Disinfo: Giving Ukraine special status is just an opportunity for NATO to expand eastwards

Summary

Giving Ukraine the status of a NATO partner with expanded capabilities is just an opportunity for the Alliance to expand eastwards.

This decision is no different from a deliberate promotion of this destructive course by the Ukrainian authorities. With ever new dividends the NATO states are in fact showing that they are not interested in the settlement of the inner-Ukrainian conflict. Otherwise it will be difficult to further intimidate citizens by the invented Russian threat and to militarily expand the Alliance’s eastern flank.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative claiming that the “Russian threat” is an invention spread by NATO in order to expand eastwards.

NATO does not "expand eastwards" as the pro-Kremlin media claim. Rather, the Alliance considers the applications of candidate countries who want to join the alliance based on their own national will. NATO enlargement is not directed against Russia. NATO's "Open Door Policy" is based on Article 10 of the Alliance's founding document, the North Atlantic Treaty (1949). The Treaty states that NATO membership is open to any "European state in a position to further the principles of this Treaty and to contribute to the security of the North Atlantic area".

Ukraine as a sovereign nation has the right to choose its own security arrangements. This is a fundamental principle of European security, one that Russia has also subscribed to and should respect. According to Article I of the Helsinki Final Act which established the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in 1975, every country has the right "to belong, or not to belong, to international organisations, to be, or not to be, a party to bilateral or multilateral treaties including the right to be, or not to be, a party to treaties of alliance." All the OSCE member states, including Russia, have sworn to uphold those principles.

Moreover, the Russian threat in Ukraine is not invented.

In March 2014, Russia illegally annexed Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea. 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).

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.

Also, the war in eastern Ukraine is a well-documented act of aggression by Russian armed forces, ongoing since 2014.

Since the illegal annexation of Crimea, NATO has been genuinely concerned about the security challenges posed by Russia to Transatlantic security.

This disinformation message appeared in the same article as the claim that Ukraine refuses to implement the Minsk agreements and continues the war in Donbas.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 202
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 17/06/2020
  • Language/target audience: German
  • Country: Russia, Ukraine, US
  • Keywords: security threat, Anti-Russian, Maria Zakharova, Russian expansionism, Ukrainian disintegration, NATO, The West
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No convincing evidence of the Kremlin’s involvement in Skripal attack

Sergei and Yulia Skripal were found unconscious on a park bench in Salisbury, about two hours southwest of London, in March 2018. The former British Prime Minister Theresa May accused the Kremlin of being the mastermind behind the assassination (attempt). London declared several times that Russia was “highly likely” behind the attack. The Russian side rejects all accusations and insists that even two years after the incident, Britain has been unable to provide convincing evidence of the Kremlin’s involvement in the attack.

Disproof

The story advances a recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative casting the Skripal poisoning as wholly unconnected to Russia.

The Kremlin's involvement in the poisoning has been proven via a throrough investigation. British Police have presented a solid chain of evidence on the Skripal case, with pictures, connecting the suspects to the locations in the case. Parts of the material have been released to the public. The evidence was sufficient to charge two Russian nationals, Anatoliy Chepiga and Aleksandr Mishkin with the attack on the Skripals, both Russian military intelligence operatives from the GRU, who travelled to the UK using fake names and documents.

Syria didn’t receive food or medicines from the EU for a long time

Syria for a long time does not depend on Europe (European Union), especially for food and medicines, because it is under the American shoe and its pressure, and Syrians have never known any sovereign decision from the union until this moment.

Disproof

Before the war, the EU was Syria's largest trading partner with €3.6 billion, but bilateral trade has contracted since the war to only €0,5 billion in 2016, and reached 0.657 billion in 2019.

Since the beginning of the war, the EU and its Member States have been the largest humanitarian donor to the Syrian crisis, having contributed over €20 billion to projects inside Syria and in neighbouring countries. In the context of the fourth Brussels Conference on “Supporting the Future of Syria and the Region”, which took place from 22 to 30 June 2020, the conference succeeded in mobilising aid to Syrians inside the country and in neighbouring countries, including hosting communities, through pledges totalling €6.9 billion, of which €4.9 billion for 2020, and €2 billion in multi-year pledges for 2021 and beyond. Three quarters of the pledges came from the EU and Member States.

Crimea returned to Russia after a referendum

Crimea returned to Russia after a referendum on the peninsula.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the annexation of Crimea, claiming that Crimea voted to rejoin Russia through a legal referendum.

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).