Disinfo: NATO activity in Black Sea creates dangers to be countered, after Ukraine's provocation in the Kerch Strait

Summary

The latest major provocation organised by Kiev took place on November 25, when three ships of the Ukrainian Navy violated the Russian border near the Kerch Strait. They were conducting dangerous manoeuvrers and refusing to obey orders from the Coast Guard before attempting illegal actions in Russian territorial waters. The Russian coastguard then used weapons to stop them. Russian authorities arrested 24 Ukrainian soldiers, including two members of the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU). These agents were on board the ships to coordinate the provocation. Russia condemns the intense activity of NATO in the Black Sea and will take appropriate and adequate measures to neutralise the dangers resulting from a growing NATO activity.

Disproof

A continuation of the pro-Kremlin narrative that, on November 24th 2018, Ukrainian ships approached the Kerch Strait without giving any warning, leading the Russian side to open fire. The use of the Kerch Strait and the Sea of Azov is regulated by a bilateral treaty between Russia and Ukraine, signed in 2003 and ratified by Russia in 2004. According to the document, the Sea of Azov is considered to be the “internal waters” of both Russia and Ukraine. According to a Bellingcat investigation based on geolocated video footage, Ukrainian ships did enter Russian-claimed territorial waters. They are, in fact, only Russian-claimed territorial waters, rather than internationally recognised boundaries. Based on information provided by the Russian FSB, the shooting of the ‘Berdyansk’ ship (the most serious incident) most likely took place in international waters. For further details about the incident, see the Bellingcat investigation. As stated by NATO heads of state and government at the Warsaw Summit in July 2016, "the Alliance does not seek confrontation and poses no threat to Russia. But we cannot and will not compromise on the principles on which our Alliance and security in Europe and North America rest".

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 145
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 14/04/2019
  • Outlet language(s) French
  • Country: Ukraine, Russia
  • Keywords: Azov sea, Kerch, Crimea, NATO
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Disproof

On 7 July 2017, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson appointed Ambassador Kurt Volker as the special representative for Ukraine. He took the responsibility for advancing US. efforts to achieve the objectives set out in the Minsk agreements, Kurt Volker has no other responsibilities. In his video message at the Kyiv Security Forum, Kurt Volker said: “We welcome the Ukrainian people to successfully conduct the first round of presidential elections. We wish you success in holding the second round of presidential elections, as well as parliamentary elections in the fall." He also added that the United States does not support any of the presidential candidates in Ukraine, but advocates respect for the principles. Similar cases on this issue you could find here and here.

The Ukrainian election is a competition of falsification and extortion

Ukrainian elections are very competitive – but it is a competition of falsification and extortion. The elections are not very fair.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the Ukraine elections. “What I observed was a free choice by free people. Ukrainians demonstrated their strong commitment to democratic and Euro-Atlantic values. I saw the enthusiasm of citizens of all ages participating in the election process in impressive numbers,” said Michal Szczerba, Head of the delegation from the NATO Parliamentary Assembly at the afterwards press conference on the results of the first tour of elections. The OSCE PA Election Observation Mission in Ukraine has declared that the first round of the presidential elections in Ukraine was competitive, and citizens had the opportunity to freely express their will. “We can admit that there were definitely competitive elections and the opportunity to vote for the candidate the citizens wanted to elect was provided”, the OSCE Special Coordinator, OSCE PA Honorary President Ilkka Kanerva said. Following the first round of the presidential elections in Ukraine, the same position was announced by the Head of the EP election observation delegation Dariusz Rosati. According to him, these elections were definitely competitive, since no candidate could be clearly identified as the likely winner. The Canadian Election Observation Mission in Ukraine also considers the elections as fair. A press release of the Canadian Mission says that Ukraine’s highly competitive presidential election meets international standards.

Belarusian opposition, civic activists and independent journalists make kill lists for Western security bodies

Each opposition organisation, civic activists and independent media outlets in Belarus prepare kill lists, which contain information (first and last names, names of the relatives, passwords, photos, etc.) about high-ranking state officials, policemen and employees of other law-enforcement agencies, entrepreneurs, etc. For instance, civic activists can take photos of Belarusian policemen in plain clothes at public events such as the celebration of the 101st anniversary of the Belarusian People’s Republic. These lists are likely aggregated into one database, controlled by Western security bodes. In case of a peaceful power change in Belarus the persons in the kill lists will be subject to lustration. Law-enforcement agencies like the Ministry of Interior, the KGB and the Investigation Committee will be dissolved. The restoration of the law-enforcement apparatus will take place on the orders of Western donors. In case the power change in Belarus is not peaceful, then those on the kill lists and their relatives will be declared the enemies of the people and executed whereas their kids will be labeled the dregs of society.

Disproof

Conspiracy theory and ungrounded claims aimed to discredit the West, democratic Belarusian opposition, civic activists and independent journalists. This disinformation message is a modification of recurring pro-Kremlin narrative about western attempts to organize a colour revolution in Belarus and to disrupt Belarus-Russia relations.