«Ukraine has been shelling Donbas for 9 years»: how Clayton Morris once again deceived the whole world


On the American propaganda YouTube channel «Redacted», another video with pro-Russian narratives, which openly contradict any facts, was released. Clayton Morris and his wife Natalie Morris “analyze” the consequences of Xi Jinping’s visit to Moscow and once again accuse Ukraine of shelling the Russian-occupied territories.

Clayton Morris is a host for Redacted Youtube Channel

We will remind you that we have already written about this YouTube channel, where we talked about the so-called journalists and the lies they spread.

Clayton Morris — is an American real estate investor and former television news anchor (Fox News). He is also host of the Investing in Real Estate podcast along with YouTube channel Redacted. In 2012, Morris won the seventh annual «New York’s Funniest Reporter» contest, which benefits the Humane Society of New York. And when he started investing, he ended up facing more than 20 fraud lawsuits.

Fox News — is an American cable news television channel based in New York City. It is owned by Fox News Media, which itself is owned by the Fox Corporation. Fox News provides a service to 86 countries and territories, with international broadcasts featuring Fox Extra segments during advertising breaks. They have been described as practicing partisan reporting in favor of the Republican Party, the George W. Bush and Donald Trump administrations, and conservative causes, while portraying the Democratic Party in a negative light. Critics have argued that the channel is damaging to the integrity of news overall.

In this article, we will look at theses that bloggers try to impose on society and find out if they are true.


Ukraine staged a genocide on its territory, or how the truth cannot reach «Redacted»

These theses were explained to us by Olena Mokrenchuk, a resident of Donbas, a serviceman of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, a press officer.

Olena Mokrenchuk — a serviceman of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, press officer

Thesis: “Who cares what they want. Destroyed the apartment, the houses that’s important — Ukraine did. They’ve been doing that for years. I mean there’s been a genocide unfolding in this area for the last nine years». (6:42)

The narrative that «Ukraine has been shelling its eastern territories for 9 years» is not new at all. It is worth noting that the main argument why Ukraine shelled cities under occupation was Russia’s denial of its presence in the east. We present evidence that refutes this claim.

This lie was also refuted back in 2014. The storming of the first Ukrainian city — Slovyansk — was led by the Russian military man Igor Girkin, as he himself admitted. His quotes confirm that if it were not for Russia, there would be no war.

“If our detachment had not crossed the border, as a result, everything would have ended, as in Kharkiv, as in Odesa. There would be several dozen killed, burned, arrested. And that would be the end of it. And practically the flywheel of the war, which is still going on, started our unit”.

Indeed, the majority of militants were people with Ukrainian citizenship, but they were only executors, while Russia acted as the organizer and supplier of weapons. In 2020, the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine calculated how many Russian weapons were in Donbas at that time. A significant part of these weapons is produced only in Russia.

According to data provided by Valerii Zaluzhny, in November 2021, there were about 2,000 full-time Russian officers in the occupied territories. In 2015, the Pentagon estimated the number of Russians (combatants and servicemen) at 12 000.

Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Valery Zaluzhny. Source: http://www.golos.com.ua/images_article/orig/2022/03/070322/92-1.jpg

Russia shelled Ukraine from its territory and used regular units. The two biggest defeats of Ukraine — Ilovaisk and Debaltseve — were caused by the use of regular units of the Russian army.

By the way, in the material in which we previously wrote about «Redacted» there is a vivid example of how propaganda unsuccessfully accuses Ukraine of shelling a hospital from the «HIMARS» system.

Here is what Olena Mokrenchuk told us:

«Ukraine is not bombing anything there. I will say responsibly, because I visited these territories until September 2014, then it was still possible. And then many Russians came to Ilovaisk, and it became impossible. Ukraine did not shell these territories at all. The Ukrainian military left the cities/villages, stood in the fields so that the Russians did not shell these settlements. The commanders and soldiers treated this with trepidation. There were many cases when the local residents asked to «please leave the village» and they went out, dug trenches there and fortified themselves, and were right there».

She also said that there was no need to fire long-range artillery at all, because from 2014 to a full-scale invasion, such a task was not set. The war was positional and was actually fought along the front line. At a distance of 20 km, there was no such shelling. A section of the front within a radius of a 1 kilometer, on one side and on the other, was at war.

