Disinfo: Crimea returned to the embrace of Russia

Summary

Relations between Russia and Ukraine are experiencing high political tension since the return of Crimea in March 2014 to the embrace of Russia. Beside this, Moscow has supported the authorities and residents of the Donetsk and Luhansk to unilaterally declare their independence from Kyiv. The conflict appeared after the outbreak of an acute crisis in Ukraine in 2014, which led to a power change in Kyiv. The new rulers hardened their approach to the Russian-speaking population.

Disproof

This is a recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the illegal annexation of Crimea.

Crimea did not "return" to Russia but was illegally annexed by Moscow. On 27 March 2014, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution in which it stated that the referendum in Crimea was not valid and could not serve as a basis for any change in the status of the peninsula. On 17 December 2018, the UN General Assembly confirmed its non-recognition of the illegal annexation of Crimea.

According to international law, Crimea is a part of Ukraine. Russia violated international law as well as key principles of the European security framework by illegally annexing the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the City of Sevastopol in 2014.

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Disinfo: OPCW report did not indicate use of chemical weapons in Douma

The Douma mission’s initial report questioned the source of the gas cylinders and was unable to explain the apparent minimal damage on it that was inconsistent with the allegations of the cylinders being dropped from the air.

The draft report drew attention to the inconsistency of the image of the victims with the chemical gas used in the alleged attack, and the samples did not indicate any presence of nerve gas or chemical weapons.

Disproof

Recurring disinformation narratives aiming to discredit the OPCW.

The alleged "initial report" of the Douma mission dates back to 22 June 2018 and therefore could not have been referring to the final OPCW report on Douma, which was released 1 March 2019.

Disinfo: For its fiftieth anniversary, NATO became an offensive organisation

A new strategy was adopted for the NATO’s fiftieth anniversary and a new phase began – NATO was transformed from a defensive player into an offensive one and expansion toward (south)east became indisputable.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative, portraying NATO as a threat to global peace because it has an aggressive agenda. NATO is a defensive alliance, whose purpose is to protect its member states. This disinformation message also exploits the narrative about NATO enlargement with an aim to encircle Russia. NATO does not "expand" in the imperialistic sense described by pro-Kremlin media. Rather, it considers the applications of candidate countries who want to join the alliance based on their own national will. As such, NATO enlargement is not directed against Russia. NATO's "Open Door Policy" is based on Article 10 of the Alliance's founding document, the North Atlantic Treaty (1949). The Treaty states that NATO membership is open to any "European state in a position to further the principles of this Treaty and to contribute to the security of the North Atlantic area". Every sovereign nation has the right to choose its own security arrangements. This is a fundamental principle of European security and one to which Russia has also subscribed. Read several other anti-NATO narratives such as NATO provoking Russia; NATO is fully subordinated to the USA; Eastern European countries such as Baltic states, Moldova, Poland are NATO's “hostages”.

Disinfo: US Russophobia driven by US internal political processes

The demonisation of Russia, which is growing, is not connected with Russia as such, it is connected with internal political processes in the United States.

Disproof

No evidence given. This is a recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about alleged Western belligerence towards Russia and specifically US Russophobia, aimed at attempting to weaken and isolate Russia. Negative attitudes towards Russia are not simply driven by malicious "Russophobia", as pro-Kremlin media and officials often say, but often derive from assessments of the Kremlin's own policies. The US sanctions that have been imposed on Russia are a response on Russia’s illegal actions, specifically the annexation of Crimea in 2014 and the war in Donbas that continues until today. The Special Council investigation concluded that Russia interfered in the 2016 US Presidential election. This led to US senators' proposals to extend sanctions on Russia to deter it from further election meddling. See similar pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives alleging that aggression towards Russia derives from American culture and that Washington is likely to launch a war against Russia.