Pants on Fire

A delegation of African leaders, hailing from Senegal, Egypt, Zambia, Uganda, Congo Republic, Comoros, and South Africa, embarked on a mission to Kyiv and St. Petersburg, seeking ways to find and agree on ‘confidence building measures’ between Ukraine and Russia. An opportunity for Putin to interrupt the African delegation’s presentation and embark on a lie-filled and mind-numbing monologue…

Source — EUvsDiSiNFO — June 22, 2023 —

In this week’s Disinfo Review, among other stories, we delve into the deceptive interruption that left Putin’s pants metaphorically ablaze.

A delegation of African leaders, hailing from Senegal, Egypt, Zambia, Uganda, Congo Republic, Comoros, and South Africa, embarked on a mission to Kyiv and St. Petersburg, seeking ways to find and agree on ‘confidence building measures’ between Ukraine and Russia.

Barely missing the Russian missiles aimed at Kyiv around the time of their visit, the delegation faced a distressing display of disinformation and a departure from truth at the hands of Russian leadership.


We reported last week how French Ministry of Foreign Affairs came up with explosive new evidence exposing new elements of ongoing Russian information manipulation operation – so called ‘doppelganger’ – in Europe and beyond.

In this scheme, Russian propagandists peddle their disinformation on online platforms designed to mimic the authorities and trustworthy news sites, and also release fabricated materials such as fake cover pages of mainstream media to mislead audiences and siphon off the credibility and legitimacy from established brands.

Pants on fire — EUvsDiSiNFO

We are now witnessing how the pro-Kremlin disinformation outlets, such as Russian state-controlled TASS agency, are continuing to seek new ways to amplify their manipulative content.

They have opened accounts on Telegram in French and in Spanish in an apparent hunt to reach new audiences. Moreover, this is possibly another attempt to circumvent existing restrictive measures imposed on other pro-Kremlin outlets, such as RT and Sputnik, within the EU and to push pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives to audiences in Central and South America, as well as French speaking countries in Africa.

In the context of circumvention of restrictive measures and deceiving audiences, following the attempts to rebrand the RU state affiliated and EU sanctioned outlet RT France as R7 Media (see an example of their activities here) similar channels have been created on Twitter under the account names of R8 Media and R4 Media. While the face may change, the narrative and behaviour stays the same – all three aforementioned rebranding accounts are interacting with each other and cross-amplifying pro-Kremlin narratives.

Liar, liar …

A delegation of African leaders with representatives from Senegal, Egypt, Zambia, Uganda, Congo Republic, Comoros and South Africa paid last week a visit to both Kyiv and St. Petersburg. The delegation’s goal was to meet with President Zelenskyy and Putin in order to seek ways to find and agree on confidence building measures between Kyiv and Moscow.

The delegation’s visit started off explosively when Russia launched yet another volley of missiles aimed at Kyiv as the delegation was making their way there. However, their meeting with Putin in St. Petersburg offered the delegation members a front-row seat to a less explosive, but equally destructive aspect of the ongoing war – the Russian leadership’s shameless and seemingly irreversible divorce from reality.

While the members of the African delegation were still in the middle of their presentations, Putin displayed his disdain by interrupting with an arrogant, lie-filled lecture.

Putin’s interruption was a galore of ugly pro-Kremlin disinformation tropes that have been debunked copious times. According to the news reporting, apparently triggered by a premise of the internationally recognised borders of Ukraine, Putin went on claiming, among other things, that the war had been started by Ukraine and its Western allies, that the West was responsible for the sharp rise of global food prices, and that the West is hoarding the food exports from Black Sea ports.

We here at EUvsDisinfo have countered these toxic Russian disinformation narratives a number of times. One good source being our ‘Twelve Myths about Russia’s War in Ukraine Exposed’ piece, which dissects and rebuts the most typical Russian lies one by one. The EU has also released an informative resource available in many languages, where EU actions to enhance global food security have been explained in detail.

Add an insult to an injury

Russian imperialist dreams in Ukraine are increasingly proven to be just a pipe dream, as Ukrainian forces are liberating town after town from the terrors of Russian occupation. Nevertheless, the grim reality of things has not reached the top brass in the Kremlin.

To show their true intentions, and add another insult to the African delegation’s visit to Russia, Putin marvelled at the giant flags of the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union, which were hoisted over St. Petersburg on the very same day he met with the African leaders.

While these flags might offer Putin and his henchmen a rose-tinted view of Russia’s past as a ‘great power,’ they are, in reality, stark reminders of the horrors of Russian imperialism, repression, and occupation for countless people in and around modern-day Russia.


Also on our disinformation radar this week:

  • The Western sanctions do not work. Pro-Kremlin ecosystem tries very hard, this time apparently assisted by generative AI, to convince us that the Western sanctions enacted against Russia for their war of aggression against Ukraine do not work. This naturally begs the question: if the sanctions do not work and particularly if they harm the Western community more than Russia, why are they pleading with Western countries to lift the sanctions? More about Kremlin propaganda on Western sanctions can be read from our recent EUvsDisinfo guest piece.
  • Canada illegally stole a Russian cargo plane to give it to Ukraine. The disinformers at TASS win hands-down the most cynical and misleading take of the week. It demands a very special level of hypocrisy to claim that Canada’s law-abiding actions in response to Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine would constitute a theft. Particularly, when taking into account Russian illegal annexations of parts of Ukraine, stealing Ukrainian grain and equipment from the temporarily occupied areas of Ukraine, and seizing Western assets in Russia, just to mention a few examples.
  • EU mission to Armenia was deployed by force and has nothing to do with peace. Like true imperialists, the Russian propagandists attempt to depict Southern Caucasus as their exclusive backyard, while framing the current EU presence in the area as a destabilising factor. In stark contrast to the propagandists’ lies, the EU civilian mission was launched in the region in response to a request by Armenia, and with regular contacts and communication with Azerbaijani authorities. The mission aims to contribute to the security of people in conflict-struck areas and build confidence on the ground.

See all Disinfo Reviews