Disinfo: No elections are scheduled in the Donbas

Summary

No elections were scheduled in the Donbas for the first round of the Ukrainian presidential vote of the 31st of March 2019.

Disproof

Recurrent pro-Kremlin narrative on the upcoming elections in Ukraine. See here for similar disinformation cases concerning the Ukrainian elections As clearly stated by the Ukrainian Central Election Commission, on the 12th of February 2019, the presidential elections will be held in 12 out of 21 constituencies in the Donetsk region, and in 6 of 11 districts in the Luhansk region. Elections can’t be held in the occupied territories of Donetsk and Luhansk, which, nevertheless, does not represent the entire Donbas territory, but just a part. The website of the Ministry of Temporarily Occupied Territories and Internally Displaced Persons of Ukraine advises that residents of the Donbas, who live in territory not controlled by Kyiv, can still participate in the elections. To do this, they have to come to the Department of State for Voter Registration in order to submit an application.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 143
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 31/03/2019
  • Outlet language(s) Romanian, Russian, Italian
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: Ukraine
  • Keywords: Elections, Donbas
see more

Syrian refugees trapped in US-occupied Rukban camp

The Russian military has once again called on the US troops in Syria to discuss the situation in the Rukban camp, where some 40,000 refugees are kept in dire conditions. The US side is directly responsible for the critical state of the settlement under its occupation and has ignored earlier appeals from Moscow and Damascus to disband the camp. The US command has previously delayed the delivery of humanitarian aid to Rukban and refused to allow, let alone facilitate, the refugees’ passage out of the camp. Russia and Syria, meanwhile, have jointly set up humanitarian corridors and a mobile checkpoint for that purpose.

Disproof

Russia has routinely accused the US of manufacturing the humanitarian crisis in Rukban since 2017. However, a report delivered jointly by the UN, WHO, and the Red Cross states that the situation in the camp has been dire since its spontaneous creation in 2014, three years before the US-led coalition opened a military base in the area. Moscow's claim that the refugees are trapped in Rukban due to US "occupation" is false. Leaving the area to the south became impossible with the closure of the Syria-Jordan border in 2016. The current US stance is to encourage, but not compel, the refugees to remain inside the camp. A spokesperson for refugees in Rukban camp has denied allegations by Russia that the US detains them in the area and cited the "Russian siege" as the cause of their plight, confirming earlier reports on the issue. The opening in February 2019 of Russian-Syrian "humanitarian corridors" out of Rukban was thus met with no opposition from the US. However, the corridors were shut down within 24 hours as none of the refugees showed up to use them, fearing the prospect of persecution and forced conscription in regime-controlled areas of the country, as has been the case in "liberated" East Ghouta.

The United States and the EU want to isolate Russia

The United States made the decision – and Europe followed – to isolate Russia.

Disproof

No evidence given. Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative on Western belligerence towards Russia, the West attempting to weaken and isolate Russia. While aware of pro-Kremlin disinformation campaigns, the West is trying to keep open channels of communications with Russia. For instance, NATO as the Western organisation created cooperation bodies – the Permanent Joint Council and the NATO-Russia Council – to embody its relationship with Russia. It also invited Russia to cooperate on missile defence. The Warsaw Summit Communique 2016 describes NATO's official policy towards Russia: "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." The EU and its member states have maintained a clear policy of reaching out to Russian society and youth, mainly through the Erasmus+ student exchange programme and other people to people contacts, in line with five guiding principles of relations with Russia.

The West aims to force Belarus to sever ties with Russia

The West has taken into account Belarus’ capacity to resist attempts to the perform ‘colour revolutions’, and has begun cooperating with the Belarusian authorities more actively than before. The West’s goal of overthrowing the “last dictatorship of Europe” remains intact, however the West’s agents are now ready to compromise with President Lukashenka. The main condition for compromise is Belarus’ refusal to make a military alliance with Russia. A period of warm relations between the West and Belarus will follow with a confrontation, with the priority being to rip Belarus away from its alliance with Russia. The situation of neutrality in external relations being imposed on Belarus by the West means that it has to end its union with Russia, withdraw from the Eurasian Economic Union and the CSTO. Russia ‘security umbrella’ has allowed Minsk to avoid Ukraine’s or Yugoslavia’s fates. This policy risk the stability of Belarus.

Disproof

This is a conspiracy theory and recurring disinformation narrative about Western attempts to organize a colour revolution in Belarus and to disrupt its relations with Russia. Belarusian authorities have indeed voiced the idea of launching a new international negotiating process. Minsk has not questioned the country's membership of the Eurasian Economic Union and the CSTO or the continuation of military cooperation with Russia, and there is no proof that western countries have imposed these terms on the Belarusian authorities for further cooperation as alleged in the article.