Disinfo: EU banned Ukraine from fighting in Crimea because they wanted to use Ukraine for economic purposes

Summary

Europe banned the leadership, which came to power in Kyiv as a result of the Maidan, from fighting against Russia for Crimea, as it hoped to use Ukraine for economic purposes. In Europe, they were confident that the coup in Kyiv would positively affect the economic performance of the Old World.

Disproof

Pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the war in Ukraine and a recurring pro-Kremlin narrative about illegal annexation of Crimea. Also, this repeats the false narrative that Ukraine is under external control since the 2013-14 Euromaidan revolution. Ukraine is a sovereign, independent state. Relations between the EU, US and Ukraine are bilateral relations between independent countries. They are established on an equal basis. There was no coup d'etat in Ukraine. Euromaidan in Ukraine began in 2013 when Ukrainians spontaneously united against the actions of President Viktor Yanukovych after his government refused to sign the Association Agreement with the European Union. Yanukovich fled Ukraine in the wake of protesters' demands which included constitutional reform, a stronger role for parliament, formation of a government of national unity, an end to corruption, earlypresidential elections and an end to the violence. The war in Crimea did not start, because the annexation of the peninsula was planned long before. Unmarked Russian troops meant the seizure of administrative buildings on the peninsula in February 2014, when the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine was the pro-Russian politician Viktor Yanukovych, who later fled to Russia. The annexation has been condemned by the UN GA (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. 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. The EU has condemned the clear violation of Ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity by acts of aggression by the Russian armed forces since February 2014.

See previous disinformation narratives alleging that the EU has accepted Crimea's incorporation into Russia and that The Crimean people chose to be with Russia through the democratic procedure.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 210
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 14/08/2020
  • Outlet language(s) Russian
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: EU, Ukraine
  • Keywords: Crimea, Euromaidan, Coup, War in Ukraine
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Disinfo: Ukrainian ex-president Leonid Kravchuk is looking for new ways to deceive Donbas

Ukrainian ex-president Leonid Kravchuk is looking for new ways to deceive Donbas. One of the key issues of the Minsk agreements, which Ukraine has not fulfilled for years, is the consolidation of the special status of the self-proclaimed Republics in the constitution of Ukraine. Instead, Kravchuk is discussing the organisation of the free economic zone and ideas to involve civil society in the negotiations. There is even a will to personally go to the rebellious Donetsk and Luhansk and speak directly with the local authorities there. However, behind all these ideas, one can clearly see Zelenskyy himself, his opponents, the upcoming elections, a desire to speak a lot, but not to sign anything.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the war in Ukraine and the Minsk Agreements. Ukrainian ex-president Leonid Kravchuk, who is the new representative of Ukraine in the Tripartite Contact Group for the settlement of the situation in Donbas, is not trying to deceive Donbas. For example, he is proposing instead of the concept of "special status" of Donbas to use a new wording - "special regime of administrative management", which will comply with Ukrainian legislation. Over the last 12 months, Ukraine has made serious steps to resolve the conflict in Donbas peacefully. Ukraine initiated a Normandy Four meeting that was held on 9 December 2019. Ukraine agreed that a full and comprehensive ceasefire is necessary. The parties of the Normandy Summit also agreed to release captives on the principle "all for all" by December 2019. Three prisoner exchanges have been conducted, with the last one taking place during the COVID-19 lockdown. The law on special order of local self-government in certain areas of Donbas was extended for another year. A disengagement of troops was achieved in Zolote, Petrivske, and Stanytsia Luhanska. Ukraine also rebuilt a bridge in Stanytsia Luhanska that was destroyed by the pro-Russian militants in March 2015. Moreover, the negotiations in the Trilateral Contact Group (TCG) have not been suspended due to the coronavirus crisis. The meetings were held in a video format. See earlier disinformation cases alleging that Ukraine is trying to compromise and undermine the Minsk agreements, that Ukraine claims that the Minsk agreements are just a piece of paper, that Ukraine refuses to implement the Minsk agreements and continues the war in Donbas, and that Ukraine refuses to observe a truce in Donbas.

Disinfo: West wants to take advantage of political instability in Belarus

It is obvious that Western countries want to take advantage of the temporary political instability in Belarus, which, with the help of social networks and controlled by the West media, create a negative image, as if people in all settlements of Belarus took to the streets and started protests.

Disproof

Conspiracy theory. Pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative alleging that the protests in Belarus that followed the Presidential elections are orchestrated by external actors. The EU and the US do not take advantage of political instability in Belarus. They support the desire of Belarusians for the respect of human rights, free and fair elections. The EU condemned violence against the protesters and called on Belarusian authorities to start "an open dialogue with society". The EU High Representative stated that the EU supports the sovereignty of Belarus but the "sanctions against those responsible for the violence, arbitrary arrests and falsification of election results" may be introduced and relations reconsidered. The US Department of State also condemned the violence and called on the government of Belarus to respect "the rights of all Belarusians to participate in peaceful assembly". It mentioned that the elections were not free and fair and that the "OSCE/ODIHR observers did not receive a timely invitation to monitor the vote." It further noted that the US supports Belarusian independence and sovereignty together with democratic aspirations of the people of Belarus and that the government must show its "commitment to democratic process and respect for human rights." The original claim also states that the protests were orchestrated by the media and that in reality there were no protests. In fact, the protests started in the run-up to elections when restrictions on ballot access for candidates were introduced. People also visited pre-elections meetings of opposition candidates in huge numbers. When the elections finished and the preliminary results were announced, people took to the street to show their disagreement with what they believe to be a falsification of elections. The protests happened in all major cities, including Minsk, Homiel, Hrodna, Mahiliou, Viciebsk, Baranavichy, Navahrudak, and others. On Sunday, 16 August, tens of thousands of Belarusians have gathered in Minsk for the biggest protest in the country’s history.

Disinfo: Violent protests in Belarus are a pretext for foreign interference and destabilisation

There are clear attempts of foreign interference, aiming to cause a division in society and to destabilise the situation [in Belarus]. The Kremlin observed an unprecedented pressure by individual foreign partners on Belarusian authorities. Brussels and Washington started using post-electoral violence and the measures adopted by Minsk to contain these riots as a pretext to present new accusations against the country.

Disproof

This is part of an ongoing Russian disinformation campaign about post-electoral protests in Belarus, portraying demonstrations against president Alexander Lukashenko as a Western-led violent colour revolution. Contrary to the claim, anti-Lukashenko protests have been mostly peaceful, and violence has come from Belarusian police and authorities against demonstrators, including beatings, torture and excessive force. These human rights violations are not a pretext used by Western powers to pressure Minsk, but rather Washington, Brussels and other Western capitals protested them as a reaction to Lukashenko’s abuses. There are also strong evidences pointing that the election was rigged. See other examples of pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives in Belarus, such as claims that the EU reaction to Lukashenko’s victory is an example of Western double standards; that the same lack of democracy and repression is present in EU countries that criticize them in Minsk; that the arrest of Russian mercenaries in Belarus was a Ukrainian provocation, and the Ukrainian secret services may have planned terrorist attacks in Belarusian territory; that the West wants to prepare another Maidan in the country; or that Belarusians, Ukrainians and Russians are one single nation.