On January 7, some Ukrainian news sites published claims that rioters who assaulted the U.S. Capitol the previous day were speaking Russian when they invaded the seat of the U.S. Congress as lawmakers certified the results of 2020 presidential election.
Today, a Ukrainian news site affiliated with the Ukraina 24 TV channel, published a story claiming that some rioters used “Russian phrases” at the moment they broke through the police cordon at the Capitol steps.
“During the attack on the Capitol, supporters of Donald Trump used the Russian language,” the article begins.
“This can be heard on video – at the moment when the protesters broke through the police cordon on Capitol Hill, someone shouts ‘Davai, bystree (Come on, faster)!’ Based on this, on social media some wondered about a ‘Russian trace’ in the organization of the mayhem in the U.S.A.”
This claim was picked up by the Ukrainian news agency UNIAN, which posted another video in which the same phrase supposedly could be heard.
After examining both videos, fluent Russian speakers at Polygraph.info concluded claims that the rioters shouted in Russian or used “Russian chants” are false.
Neither article provides time codes for when the alleged phrases or “chants” can be heard, but the Today article at least narrows things down by indicating the part in the video where “Davai, bystree!” is allegedly uttered.
After close examination, it appears the phrase “Get out of the way,” which can sound like“getouttadaway” when spoken quickly and excitedly, was mistaken for the Russian phrase. At that same point, the crowd is also chanting “U-S-A!”, which also may have been mistaken for the Russian phrase.
UNIAN later reported that a Moldovan woman and her daughter were arrested in connection with the U.S. Capitol riot, and that the former needed a Russian interpreter to speak with authorities. The daughter, identified as Kristina Malimon, is a vice chairperson of the Young Republicans of Oregon. The pair was charged with curfew violations and unlawful entry, charges they disputed.
Another controversial incident involved a reporter for the Ukrainian news outlet Inter.
Reporter Serhiy Dubinin, who is from Ukraine's Donbas region and covered the Russian-instigated war there, posted a selfie posing with Jacob Anthony Chansley (aka Jake Angeli), the so-called “Q shaman” - a Capitol rioter who was later arrested on multiple charges. Inter is widely seen as a pro-Russian TV channel in Ukraine.
Several Russian-speaking reporters were at the Capitol the day of the riot, including at least two from the Voice of America. Their presence may account for other instances of people hearing Russian spoken at the scene that day.
On January 6, supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump attempted to prevent Congress from certifying last November’s election, which former U.S. vice president Joe Biden won.
Some in the crowd smashed through windows and doors to get into the Capitol building. Five individuals, including a Capitol police officer, lost their lives and dozens were injured in the melee. More than 80 people have been arrested or charged for their involvement in the protest-turned-riot.
The FBI and other law enforcement agencies are continuing to identify participants, while members of the U.S. Congress have pledged a comprehensive investigation into security failings that allowed the crowd of some 8,000 to overcome Capitol police.