Antifake / Factcheck

22 June 2023

Top-5 Fake News. Ukraine's ultimatum to Elon Musk, US LGBTQ+ get benefits, China's on the Russia side

Further: quotes from The NY Times are taken out of context and a fake dark-skinned Angolan fighting against Ukraine. Top-5 Fake News spotted by Weekly Top Fake team.

Fake#1 The New York Times criticizes military asistance to Ukraine

Fake date 12.06.2023

The USA to send more in military aid to Ukraine, as Kyiv continues to press its counteroffensive, said Jake Sullivan, US President Joe Biden's national security adviser, in his interview with CNN on June 4.

A week later, the Belarusian pro-war propaganda, represented by the Belarus 1 TV channel host, Sergei Gusachenko, stated, that the Americans were less and less willing to help the Ukrainians.

As proof, he quoted from an article in The New York Times:

“Even the liberal American media outlet admits: Kyiv is too expensive a toy.

Quote: If Ukraine wins this war, some of its supporters abroad will no doubt be disillusioned to discover the nation’s darker side. Before the war, Ukraine ranked high on measures of perceived corruption. Victory won’t make the corruption go away.

This will only worsen.

And Ukraine does have a far-right movement, including paramilitary groups that have played a part in its war. Many Ukrainians initially welcomed the Germans during World War II (until they realized that they, too, were considered subhuman), and Nazi iconography is still disturbingly widespread,” Gusachenko said on the air of the program Clear Politics on June 12. 

Here actually were citations from The New York Times article. However, Gusachenko did not fully quote the part about corruption and added something of his own.

The original publication says:  

“Before the war, Ukraine ranked high on measures of perceived corruption — better than Russia, but that’s not saying much. Victory won’t make the corruption go away.”

Apparently, the presenter cut out the comparison not in favor of Russia.

And vice versa, he added from himself the phrase that after winning the war, it will only get worse with corruption.

In the part of the quote about the Nazis, the essence of the message is also distorted by the exclusion of the following fragment

“The country suffered terribly under Stalin, with millions dying in a deliberately engineered famine; as a result, some Ukrainians initially welcomed the Germans during World War II (until they realized that they, too, were considered subhuman), and Nazi iconography is still disturbingly widespread.”

Gusachenko also took that quote out of context, using it as confirmation that Ukraine is costing the United States dearly. 

Actually, the columnist compared Russia's war with Ukraine to World War II, which, according to him, "was one of the few wars that was clearly a fight of good against evil".

But at the same time, according to him, there were problems in countries fighting evil. The author said, that there was racism in the USA, and Britain still ruled, sometimes brutally, over a vast colonial empire.

Now, according to the columnist, Ukraine is fighting evil, despite having its drawbacks as well as the USA and Britain during World War II.

Fake#2 Dark-skinned man from Angola warfares for Russia

Fake date 12.06.2023

Last week, numerous fake news appeared on the network at once, which convinced one that Russia was supported all over the world.

Thus, on June 12, the Telegram channel “News and reports of the DPR Donetsk” published a pic of a dark-skinned soldier in uniform.

Here is allegedly a soldier from Angola, nicknamed "Coal", fighting on Russia’s side.

There are signs of editing on the pic. The neck and head of the soldier are dark, despite the light shoulders.

The logo of the Russian Ministry of Defense was in the upper right corner of the frame.

The BIC discovered a video on the Telegram channel of the Russian military department, with showed servicemen repairing units and engaging in the restoration of military equipment.

Here is a real serviceman with the callsign "Coal", not dark-skinned.

Fake#3 China to help Russia in the case of World War III start

Fake date 11.06.2023 

On June 9, Chinese leader Xi Jinping had a telephone conversation with South African President Cyril Ramaphosa before the departure of Africa’s delegation to Kyiv on a peacekeeping mission to propose ways to resolve the military conflict.

Two days later, on June 11, the Telegram channel BelVestnik published the following alleged quote from the Chinese leader:

“Stop blaming China. China does not help the Russian Federation, but if it decides to help, God will not help you. Almost the whole world helps Ukraine. 

If we see the danger of World War III, we will help the Russian Federation. But for now, chill and watch how Russia single-handedly defeats more than 50 countries in the world.”

The channel did not indicate the source of information.

Some media picked up the alleged quote referring to the news of the Russian Interfax news agency about Xi Jinping's conversation with Cyril Ramaphosa. However, there is no such quote from the Chinese leader in the Interfax report.

