Disinfo: Canadian mercenaries appeared in the Donbas

Summary

Despite the existing agreements on the peaceful settlement of the conflict, the Ukrainians continue to attract foreign mercenaries into the OOS (Operation of Combined Forces) zone. So, according to our data, on 10 January, fifteen citizens of Canada, representatives of one of the Private Military Companies, arrived in the village of Stanitsa Luhanskaya.

Disproof

No evidence is given to support this claim. The existence of paramilitary fighters or mercenaries from NATO or US-friendly countries is a recurrent narrative in Russian disinformation since at least 2014, and it prompted a diplomatic protest from Poland back then.

The allegation has been repeatedly debunked in those years but repeatedly resurfaces to try to discredit the Ukrainian army and the countries that support Kyiv's efforts for stabilisation.

According to the report of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission in Ukraine, on 10 January 2020 at the withdrawal line near Stanitsa Luhanskaya, observers noticed only 4 workers from areas beyond the control of Ukraine, they were repairing the roof of the armed forces checkpoint. There was no information about any mercenaries, nor any foreign delegation on the contact line.

According to the Press Centre of the Joint Forces Operation in Ukraine, a delegation of Canadians led by Canadian Deputy Minister of National Defence for Political Affairs, Peter Hammerschmidt, visited the withdrawal line in Donbas in December 2019.

However, there is a UNIFIER training mission with Canadian soldiers that is into its fifth year in Ukraine. Canadian soldiers train Ukrainians at the base of the International Training Centre of the National Academy, named after Hetman Pyotr Sagaidachny, near Lviv. But this city is on the other side of the country.

See here for other disinformation cases about the alleged presence of foreign mercenaries in Eastern Ukraine, from Baltic snipers to snipers from Georgiafemale snipers from Poland, and even a whole NATO brigade.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue180
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 12/01/2020
  • Language/target audience: Russian
  • Country: Canada, Ukraine
  • Keywords: War in Ukraine, Donbas, Foreign mercenaries

Disclaimer

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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Disproof

Disinformation not backed up with evidence, referring to an old conspiracy theory about how US intelligence agencies arrange special operations to eliminate the nuclear scientists of Iran, North Korea and the Russian Federation.

Iran has officially admitted the downing of the plane a result of human error and has allowed independent experts access to the crash site. The EU's statement regarding the incident can be found here.

The Polish Home Army carried out terrorist activities behind the backs of the Red Army

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Disproof

This message is a part of the ongoing Russian information attack against Poland, which includes the spread of such false messages alleging that Poland was responsible for WWII and the Holocaust. According to the Polish Institute of National Remembrance, the declassified documents published by Russia do not bring any particularly significant new information on Soviet operations during 1944-1945. The institute also states that during this period, the Soviet Union, at the same time as fighting Germany, pursued a consistent policy aimed at preventing the reconstruction of the independent Republic of Poland.

The Soviet documents falsely present the Polish Home Army self-defence actions against Soviet enslavement, massive repression and murders by the NKVD and other formations in the parts of Poland occupied by the USSR as "terrorist activities", hiding the entire Soviet policy against Poland's independence in 1944-1945.

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Disproof

Estonia is on the 11th place of Reporters without Borders Press freedom index. Estonia has not blocked Sputnik Estonia's website and it is accessible. The Minister of Foreign Affairs Urmas Reinsalu has emphasized that Estonia has not taken any measures against the portal's media content: "They are financial sanctions aimed at economic activity. I believe it to be justified. We have notified the European Commission's Legal Service. European agencies have said in the Commission that steps taken by Estonia in exercising sanctions policy are warranted."

The steps taken by Estonia are based on the Article 2 of the Council Regulation (EU) No 269/2014 on the territorial integrity of Ukraine that foresees freezing the assets of Dmitry Kiselyov, the Director-General of Rossija Segodnya. According to the articles of association of the company, the Director-General has the right to decide upon opening bank accounts and carry out invoicing. This corresponds to the condition "having the right to use all or part of the assets of a legal person or entity" in the EU Best Practices for the effective implementation of restrictive measures.