Disinfo: No elections are scheduled in the Donbas


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


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.


  • Reported in: Issue 143
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 31/03/2019
  • Language/target audience: Romanian, Russian, Italian
  • Country: Ukraine
  • Keywords: Donbas, Elections


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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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.


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.

Russia has not sent observers to the Ukrainian elections because of safety concerns

Russia is not sending monitoring missions to observe the elections in Ukraine. This is because Russia fears for the safety of its citizens. Ukraine was preparing various provocations for Russian observers and Russian citizens may be subjected to discrimination and pressure from the Ukrainian authorities.


This is an example of Russian manipulations about the Presidential elections in Ukraine. According to the laws of Ukraine, Russia is an aggressor and invader state. Russian observers will not be able to enter Ukraine; not because of Russia's decision, but because Kyiv forbade Russian participation in monitoring missions in Ukraine. The law of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine of 7 February 2019 established that citizens of the Occupier state cannot be official observers at Presidential, Parliamentary or Local elections.

Ukrainians do not want to serve in the Armed Forces of Ukraine

Spring recruitment to the ranks of the Armed Forces of Ukraine this year will be just as unsuccessful as in all previous years. The prestige of service in the Ukrainian army in recent years has dropped significantly, there is an acute shortage of personnel in the Ukrainian Armed Forces. The Ukrainian army is becoming weaker every year.


Following the results of the army’s 2018 autumn recruitment drive in Ukraine, 98% of positions have been filled. Last year more than 30,000 men and women decided to serve in the Armed Forces of Ukraine on a contract basis. In 2018, the number of personnel of the Armed Forces of Ukraine has already reached 255,000 people, of which almost half are soldiers, serving on contract. Over the past five years, the number serving in the Ukrainian army has almost doubled. According to the draft law on the number of the Armed Forces of Ukraine for 2014, the author of which was the ex-president Viktor Yanukovych who fled to Russia, the former leadership of Ukraine intended to radically reduce the number of the Ukrainian army to 157,000. More on this by StopFake.