“The second point is what is happening now. Ukrainians and military personnel do not have the ability to shoot civilians, as Russia does. Ukrainians don’t shoot at the civilian population because we don’t have enough reserves to just waste them like that — a little expensive toy. We have no motive to do so. The Russians are shooting for what, to sow panic and discontent, to make people rebel against the current government and thereby force our government to make concessions so that Russia will stop shelling. We do not have such a goal, what is it for us? We will spend expensive equipment, especially the one provided to us by the allies — they monitor every projectile. We will turn the civilian population against us, we absolutely do not need this”.

Thesis: “The Western media continues to tell you these seized areas, forgetting the fact that there was a referendum and those people did in fact vote to become Russia”. (5:32)

The next statement, which is actively spreading, is the legitimacy of referendums in the occupied territories. As if the people themselves wanted to join Russia. What is wrong here?

Actually, the illegitimacy of «referendums» is shown even by their organization in Crimea: without independent observers, against the background of suppression of freedom of speech, without the possibility to vote for the preservation of the status quo within Ukraine. Although in fact these are trifles against the background of the main problem: according to the Ukrainian Constitution, a change in the territory of the state is possible only through an all-Ukrainian referendum. And not during an incomprehensible survey organized by Russia on the occupied territory.

A referendum in Crimea was not approved even at the very beginning of spring 2014. Source: https://uacrisis.org/wp-content/uploads/crimea-referendum-768×519.jpg

More recent cases in Kherson and part of Zaporizhzhia regions. They are not legitimate for a number of reasons.

“Already at the end of the first day of the referendum, the occupation authorities announced a turnout of more than 15 percent, Russian media reported. The next two days, it became even higher — more than 16 and 17 percent, respectively. On September 26, 2022, the occupiers claimed over 14.5 percent and a total of 63.5 percent. And this is taking into account the fact that residents of Kherson and the region learned about the so-called «referendum» from social networks, or already when the so-called «election commission» came to their homes», — reported Suspilne.

According to Ukrainian legislation, the entire country must participate in the referendum and know about its holding in 1–2 months Russia violated these norms. Also, 51% of the population of the «disputed» region must be present at the referendum. Judging by the previous comment, this also did not happen and could not happen, because most of the Ukrainians left the occupied territories. As in the case of Crimea, international observers were out of the question.

Olena Mokrenchuk spoke about the «referendum» held by Russia in eastern Ukraine:

“The first point is that the Russians drove everyone there at gunpoint. Let’s be honest, he was always far away from Donbas, and you know, as my mother used to say, «may the potatoes give birth.» People were not interested in politics, they did not care, they worked in their garden and were not interested in others. Here suddenly they have it, and like any normal person they do not want war. There were a certain number of patriots, people who understood something there, while the majority said that they did not care. Therefore, when they began to be driven out at gunpoint to the referendum, they did not understand what was happening, for them, it was the same fictitious election that was held during the Soviet Union. No one penetrated, they came and threw a millet and that was it”. 

Regarding the activists, she added:

“Some of the patriotic people, at the time of the referendum, some left, some were captured, shot or jailed. Those who remained faced the choice of voting against and putting themselves and their families in danger — this is not Ukraine, they just grab and kill people there. We remember politician Volodymyr Rybak, who was kidnapped and tortured. There was a choice, either to put a tick in the wrong place, and you will be killed, or not to come, which they did. Therefore, these results turned out like this. 

Although, if you take the Armed Forces — we have many people fighting from the Crimea, Donetsk and Luhansk regions. These are people who made a choice not in a pseudo-referendum, but who made a conscious choice — they have been doing everything to liberate their territory for 10 years. This is a referendum in action. Someone helps the military as a volunteer, someone is part of the Armed Forces, someone raised their children as patriots”. 

Thesis: “We (Clayton Morris read the part of Putin’s interview in Mariupol) didn’t have to do this, but we thought that they (Ukraine — ed.) would adhere to the Minsk agreements, and we kept giving them an opportunity to do so — they didn’t”. (7:09)

The Minsk conditions are also an old speculation spread by the pro-Russian mass media. Accusing Ukraine of violating these agreements serves as the main thesis of such fakes. «Redacted» also repeats this narrative in the video we’re looking at today.

In February 2015, the Minsk II agreements were signed by Belarus’ Alexander Lukashenko, Russia’s Vladimir Putin, Germany’s Angela Merkel, France’s Francois Hollande and Ukraine’s Petro Poroshenko. Source: https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2022/02/11/explainer-what-are-the-minsk-agreements-a76327

The Minsk agreements a collective name for two documents. The first, called the «Minsk Protocol», was signed more than 7 years ago, in September 2014. In February 2015, the leaders of the «Normandy Four» approved the second Minsk agreements, or the «Complex of measures to resolve the conflict in Donbas». Its 13 points provide for a step-by-step cessation of the armed conflict and the return of individual districts of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions to the control of Ukraine.

