A Russian state TV host suggested this week that people in the UK are being forced to eat squirrels because their country is spending so much money on military aid to Ukraine.
"Today it was revealed that some restaurants in once-Great Britain will be serving squirrels," Olga Skabayeva said on Russian news show "60 Minutes," per a translation by Ukrainian interior ministry adviser Anton Gerashchenko.
"In view of the fact that there are plenty of animals in the parks, so why not eat them, bearing in mind the food shortage [in the UK]," Skabayeva said in the video.
She added: "They [the UK] are not backing down from the decision to help [Ukrainian President Volodymyr] Zelenskyy, to supply weapons. That is, they will eat squirrels, but still supply howitzers."
Skabayeva is one of Russia's most prominent propagandists, as Insider's Michell Mark previously reported, and frequently advocates extreme positions on the war in Ukraine.
The UK has been one of Ukraine's earliest and most prominent backers since Russia's invasion in February 2022, supplying training and military and humanitarian aid. It has committed $2.7 billion worth of military aid as of February 2023.
The UK is also experiencing shortages of some imported fresh fruit and vegetables, which has been variously attributed to global weather patterns, electricity prices and Brexit red tape.
But Skabayeva's comments appear to stem from reports of nature conservation efforts that have no stated relationship to Ukraine or, indeed, the UK's food supplies.
Skabayeva seized on a completely unrelated UK news cycle, which focused on efforts of a small nature conservation group in south-west England. The Exmoor Squirrel Project hit the headlines in early March with a proposal to put grey squirrel on the menu of some local restaurants.
The group campaigns to preserve the country's native red squirrels, which are endangered due to competition by grey squirrels, considered a non-native invasive species.
The group's remarks were reported in numerous news outlets — all in relation to efforts to cull grey squirrels without waste.
"There's no waste there. They'll be put to some good use instead of being put in a hole in the ground," the group's acting manager, Kerry Hosegood, told the BBC in late February.