Social media reveals the true nature of Putin’s war on the people of Ukraine

Borodyanka (Ukraine)
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Correction 23/03/2022: The original version of this article included footage of an alleged Russian tank driving over a car. The nationality of the vehicle has been called into question so the footage has been removed.

Content warning: this article includes footage of dead and horrifically wounded civilians

Over several days, we’ve witnessed images and video footage of Russian military attacks on towns and cities across Ukraine. Most appear to be in residential areas. Footage shows bodies of dead Ukrainians or of the severely wounded crying for help. Much of the video footage was shared on social media. It reveals a war of sheer terror and attrition.

The reality of Vladimir Putin’s war

People on the frontline have filmed the reality of what’s happening, as well as the horrific consequences.

There are claims that Russia deployed cluster bombs in at least three residential areas in the city of Kharkiv:

The footage in this thread, shared by journalist Jake Hanrahan, shows the shocking aftermath of an attack in a residential area of Chernivsky (warning: graphic images).

This video on Twitter showed multiple missile attacks on a residential area in Kharkiv (referred to here as “Kharkov” – its name in Russian):

And here, what’s said to be a residential block in Kyiv has been drastically damaged by an attack:

Shown here is the bombardment of Chernihiv (first video) and the “absolute destruction” of Borodyanka (second video):

More footage, broadcast on Channel 4 News, shows the devastation in Borodyanka:

Moreover, a World Health Organisation interactive database shows that five health facilities in Ukraine were attacked.

And there are claims that a thermobaric bomb launcher, which uses “oxygen from the surrounding air to generate a high-temperature explosion”, was heading for the Ukrainian border.

War crimes

As previously published by The Canary, anarchist and political commentator Noam Chomsky has unequivocally stated that:

the Russian invasion of Ukraine is a major war crime, ranking alongside the U.S. invasion of Iraq and the Hitler-Stalin invasion of Poland in September 1939

Human Rights Watch (HRW) claims that on 28 February the Russian military deployed cluster bombs in Kharkiv. HRW explains:

An international treaty bans cluster munitions because of their widespread indiscriminate effect and long-lasting danger to civilians.

HRW added how more cluster bombs were used in an attack on a hospital:

On February 24, a Russian ballistic missile carrying a cluster munition struck just outside a hospital in Vuhledar, a town in the Ukrainian government-controlled Donetska region, killing four civilians and injuring another ten, six of them healthcare workers.

Mixed messaging

On 27 February, Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelenskiy issued an appeal for foreign nationals to come to his country to fight against the Russian invaders. He said:

Anyone who wants to join the defence of Ukraine, Europe and the world can come and fight side by side with the Ukrainians against the Russian war criminals.

In response, UK foreign secretary Liz Truss announced that:

If people want to support that struggle [against the Russians in Ukraine] I would support them in doing that.

Devon Live pointed out that under the Foreign Enlistment Act 1870, it is an offence for a UK citizen to “fight for a foreign power at war with a state the UK is at peace with”. But it fails to mention the “last successful prosecution” under this act: that of Leander Starr Jameson in 1896. Moreover, Devon Live added that the legislation: “was not able to be used against people enlisting in the French Foreign Legion, or fighting against general Franco in the Spanish Civil War in the 1930s”.

Should it be shown that someone aided or joined a proscribed terrorist organisation, they could face prosecution in the English courts. But in a 2020 case, charges were dropped against three British men in regard to support for the mainly Kurdish YPG (Peoples Protection Units). This was after it was shown that British authorities had not banned the units, which were provided with British military support. As for Shamina Begum, she lost her British citizenship after being accused of joining Daesh (Isis/Isil), though she was groomed as a 15-year-old.

Widening solidarity

Meanwhile people across Europe are offering support to the people of Ukraine in other ways.

For example, in Berlin hundreds of people welcomed refugees as they arrived from Ukraine, offering them accommodation:

This Romanian website lists a number of sites that are providing assistance to Ukrainians, while this site lists “Real ways you can help Ukraine as a foreigner”. And this website provides information on how to provide accommodation to Ukrainian refugees.

Meanwhile, an interactive map provides live updates on resources, including accommodation, for Ukrainian refugees.

