Disinfo: Crimea's return to the Russian motherland was based on a popular referendum

Summary

Moscow has repeatedly indicated that the return of Crimea to the motherland of Russia was based on the results of a popular referendum organised on the peninsula in March 2014.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the illegal annexation of Crimea. No international body recognises the so-called referendum, announced 27th of February and held less than three weeks later.

On March 27th, 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. The oft-cited figure of 97% has been contested by the Kremlin’s own Human Rights Council, which estimated that only between 30% and 50% of Crimeans took part in the referendum, of which some 50-60% favoured secession.

See here for the EU statement on the sixth anniversary of Crimea annexation.

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.

[Note: This disinformation claim appeared in the same article as the claim that Moscow did not interfere in the armed conflict in Donbas.]

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 201
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 02/06/2020
  • Language/target audience: Arabic,
  • Country: Ukraine, Russia
  • Keywords: illegal annexation, Manipulated elections/referendum, Ukrainian disintegration, Ukrainian statehood, Referendum
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Ukraine refuses to implement the Minsk agreements

Ukraine categorically refuses to implement the Minsk agreements, yet demands Russia fulfill them.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about war in Ukraine claiming that Ukraine refuses to implement the Minsk agreements. Ukraine has never claimed that it does not want to implement the Minsk agreements. The implementation of the agreements remains one of the key priorities of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. After the COVID-19 pandemic began, the Ukrainian side proposed to hold the negotiations conducted by the Trilateral Contact Group in a video format. 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 situation in Donbas. 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.

A veteran of Ukrainian army drove a truck into protesters in Minneapolis

Bogdan Vechirko, a veteran of the Ukrainian army drove a tanker truck with fuel into a crowd in Minneapolis where a motorway was blocked by demonstrators, there might be many victims. It is not excluded that the unsuccessful terrorist attack was made in order to worsen the situation. A similar provocation was used during the coup in Ukraine in 2014. On February 20, Kyivans sparked blood, which resulted in a 6-year war that is still going on.

Disproof

Disinformation. The truck driver who drove through the protesters in Minnesota, US, was identified as Bogdan Vechirko, an American of the Ukrainian descent. However he is not veteran of the Ukrainian army and in fact has never served in the Ukrainian armed forces. Bogdan Vechirko living in the US shares the the same name as a Ukrainian soldier Bogdan Vechirko, however they are not the same person. The General Staff of the Ukrainian armed forces has denied that Bogdan Vechirko who is currently in the US police custody has ever served in the Ukrainian military. The investigation by the Ukrainian media also reveals that they are two different persons. Later media reports in the US state that the Minnesota tuck incident was likely an accident. The Euromaidan in Ukraine in 2014 was not a coup attempt but a nationwide popular protest against the government's sudden announcement that it would not sign the EU Association Agreement. See the full debunk here.

The US is ready to help return Crimea to Ukraine or turn it into a nuclear desert

The Americans are preparing, if not to return the Crimea to Ukraine, then to at least turn it into a nuclear desert.

Disproof

Conspiracy theory with no evidence given. Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative of Ukraine being a puppet of the US mixed with the narrative about Ukraine and Crimea. The pro-Kremlin disinformation alleges that the flight over the Ukrainian territory of two US strategic bombers is a pretext to the seizure of Crimea by force. In fact, Air Force Command of Ukrainian Air Force informed that on May 29, four Ukrainian fighter jets accompanied the strategic bombers of the US Air Force during their flight over the territory of Ukraine. This was a planned event to achieve interoperability between NATO and its key partners. Before entering Ukrainian air space, the US bombers were accompanied by the Polish jets. Ukraine is a sovereign state. The US does not control Ukraine. Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity are respected by most of the free world, confirmed by the resolutions of the United Nations, but violated by Russia. Crimea was illegally annexed by Moscow based on an illegitimate referendum. 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 9 December 2019, the UN General Assembly confirmed its non-recognition of the illegal annexation of Crimea.