On June 15, the Russian Embassy in the United Kingdom posted a slick, three-minute video on Twitter titled, “Post-War Mariupol: Long Way to Rebirth.”
The video carries English captions, one of which reads:
“The city was under Ukrainian yoke for eight years. On May 20, 2022, the last of Azov’s militants have surrendered. Mariupol was finally liberated from the Ukrainian nationalists.”
That is a false representation of Mariupol’s fall to Russian attackers.
Images in the video present Russia as liberator and peaceful rebuilder of the city, even as they show the ruins of residential buildings and widespread destruction from Russian bombardments and shelling.
Instead, Kyiv is blamed as an “occupier and oppressor.”
What really happened?
1 – Russia attacked Ukraine after falsely claiming it had no plans to do so. Russia’s invasion has devastated Ukraine, caused millions to flee to other countries and disrupted the world economically and politically. Mariupol has suffered some of the war’s deadliest consequences.
2 – United Nations officials, including Secretary-General António Guterres, have condemned Russia’s strikes on hospitals, maternity facilities, civilian buildings and, in Mariupol, a theater where hundreds of people sheltered. An Associated Press investigation found that 600 people died in that Russian airstrike, a daytime attack in March on what was the city’s main bomb shelter with children inside. Russia is slamming Ukraine with 60,000 rockets and artillery shells daily.
3 – Ukraine says Russian attacks and aftereffects left more than 20,000 civilians in Mariupol dead and forcibly deported thousands more to filtration camps in the Russia-controlled areas of Ukraine and in Russia, effectively depopulating a city where half a million had lived.
4 – Mariupol city officials say Russian troops are stealing and selling humanitarian aid supplies and that a cholera outbreak may lead to more deaths. “There is no drinking water, there is no electricity to boil water, streets are full of garbage. The Russian occupation administration is not able to clean out streets,” Deputy Mayor Sergei Orlov told the Irish broadcaster RTE. “There are also a lot of ruins in the city. Unfortunately, dead bodies are in these ruins. This together with warm temperatures and rain goes to underground water.”
5 – The Russian video shows a parade in Mariupol on May 9, Russia’s WWII Victory Day holiday. The parade was led by Denis Pushilin, head of Russia’s proxy Donetsk People’s Republic. The footage shows a small number of people carrying a long yellow-black striped flag symbolizing Russia’s military might. A Czech Republic-based Russian language news source, Main News Daily, and others reported that most of the parade’s participants were brought on buses from Russia and elsewhere in the Donetsk province.
6 – The Washington Post reported that in preparation for the parade, Russian troops cleared away ruins of the bombed-out theater.
7 – Regarding the video’s claim of being “under Ukrainian yoke for eight years,” Mariupol was part of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic within the Soviet Union, which collapsed in 1994. Before Russian forces attacked, demolished and took control, Mariupol was part of a Ukraine that had been independent for decades. Over the years, Russia has officially recognized Ukraine's sovereignty. The city was not “liberated” by Russia; it was taken by brutal force after a mass exodus of fearful civilians.
8 – News reports say Russian occupation authorities have forced remaining Mariupol residents to attend “denazification classes” and stage “mass demonstrations” in support of the Russian war. “When my mother and I were in line to get food and water, we were forced to listen to stories about how we were being liberated from Nazis,” one woman who escaped Mariupol in May told The Guardian newspaper.
Polygraph.info has previously reported on Russia’s false claims that Ukraine’s government is run by fascists and Nazis.