According to the BBC, more than one million Ukrainian refugees have escaped their country and are seeking help from neighbouring countries, although the UK government’s policy on Ukrainian refugees remains unclear.


There have been demonstrations across Europe in solidarity with the Ukrainian people. For example, on the weekend of 26/27 February, Berlin saw at least 100,000 demonstrators take to the streets and thousands gathered in the Estonian capital of Tallinn. It was the same in Bern, Helsinki, Paris, Rome, Vienna, Sofia, Madrid, Brussels and London.

And in Russia, undaunted by the likelihood of years of imprisonment, anti-war protesters are planning more demonstrations in a number of cities:

Putin’s ‘rationale’ for the war

On 21 February, in a televised address, president Putin explained his rationale for taking military action against Ukraine. He further explained that he regards the people of Russia and of Ukraine as being one. Moreover, he believes Ukraine is not a sovereign state and that it was “entirely created by Russia”.

Some of Russia’s concerns about NATO expansion were outlined by a former US ambassador to the Russian Federation in this leaked cable, published by WikiLeaks. 

An article in The Conversation summarises some of the arguments regarding Russian-Ukrainian relations. For example, it’s argued that from the Russian perspective:

Russia’s security concerns are in fact genuine, and that NATO expansion eastward is seen by Russians as directed against their country. Putin has been clear for many years that if continued, the expansion would likely be met with serious resistance by the Russians, even with military action.

However, the irony is that should Putin succeed in annexing much of if not all of Ukraine, Russia could end up bordering three additional NATO member countries: Hungary, Romania and Slovakia. Either Putin has not thought this aspect through, or he also has designs to expand the Russian Federation beyond Ukraine.

Media shutdowns, but no place to hide

Much of the footage of attacks on Ukrainian residential areas will not be seen by people in Russia now that Facebook and Twitter are blocked by the Russian authorities. This follows restrictions on Sputnik and Russia Today in the EU. Russian television “liberal” stations TV Rain and Ekho Moskvy have also closed down. That is reportedly because they deliberately broadcast “false information about the actions of Russian military personnel” in Ukraine.

Meanwhile there’s documented evidence to support that the Russian military has committed war crimes. Consequently, Putin and his generals and ministers can be subject to arrest and prosecution at the International Criminal Court should a case be established.

But that is of little comfort to the people of Ukraine, many of whom have lost everything – their family members, their homes, their cities. They want the war to end not in weeks or months but now.

Featured image via YouTube

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  • Show Comments
    1. And you believe this tripe, do you? On social media, the sure repository of the truth?

      “And here, what’s said to be a residential block in Kyiv has been drastically damaged by an attack:”

      Ilan Pappe, well known Palestinian writer, explained this morning that the block in the clip was actually in Gaza. Doubtless much or all of the rest is faked up too.

      Don’t you recognise propaganda when you see it?

      You are part of the problem of stitting up war fever. I am unsubscribing.

      1. Tom really needs to get a job at the BBC, not very impressive for the Canary, I have unsubscribed too. Gutter journalism at it’s finest. Two days ago 11 separate US funded Bio weapons Facilities were discovered confirmed by the US Senate. Now get out of that one Tom Coburg.

    2. Does it look like The Canary is now owned by the BBC? Yes, it does. For balance, research what Kissenger said 30 years ago about disbanding NATO. Kissenger has repeated this several times and other leading US figures tell the same story which is that NATO moving east will create a war with Russia. Ukraine is corrupt and as far from democracy as Stalin’s Russia was. Please view this and research, research, research.

      1. I should have made it clearer that NATO has not moved to the east once. It has moved east at least three times and if NATO creates its missiles sites in Ukraine, they would be 500 miles away from Moscow.

        Would the American government allow Russia to build its missile sites 500 miles away from Washington or New York? No, it would not.

        Would the American government allow Russia to regime change Mexico and install a pro-Russian government in Mexico? No, it would not but that is what America has done (run a search ‘Victoria Nuland, 5 billion dollars, Ukraine’ for details.

