A far-fetched segment on Russian state TV claimed that the British royal family is advocating for a war between Russia and Ukraine to help distract from its domestic troubles.
Dmitry Kiselyov, whose "News of the Week" show aired Sunday night on the Rossiya-1 state news channel, said the Queen, Prince Charles, and Prince Andrew "really want to distract attention, even if it's war."
Kiselyov alleged that a war was being sought by the royals in order to distract from unwelcome news: namely Prince Andrew's legal settlement of Virginia Giuffre's sexual-assault case against him and a police investigation into Prince Charles' charity.
Kiselyov said, per a translation by Insider:
"The Royal Family is desperately in need of distraction, as Scotland Yard uncovered that the heir to the throne, Prince Charles, has been giving away high honors, titles, and even citizenships to a foreign businessman with an easy-to-remember name, Mahfouz Marei Mubarak bin Mahfouz.
"Right now, the court is not commenting on the police investigation but really wants to distract attention, even if it's war. And annoyingly, the Queen's beloved son Prince Andrew agreed to use mommy's money: $16 million, to settle a US court case with the victim of his rape. The 95-year-old Queen will pay.
"The war in Donbas [eastern Ukraine] in this context is much more interesting to her."
Steve Rosenberg, the BBC's Moscow correspondent, tweeted about the segment, which he described as an "alternative reality."
As of Monday, none of the British royals had commented on events in Ukraine, which is surrounded by around 150,000 Russian troops, per US estimates.
Both Ukraine and Western governments say Russia is on the brink of launching a war. President Joe Biden said Friday that he is "convinced" Russian President Vladimir Putin will launch an attack.
But Kiselyov, who is often called "Putin's mouthpiece" by Russia watchers, gave his Russian audience the opposite picture: that Russia was urgently seeking peace as other nations sought conflict.
Despite the Queen being the formal head of the British military, and having a deep ceremonial connection to it, she and her family have no say in defense decisions, which are taken by the UK government.
By the time the segment broadcast, the royal narrative in the UK and the rest of the world had changed dramatically for a different reason: the announcement that the Queen had tested positive for COVID-19.
Most British newspapers on Monday devoted significantly more attention to that story than events in Ukraine, though it remained a prominent topic.
In his broadcast Sunday, Kiselyov claimed, too, that UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson wanted a distraction because of hs own leadership problems.
He also listed Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan as pro-war because of the economic crisis in his country, and claimed that France's President Emmanuel Macron would benefit from war while seeking re-election.
All three leaders have said they are against a war and have made various interventions to encourage de-escalation.
Biden on Sunday agreed in principle to meet for talks with Putin alongside Macron, who has emerged as a conduit for diplomacy between Russia and the US.