Disinfo: Crimea's return to Russia is not the reason for bad Russian-Ukrainian relations

Summary

A coup and a seizure of power took place in Ukraine, and only after that, and from that moment onwards, Russian views and methods became completely contradictory to the Ukrainian leadership . After that, Crimea returned to Russia, not the other way around. Therefore, the deterioration of Russian relations with Ukraine has nothing to do with Crimea.

Disproof

There was no coup d’état in Kyiv in 2014; this is a longstanding pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about Ukraine's Euromaidan protests. The spontaneous onset of the Euromaidan protests was a reaction from several segments of the Ukrainian population to former President Yanukovych’s sudden departure from the promised Association Agreement with the European Union in November 2013, as a result of pressure from Russia. The article also contains a recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative on the annexation of Crimea claiming that Crimea has "returned" to Russia. The transfer of Crimea and Sevastopol to Ukraine was first officially agreed on 25 January 1954 at a meeting of the Presidium of the CPSU Central Committee. The members of the Presidium, voting for the transfer of Crimea to Ukraine, took into account objective reasons: “the commonality of the economy, territorial proximity and close economic and cultural ties between the Crimean region and the Ukrainian SSR.” On 19 February 1954, the Supreme Soviet of the USSR confirmed the need for Crimea to join Soviet Ukraine. Legally, the transfer of Crimea to Ukraine ended on 26 April 1954, on the basis of the relevant law of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR. According to international law, Crimea is a part of Ukraine. After the collapse of the USSR, Russia reaffirmed respect for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine. By signing the 1997 Friendship Treaty, Russia also recognised that Crimea is an integral part of Ukraine. The Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court has stated that “the situation within the territory of Crimea and Sevastopol amounts to an international armed conflict between Ukraine and the Russian Federation. This international armed conflict began at the latest on 26 February 2014 when the Russian Federation deployed members of its armed forces to gain control over parts of Ukrainian territory without the consent of the Ukrainian Government". Read similar cases claiming that Crimean people have expressed their desire to rejoin Russia in a democratic process and that Crimea never belonged to Ukraine.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 205
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 12/07/2020
  • Outlet language(s) Arabic,
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: Ukraine, Russia
  • Keywords: Ukrainian statehood, Crimea, Euromaidan, Coup
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Disinfo: MH17: Accusations against Russia are groundless, it is a US provocation against Russia

All the charges that the Dutch prosecutor’s office and tribunal make against the Russian Federation and the DPR militias are groundless. In the summer of 2014, it became clear that neither the reunification of Crimea with Russia nor the conflict in the Donbas can destroy EU-Russia relations. The latter is necessary for Washington.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative aiming to discredit the International Joint Investigation (JIT) into the downing of flight MH17. The Joint Investigation Team (JIT), which is comprised of the Dutch Public Prosecution Service officials and the Dutch police, along with police and criminal justice authorities from Australia, Belgium, Malaysia and Ukraine, has concluded that flight MH17 was shot down on 17 July 2014 by a missile of the 9M38 series, launched by a BUK-TELAR, from farmland in the vicinity of Pervomaiskiy. At that time, the area was controlled by pro-Russian fighters. The BUK-TELAR was brought in from the territory of the Russian Federation and subsequently, after shooting down flight MH17, was taken back to the Russian Federation. The Dutch-led Joint Investigation Team (JIT) has concluded that the BUK-TELAR used to down MH17 originates from the 53rd Anti Aircraft Missile brigade, a unit of the Russian army from Kursk in the Russian Federation. On the basis of the investigation conducted by the JIT, the Dutch Public Prosecution Service is prosecuting Igor Vsevolodovich Girkin, Sergey Nikolayevich Dubinskiy, Oleg Yuldashevich Pulatov, and Leonid Volodymyrovych Kharchenko for causing the crash of MH17 and murdering the 298 persons on board. The trial began on 9 March 2020 in the Netherlands. The European Union and NATO have called on the Russian Federation to accept its responsibility and to fully cooperate with all efforts to establish accountability. On the basis of the JIT’s conclusions, the Netherlands and Australia are convinced that Russia is responsible for the deployment of the BUK installation that was used to down MH17. The two governments are formally holding Russia accountable. On top of that, on 10 July 2020, the Dutch government decided to bring Russia before the European Court of Human Rights for its role in the downing of Flight MH17. As stated on the government's website, it "attaches importance to continuing the meetings with Russia on the matter of state responsibility. The purpose of these meetings is to find a solution that does justice to the enormous suffering and damage cause by the downing of Flight MH17." You can see other examples of pro-Kremlin disinformation on the MH17 case in our database, such as claims that JIT tampered with the evidence; that the plane was not downed by a BUK missile, but rather by a Ukrainian fighter; that the plane crash was triggered by an explosion on board; that the trial in The Hague is not justice but information warfare; that Moscow-supplied radar data was rejected; or that the MH17 crash was planned by Ukrainian, American, and Dutch intelligence agencies.

