Russian state media touts ‘denazify’ line justifying invasion of Ukraine, denies Russia is aggressor

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As Russia launches a full-out military assault on Ukraine, its state media organs are launching an assault of their own to bolster the Kremlin.

Russian state media presenters have hailed the invasion as “historic” and repeated the Kremlin line that Ukraine was the true aggressor. State media outlets have repeated accusations of “genocide” by Ukrainian troops against Russians in Luhansk and Donetsk, the regions President Vladimir Putin declared “independent” while Russian troops were supposedly securing them this week as part of a “peacekeeping” mission. 

Putin’s claim that he wants to purge Ukraine of fascism is eagerly repeated and supported in hopes of swaying citizens who still hate the loathsome Nazi Germany regime with whom they brutally warred 80 years ago.

“Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Thursday that Russia has started a military operation in Ukraine in order to clear the country of Nazis,” state-run Sputnik News repeated.

Militants of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic stand in front of an apartment building, which locals said was damaged by recent shelling, in the separatist-controlled town of Yasynuvata in the Donetsk region, Ukraine, Feb. 24, 2022.

Militants of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic stand in front of an apartment building, which locals said was damaged by recent shelling, in the separatist-controlled town of Yasynuvata in the Donetsk region, Ukraine, Feb. 24, 2022.
(REUTERS/Alexander Ermochenko)

RUSSIA-UKRAINE CRISIS: RUSSIAN MEDIA SPINNING COVERAGE TO ‘CONFUSE’ THE PUBLIC, EXPERTS SAY

It’s an old line to sell to the Russian public, said Ret. Lt. Col. Robert Maginnis, a military analyst with experience on the ground in Russia and Ukraine. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is Jewish and had family members perish in the Holocaust.

“The misinformation campaign is long in the tooth,” Maginnis told Fox News Digital. “Keep in mind Putin’s puppet was jettisoned by the Orange Revolution and that made it necessary for the Kremlin’s tyrant to find a way of delegitimizing Zelenskyy. 

“So, Putin launched a GRU-hosted misinformation effort to color the Zelenskyy government as anti-Russian and anti-separatist. His use of ‘Nazi’ resonates with many Russians because of the slow-healing scars still plaguing the Russians from World War II.” 

Russia’s all-out attack on Ukraine has killed at least 57 people and wounded 169 during the first day of Putin’s full-scale invasion, Ukraine’s Health Minister Oleh Lyashko said Thursday, and Ukraine is bracing for things to get worse. Russian missiles pounded Ukrainian infrastructure and military targets. 

President Biden announced new sanctions in response from the White House on Thursday, as well as movement of 7,000 U.S. troops to Germany.

Presidents Biden and Putin

Presidents Biden and Putin
(Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images |   Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images)

RT America, the Kremlin network based in Washington, D.C., was in full spin mode as well. Chyron on RT America Thursday included “Disarming Ukraine,” “Who Is The Main Agitator?” and quoted the Russian defense minister’s claim there was no threat to Ukrainian civilians.

On Thursday afternoon, journalist Dan Cohen told RT America viewers it was “absolutely false” that Russia was the aggressor and said Putin’s depiction of the conflict as a “denazification campaign” was “absolutely accurate.”

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“[The United States is] sending weapons and training to Ukrainian ultra-nationalist, Hitlerian, Nazi forces,” Cohen said Thursday.

Independent Russian journalist Ekaterina Kotrikadze said Putin’s justification for war through state media was also to accuse Ukraine’s leaders of “Russophobia” and claim they were attacking Russians living in eastern Ukraine.

“Russia is explaining to people inside of the country — to the Russian public — that it is actually defending its citizens inside of Donbas,” she told CNN. “On the state media … you could see that the propaganda machine was working, explaining that Kyiv is killing people.”

Police officers detain a demonstrator with a poster stating,

Police officers detain a demonstrator with a poster stating, “I’m against the war,” in Moscow, Russia, Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022, after Russia’s attack on Ukraine. Hundreds of people gathered in the center of Moscow on Thursday, protesting against Russia’s attack on Ukraine. Many of the demonstrators were detained. Similar protests took place in other Russian cities, and activists were also arrested.
(AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky)

“The invasion has begun,” host Yevgeny Popov said Monday on the state-run TV channel Russia 1, according to the Associated Press. “But it wasn’t Putin who invaded Ukraine — instead, Ukraine went to war with Russia and Donbas.”

However, appeals to old Russian patriotism aren’t entirely effective. Anti-war protests across the country directed at the Kremlin have broken out, from Moscow to St. Petersburg to Vladivostok.

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“I suspect many modern Russians get their news from a variety of sources and not just state-sponsored outlets,” Maginnis told Fox News Digital. “Today, for example, there were reports of demonstrations popping up across a number of Russian cities protesting the Kremlin’s assault on Ukraine. Most Russian people consider Ukrainians family, not enemies.”

Fox News’ Danielle Wallace contributed to this report.

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