Russia consistently did not fulfill the Minsk agreements: not only in terms of the ceasefire, but also the withdrawal of weapons or the admission of the mission of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. These are the first points of the agreement, without which all others are impossible. Chris also liked to conduct dubious actions that were absolutely not legal. For example, she distributed her passports en masse in the occupied territories.

The Kremlin regularly supported killings in the occupied territory. What is the unjustifiably brutal murder of the pro-Ukrainian deputy Volodymyr Rybak worth. Russia also gave permission to the militants to shoot first. And one truce actually ended with snipers purposefully killing Ukrainian soldiers.

The number of reported explosions in the Donbas. Source: https://www.crisisgroup.org/europe-central-asia/eastern-europe/ukraine/visualising-dynamics-combat-and-negotiations-donbas

The civilian population suffered no less from hostilities. OSCE statistics (2017–2020) show that the number of civilian deaths in occupied territories is almost twice as high as in non-occupied territories. Another independent report from the International Crisis Group explains this:

“The higher rate of civilian casualties in non-government-controlled areas is explained by the fact that these places are more urbanized and densely populated… Overall, the evidence suggests that neither side is deliberately targeting civilians, nor that the combatants are doing their best to avoid collateral losses”.

This is how Olena Mokrenchuk commented on the situation with the Minsk agreements:

“Russia has always violated the Minsk conditions. Always these agreements: «Bread truce», «School truce», another one, it always started with the fact that we release something and create problems for the Russians, and the Russians ask for a truce and on the same day they shelled or began the offensive. There was never a time when this truce was not violated by Russia”.

She added that the Minsk agreements saved us at that moment. Because the country did not fight for 25 years and was suddenly involved in a war — it was a serious problem. We had to prepare people and equipment, buy something and finish it. Therefore, these Minsk agreements gave us time to prepare. It was not profitable for us to violate them.

“Our military always says that. If you pick up all the publications for 9 years, then the idea will pass openly or covertly — we are not allowed to shoot. Only then, it seems, in 2018-19 was it allowed to fire back. Before that, it was very tough, to the point that boxes with grenades were sealed when they arrived. How many such scandals have we had — many. Therefore, Ukraine adhered to these Minsk agreements as much as it could”. 

The press officer said that there were indeed moments when volunteer battalions or others that were not in the structure of the Armed Forces, which we cannot actually order, opened fire. When, from 2016, these “dobrobats” (voluntary units — ed.) began to pour into the structure of the Armed Forces and other military units these cases became fewer. Therefore, Ukraine is accused of violating the Minsk Agreements, but in fact these conditions held us back. We could not move forward, liberate our settlements. All they did was occupy a gray area that was already ours, they simply entered these villages to provide assistance to the residents.

Thesis: “This territory (which means Mariupol — ed.) was largely destroyed by Ukrainian shelling. Russia came in and basial rebuilt it and in fact now they just all the apartment complexes like allowing people to move back into these. They rebuilt infrastructure there”. (6:05)

Firstly, it is worth reminding that we have already written about the so-called «reconstructed» houses in the occupied territories. In that material, told us everything in detail the public relations department of the Mariupol city council, Vitaly Falkovskiy:

“Any building that will be suitable for living, it has some standards according to which it must be built. How can you imagine a building without a foundation? It’s a modular story, like a constructor, they just put it together quickly. Even in the buildings they built, no ordinary Mariupol residents are accommodated”. 

Regarding the theater in Mariupol mentioned by Clayton Maurice, the situation is even more interesting. Instead of a thousand words that we can write, we will simply show real, recent photos and videos of this theater. Around the end of March 2023.

Also, Clayton Morris and his wife spread other anti-Ukrainian narratives in this video. As an example, the thesis about NATO, which prevents the truce between Ukraine and Russia (4:22). We have already analyzed this topic in one of our materials.

We asked the head of the international information department of the Lviv Polytechnic Vasyl Hulai why such pseudo-journalists spread fakes about Ukraine.

“In my opinion, the fictions expressed by the pseudo-journalist Clayton Morris about the profitability of the war in Ukraine for the USA and NATO, etc., are included in the standard set of narratives of Russian propaganda, which is interested in emphasizing the appropriate attention, through media recognizable persons, on citizens of countries that actively help Ukraine. Because of this manipulative attention-grabbing, the Kremlin’s specialists in information and psychological operations are unsuccessfully trying to change the public opinion of the citizens of Western countries and turn them against us”.


Friendship between China and Russia — fake or reality?

