Ukrainian Students Call On Russian Counterparts To End ’Information War’
Ukrainian students have released an emotional video calling on their Russian counterparts not to believe what Russia’s state-controlled media are saying about their country.
"Check what you hear, doubt what you see."
This is the advice handed out by Ukrainian students to their counterparts in Russia via a video clip aimed at tackling what is described as rampant Kremlin propaganda.
Students from several Kyiv universities have released an emotional video urging students in Moscow not to believe what Russian state-controlled media are saying about Ukraine and Ukrainians.
Russian television has accused Ukrainian soldiers of crucifying children and described pro-European protesters in Kyiv as rabid neo-Nazis.
"A war is going on in our country. Your soldiers and our soldiers are dying in our country, civilians are dying, " the clip says. "We call on you to lift the information curtain!"
"We stand on opposite sides of the barricades, and between us lie kilometers of misunderstanding, " it continues. "Between us lie tales about Nazis and Ukrainian nationalists."
Kyiv student Yevheniy Melnik, the video’s initiator, says Ukrainians are tired of being portrayed by the Russian media as fascists child-crucifiersbent on victimizing Russian-speakers in Ukraine.
WATCH: Ukrainian students implore their Russian counterparts (in Russian)
He says the video aims at challenging such misconceptions, which he says are further pitting Russians against Ukrainians as Kyiv battles a pro-Russian insurgency in the country’s east.
"These are ordinary students who are trying to somehow put an end to this information war, " he tells RFE/RL. "It’s precisely this information war that is fueling the situation in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions."
Melnik says the clip was produced entirely by students and is not a government project.
He says it reflects the feeling of many young Ukrainians and students, whom he calls the "strength and the future" of the country.
The video goes on to explain that the Euromaidan protests in Kyiv were not a U.S-funded coup, as Russian state media has claimed, but were held to denounce the "total corruption, complete rejection of European integration, media censorship, and police lawlessness" under then-President Viktor Yanukovych.
It also accuses pro-Russian separatists of forcing many in Crimea "at gunpoint" to vote in favor of the Ukrainian peninsula joining Russia last year.
Finally, the Ukrainian students call on Russians to stop pointing their fingers at the West and take the future into their own hands instead.
"We -- or, rather, the leaders of our countries -- are the only ones to blame for our problems, " it says. "Europe and America, where human life is the most important value, are simply upholding their principles and are not trying to bring anyone to their knees."
By Arslan Saidov and Claire Bigg