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Misinformation Sparks Ukraine Departures

Dina Faisal Dina Faisal
22nd February 2022
Misinformation Sparks Ukraine Departures
Zelenskyy's family did not flee Ukraine (Getty).

Despite de-escalation efforts and diplomatic solutions to rising tensions between Ukraine and Russia, Russian troops remain in a 'threatening position.' Natacha Butler, reporting from Kyiv, says the atmosphere has been “unusual” and shifts in moods between optimism and pessimism. This comes after Ukrainian President Zelenskyy called for calm before saying a few days later, "Ukrainians might be ready to fight."

Against the backdrop of rising tensions, many countries, including the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, Israel, Netherlands, Kuwait, Japan, and others, have urged their citizens to leave Ukraine and avoid unnecessary travel to the country. Ukrainian media reported that several politicians and business leaders had fled the country following these calls. Many falsehoods have come to light because of the fear-induced uncertainty and instability.

One such claim is that Ukrainian President Zelenskyy’s family fled to Italy. The President denied this in a press conference, and he was seen with his wife on February 14th. Supporting his actions, Ukraine Zelenskyy urged politicians, civil servants, and business leaders who had recently fled Ukraine to return within 24 hours to “show unity with the nation.” In a speech directed to civil servants and politicians, he said that the people of Ukraine had entrusted them not only to govern the state but also to protect it and that it was their “direct duty” to remain and “stand shoulder to shoulder with the Ukrainian army, our diplomacy, and our people.” He also mentions business leaders, adding that their strength is not their money and planes. Still, they can demonstrate their "civic position" by urging them to return to the people and country that gave them their wealth, describing it as a test for Ukrainian citizens.

While it is true that many politicians and business leaders have fled the country, the President remains put and optimistic, keeping a unified front. A few nations have agreed to significant sanctions against Russia should they escalate the tensions. US President Biden and UK Prime Minister Johnson also reiterated the need for European countries to ''reduce their dependence on Russian gas”, which would hurt the country economically. There is a crucial limited period of time for diplomatic measures to be heightened to avoid a Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Misbar Sources:

Sky News
Anadolu Agency
The Moscow Times
Africa News
Schengen Visa Info
Al Jazeera