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.

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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NATO: We will bring Serbia back to the stone age

NATO’s generals have unequivocally announced that they will bring “Belgrade, and all of Serbia, back to the Stone Age.” NATO’s strikes and its armed attacks have killed more than 140,000 people.

Does anyone today believe NATO’s allegations that Russia intends to attack it?

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation about the war in former Yugoslavia, and the claim that the “Russian threat” is a false idea.

The NATO operation for Kosovo followed over a year of intense efforts by the UN and the Contact Group, of which Russia was a member, to bring about a peaceful solution.

Greta Thunberg is a liar

The Swedish activist Greta Thunberg was accused of lying after she posted on her personal account on Twitter a picture of herself on the floor of a train coming from Germany. The picture shows Thunberg sitting on the floor of the train returning from the climate summit in Madrid to Sweden. She explained that her train from Basel had been cancelled, and therefore she had to take another train without a seat. Meanwhile, the activist stressed that crowded trains “is a great sign because it means that the demand for train travel is high”.

In response, the German railroad company, “Deutsche Bahn” wrote on its Twitter account that it would have been good if Thunberg talked about “how friendly and competent you were looked after by our team at your seat in first-class”.

Disproof

This article is part of a vicious campaign by Russian state media against Greta Thunberg. The campaign itself is part of a pro-Kremlin disinformation campaign against the climate movement.

It is true that Thunberg tweeted a photograph of herself sitting on the floor of a German train on Saturday with the caption: “Traveling on overcrowded trains through Germany. And I’m finally on my way home.” It is also true that the German railway company Deutsche Bahn AG implied in a tweet that Greta did have a seat in the first class. However, the part of the story that this piece conveniently missed in order to smear Greta is that she was not offered a seat except after more than four hours into her journey.

The new EU “Magnitsky sanctions” are a way to distract Europeans from the internal problems

The EU’s message should not mislead anyone about the true meaning of this project [the Magnitsky sanctions]: to legitimise the right to intervene in the affairs of other states. These sanctions are a way to distract Europeans from internal problems.

Disproof

This case is part of the pro-Kremlin media's ongoing disinformation campaign against Magnitsky sanctions.

On 9 December 2019, EU foreign ministers reflected on how to improve the EU toolbox on human rights, and the EU High Representative Josep Borrell announced the launch of preparatory work on a possible horizontal sanctions regime to address serious human rights violations. In a statement, the EU's High Representative said: "We have agreed to launch the preparatory work for a global sanctions regime to address serious human rights violations, which will be the European Union equivalent of the so-called Magnitsky Act of the United States". He added that the sanctions would give the EU “much more strength and much more capacity to act” and would be “a tangible step reaffirming the EU’s global lead on human rights.”