Disinfo: Russia is not a party to the internal Ukrainian conflict and not a subject of the Minsk agreements

Summary

The European Union imposed economic sanctions against Russia in the summer of 2014 due to the conflict in Ukraine. In March 2015, the leaders of the EU countries linked these measures to the implementation of the Minsk agreements. Moscow indicated that Russia is not a party to the internal Ukrainian conflict and not a subject of the Minsk agreements, but only a mediator in the settlement process.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the war in Ukraine and Minsk agreements.

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."

From the outset, the EU has supported Ukraine's territorial integrity, condemning the clear violations of Ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity by acts of aggression by the Russian armed forces. Already in 2014, it was known that Russian troops are operating on the territory of Ukraine. In 2019 NATO-Ukraine Commission said in a released statement:

“We reaffirmed our support to the settlement of the conflict by diplomatic means in accordance with the Minsk Agreements, which need to be fully implemented by all parties; Russia, as a signatory to the Minsk Agreements bears significant responsibility in this regard”. In this statement, Russia also was urged “to cease all political, financial and military support to militant groups and to stop intervening militarily in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions and to withdraw troops, equipment, and mercenaries from the territory of Ukraine”.

The Minsk agreements (the 2014 memorandum and 2015 plan of action) are the roadmap to the stabilisation of the situation in the temporarily occupied territories of Donetsk and Luhansk. It is true that both documents do not mention Russia as a side involved in the war, however, the documents do not mention the sides whatsoever. Still, the Minsk agreements do not define the conflict in Ukraine as "internal" but state clearly (paragraph 10) the need to withdraw:

“all foreign armed formations, military equipment, as well as mercenaries from the territory of Ukraine under the monitoring of the OSCE.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin admitted Russia's military presence in Ukraine in 2015.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 231
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 15/02/2021
  • Language/target audience: Russian
  • Country: Russia
  • Keywords: War in Ukraine, Minsk agreements, Sanctions

Disclaimer

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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Ukraine and Sweden are the most dangerous countries in Europe

According to the Numbeo, Sweden last year came in second as the Europe’s criminally most dangerous country. Only Ukraine is worse.

Disproof

An unfounded claim on crime in Sweden and Ukraine, consistent with a pro-Kremlin narrative on Western collapse.

The site numbeo.com collects users perception on various issues. The statistics presented on the site is not based on objective data.

Europeans are victims of a series of Anglo-Saxon provocations against Putin and Russia

Europe’s weakness is very obvious in its relations with Russia. If the EU wants to become stronger and turn into an independent actor, it needs to build normal relations with Russia. If it is fine being a young partner in the Atlantic project, it needs to do nothing. The outright majority of Europeans stand for normal relations with Russia, but the EU ruling establishment does not. If the residents of “European house” are unable to independently build relations with Russia, then maybe the house does not really belong to them. Possibly someone is gathering them in that house in order to shut the door and burn the house down at some moment in time.

Following Ukraine’s violent turn to the West in 2014, the EU fell into the trap and could not get out of it. The EU can neither take Ukraine in nor recognise it as a part of the Russian world. Neither the Germans nor the French benefit from playing out the Ukrainian card; the Anglo-Saxons do. They were pushing the topic of Russian interference into European affairs, demonised Russia as a whole and Vladimir Putin as the so-called Skripals’ poisoner. Lately, Navalny is used as yet another factor of the anti-EU game.

European leaders are well aware of the reality of the Navalny’s trap. As in Ukrainian history, Europeans will have two actors in the Anglo-Saxon play called “Let’s isolate Russia.” Josep Borrell tries to explain to the Anglo-Saxons and radical European Atlantists that the EU has the right to determine its own future and to speak with Russia. By delaying the normalisation of relations with Russia, the EU is only becoming weaker.

Disproof

This is a mix of recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives about lost sovereignty/external control, Western Russophobia and anti-Russian activities, and conspiracies about the poisoning of Alexei Navalny and the Skripals. In the pro-Kremlin media, the term “Anglo-Saxons” means “evil”, “belligerent” and “morally corrupt” Westerners, as explained in our earlier analysis.

Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny was poisoned with a military grade Novichok-type nerve agent during his trip in Siberia in August 2020. He was hospitalised and treated at the Charite Hospital in Berlin. In October 2o20, the EU sanctioned 6 individuals and one entity involved in the assassination attempt. To obfuscate responsibility for the poisoning, the pro-Kremlin media has drawn numerous parallels between the Navalny and Skripal poisonings. Most of them were coupled with the usual denials: “there is no evidence that Navalny was poisoned” or that “London has no evidence of Moscow’s complicity in the Skripals’ poisoning”. Read more about this in our past analysis titled Salisbury all over again.

EU diplomats who participated in the actions knew that they were interfering in Russian affairs

The Vienna convention on diplomatic relations, our bilateral consular conventions with the countries of the European Union, pre-suppose that diplomats have privileges and immunities. Except for those cases when they interfere in the internal affairs of the host country, and, in its comments, the UN Commission on International Law explained that the most striking example of interference in internal affairs, in a way incompatible with diplomatic immunity, is participation in public events in the host country.

Therefore, diplomats when they go out on the street in this situation, and even under the current decree of the Moscow Mayor’s Office related to the ban on such public events in the context of the coronavirus pandemic, I think, they knew very well that they were not fulfilling their functions under the Vienna Conventions, but interfering in the internal affairs of the Russian Federation.

Disproof

The claim advances a pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the protests in Russia in support of jailed opposition activist Alexei Navalny. and the subsequent expulsion of diplomats from Germany, Poland and Sweden by Russia.

None of the three diplomats were "interfering in Russian affairs" or participating in the demonstrations. Their presence at the protests was linked solely to the fulfillment of their diplomatic duties of monitoring protests. According to the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, these duties include: