Disinfo: Nagorno-Karabakh conflict leads to more tensions in the Donbas

Summary

Ukraine is ready to team up with Azerbaijan and Turkey simply because Turkeys does not recognise Crimea as part of the Russian Federation. The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict has already led to more tensions in the Donbas, including increased military activity. Later, we will certainly see a Ukraine-Turkey alliance against Russia.

Disproof

Recurring narrative treating Crimea as the territory of the Russian Federation. The narrative also represents a recent trend attempting to connect conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh with Ukraine.

The EU does not recognise the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol by the Russian Federation and continues to condemn this violation of international law. 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. Ukraine did express support for Azerbaijan's territorial integrity, but called for a peaceful solution and said it supports the efforts of Co-Chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group - which is co-chaired by the Russian Federation. Based on the daily reports on the OSCE Monitoring Mission to Ukraine, the number of ceasefire violations in the Donbas did not increase meaningfully after the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict escalated. Thus, it cannot be proven that Ukraine, as an answer to the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan, increased pressure on the region.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 215
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 04/10/2020
  • Outlet language(s) Hungarian
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: Azerbaijan, Armenia, Turkey, Russia
  • Keywords: Nagorno-Karabakh, Crimea, Donbas
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Events in Belarus are part of a hybrid war organised from abroad

We can be sure that the tense situation in Belarus is not a political internal conflict, but a hybrid war organised from abroad. This aggression from several western countries is a combination of conventional, irregular and asymmetric means, combined with a constant manipulation of the political and ideological spheres. Its main form in today’s Belarus is the informative impact in the country’s population through Polish and Baltic media. The economic component are sanctions imposed by western states. At the same time, there is also a military component: the growing saber-rattling of NATO troops near Belarusian borders fits this concept.

Disproof

Recurrent pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative framing popular protests as Western-backed colour revolutions, part of a campaign to portray massive mobilisations in Belarus as a destabilisation effort orchestrated from abroad. No evidence is provided to support the allegations. Contrary to the claim, protests in Belarus erupted to contest the results of the presidential election in Belarus on the 9th of August, which were not monitored by independent experts, and are largely considered fraudulent by both international observers and a big part of the Belarusian society. On 19 August 2020 the European Council called Belarus's elections neither free nor fair. Mobilisations were organised and carried out by local actors, opposition politicians and Belarusian citizens, without any foreign involvement. See other examples of pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives in Belarus, such as claims that the EU reaction to Lukashenko’s victory is an example of Western double standards; that the same lack of democracy and repression is present in EU countries that criticize them in Minsk; , and that the Ukrainian secret services may have planned terrorist attacks in Belarusian territory; that the West wants to prepare another Maidan in the country; or that Belarusians, Ukrainians and Russians are one single nation.

Germany denies Russia consular access to Navalny despite four legal aid requests

Despite repeated requests for legal aid by Russian prosecutors, German authorities are denying the Russian Embassy consular access to activist Alexei Navalny.

Disproof

The story advances the recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative on the poisoning of Alexei Navalny. The report falsely suggests that Russian prosecutors' requests for legal aid would oblige Berlin to grant Russian Embassy officials consular access to Navalny. However, legal aid and consular access are governed by two separate international agreements. In the context of the Navalny case, any requests for legal aid would fall under the 1959 European Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov himself stated that the 1959 treaty only applies to the "transfer of the biomaterial, test results, clinical samples and medical documentation required for a thorough, full inquiry into Navalny's illness and hospitalization." On the other hand, consular access falls within the scope of the 1963 Vienna Convention on Consular Relations. The German Foreign Ministry spokesperson said 28 September that "Mr. Navalny is free to receive the consular visit if he wants to" [emphasis added], in line with Article 36(a) of the Convention:

"[C]onsular officers shall be free to communicate with nationals of the sending State and to have access to them. Nationals of the sending State shall have the same freedom with respect to communication with and access to consular officers of the sending State" [emphasis added].

The provision in italics means that consular officers cannot pay their co-nationals unsolicited visits abroad. Even a citizen under arrest or pending prosecution can only be visited by a consular official abroad "if he so requests," per Article 36(b).

Kyiv will transfer weapons to Azerbaijan for the war in Nagorno-Karabakh

Kyiv decided to support Azerbaijan in military operations in Nagorno-Karabakh. Armament will go under the guise of humanitarian aid in the near future. It will be delivered to Azerbaijan by the military transport aircraft of Ukraine.

Disproof

This is a pro-Kremlin narrative about Nagorno-Karabakh. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine has denied all similar statements that Ukraine is allegedly ready to get involved in the war in Nagorno-Karabakh. Also, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine stressed that the decision to provide assistance to another state is made by the president and the government. However, the Foreign Ministry stressed that Ukraine remains committed to the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan. Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine Arsen Avakov also denied all statements that Ukraine allegedly intends to transfer weapons to Azerbaijan. Avakov stressed that Ukraine will not provide military assistance to either side in the Azerbaijani-Armenian conflict. The recent escalation in the Nagorno-Karabakh region is a continuation of the decades-old conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia. It is reported that nearly 100 people, including civilians, have died as of 29 September 2020. On 27 September, the EU High Representative Josep Borrell made a statement calling for an immediate cessation of hostilities, de-escalation and for strict observance of the ceasefire.