Disinfo: EU imposed sanctions after MH17 was shot down, but provided no evidence of Russia’s liability

Summary

The EU imposed sanctions for the first time after the MH17 passenger plane was shot down over Ukraine in July 2014 (without providing any evidence of Russia’s liability). The boycott is aimed at Russian state-owned banks, arms import and export, and the oil and gas industry.

Disproof

This is a disinformation claim about the downing of Flight MH17, for which Russia is responsible according to the international investigation, and misrepresents the history and causes of the EU’s sanctions on Russia.

The first EU sanctions against Russia were introduced on 17 March 2014, before MH17 was shot down. The first bans and asset freezes against persons involved in actions against Ukraine's territorial integrity followed Russia's illegal annexation of Crimea. Later, in view of Russia's actions destabilising the situation in eastern Ukraine, the EU imposed economic sanctions in July 2014 and reinforced them in September 2014. In March 2015, the European Council linked the duration of those economic restrictions to the complete implementation of the Minsk agreements.

The Dutch-led criminal investigation by the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) has been ongoing since 2014. The results of the investigation of the Joint Investigation Team are clear: flight MH17 was shot down by a missile from the 9M38 series, which was launched by the BUK TELAR system. The system was transported from the Russian Federation to an agricultural field near the city of Pervomaiskiy in eastern Ukraine, from where the rocket was launched. After firing, the system with one missing missile returned to the Russian Federation. On May 24 2018, JIT announced in its conclusion that the Buk belongs to the 53rd Anti-Aircraft Missile Brigade, a unit of the Russian armed forces in Kursk, Russian Federation. The public hearing of the criminal trial over the downing of the flight MH17 started on 9 March 2020 in the Netherlands.

On the basis of the investigation conducted by the JIT, consisting of law enforcement agencies from Australia, Belgium, Malaysia, Ukraine and the Netherlands, the Dutch Public Persecution service is prosecuting Igor Vsevolodovich Girkin, Sergey Nikolayevich Dubinskiy, Oleg Yuldashevich Pulatov and Leonid Volodymyrovych Kharchenko for causing the MH17 crash and murdering the 298 persons on board. The Public Prosecution Service alleges that the four individuals cooperated to obtain and deploy the BUK TELAR at the firing location with the aim of shooting down an aircraft. For that reason, they can also be held jointly accountable for downing of flight MH17.

You can find 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 the irrefutable evidence of Russia’s innocence is being rejected; or that both the MH17 and the Skripal cases are anti-Russian provocations.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 203
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 27/06/2020
  • Language/target audience: German, English
  • Country: EU, Malaysia, Russia, Ukraine, The Netherlands
  • Keywords: Sanctions, MH17

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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Ukraine does not exist as a state, it is a colony of the US Democratic Party

Ukraine does not exist today. It is a colony of the US Democratic Party. Therefore, Ukrainians’ opinions do not interest anyone at all.

Disproof

No evidence is given. Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about Ukraine, which is often claimed to be under external control from the US, NATO, the EU, or IMF.

Ukraine is a sovereign state. The US or its political leaders, either from the Democratic or the Republican party, do 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.

Ukraine is a fake country, Ukrainian ideology was created to split the Russian nation

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We see that this ideology led to a bloody civil war and attempts to destroy and suppress the Donbas.

Disproof

An example of historical revisionism, recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative claiming that Ukraine is an artificial country and that Ukrainians are a part of a larger Russian nation. This publication also promotes the pro-Kremlin narrative that there is a civil war in Donbas waged by Ukraine against the people of Donbas.

Ukraine is a well-defined nation-state that has preserved language, literature and identity despite foreign rule for long periods. It is a sovereign state whose borders are guaranteed by international agreements but were violated by Russia through the illegal annexation of Crimea. Ukraine is recognised in international law as a sovereign nation-state, with its own flag, nationality, language and with a democratically-elected president and parliament.

In Ukraine, they will take away apartments from those who do not want to fight in the Donbas

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Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin narrative that Ukraine is sabotaging peace in Donbas and that Ukraine does not need Donbas.

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