Ukrainian advisor to the Office of the President Oleksii Arestovych announced his resignation after falsely claiming that Ukrainian air defense had hit a Russian missile before it destroyed an apartment building in Dnipro, killing at least 44 people on Jan. 14.
Russian propaganda channels seized on Arestovych’s claim, which was swiftly refuted by the Ukrainian Air Force. He was then forced to apologize to the victims of the attack.
The advisor cited his "fundamental mistake" as the reason for his departure.
Arestovych is a blogger and former military officer, who, in his position as strategic communications advisor, started posting daily briefings about the status of the full-scale invasion from inside the Office of the President in Kyiv. He also posted a series of videos in which he predicted a swift victory by Ukraine.
Arestovych’s accessibility and calm demeanor gained him a substantial following and greatly raised his profile in the media, where he was frequently cited. However, many of his claims would prove false or misleading.
He also made multiple controversial statements about Ukrainian culture, LGBT people, Ukrainian servicewomen and other topics before and after the invasion, quickly damaging his reputation among the Ukrainian public.
In 2005, Arestovych joined the right-wing Brotherhood party, which was alleged to have ties with former Ukrainian oligarch Russian proxy Viktor Medvedchuk.
Arestovych reportedly participated in conferences organized by the neo-fascist Eurasian Movement of Aleksandr Dugin, an adviser to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Arestovych opposed the Orange Revolution in 2004, which challenged the fraudulent election victory of pro-Russian politician and future president Viktor Yanukovych, who later fled to Russia after the Euromaidan revolution in 2014.