How Russia portrays Ukrainian refugees in its mass media


Due to the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine, almost 8 million Ukrainians were forced to leave their homes. The wave of refugees was the largest wave of forced migration in Europe since World War II.

People offer rooms for Ukrainian refugees as people arrive on a train from Ukraine’s border at Berlin’s main train station on March 2, 2022. (Photo by Tobias SCHWARZ / AFP)

At a time when the war has been going on for almost a year, and the EU predicts an increase in the number of Ukrainian refugees by another 4 million dues to winter weather and intense missile attacks, including on critical infrastructure, Russia is conducting an information campaign against Ukrainians fleeing the war and spreading false information. information to your audience.

Let’s take a closer look at what the Russian mass media say about Ukrainian refugees.


Russia accepts refugees»: what is wrong here?

«Since the beginning of the full-scale invasion, 3.2 million refugees have arrived in the Russian Federation»

The Russian occupying power conducts filtration activities in the occupied territories

First of all, Russia forcibly relocates Ukrainian civilians to its territory. This was reported by Human Rights Watch, an international organization dedicated to the protection of human rights.

«The Russian Federation forces Ukrainians to undergo filtering measures and actually deports them under the guise of «rescue». This is a gross violation of international humanitarian law, and Ukraine raises this issue at all levels,» Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine Kateryna Pavlichenko said.

President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky reports on the number of Ukrainian refugees

President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy reported that Russia has already deported more than 1.6 million Ukrainians to its territory.


«EU countries are spending huge amounts of money on the maintenance of Ukrainian refugees»

«The Polish government spent more than 1.1 billion euros on the maintenance of migrants. Poles are getting more and more annoyed by the fact that Ukrainian refugees take favorable treatment of them for granted.»

As The Ukrainian Review previously wrote, in 2022, Poland spent $250 million on aid to Ukrainian refugees, and about $900 million was received from refugees in taxes and social deductions from the budget.

81% of Poles still support the acceptance of Ukrainian refugees.

According to the Center for Public Opinion Research, 81% of Poles still support accepting Ukrainian refugees. And The New York Times writes reports about how warmly Poles receive Ukrainians.

«Europe has spent more than 33 billion euros on the maintenance of Ukrainian refugees, and further support for Ukrainians is «unaffordable».

According to Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development estimates, the main costs are related to the provision of housing and financial payments for refugees. About 17.2 billion euros were spent on this in Europe.

According to the analysis of the World Economic Forum, Europe can only strengthen its efforts to integrate refugees into its economy and ease the burden on the financial sector.

The European Council on International Relations also emphasizes that Russia fills the information space of Europeans who are tired of refugees with various disinformation that Ukrainians have special privileges and harm the local population. That is, the Russians are speculating on the topic of money and the fact that refugees harm the economy of European countries.

«There is a scabies epidemic in Brussels due to Ukrainian refugees who are forced to sleep on the streets due to a lack of places.»

There is indeed a scabies epidemic in Brussels, and there are not enough places for Ukrainians in shelters, but the reason is not Ukrainian refugees but in general a large influx of immigrants from Afghanistan, Africa, and the Middle East.



However, Europe understands that Russia is deliberately turning people against Ukrainian refugees in order to weaken their support and make life unbearable abroad.

«But runaway inflation, especially rampant in eastern Europe, has created a sense of economic dread that feeds disinformation portraying refugees as ingrates siphoning off resources from needy locals,» France 24 reports.

Among the main narratives promoted by the Russians is that the country’s government does not care about the welfare of the local population, but only helps Ukrainians.


Anna Ostymchuk


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