Disinfo: Relations between Russia and Ukraine deteriorated after a coup in Kyiv

Summary

Relations between Russia and Ukraine deteriorated after a coup in the Ukrainian capital Kyiv back in 2014. The new Ukrainian authority banned all forms of cooperation with Russia. And Russia was forced to implement its trade embargo on countries that have joined the US embargo on Russia, including Ukraine.

Disproof

There was no coup d’état in Kyiv in 2014; this is a longstanding pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about Ukraine's Euromaidan protests depicting the 2013-14 revolution as a coup d'état and about international sanctions against Russia. Ukrainians spontaneously united against the actions of President Viktor Yanukovych after his government, due to pressure from Russia, refused to sign the Association Agreement with the European Union, which had taken seven years to negotiate. 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. It was Russia that annexed Crimea and continues to destabilise Ukraine, which was the reason for the EU and the US to impose sanctions on Russia. Furthermore, Kyiv's decision to suspend trade with Moscow was a counter-move to Russia's announcement for a food embargo against Ukraine that Russian President Vladimir Putin described as due to “extraordinary circumstances affecting the interests and economic security...making Russia exports to Ukraine less competitive", as an alleged result of Ukraine's free trade pact with the EU. Read similar cases claiming that the US has recognised Euromaidan as a coup controlled by US officials and that Ukrainian government lost its legitimacy after 2014 coup, and that the Western-backed coup in Ukraine has torn the country asunder.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 205
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 08/07/2020
  • Outlet language(s) Arabic
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: US, Ukraine, Russia
  • Keywords: Eastern Ukraine, West, Anti-Russian, International Law, Viktor Yanukovych, Sanctions, Euromaidan, Russophobia, Coup
see more

Marshal Konev statue in Prague was removed without any voting

There are not many people who support the actions of the Mayor of Prague-6, Ondřej Kolář, he did not even ask what the inhabitants of his district think. No valid voting took place. The facts on the basis of which he made decisions, in fact, are his own readings of history.

Disproof

The report contains a recurring disinformation narrative about the removal of the Marshall Konev statue in Prague. It is also consistent with common pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives about Russophobia and the supposedly hostile anti-Russian intentions of the West, based on which Russia can cast itself as the victim. The democratically elected municipal council of Prague 6 voted to remove the statue on 12 September 2019. Basing on the protocol of the Politbureau's assembly, Czech historians established that on 8-14 May 1968, Konev chaired the Soviet military delegation sent to Prague to prepare the military invasion of Czechoslovakia. Konev was also chief of the Soviet troops in East Germany during the Berlin wall crisis in 1961. In other words, the Red Army brought not only liberation but also terror to Czech Republic, as the mayor of Prague 6, Ondřej Kolář reminded. See other disinformation cases on Marshal Konev.

Europe's position in the situation with Sputnik Estonia - criminal silence

Estonian authorities continue to restrict the activities of Sputnik Estonia, violating the principles of freedom of speech. Sputnik Estonia has become the clearest example of the fight against dissent in the Baltic region. Europe’s attitude towards Sputnik Estonia is frightening. Brussels is silent and this is criminal silence. This frees up the hands of other countries that are beginning to study Estonia’s experience in closing Sputnik. The reaction of European structures shows that there is no freedom of speech in the Baltic countries. European organisations chose the non-interference position only because they are talking about the Russian media.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the undemocratic EU. It also contains recurring pro-Kremlin narratives about the West's deliberate anti-Russian activities, double standards. This claim tries to show sanctions against Russia, due to its illegal actions in Ukraine, as unfair persecution against Sputnik and its employees and against Russian media in general. In Estonia, Sputnik is represented as a "victim of unprecedented persecution" and example of the fight against dissent in the Baltic region. These kinds of statements were debunked several times. All actions taken by Estonia in relation to Sputnik are aimed at economic activity and not against the outlet's news content, and have a basis in both EU (see Art. 2(1)) and Estonian (see para. 93.1) legislation. The Article 2 of the Council Regulation (EU) No 269/2014 on the territorial integrity of Ukraine foresees freezing the assets of Dmitry Kiselyov, the Director-General of Rossija Segodnya. According to the articles of association of the company, the Director-General has the right to decide upon opening bank accounts and carry out invoicing. This corresponds to the condition "having the right to use all or part of the assets of a legal person or entity" in the EU Best Practices for the effective implementation of restrictive measures. "This means that if Rossiya Segodnya, which is controlled by Dmitry Kiselyov, against whom sanctions have been imposed, has assets in Estonia, they must be frozen and access must not be given to funds or economic resources, that is provide services that would enable Rossiya Segodnya to do business. When it comes to Estonia, this prohibition applies to people operating in the territory of Estonia," head of anti-money laundering authority the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), Madis Reimand, said. Estonia is on the 14th place of Reporters without Borders Press freedom index. Estonia has not blocked Sputnik Estonia's website and it is accessible. The Minister of Foreign Affairs Urmas Reinsalu has emphasized that Estonia has not taken any measures against the portal's media content: "They are financial sanctions aimed at economic activity. I believe it to be justified. We have notified the European Commission's Legal Service. European agencies have said in the Commission that steps taken by Estonia in exercising sanctions policy are warranted". Further debunk can be read here. Similar cases about Sputnik Estonia, claiming that High rating given to Estonia by “Reporters without borders” is fiction, that When it comes to Russia, Europe does not adhere to values, or There is no freedom of speech in Estonia, but an absolute censorship. More cases can be found here.

The EU Association Agreement made Ukraine a colony of the European Union

The Europeans are happy to accept cheap labour from Ukraine and to carefully monitor that Ukraine respects its obligations to remain a colonial appendage of the EU, which, in addition to human resources, also requires raw materials needed by Western producers.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about Ukraine, which is often claimed to be under external control from the US, NATO, the EU, or IMF. Ukraine is a sovereign state. The EU does not control Ukraine. Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity are respected by most of the free world, confirmed by the resolutions of the United Nations, but violated by Russia. Ukraine is a priority partner for the EU. In June 2014, the EU and Ukraine signed an Association Agreement, including a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA), which promotes deeper political ties, stronger economic links and the respect for common values. Since 2014, the EU and the Financial Institutions have mobilised more than €15 billion in grants and loans to support the reform process, with strong conditionality on continued progress. See here for more details about EU-Ukraine relations. Since 2016, there has been a steady increase in the export of more value added products, such as machinery and appliances and transport equipment, while the number of companies exporting to the EU has increased from 11,700 companies in 2015 to more than 14,500 companies in 2019. The total trade turnover increased to 52.6 bln USD in 2019. During 2015-2019, Ukraine also increased its exports to the EU from 13 bln USD to 24 bln USD. Overall in 2019, Ukrainian exports to the EU increased by 3.9%. Now, the EU accounts for almost half of Ukrainian exports. The EU remains a key trading partner of Ukraine with a share of 40.1%. See here for more details about EU-Ukraine trade relations. See similar claims alleging that the EU Association Agreement destroyed the Ukrainian economy and that Ukraine and its economy became a Western colony.