Speed Reads

Ukraine Crisis

The BBC catches Russian media fabricating dead 10-year-old Ukrainian girl

Russian media widely reported the tragic story of a 10-year-old girl killed by Ukrainian government shelling in the Petrovsky region of Donetsk, in rebel-held eastern Ukraine. The only problem: The girl never existed, discovered BBC News reporters Natalia Antelava and Abdujalil Abdurasulov. Antelava spoke with people in the region, including the morgue director, and nobody knew the girl or recalled shelling, although they heard the story on TV.

Finally, a Russian journalist told Antelava that the girl is a fiction that they were forced to report. "You get used to lies in this war, but sometimes the cynicism, like right now, it's just mind-boggling," Antelava says in her dispatch, "because people that we talked to believe that a child has died, and that's the sort of information that they get that fuels hatred that drives this war." Watch her remarkable report below. —Peter Weber