Disinfo: Biased JIT excluded Russia from MH17 investigation and refused its assistance


The JIT excluded Russia from the MH17 investigation but included Ukraine, despite the country’s involvement in the armed conflict and its possible role in the downing of MH17. Moscow has made numerous offers to assist in the investigation but has been rebuffed.


Recurrent pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative on the downing of flight MH17 over Ukraine, aiming to discredit the criminal trial and the Joint Investigation Team (JIT).

A "possible role in the downing of MH17" is a purely hypothetical (and thus invalid) factor in granting or denying a particular government access to the probe. The actual reason for Russia's non-involvement in the investigation is that the crash did not take place over Russian territory and claimed no Russian lives. Dutch Chief Prosecutor Fred Westerbeke told a Russian newspaper that "if MH17 were shot down over Russia, I would have suggested that Russia be made a member of the JIT group."

In 2015, Moscow was presented with an opportunity to help establish the truth about the MH17 disaster, in the form of a UN Security Council resolution calling for the establishment of an International Criminal Tribunal for Malaysia Airlines flight MH17. The Russian delegation, however, vetoed the resolution.


  • Reported in: Issue 205
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 04/07/2020
  • Language/target audience: English
  • Country: Russia, Ukraine, The Netherlands
  • Keywords: Anti-Russian, MH17


Cases in the EUvsDisinfo database focus on messages in the international information space that are identified as providing a partial, distorted, or false depiction of reality and spread key pro-Kremlin messages. This does not necessarily imply, however, that a given outlet is linked to the Kremlin or editorially pro-Kremlin, or that it has intentionally sought to disinform. EUvsDisinfo publications do not represent an official EU position, as the information and opinions expressed are based on media reporting and analysis of the East Stratcom Task Force.

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Russia’s constitutional vote marked by extremely low number of violations

The Central Election Commission has noted an extremely low number of violations in the course of the 25 June-1 July referendum, in which 77.92% voters expressed their support for a number of proposed amendments to the Russian Constitution.

A European Parliament member who observed the process stated that the all-Russian vote complied with all democratic and sanitary standards.


There is considerable evidence suggesting that the degree of manipulation at the "all-Russian vote" was, in fact, extremely high.

According to GOLOS, Russia's sole independent election monitor, the scale of manipulation before and during the poll was "unprecedented," and the dishonest manner in which it was organized meant that "the actual vote was not of decisive significance." GOLOS co-chairman Roman Udot said that the extent of the fraud sets "the national record since the fall of the Soviet Union."

International experts praised the all-Russian vote

International experts praised the all-Russian vote. As for the work of international experts, they observed the course of the all-Russian vote in many regions of Russia. In Crimea, for example, deputies of the European Parliament from France, as well as politicians from Germany, Sweden and Bulgaria, visited several sites in Simferopol and Yalta. The delegation drew attention to how sanitary standards and rules were adhered to perfectly.

Experts not only praised the conduct of the vote on amendments to the Constitution but also noted its importance. This vote is a very important page in history, because the Constitution is the Basic Law of any country, and what people are now asking for opinions about their future is important, this should happen in every country.

The organisation of the elections was at a very high level, all measures to preserve the life and safety of people were observed, and everything was like a gold standard for the promotion of elections.


Bulgarian, French and some other foreign pro-Russian politicians indeed visited Crimea during voting for amendments to Russian Constitution. However, they cannot be quoted as experts in elections observation, since observation is a professional activity carried out by international organisations according to common standards.

Contrary to the claim, the European Parliament deputies cited in the report did not "observe" the vote in any sense pertaining to international election monitoring, given that the voting procedure featured no actual foreign observers. For instance, the OSCE ODIHR mission was not invited to monitor Russia’s voting on constitutional amendments. It did, however, see a number of so-called "international experts" who were invited to witness the vote and make gushing statements to pro-Kremlin media about its supposed transparency. A number of these "experts" have documented track records of legitimising sham elections in Russia and elsewhere.

The “Golos” movement conducted an independent observation of the all-Russian vote on the amendment of the Constitution throughout the entire campaign period, from March 2020, including the period of the passing of the normative-legal articles that regulate the conduct of the vote, the initial launching of the processes, their application in relation to the Coronavirus pandemic, the updating of the processes and of course, the days of voting themselves. The long-term and short-term observations were conducted in 42 regions of the country.

Russia provided coronavirus aid to some European countries like Italy because nobody had helped them, not even their closest allies

Russia provided coronavirus aid to some European countries like Italy because nobody had helped them, not even their closest allies


Recurring pro-Kremlin narrative claiming that the EU left Italy and other countries alone to fight coronavirus and that Russia was the first to help.

This speculative claim about  “abandoned Italy” exploits the coronavirus pandemic to push a recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the West's crumbling solidarity.