    3. How incredible that Canary commentators are still not easily fooled. So Putins war is worse than US or UK wars? Ukraine refugees are in more trouble than other refugees (Yemen is ranked as greatest humanitarian crisis world wide with BRITISH bombs and guns adding to the misery)
      The hypocrisy of British media stinks as foully as ever and we expect more sanity in reporting from the Canary. Whether or not Putin is “justified” in going into Ukraine the REPORTING of the war compared to the reporting of US/UK wars is strikingly different. Does anyone remember hearing CONSTANT reports of refugees from US/UK bombing or constant reports of US/UK war crimes? Oh! of course not because US/UK have NEVER ever been guilty of such things and US/UK bombs do not actually hurt anyone. All war is an atrocity, but funny how some wars are labelled as more atrocious than others depending entirely on whether the perpetrator of the war is a BRITISH/US ally or not.!! And as Russia is not considered to “our” ally then Russian wars are “bad” which of course means “our” wars are “good” But these hopelessly simplistic assessments are swallowed eagerly by the British public. No doubt the Russian public receive much the same persuasions but, and this is a major BUT I do not live in Russia! I do not receive “Kremlin propaganda” I live in Britain and with my years long knowledge of British propaganda I cannot be persuaded that there is anything more malevolent!

    4. Are the comments on here an eye opener to the Putin apologists that count amongst your subscribers.
      There is no sitting on the fence here. The irony being that those whose hatred of the West is so great that they refuse to condemn Putin’s war crimes do so from theluxury of freedom of speech. They would be severely punished under Putin’s regime.

      1. Try reading “The Devils Chessboard” an account by Tom Paton of how much and how wickedly the CIA lead by that famous “humanitarian” Allen Dulles, murdered and or deposed elected heads of state. The only reason for doing so was that some leaders tried to look after their own countries interests and refused to submit too US bullying. An astonishing example was the murder of Patrice Lumumbo elected president of the Congo just before Kennedy came to power.
        As for “freedom of speech” for over forty years I have been lied to by UK media. Funny, Vlad Putin never lied to ME so who do I believe when those whom I KNOW are liars tell me what they WANT me to believe.
        One might assume that you must have lived in Russia as you are so smugly certain that we would be “severely punished” under “Bad Vlads” scary regime!

    5. 1 ‘contentious’ article does not a reason to unsubscribe make. There are issues in the article that I have a problem with. Although I have read articles by Tom before that resonate with me. A previous article Canary article pointed out that Choosing NATO over Ukraine, or vice versa is a fools game. Although the article here states the thoughts of Noam Chomsksy, and rightly highlights the hypocrisy ( a word I have been overusing of late, but neccessairly), it does seem to avoid looking at a wider narrative. Until a few weeks ago Zelenskys ratings were around 28%. All of a sudden, he is Churchill reborn. ( To some).
      Here’s some more hypocrisy. Sources have said that Russia ( Putin) will be charged with War Crimes, just like that. How many War Crimes have US/UK been charged with?. In this current world, things are only War Crimes if the US says they are.
      That should be evident. Reports in this publication have reported on Elbit systems. Many will know that Elbit make missiles etc in the UK, to be be used against Palestinians, and others. So , I will paste in a comment I read from an article that I think points to another hypocrsiy. ( ther’s plenty of it about).
      Yes indeed. The stench of hypocrisy is all round.

      I am also trying to figure out why, if it now accepted that bombing civilians, hospitals and killing children is wrong – which of course it is – that a dozens of us are on bail for trying to stop Elbit Systems producing drones and other lethal ordinance for the purposes of Israel and Saudi Arabia bombing civilians, hospitals and killing children.

      Or are non-European civilians and children an exception under international law?

      The continued prosecution of Palestine Action activists and the continued harassment by the Police, raiding homes, seizing phones, computers and passports should cease immediately.

      Or is there something I don’t understand?

      Some may recognise the write rof the comment.. Published on JVL. I will not be unsubscribing, just assume Tom was having an off day. Or the other conclusion that yellow bird has been hacked by GCHQ. We rely on ‘alternative’ viewpoints, and avoiding the obvious pitfalls. Keep doing it. There is a need for other voices than the controlled media. Just imagine , having to get your news from The Daily Fail.

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