UK journalists sent videos of graphic murders of Russian soldiers in 'propaganda' campaign 4 months ago

UK journalists sent videos of graphic murders of Russian soldiers in 'propaganda' campaign

The videos have been described as 'highly graphic and disturbing'

Journalists working in the UK have been warned to be wary of opening emails from Russian email accounts this week after staff at two national publications received "very disturbing" videos showing Russian soldiers being murdered.

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Reporters have been sent videos and images from .ru email addresses, the Russian domain, that appear to show Ukrainian forces killing Russian soldiers as part of a 'harassment' campaign targeting newsrooms.

Journalists at both The Express and The Mirror have received the emails, which parent company Reach PLC has referred to as "propaganda". It has advised staff not to open the emails and to block the sender.

In an email seen by JOE, Reach PLC managers instruct all editorial employees to watch out for the distressing content and suggest it is a part of a propaganda campaign targeting multiple major news outlets.

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The videos are described as "highly graphic and very disturbing".

Dr Rebecca Whittington, Reach Online Safety Editor, told JOE: "This week we became aware of a campaign in which supporters of the Russian war in Ukraine are being asked to harass journalists at noted media outlets around the world with extremely distressing and violent images and videos, which many of our journalists have received.

"This is another mode of attack on the free press and we sent out yesterday's advice as soon as possible to protect our journalists from this malicious campaign."

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A Ukrainian man walks past a mass grave in Bucha, which was under Russian occupation until this week. Credit: Alexey Furman/Getty

Russian troll farms have been known to create fake news videos, with some specifically targeted to discredit Ukraine even before the start of the war in 2022.

The "Russian Liberation Movement" was accused of producing propaganda videos, which show "extremist groups with hidden faces, distorted voices [...] posing with weapons" as early as August 2017.

When reporters for the BBC looked deeper into this content, they claimed it indicated that "the videos are fakes produced by anti-Ukraine fighters operating in the region".

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War crimes committed by Russian troops are being reported in regions across Ukraine.

Charred body parts have been photographed on the roads and streets, with Ukrainians found dead, shot at close range, with their hands bound behind their backs.

The few survivors in towns like Bucha, which was occupied by Kremlin forces for a month, have now emerged from hiding to mourn and bury their dead.

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Featured image credit: Sean Gallup/Getty and Unsplash.