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 Georgia, female snipers from Poland, and even a whole NATO brigade.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 180
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 12/01/2020
  • Language/target audience: Russian
  • Country: Canada, Ukraine
  • Keywords: Foreign mercenaries, Donbas, War in Ukraine
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Iran's admission is a result of a trade-off or pressure on Tehran

Experts see contradictions in the [Iranian] version of the downing of the aircraft and suspect that the admission is a result of either a trade-off or pressures on Tehran.

Disproof

A claim, not supported by any documents. Iran has officially admitted the downing a result of a human error and has allowed independent experts access to the crash site.

The United States might have provoked Iran to open fire against a civilian aircraft

The former commander of the surface-to-air defence section of the Russian Air Force does not exclude that an American reconnaissance UAV, sent to Iran after Tehran’s missile attack on US bases in Iraq, was present close to the Ukrainian passenger aircraft.

Disproof

A claim, not supported by any documents. Iran has officially admitted the downing a result of a human error and has allowed independent experts access to the crash site.

The United States has developed a method for downing civilian aircraft

The nose part of the [Russian built] “TOR” 9M330 surface-to-air missile was, according to publications on the Internet, laying almost ideally placed under the aircraft, in full working order and ideally coloured. Any civilian aircraft has transponders, connecting them to the air dispatchers and the military simply cannot know what kind of object is approaching. “This is typical for our comrades the Americans. Since 1978 there have been seven cases of downing of aircraft by American actions. One can see an entire method being designed”.

Disproof

A claim, not supported by any documents. Iran has officially admitted the downing a result of a human error and has allowed independent experts access to the crash site. The claim that US systematically is downing civilian aircraft is merely an unfounded conspiracy theory. There certainly have been tragic cases of military action against civilian aircraft, and at some occasions - by US military. A notable example is the Iran Air flight 655, which was downed by a hit by a SM-2MR surface-to-air missile fired from a US naval ship. The United States accepted responsibility for the tragedy at a settlement in the International Court of Justice.