Top stories about the Russia-Ukraine war and other international affairs on Channel One from June 26 through July 3, 2022.

By Madeline Roache

What follows is NewsGuard’s summary and translation of top news stories from Russia’s state TV Channel One. NewsGuard presents these stories in the order that they appear on the program.  

The Banner of Victory was hoisted over the Lysychansk City Hall in the Lugansk People’s Republic

The Banner of Victory [the official symbol of the victory of the Soviet Red Army against Nazi Germany] has been placed over the Lysychansk city hall. It’s a day that tens of thousands of residents, the entire Lugansk People’s Republic, and the entire Donbas have been waiting for. 

A red banner and the Russian flag also hangs in the neighboring village of Belogorovka. This means that the ring around the Ukrainian army in this region has been closed. We just have to make sure that the territory inside is safe from the enemy.

Vladimir Putin confirms there is no set time frame for the special operation in Donbas

It is important to understand that there is no set time frame for the special military operation in the Donbas. This was confirmed by Vladimir Putin after the Caspian summit, when he spoke with journalists.

Putin said: “I trust those people who are professionals. They act as they see fit to achieve the ultimate goal. Everything is going according to plan. So there is no need to talk about the timing, and I never talk about it. Because that’s life, that’s the reality. And it’s wrong to set some deadlines. As I’ve said before, it has to do with the intensity of the fighting. And the intensity is directly tied to possible losses. And we must first of all think about how to save the lives of our children.”

Russia and Ukraine exchanged prisoners under the direction of the Supreme Commander

On Thursday, June 30, the Russian Defense Ministry announced the exchange of prisoners with Ukraine. 144 people in exchange for the same number. It took place on the direct orders of the Supreme Commander-in-Chief [Putin], since the lives and health of our military and fighters of the Donbas republics are the most important thing.

In Kyiv, there is talk about a “a great Ukrainian victory.” Those who have been released must come to their senses. Almost everyone was injured. Many others struggling, are currently in battle or already in Ukrainian dungeons. For three months, more precisely, 105 days they were in hell.

A soldier with the Lugansk People’s Republic People’s Militia said: “They [Ukrainian soldiers] cut off my fingers….They shot at me a lot, they shot me in the legs.”

Ukrainian groups attacked two regional centers of Russia 

Drones with explosives flew towards Kursk. They were destroyed by Russian air defense. Tochka U missiles with cluster warheads were fired at Belgorod. Four people died, three of them are citizens of Ukraine. Other people were injured. Buildings were damaged.

Igor Konashenkov, spokesperson for the Russian Defence Ministry, said: “The Kyiv regime carried out a deliberate strike with Tochka-U ballistic missiles carrying cluster munitions and Tu-143 Reis drones on residential areas of Belgorod and Kursk, where there are no military facilities.”

Maria Zakharova, spokesperson for the Russian Foreign Ministry, said: “We understand that these actions of the Kyiv regime are not just coordinated with its Western orchestrators, but, are most likely, prompted by them. They are trying to push us to strike back in a similar way, in order to further fan anti-Russian hysteria. We have so far refrained from taking such steps, but we will be following the developments very closely.”

NATO defines Russia as a significant and direct threat until 2030 in the new Strategic Concept

There was firing from the Ukrainian side today [July 3, 2022] using NATO-calivery shells in residential areas in Donetsk, Gorlovka and Makeevka. Kyiv demands new weapons from the West, although there are no guarantees that they will be under proper supervision. After all, they somehow ended up for sale on the Darknet, the dark segment of the global Network. These include anti-tank Javelins, and, more dangerously, anti-aircraft Stingers.

Yet it was us, not the terrorists, that NATO deemed the most significant threat. Sweden and Finland, which border us, received an invitation to join the alliance. Finland, without waiting for formal membership, already offered an airport for a NATO base in the city of Lappeenranta, which is a few hours by car to the Russian border.

It doesn’t matter how many waves of NATO expansion there has been since the moment the Soviet Union collapsed. The alliance openly admits that they have been preparing for the current level of confrontation with us for a long time.

Leonid Reshetnikov, Lieutenant-General of Russian Foreign Intelligence Service, said: “Тhe concept is kind of new for the public. But for our authorities and security services, it’s nothing new. NATO has long deemed Russia its main enemy. They have always come from that position.”

A conversation between Ukrainian Ambassador in Germany and a journalist became an international scandal

Andriy Melnyk, the Ukrainian ambassador to Germany, spoke with the German journalist Tilo Jung this week.

[The segment plays a clip of the interview]

[German journalist Tilo] Jung: Ethnic cleansing. An independent Ukraine, free from Jews, Poles and Russians. It was  Bandera’s dream [Stepan Bandera was a leader of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists during the Second World War. He is a controversial figure, with some in Ukraine regarding him as a national hero, who fought against the Soviet Union, and others, including Russia, condemning him as a Nazi collaborator.]

[During the interview Melnyk said that Bandera fought for the independence of Ukraine and that some Ukrainians see Bandera as a freedom fighter]

Jung: I don’t understand how you can call someone a hero, who was also a mass murderer of Jews and Poles.

