Disinfo: Russia does not participate in the war in the Donbas and does not take prisoners

Summary

Russia does not capture Ukrainians, because the Russian military does not take part in hostilities in the Donbas. The Minsk agreements do not state that Russia is at war with somebody.

Disproof

This is one of the most common disinformation narratives; that Russia has nothing to do with the war in eastern Ukraine and that there is a “civil war” in Donbas. Read more cases on this narrative here. There is no exact data on the number of Ukrainians arrested by Russia in the occupied parts of Donbas and in the annexed Crimea. The problem is that Russia and the separatists do not recognise such people as prisoners and qualify their actions as crimes, for example, the now liberated Crimean Oleh Sentsov, who was accused by Russia of "preparing a terrorist act" and illegally sentenced to imprisonment. According to the Security Service of Ukraine, 227 Ukrainians are still illegally detained in the temporarily occupied territories of Donetsk and Luhansk regions. In addition, another 113 people are illegally detained in Russia and the annexed Crimea, 89 of them are Crimean Tatars. Since 2014, 3,280 Ukrainians have been liberated from Russian prisons and from the occupied territories of Ukraine.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 168
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 06/10/2019
  • Outlet language(s) Russian
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: Ukraine, Russia
  • Keywords: Repression, War crimes, Crimean Tatars, Crimea, Donbas
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Wealthy gays from around the world gathered at a fair in Brussels to "buy children"

Gays from the whole world have convened in Brussels to attend a bazaar for “livestock”: for buying children. The customers can select an “item” according to its parameters: size, colour of eyes and hair. If there’s money, a child will be up for sale.

Disproof

Recurrent pro-Kremlin disinformation about the moral decay and degradation of the West, with unfounded claims on children being for sale. Russian and other media are mentioning "Men Having Babies" - an annual American conference for gay men looking for a surrogate mother to have a child. The event was held for the fifth time in Brussels on 21 and 22 September, despite protests against the organisation.

The conference hosted 24 stands from private clinics and services from the United States and Canada and invited people from all over Europe to the event in Belgium.

White Helmets faked the 2017 Khan Sheikhoun chemical attack

RT was granted exclusive access to an underground fortress in Khan Sheikhoun, a former terrorist stronghold. According to the Syrian Army, the underground complex doubled as a film set which the White Helmets used to record footage of a fake chemical attack in 2017. Back then, blame for the incident, which has never been definitively settled, was pinned on Damascus, and the White Helmet videos became a pretext for a missile strike on Syria by the US and its allies.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin narratives aiming to discredit the White Helmets and claiming that the Khan Shaykhun chemical attack was staged by Western actors in order to justify military action against the Assad regime. The OPCW’s Fact Finding Mission confirmed that people in Khan Shaykhun were exposed to sarin, a chemical weapon, on 4 April 2017. “The OPCW FFM has confirmed the use of sarin, a nerve agent, during the 4 April incident in Khan Shaykhun in Syria,” mentioned its Director-General in a report published on June 30, 2017. The UN-OPCW Joint Investigative Mechanism found Syria’s Government responsible for the attack in Khan Shaykhun. On April 10 2018, Russia vetoed a U.S.-drafted U.N. Security Council resolution that would have created a new inquiry to ascertain responsibility for chemical weapons attacks in Syria. In June, the OPCW members granted it power to assign blame for chemical attacks. The United Nations Human Rights Council blamed the Syrian government forces for the attack. “Government forces continued to deliberately target civilians, including through the use of chemical weapons against civilians in opposition-held areas. As part of an aerial campaign in northern Hama and southern Idlib, on 4 April the Syrian air force used sarin in Khan Shaykhun, killing over 80 people, most of whom were women and children,” says the report. Read more about chemical attacks in Syria here and here.

Russia didn't hold nuclear war exercise against Sweden

Jens Stoltenberg, the Secretary General of NATO, scared the world with “information” that Russia held an exercise where troops trained for nuclear war with Sweden in 2013.

Disproof

The Russians actually did train attacks against Sweden: two heavy Tu-22M3 bombers with four jet fighter escorts were simulating attacks against Stockholm. The incident caused controversy in Sweden at the time because the Swedish military was caught unprepared and had to rely on Danish airforce jets, operating as part of a NATO’s Baltic air policing mission, to respond and follow the Russian aircraft.