Disinfo: Moscow is seeking to confront the West’s hostile approach

Summary

Relations between Russia and Western countries, including the United States, have deteriorated as a consequence of the Ukrainian crisis and the Crimean Peninsula’s accession to Russia in March 2014, and sanctions against Russia. For its part, Moscow is seeking to confront this hostile Western approach and to restore normal relations with the West.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the illegal annexation of Crimea and the dismissal of Russian disinformation as an expression of Western "Russophobia".

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.

No international body recognises the so-called referendum, announced on 27 February 2014 and held on 16 March 2014.

A year after the illegal “return”, Russian President Vladimir Putin admitted that the plan to annex Crimea was ordered weeks before the so-called referendum.

Sanctions were first introduced in June 2014 in response to the attempts to deliberately undermine Ukraine’s territorial integrity and destabilise the country. Other EU measures in place in response to the crisis in Ukraine include economic sanctions targeting specific sectors of the Russian economy and individual restrictive measures. For the EU's statement on the sixth anniversary of Crimea annexation see here.

In August 2017, the US imposed sanctions on Russia over its alleged interference in the 2016 US presidential election, its annexation of Crimea, and its involvement in Syria’s civil war. At that time, sanctions were introduced against entities doing business with Russian military or intelligence agencies, companies involved in Russian off-shore oil projects, and those participating in Russian oil or gas pipeline construction within Russia.

Later, In December 2018, the US imposed sanctions on Russian persons "in response to Russia’s 2014 invasion of Ukraine, election interference, malicious cyber-enabled activities, human rights abuses, use of a chemical weapon, weapons proliferation, illicit trade with North Korea, and support to Syria".

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.

Read similar claims such as Crimea’s reunification with Russia was legal, or that historically Crimea was a Russian land, and that Crimea became part of Russia after the events of 2014 in Ukraine and that EU and Nato do nothing but blame Russia for propaganda.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 204
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 29/06/2020
  • Language/target audience: Arabic
  • Country: Russia, Ukraine, US
  • Keywords: Ukraine, illegal annexation, fake news, Eastern Ukraine, West, Propaganda, Russophobia, The West, Sanctions, Crimea

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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Kyiv agrees to carry out genocide of Ukrainian citizens in exchange for IMF loans

In a recent agreement with the International Monetary Fund, Ukrainian government officials agreed to reduce the population of their country to 10 million people.

Disproof

Recurring disinformation narrative painting Ukraine as a collapsing, genocidal regime under IMF control.

The claim is made without evidence, and is only the latest in a string of pro-Kremlin conspiracy theories alleging that the Ukrainian authorities are purposefully leading their country and people toward destruction for short-term financial gain. To date, pro-Kremlin outlets have claimed that the IMF would turn Ukrainians into a cheap labour force, dictate Kyiv's personnel policy, deprive Ukraine of land, and cut half of all state pensions.

Donbas has turned into a NATO training ground

Donbas turned into a NATO training ground – soldiers of Western countries constantly operate on the front line. Thousands of mercenaries from different countries managed to fight on the “Ukrainian side” during the war in Donbas. Even at the beginning of the conflict, the militia of the Luhansk and Donetsk People’s Republics repeatedly presented evidence of their presence to the general public.

Disproof

No evidence is given to support this claim. The existence of paramilitary fighters or mercenaries from NATO or US-friendly countries is a recurrent narrative in Russian disinformation since at least 2014, and it even prompted a diplomatic protest from Poland.

The allegation has been consistently debunked in those years but repeatedly resurfaced attempting to discredit the Ukrainian army and the countries that support Kyiv's efforts for stabilisation.

There is no persecution of gay people in Russia

Gays in Russia face no persecution. They live openly, they do their comings-out, they declare their homosexuality, and nothing happens to them. No one fires them from their jobs, no one beats them up, nothing.

Disproof

The persecution of sexual minorities in Russia is a critical, ongoing issue which includes violence, employment discrimination and social stigma.

According to the NGO ILGA-Europe, Russia is the fourth-worst European country for LGBT persons to live in.