.

Zelenskyy’s predecessor, Petro Poroshenko also undertook efforts to remove far-right sympathizers from the police, interior ministry and armed forces. High-ranking officials were fired as a part of that effort.

In 2019, when all of Ukraine’s far-right forces united, they only won 2.15% of the vote in parliamentary elections — not enough to gain a single seat.

The Russian Embassy also claimed that “the Russian army shows the utmost restraint and does not attack civilians and the cities.”

Voluminous video evidence of Russian strikes against civilian infrastructure has disproved that claim. Ukraine says Russian strikes had killed 2,000 civilians as of March 2.

The U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has documented fewer casualties, counting 249 civilian deaths and 553 wounded from February 24 to March 2. The OHCHR says that almost as many civilians were killed in the first five days of Russia’s war than in the prior four years of war in the Donbas region.

More than 90% of the new casualties were in government-controlled territory under siege by Russian forces. Over 70% of the deaths have occurred outside of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions in Donbas, where Russia fomented war for eight years prior to the full-scale invasion.

The OHCHR said it believes the real casualty figures “are considerably higher, especially in government-controlled territory.” and others have also debunked the false claim that Russia is not attacking civilians or cities. Russia’s indiscriminate shelling of Ukrainian cities, including the capital, Kyiv, and Ukraine’s second-largest city, Kharkiv, has destroyed hundreds of civilian structures, including schools, hospitals, residential buildings and government offices.

The embassy also made the unsubstantiated claim that “the Russian army, unlike the Ukrainian side,” is not using prohibited weapons.

There is no evidence the Ukrainians are using “prohibited” weapons. And while Russian forces have also not been documented using banned weapons, they have been accused of using controversial thermobaric weapons, sometimes called "vacuum bombs.”

The New York-based advocacy group Human Rights Watch earlier condemned Russia for using thermobaric weapons during the Second Chechen War in 1999.

HRW also condemned Russia for using a ballistic missile carrying a cluster munition outside a hospital in Vuhledar, a city in Donetsk under government control. HRW said that attack killed four civilians and injured 10 more.

Video and photographic evidence suggest Russian forces in Kharkiv have used cluster munitions.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said the defense alliance had "seen reports of use of other types of weapons” apart from cluster bombs which he claimed “would be in violation of international law," CNN reports.

International law does not specifically ban thermobaric munitions.Cluster munitions have been banned by 110 countries (although not by Russia, the United States or Ukraine).

The Russian embassy, echoing Russian President Vladimir Putin in a March 3 address, without evidence accused Ukrainian forces of using human shields. Ukraine has countered that civilians are trapped in cities by Russia’s siege tactics.

On March 1, an Indian student was killed during Russian shelling of Kharkiv. India’s Ministry of External Affairs has refuted claims made by Putin and others that Indian students in Ukraine are being held hostage.

The Indian ministry noted that Ukrainian authorities have assisted efforts to transport students from Kharkiv and neighboring areas to western Ukraine.

The ministry also thanked Ukraine for helping evacuate “a large number of Indian nationals from Ukraine.”

The Russian embassy claimed that “nuclear sites in Ukraine are safe and secured as confirmed by IAEA International Atomic Energy Agency.” But on March 3, Russian forces shelled and captured the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power station in Enerhodar – the largest nuclear power installation in Europe.

The IAEA has expressed its “deep concerns” about the situation at Zaporizhzhia, calling on parties to “refrain from actions” that put nuclear power plants at danger.

The IAEA has also expressed concern over reports that staff at Chernobyl, the site in Ukraine of a 1986 nuclear disaster, have not been allowed to return home since Russia took over the inoperable plant, the U.K.’s Guardian newspaper reported.

The State Nuclear Regulatory Inspectorate of Ukraine said a Russian missile hit a radioactive waste burial site in Kyiv.