Melnyk: Everyone idolizes Robin Hood, but he did not act according to the law either.

Jung: The whole world recognizes that Bandera was involved in the murder of one hundred thousand Jews.

Melnyk: This is a narrative that the Russians are still promoting. Germany, Poland and Israel also support it.

Jung: Bandera committed many massacres of Poles in western Ukraine.

Melnyk: Yes, and there were the same reprisals by the Poles against Ukrainians, over tens of thousands.

Jung: Which doesn’t make things better.

Melnyk: The Poles now want to politicize this story. We are against this.

[The Channel One anchor said:] “The scandal is international. Even the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry denied the words of its employee, who spoke with an expression of righteousness on his face. The Polish Foreign Ministry said he repeated many historical lies. The Israeli Embassy in Berlin condemned Melnyk’s response as belittling the Holocaust and directly insulting the memory of all those killed by Bandera.”

[The program quotes blogger Sven Denkt, saying:] “You, miserable ambassador of Ukraine, constantly demanding something from us. Your Bandera helped the Nazis during the Second World War, and you worship him. And then you deny the fact that the Azov Nazis, are much worse than the Nazis of the Third Reich. You must be sent back to your home immediately.”

Macron’s office violated diplomatic norms by publishing a conversation between the Russian and French presidents

The France-2 TV channel released a film designed to present Macron as a peacemaker to the citizens of the fifth republic. For this, fragments of a confidential telephone conversation between Vladimir Putin and Macron, which took place shortly before the start of the special operation in Donbas, were used. In the conversation itself, there is nothing that isn’t already known. Putin insists that Kyiv comply with the Minsk agreements and calls for a dialogue between Ukraine and Donbas. Macron says that the opinions of the separatists do not bother anyone.

The office of the French president committed a flagrant violation of diplomatic norms by giving journalists access to the conversation without warning the Russian side.

However, in Western political culture, or rather in the absence of political culture, this is not the first case. Last summer, Macron’s office leaked part of a transcript of a conversation with Putin to a newspaper. In response, the Russian side published the entire transcript.

Financiers note the U.S. market collapse and the start of a recession in the U.S.

Darwin is understood to have said that it’s not the strongest who survive — this is a myth — but the fittest. And the question is to what extent has the Western economy adapted to the reality of sanctions that it has created?

Kirill Dmitriev, CEO of the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) said: “US sanctions against Russia are inflicting a crushing blow on the US economy and have already led to the largest drop in the history of leading stock indices. The NASDAQ index showed the sharpest ever drop in the first six months, the Dow Jones index recorded the largest drop since 1962, and the S&P 500, since 1970.

Collapsing markets have already devalued U.S. stocks by $9 trillion, marking the worst first half of the year for U.S. financial markets since 1970.

According to the estimates of the Atlanta branch of the Federal Reserve, the U.S. GDP is expected to fall for the second quarter in a row. For the American economy, this means that the recession has already begun.

Germany advises using less heat and washing less due to cuts in Russian gas supplies

Under the leadership of Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Germany is running out of firewood and gas stoves. Scholz is so eager to live without Russian gas and not only gas.

[The program shows an article from German news site, NTV, stating:] “The consequences of war in Ukraine? Excessive demand for wood stoves, long waiting times.”

[It then features an article from German news site Die Welt, which says:] “If you use less heat, fungus in old houses will appear in just a few days” [and an article from another German news site Frankfurter Allgemeine, saying:] “Freezing from a lack of gas? Why colder apartments are better for your health.”

[The program shows a video of a crowd of people in Bavaria laughing at German Economy and Climate Action Minister, Robert Habeck, for saying “The sanctions have hit Russia hard.”]

Kyiv staged a new anti-Russian provocation, carefully choosing a place and time

Kyiv is doing its best to promote a new provocation, similar to the kind we saw in Bucha and Kramatorsk. Now — in Kremenchuk, in the Poltava region. The Russian military allegedly fired on a shopping center that was allegedly full of visitors. What really happened?

The Ukrainian and Western media are using these photos as further evidence of the “barbarism” of Russian soldiers. They accuse Russia of “killing shoppers” and of “crimes against humanity.” They say that these Russians bombed a crowded shopping center. We have seen this before, with claims that Russia was behind the “massacre in Bucha.” This is yet another indiscriminate accusation of war crimes carried out by Russian troops. It’s clear that a Bucha-2 is unfolding in Kremenchuk. But what actually happened?

Igor Konashenkov, Russian Defense Ministry spokesperson, said, “On June 27, the Russian Aerospace Forces delivered a strike by air-launched high-precision weapons against hangars of weapons and ammunition from the United States and European countries in the area of the Kremenchuk road machinery factory in the city of Kremenchuk… The detonation of stored ammunition for Western weapons caused a fire in a non-functioning shopping center located next to the plant.”

According to some information, the shopping center, Amstor, was officially closed in the spring. Firstly, in the photos [showing the aftermath of what the channel called a fire] we see a practically empty parking lot. One thousand people were not inside the mall, as Zelensky claimed. Secondly, we see almost no women or children in the photos, only men, many of whom are in military uniform and holding weapons.