What did not happen this week in the Russia.Ukraine war

The year is 2022, war Breaks into the area Central in the world, And yet the stream of reports coming from it is fragmented and vague. This ambiguity is naturally exploited by both sides who want to skew public opinion in their favor, and also to morally and psychologically influence the opponent. Joining them are just traffic enthusiasts and likes on social media, and under the immense virality of these tools, more and more reports, analyzes and anecdotes are gaining momentum, becoming part of the story of this war, even though some have nothing to do with reality. In the first week after the war between Russia and Ukraine, we summarized the salient reports that turned out to be false or unfounded.

24.2 Is Israel bombing Ukraine?

No matter where in the world there is a conflict, trust us to find a way to get involved. This time it was even particularly easy. From the first day of the war, and throughout the war, many countries – including Britain, Spain, Colombia, Brazil, Mexico, India, Bangladesh and Morocco – have been distributing photos and videos of Ukrainian cities being bombed by Russian artillery. Common to all? These are scenes from Operation Wall Guard – the last round of fighting between Israel and Gaza since May 2021. As fact-finding organizations from all the countries mentioned showed, a large part of these photos are Israeli shelling of Gaza, but for balance some photos also show Hamas rocket launches directed at Israeli settlements. . Shelling of Ukrainian cities of course also happens in reality, but it is worthwhile to adjust the visuals.

for further reading:
The inspection of the British FULL FACT

24.2 – The dead from “Snake Island” are resurrected

It was one of the first videos to resonate with the start of the war. Ukrainian soldiers, stationed to guard the “Snake Island” in the Black Sea, refuse to surrender to a Russian warship, curse the aggressive enemy in connection, and pay for it with their lives. The heroic decision that claimed the lives of the 13 heroes was reported worldwide. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zlansky also confirmed their deaths and even announced that they would be awarded Ukraine’s highest war medal.

Only three days later the state border guard announced that the fighters may have been captured alive, and later the Ukrainian navy confirmed that the soldiers had indeed been captured alive and taken to Russia as prisoners of war. In the Russian media, by the way, it was alleged that the soldiers surrendered voluntarily and soon, without any objection, claimed that Kiev vehemently denies.

for further reading:
Ukrainian authorities report live soldiers

25.2 – Zalansky gets in uniform

There is no doubt that the war highlighted President Zalanski’s media skills. The videos starring him from the streets of the capital Kyiv and his refusal to leave the attacked city to a safe place inspired many. But is it possible that he went one step further and on the occasion of the war put on a uniform himself? Such images have gained popularity on networks with captions such as “first in line to defend his country”, but as the Spanish fact-checking organization Maldita showed, the images are authentic but they are also old. These are photos from April and December 2021. Not bad, even the khaki T-shirt he is wearing now flatters him.

Zalansky gets in uniform? This is an old picture / Photo: Screenshot

for further reading:
The test of the Spanish fact-checking organization MALDITA

26.2 – Putin ousts Russian military chief of staff?

The Russian military’s disappointing performance in the early days of the war led Putin to fire Chief of Staff Valery Gersimov, several Ukrainian news sites reported dramatically. Permit Alexander Windman, a native of Ukraine and a U.S. officer whose Twitter account has 700,000 followers, and who was released in 2019 after testifying at Trump’s impeachment trial. When wrong.

for further reading:
Incorrect reporting in the Ukrainian media about the dismissals

26.2 – When did Turkey close the Egyptian Sea?

Last Saturday a dramatic news broke: Turkey has decided to close to Russian ship traffic the Bosphorus and Dardanelles that connect Russia to the Mediterranean. The report was based on a statement from President Zlansky in which he allegedly thanked the Turkish president for the move but in Turkey they were quick to deny the report. What really happened? It turns out that Zalansky did not thank Turkey for the closure of Egypt, but thanked it for its support of Ukraine in general, and only in the trial that followed did he express his hope that Turkey would close Egypt. By the way, later on Turkey actually decided to close the Egyptians, but apparently this is not expected to have a significant impact on Russian warships.

for further reading:
News in Reuters that Turkey has not decided to close Egypt

27.2 – From southern Samaria to northern Ukraine

And here’s another Israeli connection. This week the network was filled with sympathetic images in which, it is alleged, a Ukrainian girl is seen trying with her meager forces to stop the Russian soldiers. The wide distribution of these photos can be learned from one ticketing video which alone received over 12 million views and 800,000 likes. But to the Israeli audience, these pictures – in which a girl is seen in a tank top in an arid area – may seem familiar. In practice, this is none other than Palestinian Tamimi, a resident of the village of Nabi Salah in southern Samaria, who in 2012 (then 11 years old) was documented shouting at an IDF soldier and waving his fist at him.

An innocent witness in Ukraine? 12 million views for the absurd video / Photo: Screenshot

An innocent witness in Ukraine? 12 million views for the absurd video / Photo: Screenshot

for further reading:
The AFP test

27.2 – Time Out

“Return of History: How Putin Shattered Europe’s Dreams.” This was the headline of Time magazine, accompanied by a powerful image: a portrait of Russian President Vladimir Putin that also incorporates part of Hitler’s face. The image gained momentum on social media but the magazine never printed such a cover (the headline was given by him but it was accompanied by another image). The person in charge of the work is Patrick Mulder, a graphic designer from Wales, who was also quick to admit that this was his work. The sharp-eyed could have noticed that at the bottom of the fictitious gate he had pre-combined his signature. For the rest, the tweet was marked by Twitter as “manipulated content”.