A narrative about friendly relations between China and Russia runs through all the bloggers’ videos as a red thread. Allegedly, the former wants to help achieve a truce between the two warring countries. We asked the director of the Institute of Governmental Relations, Academy of Political Sciences of Ukraine, Artem Oliinyk, what such cooperation could mean for Ukraine.

Artem Oliinyk, director of the Institute of Governmental Relations, Academy of Political Sciences of Ukraine

“China and Russia have begun a dangerous rapprochement that is potentially dangerous for Ukraine. It is clear that China cannot be compared with Iran, which has become an ally of Russia — Tehran is under international restrictions, but its weapons pose a serious danger to Ukraine. At the same time, China’s military-industrial potential will exceed that of Iran more than tenfold. In my opinion, the main task of our diplomacy is to prevent, despite the misunderstanding between Washington and Beijing, a situation where Beijing would become a supplier of lethal means and dual-purpose goods to Russia”. 

He noted that our task today is to do everything so that China remains a neutral international partner. The fulfillment of this mission is complicated by the fact that we still do not have an appointed ambassador in that country and the work is not carried out systematically.

China is an economic competitor of the US, and their interests diverge in the Indo-Pacific region. The issues of the Republic of China, borders in water areas, and the American military presence are acute. At the same time, the situation where conditions push Moscow and Beijing to cooperate is not beneficial and threatening for us.

Rapprochement between Russia and China is a problem for the whole world, including Ukraine

The issue of NATO expansion, contrary to Maurice’s words, does not concern China at all, if only because it is far away. Artem Oliinyk explained in more detail:

“It is hardly correct to say that China is worried about the expansion of NATO, because it is thousands of kilometers away from the country itself. The specificity of the Asian region is that America’s allies such as Japan or South Korea, which have a developed military-industrial complex, do not belong to NATO. Of course, China is concerned about conducting joint naval exercises with the participation of the United States in the region, expanding contingents of troops, etc., but this cannot be transferred to NATO. Nevertheless, it is necessary to talk about the consequences of Washington’s competition or latent confrontation with the same Beijing, since China considers the actions of the US a threat to its security, and the situation around Taiwan only exacerbates the contradiction. Unfortunately, China and Russia were able to find points of intersection when they conducted joint exercises and aircraft flights, agreed on further supplies of resources, etc.”. 

According to our expert, China presents itself to the international community as a peacemaker and mediator who wants to increase its international capital. The country is aware that due to Russia’s long war, the world economy is beginning to suffer significant losses, market conditions, currency prices, etc. are changing, and a number of countries have problems with food security. The possibility of working with Russian businesses becomes risky, because then Chinese companies may also fall under US sanctions. And everything turns out as if China is an authoritative international partner that seeks to resolve the conflict peacefully (as opposed to the measure that continues to finance Ukraine’s defense needs). Only a year after the start of the war, Beijing published the principles of a peaceful settlement, emphasizing the need for peace negotiations, because this country can play a constructive role as a mediator.

“Therefore, it can be concluded that China: (a) does not benefit from the military and political defeat of Russia at the front, (b) ending the war as soon as possible is one of China’s [economic]interests, (c) Beijing’s participation in the peace initiative will ensure the growth of the country’s image and weight as a mediator. At the same time, it is difficult to call the peace initiative one that would take into account the Ukrainian situation. And the fact that these proposals appeared after all means that Ukraine should act carefully with any initiatives, because there are countries thousands of kilometers away from us that cannot realize that Russian defeat is not only real, but also necessary for the world”.

China and Russia join forces for Vostok military exercises (2022). Source: https://d1e00ek4ebabms.cloudfront.net/production/c54dfa36-7494-4f23-ab19-454e25d9cbff.png

Regarding the supply of arms to Russia, which was mentioned by Clayton Morris (9:19), Artem Oliinyk expressed doubts.

“Today, the risk of arms transfer from China to Russia is not high. This is due to the fact that Washington warned the Chinese leadership about the consequences of intervention in the war and threatening sanctions. Of course, over time, these risks will grow, because the Russians will try to purchase Chinese weapons, due to the shortage of their own. But for the Celestial Empire, this will mean a false step of restrictions and an open confrontation with the West, which will also negatively affect the country’s economic condition”. 


So, we once again proved that the YouTube channel «Redacted» should not be trusted, because it spreads fakes. We don’t know what purpose the pseudo-journalists who hide behind «unbiased, objective opinion» are pursuing. We emphasize that you should trust only verified media and be critical of dubious facts.


Tatiana Stelmakh

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