Russia has launched a campaign in Ukraine against vaccination to increase mortality – report of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine

Oct 28, 2021

Roman Petrenko

English translation from Ukrayinska Pravda


According to the results of the analysis of the information field of the Telegram channels of Ukraine, the Center for Counteracting Disinformation of the National Security and Defense Council confirmed the information operation of the Russian Federation aimed at reducing the level of vaccination and increasing the number of deaths in Ukraine.

Source: report of the National Security and Defense Council.

Details: The report demonstrates how media outlets, such as social media and messengers, spread reports of alleged negative effects of vaccination. Emphasis is placed on the allegedly popular Ukrainian political Telegram channels related to the Russian Federation. They promote destructive narratives through both publications and bots in comments to them.

The fact that all these channels are administered from Russia is also confirmed by the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU).

The Telegram channels promote destructive narratives in Ukraine regarding vaccination, while administering Russia, which has a polarly different agenda, to encourage Russian citizens to vaccinate and assure them of the need for vaccination.

The Gossip Girl telegram channel was also spotted spreading disinformation in Ukraine aimed at discrediting vaccines.

The channel also refers in its fakes to “a study by Johns Hopkins University.” In fact, it provides statistics from a YouTube channel called Joel Smalley. There is no such employee at Johns Hopkins University.

On the other hand, if you look at the Telegram channels administered by Russia for the residents of ORDLO and occupied Crimea , these are diametrically opposed narratives. Publications inform about the need for vaccinations, ridicule anti-vaccine narratives, involve opinion leaders and bloggers to promote vaccines.

The positivity and importance of vaccination is also being promoted in Russia.

According to the report, a significant role in the spread of anti-vaccination ideas is played by the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) and the Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Moscow Patriarchate.

The ROC in Ukraine opposes vaccines , and organized a rally near the Verkhovna Rada building on October 19, where participants brought posters with the slogans: “Vaccination kills”, “No to medical experiments. Let’s protect our children.” Also, according to the organizers and participants, vaccination is a sin.

However, the same church, which targets Russian audiences, calls for vaccination, disseminates information about vaccines, debunks the myths associated with them, and states that vaccination is not a sin.

Literally: A full-scale and long-lasting disinformation operation threatens the lives and security of Ukrainians, and the number of victims will increase if the necessary measures are not taken to counter the information space.

The Center for Countering Disinformation asks Ukrainians to pay attention to the success of vaccination in Morshyn as a clear example of overcoming misinformation about vaccines and the virus itself. More than 75% of the population in Morshyn has been vaccinated, and the number of deaths and serious cases is much lower than in other cities of Ukraine, thanks to vaccinations.

Why this is important: Ukraine is currently in a critical situation with the coronavirus. Vaccination rates are the lowest in Europe, and the number of deaths has recently broken records.

According to the Ministry of Health , 98% of people in Ukrainian hospitals are not vaccinated against coronavirus.