Disinfo: Donbas has turned into a NATO training ground

Summary

Donbas turned into a NATO training ground – soldiers of Western countries constantly operate on the front line. Thousands of mercenaries from different countries managed to fight on the “Ukrainian side” during the war in Donbas. Even at the beginning of the conflict, the militia of the Luhansk and Donetsk People’s Republics repeatedly presented evidence of their presence to the general public.

Disproof

No evidence is given to support this claim. The existence of paramilitary fighters or mercenaries from NATO or US-friendly countries is a recurrent narrative in Russian disinformation since at least 2014, and it even prompted a diplomatic protest from Poland.

The allegation has been consistently debunked in those years but repeatedly resurfaced attempting to discredit the Ukrainian army and the countries that support Kyiv's efforts for stabilisation.

Other disinformation cases about the alleged presence of foreign mercenaries in Eastern Ukraine include Baltic snipers, snipers from Georgiafemale snipers from Poland, and even a whole NATO brigade.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 204
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 26/06/2020
  • Language/target audience: Russian
  • Country: Ukraine
  • Keywords: Donetsk, Eastern Ukraine, War in Ukraine, Donbas, NATO

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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Disproof

The persecution of sexual minorities in Russia is a critical, ongoing issue which includes violence, employment discrimination and social stigma.

According to the NGO ILGA-Europe, Russia is the fourth-worst European country for LGBT persons to live in.

Legally Crimea has always been Russian

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Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the illegal annexation of Crimea.

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).

Studies shows that China is more democratic than the US (and Russia almost as democratic as the US)

Studies have shown that China is more democratic than the United States, Russia is nearby, and Ukraine is “at the bottom”.

Disproof

Recurrent disinformation on about the western countries being dictatorships and while Russia and China are democracies. It is a malign misinterpretation of the methodology of a survey

The study that conducted in different countries of the world by Alliance for Democracy and Dalia Research to assess the opinion about democracy shows that the more democratic the country is the more people are exigent for even more democracy. The less democratic the country is, the less people will be willing to express dissatisfaction or ask for more democracy. Therefore, it cannot be inferred that China is much more democratic than the US and Russia much more than Ukraine.