Russia saved Syria as a country

Summary

In the four years since the presence of Russian air forces in Syria, much has been achieved, but most importantly, Syria was saved as a country.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the Syrian war.

In fact, Russia saved a leader, not a nation. There is ample evidence that the Syrian leadership (supported by Russia) is responsible for numerous massacres, bombings and chemical attacks on civilians in Syria. Russian airstrikes on hospitals, water treatment plants and mosques [causing hundreds of civilian deaths] have also been documented. Both militaries have denied the allegation. Amnesty International has also gathered evidence, including photos and video footage, suggesting the Russians have used unguided bombs in densely populated civilian areas, as well as internationally banned deadly cluster munitions.

Moreover, pro-Kremlin media often refer to Russian military intervention in Syria as a “war on terrorism” aimed at destroying Daesh. In reality,  Russia’s military action has mostly concentrated on targeting the non-Daesh opposition forces, while a relatively low proportion of Russian airstrikes in Syria have targeted Daesh or other al-Qaeda-linked groups.

See similar cases here.

 

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 168
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 01/10/2019
  • Language/target audience: Russian
  • Country: Russia, Syria
  • Keywords: Russia's Ministry of Defence, Russian superiority, Syrian War, Bashar al-Assad
  • Outlet: Sputnik.az
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Russo-Georgian war was a war for independence

Russia recognized 11 years ago the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, which had been part of the former Soviet Socialist Republic of Georgia and were seeking independence even before the disintegration of the Soviet Union. This occurred after a five-day war between Georgia and South Ossetia in August 2008, which killed 1,692 people and injured about 1,500 civilians in South Ossetia.

In addition to Russia, Nicaragua, Venezuela, and Nauru also recognized the independence of Abkhazia. Syria announced the recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia on May 29, 2018.

Disproof

A recurring pro-Kremlin narrative trying to deny any role for Russia in the Russo-Georgian 2008 war, and presenting it instead as a conflict between South Ossetia and Georgia. South Ossetia and Abkhazia did not claim independence from Georgia, but were occupied by Russia.

Russia continues its military presence in both Abkhazia and South Ossetia in violation of international law and commitments undertaken by Russia under the 12 August 2008 agreement, mediated by the European Union.

Relations between Russia and the West deteriorated due to civil war in Ukraine

The formal reason for the sharp deterioration in relations between Russia and the West was the situation around Ukraine, where, after the 2014 coup, a civil war broke out. Kyiv has repeatedly accused Moscow of allegedly participating in a conflict in the east of the country. However, the Russian Federation has consistently emphasised the groundlessness of such rhetoric, since Russia is not a subject, but a guarantor of the Minsk agreements, the task of which is to resolve the conflict in the Donbas.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the war in Ukraine, and Euromaidan protests. It was not Ukraine, but Russia which illegally annexed Crimea and continues violating Ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity. This led to sanctions and a deterioration in relations between Russia and other countries.

The onset of the Euromaidan protests which began in Kyiv in November 2013 – called "Maidan", or "Euromaidan" – were  a result of the Ukrainian people's frustration with former President Yanukovych's last minute U-turn when, after seven years of negotiation, he refused to sign the EU–Ukraine Association Agreement and halted progress towards Ukraine's closer relationship with the EU as a result of Russian pressure. The protesters' demands included constitutional reform, a stronger role for parliament, formation of a government of national unity, an end to corruption, early presidential elections and an end to violence. See some more recent debunks of this claim here and here. See a similar case denying Russia’s involvement in the conflict in Eastern Ukraine here.

NATO is pursuing a real war-preparation policy for Europe

The USA is increasingly expanding its military presence in Eastern Europe. It is a continuation and strengthening of the policy of confrontation with Russia, which has absolutely determined NATO policy for the last fifteen years. It is another step in the wrong direction – more troops, more military bases; more weapons on the border with Russia do not secure peace, but the opposite. They only show that NATO is actually pursuing a real war preparation policy, not a common security policy for Europe.

Disproof

No evidence given that the US and NATO started to prepare for war with Russia. Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative, portraying NATO as a threat to peace and having a belligerent agenda in Eastern Europe.

NATO policies introduced after the 2014 Ukraine crisis, aimed at reinforcing NATO’s Eastern flank and reassuring Central and Eastern European allies worried about possible threats from Russia, do not threaten global security. Following Russia’s annexation of Crimea and amid emerging security challenges in the Middle East and North Africa in 2014, NATO leaders at the Wales Summit adopted the Readiness Action Plan, a comprehensive package of enhanced collective defence and deterrent measures designed to ensure the transatlantic alliance could respond swiftly and firmly to changes in its security environment.