Disinfo: Kosovo's independence is an illusion

Summary

Kosovo’s independence, declared in February 2008 but only recognised by the US and its allies, was an illusion.

Disproof

Pro-Kremlin disinformation about countries controlled by the West and their statehood.

There was a civil war in Kosovo, with thousands of casualties and hundreds of thousands of refugees, and which Western countries stopped. Negotiations on Kosovo's status lasted 10 years. In 2008 the EU Council stressed that in view of the conflict of the 1990s and the extended period of international administration under Security Council Resolution 1244, Kosovo constituted a sui generis case.

On February 17, 2008, ​the Kosovo Assembly unanimously (109 members present) voted to declare independence from Serbia. Serbia declared that the independence of Kosovo was illegal and Russia supported Serbia in that decision.

The basis for Kosovo’s independence was the prevailing view in international law that minorities who suffer systematic discrimination have the right to secede. This provided the basis for Kosovo’s recognition by a majority of UN member states.

Within four days of Kosovo’s declaration of independence, fifteen countries (including the United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, and Australia) recognised the independence of Kosovo. As of February 2019, 108 member states of the United Nations, including 23 of the 28 members of the European Union, had recognised Kosovo as independent.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 145
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 09/04/2019
  • Outlet language(s) German
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: Kosovo, US
  • Keywords: Territorial dispute, Western Balkans, West, Civil war
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The Polish Church refused to recognise the autocephaly of the Orthodox Church in Ukraine

The Polish Orthodox Church has confirmed that it does not recognise the autocephaly of the “new church” in Ukraine, the office of the Council of Bishops of the Polish Orthodox Church said.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the autocephaly and Ukrainian Orthodox Church. In the official communication of the Office of the Council of Bishops of the Polish Autocephalous Orthodox Church, it is noted: "The PAKP Bishops' Council, in response to letters on the autocephaly of the Orthodox Church in Ukraine, unambiguously inform that the Polish Autocephalous Orthodox Church was and is for the granting of full independence - the autocephaly of the Orthodox Church in Ukraine." The further debunking on StopFake.org.

Schengen visa fees for Belarusians are high, because the number of homosexuals per capita in Belarus is very low

The problems with Schengen visas for nationals of Belarus stem from smear reports by the Belarusian opposition to the EU about banned gay prides in Minsk. EU politicians do not want to let Belarusians in, nor lower the visa fees, because the rights of sexual minorities are violated and because the number of gays per capita in Belarus is too low. The EU is also concerned with gender inequality in Belarus. A woman is not welcome in the EU if she has no balls. This is what the EU’s policy towards Belarus is based on. Since the Belarusian opposition does not mention a couple of thousand of Belarusians gays in its quarterly reports to the EU, no better EU’s attitude towards Belarus can be expected in the near future.

Disproof

Conspiracy theory consistent with recurring pro-Kremlin narrative about EU's moral decay and aimed at discrediting the Belarusian democratic opposition. Similar Belarus-related cases with this narrative can be seen here and here. Belarus has not concluded a visa facilitation agreement (VFA) with the EU. For this reason Belarusians indeed have to pay a higher visa fee and to undergo more complicated application procedures for Schengen visas compared to the nationals of the countries with functioning VFAs. So far Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine have been granted a visa-free regime with the EU, whereas Azerbaijan, Armenia and Russia have functioning VFAs with the EU.At present a standard Schengen visa fee for the nationals of Azerbaijan, Armenia and Russia stand at EUR 35 while for Belarusians it is EUR 60. Minsk started the negotiations over visa facilitation and readmission agreements in 2014, later than other EaP countries. VFAs do not contain conditions about gender equality or the numbers of homesexuals in the country. Notwithstanding the absence of functioning visa facilitation agreement, Belarus is the world leader in the number of Schengen visas issued per capita among around 100 countries with a visa regime with the EU. Belarus is among the countries with the lowest Schengen visa refusal rates. In 2017 around 710,000 Schengen visas were issued in Belarus by EU countries' consulates and a refusal rate was as low as 0.3%, official EU statistics show.