Disinfo: Residents of Donbas will be forcibly relocated to Lviv for re-education

Summary

After Kyiv gains control of the border, the residents of Donbas will see immediate cleansing, deportation and total Ukrainisation. Everything is very simple: you speak Ukrainian – you stay. If you don’t speak Ukrainian – you will get a suitcase, go to a railway station and move to Russia. And this is in the best case. At worst, you will be forced to relocate to Lviv for re-education.

Disproof

Conspiracy theory with no evidence. See similar disinformation messages alleging that Kyiv is sabotaging the peace settlement in Donbas or Ukraine will fight with Donbas and kill its people. The source of this information was a fake document allegedly from the National Security and Defence Council of Ukraine with incorrect details such as the address of the Council or names of the officials. It was spread in the social media platform "Telegram" with the help of an anonymous account. Moreover, the fake document does not contain any information about relocation to Lviv and the re-education of people from Donbas. At the end of October 2019, the President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, announced the need for a state strategy for the integration of Donbas and Crimea. According to him, such a strategy should include transparency, consensus, realism, and implementation of decisions. It is planned to discuss all these issues with the public. Advisor to the Secretary of the National Security and Defence Council on integration and renewal of the Donbas, Serhiy Sivokho, noted that the Council planned to create a National Platform for Reconciliation and Unity. “We attract international practitioners to resolve military conflicts, analyse the experience of Ireland, Bosnia and other countries. It’s easier to find the most right and already proven options for resolving conflicts, and apply this experience to our situation, mentality, and perception,” said Sivokho.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 174
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 19/11/2019
  • Outlet language(s) Russian
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: Ukraine
  • Keywords: Ukraine, Eastern Ukraine, Ukrainian disintegration, Lviv, Donbas, War in Ukraine
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There was a Ukrainian provocation in the Kerch strait

Russian border guards seized the Ukrainian military ships during a provocation in the Kerch Strait on November 25, 2018.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation about the Kerch incident. On the 25th of November 2018, border patrol boats belonging to Russia’s FSB security service seized two small Ukrainian armoured artillery vessels and a tug boat and their crews after shooting at them, wounding several Ukrainian servicemen and arresting 24 members. Russia stated they were in Russian waters. However, according to the bilateral agreement between Ukraine and Russia, the Kerch Strait and the Sea of Azov are the internal waters of both Russia and Ukraine. The agreement gives both parties the power to inspect suspicious vessels. Furthermore, both the 2003 bilateral agreement and the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea provide for freedom of navigation. On the 25th May on 2019, the UN International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea ruled that Russia should release the sailors detained in the Kerch Strait and return the ships to Ukraine. Twenty-four military sailors returned to Ukraine on 7 September as part of a mutual release of detainees by Ukraine and Russia. On 18 November, 2019, Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that it had handed three naval ships back to Ukraine. For further reporting see Bellingcat, DFRLab and Polygraph.

The US tries to weaken Russia by spoiling Moscow-Kyiv ties

Realising the critical role which Ukraine plays in maintaining Russia’s great-power status, US officials have long tried to drive a wedge between Moscow and Kyiv as a means of weakening Russia globally.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation casting the US as a malign influence on European affairs, Ukraine as a quasi-state with little geopolitical autonomy, and Russia as a great power fending off Western efforts at destabilisation and encirclement. The relations between the US and Ukraine are bilateral relations between two independent countries. The USA recognised Ukraine as an independent state on the 25th December 1991. US policy is centred on realising and strengthening a stable, democratic, prosperous and free Ukraine, more closely integrated into Europe and Euro-Atlantic structures. See here and here for earlier claims that Ukrainian foreign policy is dictated by the West.

French authorities set up violence at peaceful Yellow Vests' anniversary rally

The strategy of order enforcement chosen by the prefect of Paris has been highly criticised. He wanted the Yellow Vests’ demonstration to start at Place d’Italie, an area under construction which contains construction equipment, often thrown by the thugs and who, surprisingly, were there since the early morning. Controversy is also growing over a video clearly showing “two people framing a third man, all dressed in black, who were behind the line of CRS [riot police] who let them pass whilst repeating: ‘This is the BAC, it is the BAC [branch of the criminal police in France]’,” as noted by Liberation’s CheckNews. That led to accusations about police infiltrators within the thugs. All this was wanted by the government only to destroy the anniversary of Yellow Vests. It’s worse than a fracture. It serves the dictatorship that is being put in place.

Disproof

Biased conspiracy theory coverage of the Yellow Vests' one year anniversary protests in Paris. Speaking about the video proving the presence of law enforcers in civilian clothes among protesters (assumed by the French police itself), the article quotes the French newspaper Liberation and its CheckNews service. The video is supposed to "feed the accusations" that the police infiltrated the thugs. In reality, Liberation states the contrary, debunking those accusations. This is what Libération actually writes:

"It should be noted that beyond the infiltration of police for intelligence missions and arrests, commentators also accuse police officers of infiltrating the rallies only to organise violence and to help to destroy the image of the movement in public opinion. This is particularly the case of the yellow vest François Boulo, who claims to have seen disguised policemen turning over a car, and he goes to imagine that 'police-thugs' were able to degrade the stele of Marshal Juin. No elements in CheckNews' possession support such accusations."

No evidence is given to support other claims that the Paris city hall conspired to tarnish the Yellow Vests' anniversary. It is worth recalling that the Yellow Vests presented their candidates' list for the European Parliament elections in 2019, which would be impossible under a dictatorship. According to Freedom House, the French political system features vibrant democratic processes and generally strong protections for civil liberties and political rights. See more disinformation cases linked to the Yellow Vests. The analysis of the Russian disinformation media's non-stop coverage of Yellow vests and also of the manipulated social media discussions can be read here.