«Ukraine shelled Donbas»: how the Valuetainment YouTube channel spreads fakes about the Russian-Ukrainian war


Valuetainment is an American media company that has a YouTube channel of the same name and podcasts. Written and hosted by Patrick Bet-David, an Iranian-American entrepreneur and financial advisor. Co-hosts are John McAfee and Michael Malice. They, along with various invited guests, discuss and analyze American and world politics.

Patrick Bet-David himself is known for criticizing Biden, Twitter founder Jack Dorsey for banning access to the social network to Donald Trump, reproaching him for «attempts to silence independent Republicans» and others.

Patrick Bet-David

Let’s review what the authors and guests of Valuetainment say about the Russian-Ukrainian war.

In the February 18, 2023 issue, guest Jimmy Dore, an American stand-up comedian, and political commentator, says the following:

«The war in Ukraine was provoked by NATO and the West. Zelenskyy wanted peace. He wanted to unite the country together with the Russian-speaking East. But he didn’t do it because he was threatened by NATO and the far-right Nazis in Ukraine. They threatened to kill him.»

«The CIA helped overthrow the Ukrainian government in 2014. Ukrainians did not want to get closer to Russia but wanted to join the EU. But the people of Donbas did not agree with this, so they wanted to secede. That is why Ukraine started shelling Donbas. Before the Russian invasion on February 24, Ukraine doubled the strength of the shelling.»

«The Minsk agreements were just a delay for Ukraine to build up its military potential. Russia wants a peace agreement and peace.»

«The West is waging a proxy war in Ukraine. We say we will not give tanks, but we give…every time we give bigger weapons. it leads to escalation. America must have a diplomat who will end this war diplomatically.»

In the February 22, 2023 issue, Tom Ellsworth, chief strategy officer at the PHP Agency, also talks about third-party involvement in the Russian-Ukrainian war.

Let’s analyze now why this information is not true.


«The war was provoked by NATO and the West»

The Ukrainian Review has already explained why this war is not an American-Russian war.

Glib Parfyonov, head of the security policy department of the «Doctrine» Center for Political Studies

«The thesis that NATO and the West provoked the war is false. We see that over the past 8 years, Western countries have been looking for a peaceful way to resolve the conflict: these are both the Normandy meetings and the pressure on our authorities regarding peace initiatives. If the West had provoked a war, military aid to Ukraine would have been much greater even before Russia started a full-scale war. Even now, we see that the countries of the West are looking for a strategy to end the war,» explains Glib Parfyonov, head of the security policy department of the «Doctrine» Center for Political Studies.

Viktor Yermoshkin, Analytical Center for Studying and Countering Hybrid Threats

Viktor Yermoshkin, an analyst at the Analytical Center for Studying and Countering Hybrid Threats, also comments on this thesis:

«The West did not prepare for war. This proves the lack of a sufficient number of weapons and ammunition in the arsenals of Western countries, which became clear after the West’s decision to support Ukraine on a large scale in the war with the Russian Federation. NATO troops did not concentrate on the border with the Russian Federation or with Ukraine.

The West did not push Ukraine to a full-scale war with the Russian Federation. All arms supply to Ukraine before the full-scale war consisted of light infantry weapons, not designed for large-scale combat operations. The entire pre-war rhetoric of the West consisted of appeals to the Russian Federation to withdraw troops from the borders of Ukraine.

The West is not at war with the Russian Federation using Ukraine. Military personnel of Western countries do not fight in Ukraine. Military aid to Ukraine is carried out on the basis of an analysis of the course of hostilities in order to avoid defeats of the Armed Forces and hold the front, Ukraine is not provided with enough weapons to achieve a decisive advantage on the battlefield, Ukraine is restricted in using Western weapons for strikes on the territory of the Russian Federation».


«There are Nazis in Ukraine»

Messages about «Ukrainian Nazis», according to the monitoring of Semantic Vision (a software-based actionable analytics firm based in Prague and London, operating a military-grade Open-Source Intelligence (OSINT) system that collects and analyzes 90% of the world’s news content), has been part of the Russian information war against Ukraine since 2013.

Russian articles about Ukraine that mention Nazism. Source: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2022/07/02/world/europe/ukraine-nazis-russia-media.html

Journalists of The New York Times published information that on February 24, 2022, the day of the Russian Federation’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, the number of publications by the Russian media about «Ukrainian Nazis» increased tenfold — from a nominal number of about 50 per day to more than 2,000.

As a result: 45% of Russian citizens consider the goal of the Russian war in Ukraine to be the trial of «Ukrainian Nazis». 88% of Russians believe that there are organizations in Ukraine that profess the ideology of Nazism. These are the results of a study by the All-Russian Center for the Study of Public Opinion (a Russian research institution that regularly conducts applied sociological and marketing research based on mass surveys of public opinion).

The statement, signed by more than 300 historians who study genocide, Nazism, and World War II, says that Putin’s rhetoric about the «denazification of Ukraine» and «fascists in power» is propaganda.

So, if Nazism exists in Ukraine, it exists only in the minds of Russians.


The USA is involved in the coup d’état in Ukraine

It is important to emphasize that there was no coup in Ukraine.

According to Article 109 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine, coup d’état is a criminal offense, the fact of which must be established by a court. The Ukrainian court did not make a corresponding decision.

«The main features of a coup d’état are its unconstitutionality, violent character, small number of organizers and participants, seizure of power as the main goal. The consequences of the coup d’état are the absence of democratic elections, the persecution of the opposition, the suppression of civil society institutions, and the usurpation of power. The events of November 2013 — February 2014 do not fall under the definition of a coup by any of the signs. From the point of view of modern social disciplines, these events are a revolution in the latest sense of the term, aimed at the protection of democratic governance, civil rights and freedoms, and the democratization of society. This revolution was mostly non-violent in nature, was massive and won the support of the democratic world,» says the explanation of the National Memorial Complex of the Heroes of the Heavenly Hundred — Museum of the Revolution of Dignity.

