Sowing discord: Russia spins fake staged video of "SBU raid against volunteer troops in Donbas"

10:40, 25 July 2018
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Photo from UNIAN

The Security Service of Ukraine, representatives of volunteer battalions, and online opinion leaders have joined efforts to debunk a fake video, spun by pro-Kremlin media outlets showing an alleged SBU raid against volunteer troops in eastern Ukraine where Russian-speaking "law enforcers," among other things, shout out anti-Ukrainian insults.

The footage initially emerged on July 23, on a newly-created YouTube channel of a user under the alias of Pavel Pablo. The title is in Ukrainian and reads "disarmament" and offers no other description to it, according to TSN news service.

The footage shows a tactical group of men in camo gear with SBU patches storming a paramilitary base at an unspecified location out in the woods. All those shown in the video, that is "SBU operatives" and a "detained volunteer soldier" are heard speaking in Russian.

The video was immediately picked up by the Russian defense ministry's Zvezda TV channel, another Russian outlet Vzglyad, online outlets supporting pro-Russian militants in eastern Ukraine, as well as a number of Ukrainian media, including, a publication traditionally critical of current Ukraine authorities.

However, the report turned out to be a staged scene shot on video, proving to be another fake story spun by the Russian propaganda, this time aiming at internal destabilization in Ukraine ahead of the next year's election and obviously targeting patriotic citizens who are being pushed to believe that the SBU security service is acting against their fellow volunteer soldiers at the front line.

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Ukrainian Military Portal named at least three indications proving that the video had been staged. First of all, since year-start, the SBU has been using patches of a new type, while the video shows men sporting the older-type patches. Besides, at one moment one of the "security agents" is aiming his gun at his colleague while the latter is detaining a "volunteer soldier."

Civic activists also mentioned that an actual SBU operative would not have kept a detainee standing up but would rather have put him into submission on the ground.

Ukrainian bloggers also noted the fact that armored vehicles seen in the video their registration numbers freshly painted over.

SBU Press Secretary Olena Hytlianska in her comments refuting the report also paid attention to void SBU patches on the uniform.

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"Before shooting and spreading fake films about the SBU you better check out the real gear of our troops," Hytlianska wrote on Facebook, calling the authors "amateurs."

Head of the Ukrainian Volunteer Army organization, MP Dmytro Yarosh even went on to thank the enemy for "free PR" of the SBU and his organization: "Rear based of the 5th, 8th, separate battalions, separate light infantry group Volyn, Medical Battalion Hospitaliers, our military intel unit, training center, and territorial units of the Ukrainian Volunteer Army are operating in a normal mode, as well as our advanced operational based. I'll reveal to the enemy a real 'military secret': Since 2015, all UVA bases have already been 'seized by the SBU' as there are plenty of military counterintelligence operatives welcome there, while the UVA itself is subordinate to the Joint Forces Operation Command."

Yarosh added that exactly on July 24, he met with JFO Commander Maj Gen Serhiy Nayev and JFO Chief of Staff Maj Gen Valeriy Zaluzhny, proving there is no animosity between regular army servicemen, security operatives and volunteers.

As UNIAN reported earlier, Gen Nayev has invited members of the Ukrainian Volunteer Army (UVA) to join the regular troops by signing a contract. "The participation of motivated fighters from the UVA in any unit of the Armed Forces of Ukraine (including as a fully equipped unit) was discussed on condition they sign a contract (including a short-term one)," the JFO HQ said. They were also offered military service in the reserve as part of the special forces units, reconnaissance and territorial defense units, reads the report.

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