Disinfo: Russia is not a party in the conflict in the East of Ukraine

Summary

It should be noted that Russia, contrary to the opinion of these observers, is not a party in the conflict in the East of Ukraine, but acts only as a guarantor of the implementation of the Minsk agreements.

Disproof

Recurring Kremlin narrative about a lack of evidence of the presence of Russian troops involved in war in the East of Ukraine. There is irrefutable evidence of direct Russian military involvement in eastern Ukraine. The Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court has stated that “the information available suggests that the situation within the territory of Crimea and Sevastopol amounts to an international armed conflict between Ukraine and the Russian Federation. This international armed conflict began at the latest on 26 February 2014 when the Russian Federation deployed members of its armed forces to gain control over parts of the Ukrainian territory without the consent of the Ukrainian Government". Russian President Vladimir Putin admitted Russia's military presence in Ukraine in 2015. More similar disinfo cases on this narrative.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 148
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 07/05/2019
  • Outlet language(s) Russian
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: Ukraine, Russia
  • Keywords: Eastern Ukraine, Hybrid war, Donbas, War in Ukraine
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US is like 4th Reich

[Context: US policy in Venezuela] This is an absolute rule. US is a country that has a clear destiny, which, a bit like the 3rd Reich, believe they are better than all others. They may merit the nickname of the 4th Reich from this point of view.

Disproof

Recurrent conspiracy narrative on the US having Nazi-like features. Background on the situation in Venezuela: Nicolas Maduro was officially re-elected president of Venezuela on May 20, 2018. Several Venezuelan NGOs, such as Foro Penal Venezolano, Súmate, Voto Joven, the Venezuelan Electoral Observatory and the Citizen Electoral Network, expressed their concern over the irregularities of the electoral schedule, including the lack of the Constituent Assembly's competencies to summon the elections, impeding participation of opposition political parties, and the lack of time for standard electoral functions. After that the European Union, the Organization of American States, the Lima Group, Australia and the United States expressed concerns on electoral process. In the declaration on behalf of the EU on the situation in Venezuela the High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission, Federica Mogherini reiterated that the presidential elections last May in Venezuela were neither free, fair, nor credible, lacking democratic legitimacy. The EU has called for the urgent holding of free, transparent and credible presidential elections in Venezuela.

Crimea reunited with Russia through a democratic referendum

Crimea detached from Ukraine by a popular referendum and was ithen ncorporated into Russia.

The authorities of Crimea and Sevastopol held a referendum on 16 March 2014 on reunification with Russia. As a result, 96.7 percent and 95.6 percent of citizens respectively voted in favour of joining the Russian Federation.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative on the annexation of Crimea claiming that Crimean citizens chose to rejoin Russia through a legal referendum. No international body recognises the so-called referendum, announced on the 27th of February 2014, and held on 16th of March 2014. For the EU statement on the fifth anniversary of Crimea annexation see here. Following the covert invasion of “little green men,” power in Crimea was vested in a makeshift executive headed by Sergey Aksenov, a former mafia enforcer. The new Crimean regime conducted the referendum hastily and at gunpoint, barred impartial observers from entering the peninsula, and instead invited dozens of fringe politicians and activists to “monitor” the procedure, most of them far-right Kremlin loyalists. The oft-cited figure of 97% has been contested by the Kremlin’s own Human Rights Council, which estimated that only between 30% and 50% of Crimeans took part in the referendum, of which some 50-60% favoured secession. A year after the illegal annexation, Russian President Vladimir Putin admitted that the plan to annex Crimea was ordered weeks before the so-called referendum.

Ukrainian authorities launched a military operation in LNR and DNR after the coup d’état

In April 2014 Ukrainian authorities launched a military operation against the self-proclaimed LNR and DNR, which had announced independence after the coup d’état of February 2014 in Ukraine.

Disproof

A recurring pro-Kremlin narrative on the coup d’état in Ukraine. For similar cases see here and here. There was no coup d’état in Ukraine in 2014. The Euromaidan protests were a spontaneous reaction among large parts of the Ukrainian population, ignited by the decision of former President Yanukovych not to sign the Association Agreement with the European Union in November 2013. The Maidan movement resonated with widespread discontent with corruption and mismanagement under Yanukovych’s rule. The concept of "civil war" in Ukraine is a well-known pro-Kremlin narrative about the war in Ukraine. In April 2014, the head of the National Security Council of Ukraine, Oleksandr Turchinov, announced the launch of the Anti-Terrorist Operation in Eastern Ukraine. This was a reaction to attempts by illegal Russian armed groups controlled by Russia to seize administrative buildings and security forces in the Donbas. The fighting began the next day of the same year. Later, the anti-terrorist operation was reformatted into the United Force Operation. After the outbreak of hostilities in the Donbas, there was a reaction from the United States and the European Union, which imposed the first sanctions against Russia for its aggression against Ukraine. Anti-Russian restrictions have been repeatedly extended and supplemented. Ukraine has repeatedly provided evidence of Russia's participation in the war in the east of the country. In January 2017, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine reported that Kyiv filed a lawsuit in the International Court of Justice of the United Nations with the aim of bringing Russia to responsibility for committing acts of terrorism and discrimination, which are the result of its illegal aggression against Ukraine. The lawsuit contains all the facts of Russian aggression against Ukraine, evidence of the illegal annexation of the Crimea and the occupation of Donbas. In addition, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in April 2018 at the official level found Russia guilty of occupying Donbas. The Assembly’s report introduced the concept of "temporarily occupied territories (of Ukraine) in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, controlled by the Russian occupation administration".