Disinfo: Merkel ignores the will of Crimeans to return to Russia

Summary

The German Chancellor is convinced that on the topic of Crimea, the European Union must have a single vision – Crimea belongs to Ukraine, full stop. The opinion of the Crimeans who decided to take their fate into their own hands and secede from the riotous Kyiv regime apparently is of little importance to Berlin.

As Merkel emphasised, the return of the Crimean Republic to its native harbour is a violation of the territorial integrity of Nezalezhnaya [derogatory name for Ukraine].

Disproof

A recurring disinformation claim attempting to legitimise Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea.

The claim appears as a reaction to Angela Merkel’s opening remarks at the fourth edition of the German-Ukrainian Business Forum that took place on 19 March 2021. During the virtual opening of the forum, the Chancellor stated that Germany remains committed to Ukraine’s territorial integrity and rejects the illegal annexation of Crimea.

The so-called referendum that was organised hastily and at gunpoint following the covert invasion of “little green men” and barring impartial observers from entering the peninsula can hardly be described as “Crimeans deciding their own fate”. The European Union does not recognise and continues to strongly condemn this violation of international law, which remains a challenge to the international security order. In response to the illegal annexation of Crimea, the EU has imposed restrictive measures against the Russian Federation. In June 2020, the European Council decided to renew the sanctions introduced in response to the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol by the Russian Federation until 23 June 2021.

No international body recognises the so-called referendum in Crimea. The UN General Assembly adopted a resolution entitled “Territorial integrity of Ukraine”, stating that the referendum in Crimea was not valid and could not serve as a basis for any change in the status of the peninsula.

As to Crimea returning to its “native harbour”, i.e. Russia, this claim is manipulation. Crimea has a very long and complicated history with many peoples living there. As explained by Andreas Umland, since the dissolution of the USSR, Russia recognised Crimea as part of Ukraine in two important legal documents: the tripartite 1991 Russian-Ukrainian-Belarusian Belavezha Accords and the bilateral 2003 Russian-Ukrainian Border Treaty. Read the entire paper titled “Whom does Crimea Belong to? Russia’s Annexation of the Ukrainian Peninsula and the Question of Historical Justice” here.

Read similar cases claiming that Crimea has never been Ukraine, it returned to Russia after more than 95% voted in favour, and that in fact it has always been Russian.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 236
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 19/03/2021
  • Article language(s) Russian
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: Ukraine, Russia, Germany, EU
  • Keywords: Angela Merkel, Crimea, illegal annexation, Manipulated elections/referendum, Historical revisionism
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US President Joe Biden wants a new Cold War with Russia. Biden deliberately provokes Russia and seeks to bring about a new Cold War in order to distract US public opinion from domestic problems.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the US and the West allegedly pursuing a belligerent and hostile agenda against Russia. The article’s message is also consistent with the pro-Kremlin narrative that seeks to discredit US President Joe Biden.

There is no evidence to support the article’s claim that the Biden administration is seeking to launch a “Cold War” with Russia. The Biden administration reacted to specific Kremlin actions that harm the US and its allies, such as ongoing aggression against Ukraine, cyber-attacks, influence operations targeting the US 2020 elections. The administration has also denounced the violation of human and civil rights in Russia, such as the poisoning of an opposition politician Alexei Navalny.

Ukraine never had a legal right to Crimea

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Disproof

This is a recurring disinformation narrative from pro-Kremlin media trying to deny that Crimea is a part of Ukraine.

Crimea has a very long and complicated history with many peoples living there. Its population was diverse and included in various historical periods Crimean Tatars, Turks, Ukrainians, Russians, Greeks, Bulgarians, Armenians, Italians from Genoa, Urums, Karaites etc. Alans, Scythians, Sarmatians, Goths, Cimmerians, Huns and other ancient nations had also lived there.

NATO needs Georgia as a military platform for a conflict potential with Russia

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[The NATO] partners need Georgia for the constant development of a conflict potential with Russia, and as a platform for the likely deployment of the NATO troops in the regional theatre of military operations. By agreeing to be a kind of anti-Russian "instrument" of the US and NATO in the Caucasus, the Georgian leadership deliberately "frames" its people.

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Disproof

This is a recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about NATO allegedly pursuing a belligerent and hostile agenda against Russia particularly in the Caucasus as well as about Georgia's cooperation with NATO.

The narrative is part of a larger campaign aiming to influence public support against Georgia's NATO aspirations and portraying neutrality as the most rational foreign policy choice for Georgia. Georgia's movement to join NATO was intensified after the de-facto occupation of a part of its territory.