DISINFO: Russia’s complaint to ECHR: Kyiv violates rights, kills civilians in Donbas
  • Outlet: 1tv.ru [from 00:34:34 to 00:36:41] (archived)*
  • Date of publication: July 23, 2021
  • Article language(s): Russian
  • Reported in: Issue 254
  • Countries / regions discussed: Ukraine, Russia
ECHR Donbas War in Ukraine Human rights

DISINFO: Russia’s complaint to ECHR: Kyiv violates rights, kills civilians in Donbas


Ukraine regularly violates basic human rights such as the right to life. Ukrainian authorities are warring those who disagree with them. Ukraine is waging an all-out war against civilians in Donbas.


This is a recurring disinformation narrative from pro-Kremlin outlets claiming that responsibility for the war in Donbas falls entirely on Ukraine. In reality, hostilities in Donbas were provoked by Russia in the wake of its occupation of the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea in 2014.

The first reason for Moscow’s instigating a revolt in the Eastern Ukrainian regions of Donetsk and Luhansk was its necessity to have land passage to Crimea. Before illegally building the Crimean bridge in 2019, Russia was separated from Crimea by a sea strait. Moscow had initially hoped that other territories in Eastern and Southern Ukrainian would join these two regions, which would guarantee Russia easy access to the occupied peninsula. Tensions were especially high in Kharkiv and Odesa, where local separatists aided by Russian forces nearly succeeded, however Ukraine was able to quash the unrest there more or less peacefully. Only Donetsk and Luhansk remained outside the government's control. Local separatists held illegal referendums there for independence from Ukraine similar to Crimea’s, hoping that Russia would annex them as well. However, the Kremlin chose not to do so as it decided to turn these regions into a zone of instability so that Kyiv remained in Moscow's zone of influence.

There is ample evidence of Russia providing the separatists with weapons under the guise of the so-called humanitarian convoys. Russia claimed that they contained only first-necessity goods and items for civilians. It could not be verified if these cargoes had only humanitarian goods because they were entering Ukraine without Ukrainian border and customs control. Journalistic investigations later revealed that weapons and other military equipment were inside these lorries. There is also other evidence of Russian military presence in Donbas, which means that Russian forces are directly involved in killing and torturing both Ukrainian POWs and civilians, and are responsible for igniting hostilities in Eastern Ukraine. The Ukrainian Armed Forces have been fighting armed separatists and Russian troops rather than civilians in Donbas since 2014. Separatists often install military equipment in residential areas using civilians as human shields. Civilian victims are inevitable in such cases, so the whole blame for human rights violations is falling only on Moscow and its proxies.

Read more disinformation narratives claiming that Ukrainian troops kill civilians in Donbas.


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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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