KEY POINTS

  • Russia's Federal Security Service has instructed officials to praise Vladimir Putin
  • It was one of the rules included in a manual distributed to Russian federal executive bodies
  • The manual claimed Putin "personally protected Russia from destruction"

The Russian security service has instructed people to praise Vladimir Putin, Ukrainian intelligence alleged.

Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) has distributed a manual marked "for mandatory use" to Russian federal executive bodies via secret communication channels, the agency's Ukrainian counterpart, the Security Service of Ukraine (SSU), claimed in a statement.

The manual, which was allegedly intercepted by the SSU, instructed Russian officials, artists and athletes to follow guidelines when preparing speeches.

Among the rules included in the manual was for Putin to be praised since he was the one who "did not allow war on Russian territory, which the West wanted so much," the Ukrainian agency said.

The Russian head of state also supposedly "personally protected Russia from destruction, and the Russians from having to kneel."

FSB analysts cited "honest statistics" about Putin's support and listed arguments to dismiss Russians' fear of default and international sanctions, according to the SSU.

"Russia can continue to lie to its citizens and tell 'how everything is fine' there, but the truth is that the Russian army is killing peaceful Ukrainians," the agency said.

Russia, which violated international law when it annexed Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula back in 2014, launched what was deemed an unprovoked and unjustified full-scale invasion of its western neighbor on Feb. 24.

The Russian government still calls the invasion a "special military operation," and state media reportedly does not use the words "war" or "invasion," nor do they mention Russia's bombing of the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv, a report by NPR said.

Putin signed a law in March that criminalized reporting stories contradictory to the Russian government's version of events of the conflict.

The law has forced many independent media outlets to leave Russia, shut down or face potential lengthy prison terms.

Amid the efforts to control what citizens see and hear about the war in Ukraine, Russia has allegedly hired trolls to spread disinformation about the war and start fights online.

Meanwhile, pro-Russian government content creators amplify the Russian government's talking points and downplay or outright deny reported Russian atrocities while claiming to be "independent journalists," according to NBC News.

"[Russians] are being told that Russian soldiers are extremely decorous and careful about preserving Ukrainian civilian life, that they're being greeted as liberators, that everybody wants to live under Russian rule, and that there are no civilian casualties on the Ukrainian side," Julia Ioffe, a reporter and founding partner of the media company Puck, said

Russian President Vladimir Putin delivers a video address announcing the start of the military operation in eastern Ukraine, in Moscow, Russia, in a still image taken from video footage released February 24, 2022. Russian Pool/Reuters TV via REUTERS
Russian President Vladimir Putin delivers a video address announcing the start of the military operation in eastern Ukraine, in Moscow, Russia, in a still image taken from video footage released February 24, 2022. Russian Pool/Reuters TV via REUTERS Reuters / REUTERS TV
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