Disinfo: Crimea was not annexed, the people voted for accession to Russia in a referendum

Summary

Nobody annexed Crimea. Crimeans do not suffer and are not annexed. This is their choice. This is not a violation of international law, because no one annexed them. There was a Crimean referendum.

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.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 198
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 11/05/2020
  • Outlet language(s) Russian
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: Ukraine, Russia
  • Keywords: illegal annexation, Manipulated elections/referendum, Ukrainian disintegration, Ukrainian statehood, Crimea
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US Congress transcripts will prove Russia did not meddle in 2016 election

The newly released House Intelligence Committee transcripts will help establish that there was no Russian meddling in the 2016 US elections whatsoever. According to the transcripts, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper “never saw any direct empirical evidence that the Trump campaign or someone in it was plotting [or] conspiring with the Russians to meddle with the election”. Nevertheless, in April 2019, Clapper still insisted that there may have been some “passive collusion” between Trump and Russia, despite Special Counsel Robert Mueller finding nothing of the kind.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative denying Moscow's interference in the 2016 US presidential election. Like multiple earlier stories made by pro-Kremlin outlets regarding the 2016 US election, the present report muddles the crucial distinction between: a) interference, b) collusion, and c) conspiracy. Russia's interference in the 2016 US presidential election is a well-documented fact. By the time the Mueller report was published, Russian meddling in the 2016 poll had been established by the US intelligence community. The Mueller report itself concluded that Moscow had carried out this effort "in sweeping and systematic fashion" (p. 1). On the other hand, collusionis "not a specific offense or theory of liability found in the United States Code, nor is it a term of art in [US] federal criminal law," (p. 2) and therefore gathering evidence of it fell outside the scope of the Special Counsel investigation. The aim of the probe was not merely to ascertain contacts between the Trump Campaign and Russia-linked individuals during the election period, but to establish whether these interactions were deliberate enough on the part of Trump Campaign officials to sustain charges of conspiracy(ibid). Clapper's testimony, therefore, is in line with the findings of the Special Counsel investigation and does nothing to suggest that Russia did not interfere in the election.

Despite government bans, Ukrainians secretly celebrate Victory Day

The Ukrainian people still celebrate Victory Day, despite the prohibitions of the authorities and those who want to destroy the memory of the feat of the soldiers and liberators. Despite the provocations, prohibitions and even overt attacks on the participants in the celebrations, people still celebrate May 9th. Despite all the repressions, crowds of people took to the streets of Ukraine.

Disproof

There are no “prohibitions” regarding WWII Victory Day in Ukraine. In the framework of the law on decommunisation, Ukraine celebrates “Victory Day over Nazism in WWII” on May 9. This holiday replaced the "Day of Victory over Fascism in the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945." The relevant law No. 2539 “On the perpetuation of the victory over Nazism in the Second World War of 1939-1945” was adopted by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine on April 9, 2015. The law prescribes respect for war veterans, participants in the Ukrainian liberation movement, the victims of Nazism and the memory of the victory over Nazism in World War II. Also, together with the EU countries, Ukraine annually celebrates the Day of Remembrance and Reconciliation on May 8: “We choose the European responsible model of remembrance, which honours all who fought against Nazism and all victims of the war. This is a proper warning against the recurrence of such tragedies in the future,” said Anton Drobovich, head of the Ukrainian Institute of National Memory. Read more disinformation cases about WWII here.

The EU is not helping, but you should not ask for Russian help

Brussels wanted to convince the Western Balkans that it is not “right” to ask for Russian help. The EU organised a summit to convince the Balkan states that aid from Russia and China is not about helping them; instead, it is aimed at “strengthening their positions on the continent.” When Serbia, Montenegro, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina and North Macedonia asked for EU help to combat the crisis, Brussels did not do anything, but now the EU demanded that they take part in a video conference.

Disproof

The claims made in this article are broadly similar to recurring narratives about the EU's complete failure to respond to the coronavirus crisis. The EU is providing an EUR 3.3. billion package for the Western Balkans, including financial help to their healthcare sectors and exclusive access to EU instruments and medical equipment. According to the conclusions of the 6 May EU-Western Balkans summit, the participating states should work on fully aligning themselves with EU foreign policy solutions, notably on issues where "major common interests are at stake. The document does not mention Moscow and Beijing, and EU foreign policy is not against accepting medical assistance from Russia or China - as several EU members have accepted such help.