Disinfo: OHCHR report is based on flimsy White Helmets statements

Summary

Moscow has repeatedly refuted these allegations (by the International Commission of Inquiry on Syria on “committing war crimes” in this country), and confirmed that it is based on flimsy statements from “the artists of fabricated news”, such as “White Helmets”. 

Disproof

The allegations are false and aiming at depicting the White Helmets as terrorists.

The latest report from the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria which is made of three independent experts, is the UN’s first explicit acknowledgement of Moscow’s role in destroying civilian infrastructure in rebel-held areas and focuses on events of July 2019 to January this year, and in particular attacks by “pro-government forces” on civilian targets like medical facilities, driving 700,000 civilians from their homes.

The report gave evidence that Russian jets were responsible for bombing both a market place and a rural shelter for Syrians who had fled fighting elsewhere, even though there was no evidence of military targets in those areas.

The commission “has reasonable grounds to believe that a Russian aircraft participated in” attacking the market and camp, it said. “In both incidents, the Russian air force did not direct the attacks at a specific military objective, amounting to the war crime of launching indiscriminate attacks in civilian areas”.

Furthermore, President Vladimir Putin ordered Russia’s withdrawal from a Geneva Conventions protocol authorising investigations into potential war crimes against civilians in October, days after the country’s defence ministry denied reports it had bombed four Syrian hospitals in May.

On the other hand, The White Helmets are a staple topic of pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives on the Syrian civil war, having already been accused of numerous other provocations and war crimes including organ trafficking; aiding terrorist organizations; staging and/or perpetrating chemical attacks, sometimes with the help of Western intelligence agencies. A majority of these claims are unburdened by evidence and often rely on meaningless formulations such as "according to information provided by X," "there are reasons to assume," and so forth.

Read more allegations that the Russian army doesn’t deliberately target civilians, or that Amnesty International is an ideological tool of US security services or claims about the anti-Russian bias of the OPCW.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 198
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 18/05/2020
  • Language/target audience: Arabic
  • Country: Russia, Syria
  • Keywords: United Nations, White Helmets, Chemical weapons/attack, Anti-Russian, Human rights, Syrian War
  • Outlet:
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Donetsk and Luhansk authorities rejected the coup that happened in Kyiv

Since 2014, Ukraine has witnessed an ongoing political and military crisis in the east of the country after the Donetsk and Luhansk region authorities announced the creation of two republics on their territories, rejecting a coup that occurred in Kyiv in February of the same year.

As a result of the coup in Kyiv, Crimea returned to Russia after a popular referendum organized on the peninsula in March 2014, through which more than 95% of the population of the peninsula voted in favour of returning to the “motherland”, but most countries of the world, primarily the Western countries, refused to recognize the results of the referendum.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative painting the Euromaidan as a coup d'etat and claiming that Crimea chose to rejoin Russia through a legal referendum.

There was no coup d'état in Ukraine. The spontaneous onset of the Euromaidan protests was an organic reaction by numerous parts of the Ukrainian population to former President Yanukovych’s sudden departure from the promised Association Agreement with the European Union in November 2013.

Ukraine may lose several regions

Odesa, Kherson, Mykolaiv and Zaporizhzhya can leave Ukraine. President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, in fact, does not rule the country, and “certain forces” are capable of undermining statehood. All of this can lead to radical changes.

Disproof

No evidence is given. This is part of a recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about alleged Ukrainian disintegration. It is consistent with pro-Kremlin narratives alleging that Ukraine is a degrading state.

According to a survey that was conducted In December 2019 by the Democratic Initiatives Foundation, the vast majority of Ukrainians (75%) considers themselves primarily as citizens of Ukraine. Moreover, nationwide identification prevails in all regions of Ukraine: Southern (84%), Central (78%), Western (76%) and Eastern (66%). Nationwide identification increased significantly after 2013 (December 2013 - 54%, December 2014 - 73%).

German politicians no longer require Russia to return Crimea to Ukraine

Unlike in previous years, Germany does not demand the return of Crimea to Ukraine.

“We honour the memory of the victims of the deportation of the Crimean Tatars on May 18, 1944. It is sad that after 76 years they can’t live in freedom and self-determination in their homeland,” reported a message from the Embassy of Germany in Kyiv.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the annexation of Crimea.

The statement from the German embassy has been distorted through partial reporting. It goes on to say, "Since the annexation of the Crimean peninsula by Russia in violation of international law, the situation of the Crimean Tatars has deteriorated dramatically."