The Chinese media outlets also do not report the words of Xi Jinping. Here is the official statement regarding the conversation between the leaders of China and South Africa:

“Xi Jinping stated that China's position on the Ukrainian crisis is consistent, and can be considered as striving for peace and facilitating negotiations. It is hoped that all parties will be able to accumulate favorable conditions for resolving the crisis through dialogue.”

As seen, the statement was neutral. 

China is known for its accurate position on the Ukrainian issue. Xi Jinping has not yet publicly expressed support for Vladimir Putin's actions in Ukraine, nor has he condemned them.

Fake#4 In the US, LGBTQ+ people are on benefits

Fake date 9.06.2023 

In June, Leading countries of the world celebrate LGBTQ+ Pride Month by holding themed parades and festivals.

On this occasion, the host of the TV channel Zvezda Olga Belova said that LGBTQ+ representatives are on benefits in the United States.

“In the US, LGBT people have begun to equate, attention, to people on benefits. That is, there is now even with the sale of tickets. So look, you see what announcement is hanging. That is, out of turn, you can buy a ticket for the elderly, pregnant women, the disabled, and representatives of the LGBT community.

In the pic... you can see ticket offices and a list of beneficiaries, among which you can actually find “LGBTQ+” at the very bottom. The name of the organization is clearly visible above the list: Land Transportation Office San Isidro District,” Olga Belova said on June 9.

There really is a city of San Isidro in the USA. However, cities with this name are found in several countries, for example, Spain and Argentina. As well as the Philippines, where the information about benefits for LGBTQ+ came from.

In April 2023, Philippine media outlets reported that a government agency under the Gender and Development Project had prioritized LGBTQ+ people: 

“Two cases of LGBTQ+ inclusion in local priorities have gone viral on social media. 

On Saturday, there was a photo with a sign indicating a priority lane for seniors, pregnant women, people with disabilities, and LGBTQ+ people at the San Ysidro District Land Transportation Office in the province of Isabela.”

It is clear from the article that the management wanted to increase LGBTQ+ tolerance in society, but the wrong way was chosen causing accusations of insulting the community and provoking hostility towards them.

However, critics also highlighted the good intentions. Both sides agreed to join in the field of educating the population.

This story has nothing to do with the USA.

Fake#5 Ukraine demanded Elon Musk delete US presenter's Twitter

Fake date 11.06.2023

Ukraine has given Elon Musk an ultimatum, reported Alexander Zlobin, the host of the Sunday program "Contours" on the state-run Belarussian TV channel ONT. Here is what he said on June 11: 

“About now, the 72-hour ultimatum that Ukraine gave Elon Musk has ended. Kyiv had a requirement. The Twitter head should delete the account of former Fox News host Tucker Carlson. He had a loud live broadcast.

Launched a show on Musk’s platform, and in the very first episode Tucker hit Zelensky on the subject of the explosion of the Kakhovskaya hydroelectric power station. Criticism resonates with Americans. The number of views exceeds 112 million.

Musk either hadn't enough time or simply not going to do it. But obviously, he is only rubbing his hands now.” 

Information about the ultimatum went viral online. ​​Some referred to the message of Russian political scientist Artur Gasparyan, other texted that Zelensky's office tweeted about it on June 8.

Gasparyan did publish such a post but didn't refer to any source of the information. 

On June 8, on a Twitter account, the Office of the Ukrainian President covered Zelensky’s visit to regions, and on June 9 — his telephone conversations with Western leaders.

Elon Musk was not mentioned in those messages. 

From Ukraine's side, the only one who wrote about Musk was Mykhailo Podolyak, the adviser to the head of the Office of Ukrainian President.

On June 7, he called absurd the proposal to watch Tucker Carlson's show, where he claims that only Ukraine benefited from the explosion at the Kakhovskaya hydroelectric power station. But he did not put forward any ultimatum to Musk.

The BIC discovered a probable source of this fake news. On the morning of June 8, the satirical telegram channel “Here is my Yandex wallet” texted  the following:

“Ukraine has given Elon Musk 72 hours to delete Tucker Carlson's Twitter account.

“Failure to comply with these requirements can have serious consequences — for both the social network Twitter and personally for Mr. Musk",  Zelensky's office stated.” 

Then the joke was posted by Gasparyan and, reached state-run Belarusian TV ON air.

Other posts point out that channel content is satire.

Thus, according to the channel, the pro-government Safe Internet League, known in Russia for blocking Internet resources, invited Sofya Sapega, pardoned by Lukashenko, to run their telegram channel and work on deanonymization and compiling lists.

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