The narrative of the coup d’état was promoted by the Russians, in particular, the president of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin himself, mentioned it.

Revolution of Dignity

In the previously mentioned monitoring conducted by Semantic Vision, it is also indicated that since 2014 it was Russia that was spreading disinformation about the new «fascist regime» that «supports the USA».

«This framing was used, both domestically and internationally, to justify Russia’s annexation of Crimea and the war in Donbas as legitimate ‘defensive’ operations to safeguard Russia’s national security and protect endangered Russian speakers in Ukraine,» the study says.


«Residents of eastern Ukraine wanted to be with Russia and therefore wanted to separate themselves»

Residents of the eastern part of Ukraine did not want to secede due to political differences. This is a fake spread by Russia: according to a survey by the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology conducted in February 2014, only every third resident of Donetsk region and every fourth resident of Luhansk region wanted Ukraine to unite with Russia.

A survey by the International Republican Institute (a non-profit and non-partisan international organization that works to promote freedom and democracy around the world), conducted in 2016, shows that 75% of residents of the free territories of Donbas would like the region to be part of Ukraine, 8% were in favor of joining Russia, and only 4% were in favor of independence. The data indicate «separatist sentiments».

A survey by the International Republican Institute, 2016

Bellingcat Executive Director Hristo Grozev noted that the Russian Federation has spent billions of dollars since 2014 on a network of pro-Russian politicians and opinion leaders in Ukraine.

Therefore, the Russians are directly involved in inciting separatist sentiments and the very «separation» of the eastern regions from Ukraine.

Russian armed forces in eastern Ukraine operated since 2014

The report prepared by International Partnership for Human Rights together with the Norwegian Helsinki Committee and Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union mentions the presence of Russian military and Russian weapons. This indicates Russia’s direct support for the conflict.


«Ukraine shelled Donbas»

Such a thesis is also, a fake spread by Russian propaganda.

Independent international organizations and journalists investigated the situation in Donbas and did not find any evidence that would confirm that Ukraine bombed this territory.

Map of the shelling of Ukrainian territories from the territory of Russia. Source: https://iphronline.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/Joint-report-on-cross-border-shelling-June-2016.pdf

For example, in the already mentioned report there is evidence that the shelling was carried out from the territory of the Russian Federation and the territory controlled by the militants, as well as evidence that the projectiles are Russian. In the same report there are testimonies of eyewitnesses.

The international group of investigators Bellingcat also speaks about Russia’s involvement in the shelling of Donbas: in their report, they accused the forces of the self-proclaimed «DNR» of shelling residential areas of Donetsk.


«Since 2014, Ukraine has been building up its military potential, the Minsk agreements were just a delay»

We asked Volodymyr Tsybulko, an expert of the Politika analytical center (an independent non-profit self-governing organization whose mission is to analyze the political processes of Ukraine and international events from the perspective of Ukraine’s interests), to comment on this thesis:

«When Russian propagandists talk about the Minsk agreements as a great deception of Russia by the West and Ukraine, they do not dare to pay attention to the numbers. They loudly emphasize that the Ukrainian side prepared troops much more successfully than the Russian Federation itself, but they forget to point out that the defense budget of Ukraine remained 20 times smaller than the Russian one, and the number of Ukrainian troops was lower than the Russian one by about six times. In addition, Russia kept two entire army corps (from collaborators, former citizens of Ukraine) formed to fight against Ukraine in the occupied parts of ORDLO (Russian-occupied territories of Ukraine – ed.). At the time of the signing of the Minsk agreements, there was a feeling among Ukrainians that it was French President Hollande and Chancellor Merkel who were playing on Putin’s side, that Poroshenko was single-handedly opposing this trio. Only a year after the signing of these agreements (and they were indeed written in such a way that they should be fulfilled by the weaker party), Angela Merkel began to support Poroshenko’s line about the primacy of security over politics.

Volodymyr Tsybulko, an expert of the «Politika» analytical center

[Vladimir] Putin, and especially [Sergey] Lavrov (Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation — ed.), have repeatedly stated that, as they say, we hooked Ukraine on the hook of the Minsk agreements, and let it wrestle there until surrender itself. When the Russian side was pointed out for its refusal to fulfill its part of the agreements, the Kremlin only smiled smugly. Now Russia, after a year of aggression against Ukraine, feels like the weak side, and it itself is haunted by the fear of getting something like Minsk 3 in such a desirable temporary truce for the Russian side. So, Russia, believing that it was the one that was cooking the frog on a slow fire, suddenly she herself found herself in the role of a frog, which Ukrainians are cooking.»


«It is necessary to return to diplomacy, and not to contribute to the escalation by providing weapons»

The Ukrainian Review has already written about why diplomacy will not help in this case and why providing weapons to Ukraine will lead to a faster end to the war and the restoration of world order, rather than escalation.

President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy

«Russia is now looking for a short-term truce — a break to regain strength. Some would call it the end of the war. But such a pause will only worsen the situation. Any ideas of ceding our land or our sovereignty that have ever been floated cannot be called peace. Amoral compromises will lead to new blood. A real long-term and honest peace can only be the result of the complete dismantling of all elements of Russian aggression,» said President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy.



This is how Valuetainment writes about the purpose of its work:

«To enlighten, entertain and empower current and future leaders around the world»

Indeed, they manage to entertain. But not future leaders, but common sense. The information that media authors present to their audience is frankly propagandistic and based on Russian fakes.


Anna Ostymchuk

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