Russia Ships in ‘Whole Battalion of Propagandists’ to Occupied Melitopol

   The Kremlin has deployed what Melitopol's mayor, Ivan Fedorov, describes as a "full battalion of propagandists" to the city, aiming to influence public opinion by promoting a narrative that Russia is revitalizing the previously occupied area and enhancing living standards.

Fedorov reveals that these self-proclaimed journalists have already disseminated false accounts, such as claims about the construction of a new maternity hospital, which was, in fact, completed back in 2021. Additionally, they've misrepresented the renovation of a sports school, an initiative carried out in 2017.

Speaking to Ukrainian TV, Mayor Fedorov disclosed, "They're reproducing almost all newspapers that existed prior to February 24, 2022, with alterations like replacing letters with their 'Z' and 'V' symbols, attempting to advance their propaganda in this manner."

He further noted that a considerable number of these purported journalists hail from continental Russia, traversing Melitopol and discussing an idealized version of living conditions under occupation, confusing aspirations with actual realities.

Fedorov noted that the propagandists went to the extent of forming a counterfeit journalists' union. However, he emphasized that none of the Ukrainian media experts who previously operated in Melitopol before the full-scale Russian invasion agreed to cooperate with the adversary.

Highlighting the primary audience for these news reports, Fedorov stated, "The entire 'battalion' of propagandists is attempting to manipulate people, but their main focus is on those residing in Russia."

In a separate development, Ukrainian intelligence reported that a "resistance movement" in the occupied city of Melitopol successfully targeted an adversary's fuel tanker, resulting in damage, and reportedly "killed several Russian occupiers" this past Friday.

Melitopol, originally home to approximately 150,000 residents, fell into Russian hands early on following the invasion of Ukraine in February last year. Presently, the city is situated several dozen miles behind the frontline further to the north.