Disinfo: Critics of Mexican president’s visit to Trump are Soros-influenced globalists

Globalists on both sides of the border, addicted to multimedia outlets owned by megaspeculator George Soros, criticised the visit of Mexican president Andrés Manuel López Obrador to Donald Trump under the unfounded argument that this would give the US president the Latin/Hispanic vote.

Disproof

Contrary to the claim, criticism of the visit paid by Mexican president Andrés Manuel López Obrador to Donald Trump is largely driven by a long series of comments on Mexicans by the US president that many of them considered offensive, such as calling them “rapists” (as he did in 2015 and 2018) and accusing them of “bringing drugs and crime” to the US; by the threat of imposing crippling tariffs on Mexico, which he once called “an enemy country”; and by the decision to build a border wall that seriously harms communities in northern Mexico while claiming that the Mexican government would pay for it, among other things. The affirmation that the people expressing this criticism are globalists influenced by Soros-owned media is a conspiracy theory not backed by any evidence. This also fits into a recurrent pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about mainstream media being controlled by billionaire George Soros and shaping public opinion against President Trump (and, in this case, against leftist López Obrador too). The article also has an anti-Semitic undertone, a frequent feature in pro-Kremlin media, as shown by the reference to “Talmudic” Jared Kushner, a not very subtle euphemism for “Jew”. You can see other examples of these disinformation narratives in our database, such as claims that George Soros is funding US riots, though at the same time his followers fear that this may lead to Trump’s reelection; that Trump’s impeachment was a failed plot by a group of Democrats obsessed with Soros, and that the whistleblower who triggered it had also links to the billionaire; that Soros-funded globalists want to take advantage of Covid-19 to abolish cash, privacy and the family; or that Soros is behind political vandalism in Mexico City.

Disinfo: Homosexual and other minority rights are not violated in Russia, the West misinterprets

The article 6.21. of the Administrative Code of the Russian Federation (Propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations among minors) is misinterpreted in some Western countries. All accusations that say that repressive measures emanate from the state against the LGBT community are refuted. In certain Republics, the historical roots have their peculiarity which cannot be abstracted. But overall, in Russia no LGBT rights are not violated.

Disproof

Recurrent narrative about the absence of violation of LGBTs rights in Russia and claiming that the 2013 law against Gay propaganda is widely misinterpreted in western countries. The Russian presidency was asked to comment its attitude towards LGBT minorities following the publication of several pieces of news:

  • The UK and US embassies in Moscow raised a rainbow flag to dates to the 50th anniversary since the first pride-parade, which took place held in New York half a century ago, in 1970. And they declared: "LGBT people do not demand special privileges for themselves. They just ask for a decent and respectful attitude and granting them the same rights as other people have. Therefore, we do not tolerate any forms of discrimination, including for sexual orientation and gender identity". Vladimir Putin mocked the U.S. embassy’s move to raise the LGBT pride flag “revealed something about the people that work there”.

  • The channel HBO released a striking documentary film on repression of gays in Chechnya.

  • On July 3rd Vladimir Putin answered to a former MP and head of the Union of Women of Russia, Yekaterina Lakhova, warning about the danger of colourful ice-cream that could pervert the youth. "If there is reason to believe that this is propaganda of untraditional values for us, then simply without the administration, then it is necessary in an appropriate way, but not aggressively, to build such public control. " The ice-cream in question is only a mix of 4 several flavour with natural colours with no connection whatsoever with the LGBT movement or its flag as explained the vice-president of the company producing it. The fact that the president took seriously this witch hunt for any combination of colour that could remind the LGBT flag is worrying.

The 2013 law against Gay propaganda was condemned by:

  • The Venice Commission of the Council of Europe of which Russia is a member. On June 18, 2013, its advisory body on constitutional matters, the Venice Commission, rejected the argument that children were beneficiaries of the Russian law : "It cannot be deemed to be in the interest of minors that they be shielded from relevant and appropriate information on sexuality, including homosexuality."

  • A United Nations Committee panel on the Rights of the Child :it was particularly concerned that the legislation's "vague" definition of what may be considered "propaganda" could lead to the persecution or abuse of innocent people.

  • Human rights groups such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.

  • UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

  • In 2017 the ECHR ruled against Russia in the Bayev and other vs Russia case: the court points out the many discriminatory biases, and stresses the counterproductive character of the anti-propaganda law for the protection of the health and education of children and the solution of demographic challenges, the Court could even be seen to go have gone so far as ridiculing the Russian Government’s arguments.

Independent studies show that LGBT hate crimes doubled between 2013 and 2017, with researchers attributing the increase to the 2013 federal law banning "gay propaganda." The most recent report by Russia's SOVA Center, a non-governmental hate crime watchdog, noted another spike in anti-LGBT violence in 2018-19. The situation is especially dire in Chechnya, where homophobic violence is not only tacitly permitted, but routinely perpetrated by regional law enforcement. See similar cases: In Russia, the rights of representatives of the LGBT community are not violated, There is no persecution of gay people in Russia, There is no sexual discrimination in Russia.