The powerful gate of time? Never published / Photo: Screenshot

The powerful gate of time? Never published / Photo: Screenshot

for further reading:
The test of the Spanish fact-checking organization MALDITA

28.2 – The booty tank was found to be deceptive

What better represents the “first tiktok war” as many called it, than a lovable video of young Ukrainians explaining how to use military tools that the Russian army has abandoned or lost? Such a video, in which a young woman is shown demonstrating how to activate and operate a military armored vehicle, has managed to garner more than 7 million views. In Israel, he is a partner, for example, by Amichai Stein, a journalist at “Here”, who noted that this is an abandoned Russian tank and garnered close to 4,000 likes.

But the reality is much grayer. The armor in the video is not a tank, the leadership is not Ukrainian and mostly it is not a new video at all. It was filmed a year ago and uploaded to Instagram by Nestia Tyman, a Russian mechanic who uploads humorous instructional videos on car and driving mechanics. In defense of those who were confused, it can be noted that Tyman did upload the section to her accounts this week and wrote: “Get a tip on how to start an abandoned armored vehicle.” Reactions were divided between Ukrainians who greeted and thanked her and Russians who called her a traitor or warned her of imprisonment.

A young Ukrainian woman took over a Russian anti-tank vehicle? She's Russia, and the video is from a year ago / Photo: Screenshot

A young Ukrainian woman took over a Russian anti-tank vehicle? She’s Russia, and the video is from a year ago / Photo: Screenshot

for further reading:
The tweet on Twitter with the video to which the network added a “Need for a connection” warning

28.2 – Without a nucleus of truth

What weapons will they use in World War III? In recent days it would seem for a moment that we are getting closer to the blackest forecasts. After Putin raised its nuclear alert in Russia, some reported that the U.S. also raised its alert level to DEFCON 2 – one level before a definite nuclear war. In Israel, the claim was circulated by Brigadier General Amir Avivi, the founder of the “Security” movement. But although officially a change in the level of American alert is not made public in real time, the White House and the Department of Defense have explicitly denied the reports. After we addressed Avivi, he added a correction to his original tweet, and finally deleted it as well.

Have the Americans raised the level of nuclear preparedness? Official denial issued / Photo: Screenshot

Have the Americans raised the level of nuclear preparedness? Official denial issued / Photo: Screenshot

for further reading:
A White House spokeswoman said the level of nuclear preparedness had not changed

1.3 – Was the memorial site at Babi Yar damaged?

The firing of Russian forces at a communications tower near the Babi Yar site – one of the symbols of the Holocaust – led President Zlansky to report to the world a damage to the site and create a clear parallel between the historical events known to all, and the current situation. The Jew Zalansky even addressed the Jews of the world, in a message written in an unusual Hebrew, in which he stated: “We all gave again in Babi Yar.”

But veteran journalist Ron Ben Yishai, a Yedioth Ahronoth envoy to Kiev, decided to come to the place himself to estimate the damage done to him. It turns out that “the memorial site at Babi Yar was neither harmed nor damaged,” he reported to his readers. The damage was caused to the nearby communications tower, which is about 300 meters from the new monument and about a kilometer from the old monument.

for further reading:
Ron Ben Yishai’s report on Ynet

Misconceptions have accompanied wars since the dawn of history, but their impact is small

Misleading and using Pike News are of course not an invention of the current war. The theory behind such moves is called “signals and noises,” explains military historian Prof. Danny Auerbach, who teaches at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. To create a credible battlefield snapshot, each side of the war is required to separate the relevant indications in its possession (signals) from false or irrelevant information (noises).

These noises can consist of distraction or deception. “A diversion, such as an attack elsewhere, is designed to make it harder for the enemy to spot signals; fraud is the addition of fake signals that resemble real information.” And this of course is not at all simple to perform. “If the information seems too good to be true the scam may be transparent,” he says, “but if the information is too vague then the enemy may not understand it. It’s a terribly delicate balance.”

Examples? Such have existed since the dawn of history. For example, in the war between the Greeks and the Persians in the 5th century BC the Athenian commander Themistocles pretended to be a traitor and gave the Persians information that was true, but in such a way as to cause the Persians to fall into a trap, Auerbach demonstrates. The story after which it is named, which is not clear how true it is itself, deals with a backpack that British soldiers who fought in Israel in the First World War “forgot” so that the Ottomans would find it and come across all the fake information it contained. But there are also such examples that are of historical validity.

One of the most famous of them is what happened in “Operation Meatball”. In 1943, during World War II, the Allies led Hitler to believe that they would invade Greece and Sardinia, instead of Sicily. To do this, the British took the body of a homeless man and used it to create the figure of “Captain William Martin”, a British officer who drowned at sea and washed ashore with a pile of documents. The documents they planted on him were partly true, but among them was also a forged document in which the British deputy chief of staff gently hinted at the erroneous invasion targets. Orbach says that for the sake of credibility the deputy chief of staff did indeed write the forged document himself.

And what can be said about what we see in the current war? Disseminating the dubious videos is also a psychological warfare, designed primarily to paint the narrative in a way that is comfortable for the parties. In the case of Ukraine, Auerbach explains, this fighting has three purposes: raising Ukrainian morale, gaining support from the West, and de-moralizing among Russian forces. On the Russian side, Auerbach mentions a more general system in which the state has been working against the West in recent years: “gaslifting.” The intention is to disseminate conspiracy theories and create general mistrust in the system, on a variety of issues, in order to undermine stability in countries. According to Auerbach, this is a fairly new method, which probably came with the development of social networks.

But what does history tell us in the bottom line, how significant were all these scams in the end in determining the results of the wars in the past? “Fraud makes a lot of noise, it’s stunning, but in the end its strategic value is meager,” Auerbach states. According to him, most often the perpetrator is the weak side, and after the initial shock experienced by the strong he returns to using his power to decide the battle.

Research: Uriah Bar-Meir

By Editor

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