Recently Russian state owned (Gazprom Media) TV channel NTV devoted a segment to the coronavirus pandemic in Ukraine featuring the best practices of Kremlin propaganda.
The House is burning from all sides: how COVID-119 is effecting Ukraine aired on April 19 and did not disappoint in its outrageous claims: in Ukraine everything is controlled by the International Monetary Fund, the country’s one “canonical church” is under constant attack while the Ukrainian military never stop attacking the civilian Donbas population.
Ukraine forced to accept any IMF terms, President Zelensky admits, the treasury is empty.
Ukraine and the IMF came to an agreement on a 5.5 billion dollar three year loan well before the pandemic struck. Together with aid from the World Bank and the European Union, the total amount of financial support for Ukraine may amount to $10 billion.
According to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky Ukraine must fulfill two conditions in order to receive the aid, pass the land reform law and the law on banks and banking activity. The land reform bill has already been enacted; the banking law is expected to be passed shortly and the IMF has not issued any additional demands.
Nationalists using COVID-19 among Orthodox monks to foment hate and attack Ukraine’s canonical church
The NTV segment focuses on actions taken by mayors of several Ukrainian cities in relation to churches, which, going against government advisories continued to call on the faithful to visit church for Easter. In the eastern Ukrainian city of Dnipro, a church subordinate to the Moscow Patriarchate gave communion to some 300 people from one spoon on Palm Sunday. A pit was dug in front of one church to prevent parishioners from entering, but generally local authorities did not resort to such radical measures. Overall Ukrainian police recorded 19 cases of non-compliance with coronavirus guidelines during the Easter holiday.
Ukrainian authorities appealed to all faiths to adhere to the rules of social isolation in order to prevent new cases of COVID-19 infection.
Ukrainian military taking back gray zones and attacking civilians in Donbas
NTV claims that Ukraine’s military is taking advantage of the world’s preoccupation with the coronavirus to attack civilians in eastern Donbas and to reclaim gray zone areas.
According to the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission daily reports however, the number of ceasefire violations and explosions has decreased by 23 and 50% respectively compared with the previous two-week period. The Mission also reported three civilian casualties, one dead and two wounded.
The OSCE also noted in its monitoring report that members of the so-called Donetsk and Luhansk Peoples republics restricted the OSCE patrol’s freedom of movement more than 38 times, while the Ukrainian army did so only once.
No government aid to businesses affected by COVID-19
The NTV episode devoted to COVID-19 in Ukraine claims that the Ukrainian government is not offering any help or relief to businesses and individuals negatively impacted because of the pandemic lockdown.
During an appearance on the Freedom of Speech program, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky announced that the government was launching a far reaching program to support small and medium sized business most affected by the coronavirus. The program includes tax relief and credit breaks.
Ukraine’s Ministry of Social Policy meanwhile has launched an online platform Help is Near to provide targeted assistance to vulnerable groups during the social isolation period.