Disinfo: Crimea returned to Russia after a referendum

Summary

Crimea returned to Russia after a referendum on the peninsula.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the annexation of Crimea, claiming that Crimea voted to rejoin Russia through a legal referendum.

Crimea is a part of Ukraine and was illegally annexed by Russia. In 2014, Russian troops obliged the parliament of Crimea to organise a referendum, which was illegitimate under international law, and then formally annexed the peninsula and brought it under Russian territorial control. The annexation has been condemned by the UNGA (see the resolution A/RES/68/262 on the territorial integrity of Ukraine).

No international body recognises the so-called referendum, announced on 27 February 2014 and held on 16 March 2014.

Following the covert invasion by “little green men,” the referendum in Crimea was conducted hastily and at gunpoint, barring impartial observers from entering the peninsula.

A year after the illegal annexation, Russian President Vladimir Putin admitted that the plan to annex Crimea was ordered weeks before the so-called referendum.

The European Union does not recognise Crimea's annexation and continues to condemn it as a violation of international law. EU sanctions continue to be in place against Russia as a consequence for the annexation. For the EU statement on the sixth anniversary of Crimea annexation see here.

see more

Ukraine claims that the Minsk Agreements are just a piece of paper

The Ukrainian side claimed that the Minsk agreements are just a piece of paper and they are not necessary for implementation. Therefore Russia could claim as well that there’s no need to fulfill these agreements. Or is it only the DPR-LPR that should fulfill them? If this agreement is optional, then could the DPR-LPR attack too?

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the war in Ukraine and the Minsk Agreements. The Ukrainian side has never claimed that "the Minsk agreements are just a piece of paper". Oleksandr Merezhko, Deputy Chairman of the Ukrainian Delegation to the Tripartite Contact Group, said at the end of May 2020: "If Ukraine adheres to its obligations and Russia does not, we have the right - and I draw an analogy with an international agreement - for non-compliance and breach of the agreement by the counter-party to withdraw from the process. It will no longer be a legal but a political right. Sanctions will still apply. After all, it was not our fault that the Minsk agreements were violated". The implementation of the agreements remains one of the key priorities of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. Since 2014, negotiations with Russia to resolve the conflict in the Donbas have been held within the framework of the Normandy Format and the Minsk process. A special Trilateral contact group is working on a peaceful settlement of the Donbas situation. Three parties are involved in this process: representatives of Ukraine, Russia and the OSCE. Unofficially, representatives of the "LDNR" factions are also present. The second set of measures to implement the Minsk agreements was signed on 12 February 2015. The first paragraph of the document relates to an immediate ceasefire. Next, it is necessary to withdraw heavy weapons, ensure OSCE monitoring, release prisoners, grant Donbas special status and hold local elections, provide amnesty to the parties involved in the conflict and restore control over the Ukrainian-Russian border in the conflict zone. There are no conditions that the Ukrainian authorities should conduct direct negotiations with the leaders of the "LDNR" factions in the Minsk agreements. Read similar cases alleging that Ukraine does not advance in the implementation of the Minsk agreements under Zelenskyy, that Kyiv does not want to implement the current Minsk agreements, that Ukraine does not want to implement the Minsk agreements because it is controlled by the West, or that Kyiv has not implemented the conditions of "Minsk-2" for five years.

The memorandum with the IMF is putting Ukraine under external control

The new memorandum with the IMF, signed by Kyiv, actually puts Ukraine under external control. The memorandum with the IMF is selling Ukrainian land and will sell all our state-owned enterprises.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative alleging that Ukraine is controlled by the IMF. There is no evidence that cooperation with the IMF could threaten Ukrainian sovereignty. Ukraine has been a member of the IMF and World Bank since 3 September 1992. The relations between Ukraine and the IMF are based on agreements that support the economic development of Ukraine and the improvement of the free market conditions. Ukraine is a sovereign and independent state with a democratically-elected president and parliament. Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity are respected by almost the whole world. Read more disinformation cases about Ukraine being under foreign control.

Caesar Act targets anyone who even roots for the Syrian regime, including the Lebanese

…The Caeser Act has a negative effect on Lebanon because it works on stopping Lebanese exports to Iraq and to the Arab Gulf (region) and the Levant area. Sanctions on individuals mean that any individual in Lebanon, who considers himself to be a partisan of the Syrian regime, is placed on the list of sanctions by the banks and its money transfers.

Disproof

This is a misunderstanding of the new “Caeser Act” sanction implemented on Syrian targets including president Bashar Al-Assad. The Treasury Department and State Department released 39 designations under the Caesar Act and Executive Order 13894 that target individuals and businesses that support the Assad regime and obstruct a peaceful, political resolution of the conflict as called for by UNSCR 2254. The new American sanction act, which is named after a Syrian military police defector with the pseudonym “Caesar” who smuggled out 55,000 photos of detainees tortured to death in Syrian prisons and hospitals, targets anyone who aids the regime of Bashar al-Assad or provides assistance to certain industries operating inside the regime-held territory. It aims to force the regime to stop the bombardment carried out during ­Syria’s nine-year civil war and halt widely documented human rights abuses. The act also focuses on three sectors — the Syrian military, the domestic petroleum and gas industry, and reconstruction in regime-held areas — and imposes sanctions on anyone who provides support to or maintenance for them. In the military sector, for instance, the sanctions target anyone who sells or provides aircraft to the Syrian military or helps operate the equipment. According to the US state department, the sanctions “under the Caesar Act and Executive Order 13894 are not intended to harm the Syrian people, but rather to promote accountability for the Assad regime’s violence and destruction”. Executive Order 13894 includes menu-based sanctions including travel restrictions to the United States and isolation from the United States’ financial system for foreign persons who engage in or finance the obstruction, prevention, or disruption of a ceasefire or political solution to the conflict in Syria and members of their family, among other actions. Read more disinfo cases that claim that EU sanctions on Syria are illegal, or that the US admits that its goal in Syria is to defend terrorists from Russian attacks, even that the US uses terrorism and coronavirus in Syria, or EU sanctions are for merely doing business with Damascus.