Disinfo: The EU provoked a civil war in Ukraine, now it destabilises Belarus

Summary

Instead of regulating old military conflicts in Eastern Europe, the EU provoked new ones, which manifested in the civil war in Ukraine. A coup d’état in Kyiv was one of the elements which made a military conflict in Donbas inevitable. The same Eastern Partnership drivers which pumped Ukrainian society with radicalism for its “European choice” currently perform the same activities in Belarus. In 2017, the authorities of Belarus prevented an attempt to organise armed protests in Minsk with external support. Back then, Belarusian president Alexander Lukashenko announced that militants sent to Belarus were trained in military camps in Ukraine and financed through Poland and Lithuania. Hence, two active Eastern Partnership coutries were destabilising Belarus.

Disproof

This is a mix of ungrounded claims and conspiracies which are consistent with recurring pro-Kremlin propaganda narrative about Western attempts to instigate colour revolutions in European neighbourhood countries. There was no coup d'état in Ukraine. The spontaneous onset of the Euromaidan protests was an organic reaction by numerous segments of the Ukrainian population to former President Yanukovych’s sudden departure from the promised Association Agreement with the European Union in November 2013. See the full debunk of this disinformation claim here. The war in eastern Ukraine is not a West-driven civil conflict but a well-documented act of aggression by Russian armed forces, ongoing since February 2014. There was no attempt to stage armed protests in Belarus in 2017 with external support. The claim about the opposition's attempt to conduct a terrorist act is unfounded and the charges were dropped by Belarusian investigators. At the same time, as Belarus 2017 Human Rights Report by the US State Department reads, opposition leaders faced multiple arrests by the Belarusian authorities: "Throughout the year, Statkevich and Uladzimir Nyaklyaeu, another 2010 presidential candidate, opposition activist, and former political prisoner, were arrested repeatedly and placed in administrative detentions, usually in connection with unauthorised gatherings and demonstrations." Statkevich team member Sergey Kuncevich was detained on 25 March 2017 and accused of transporting Molotov cocktails as part of a larger coordinated attempt to organise mass protests. Nearly, at the same time, Belarus' state-owned mass media (BelTA) published an article “Militants staging a provocation detained in Belarus” reporting about weapons allegedly confiscated from other accused. Investigators found no evidence to confirm the accusations and the criminal prosecution of all those arrested in relation to the case was closed in late November 2017. See earlier disinformation cases alleging attempts to destabilise Belarus using Ukrainian weapons here and here. See earlier disinformation stories alleging that Belarusian opposition leaders prepare a coup with US military assistance and proclaimed a crusade against the Orthodox Church in Belarus.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 197
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 04/05/2020
  • Outlet language(s) Russian
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: EU, Poland, Belarus, Lithuania, Ukraine
  • Keywords: Eastern Partnership, Civil war, Protest, Alexander Lukashenko, Colour revolutions, Conspiracy theory, Donbas, Coup
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Poland is not a sovereign state

The Third Polish Republic is not a sovereign state – internationally, it depends on foreign countries; domestically, it is being robbed by parties, mafias and clans. For a long time, the Constitution has not been the “supreme law of the Polish Republic” – this situation is a result of actions of Lech Kaczyński, who signed the Treaty of Lisbon.

Disproof

A common pro-Kremlin narrative on “lost sovereignty” - in the case of Poland, this country is often presented as a “puppet-state” of the United States, EU or Germany. The statement that Poland is not a sovereign state is a conspiracy theory. Poland is an independent state, which shapes its own foreign and domestic policies. The Treaty of Lisbon has not “destroyed” the Polish sovereignty – the Constitution continues to be the supreme law of the Polish Republic. Read similar cases alleging that Polish policy towards Ukraine is shaped by the Americans, that the US keeps Poland on an anti-Russian leash and Poland's Eastern policy is dictated by the USA aiming to weaken Russia.

EU has been unable to support its most affected members

The unity of Europe dealt a serious blow by the COVID-19 epidemic. The European Union has been unable to support even its most affected countries, such as Italy.

Disproof

The COVID-19 outbreak constituted a serious challenge to Europe's readiness for a crisis. The claim that "EU has done nothing" is false.

The European Commission has approved a €50 million Italian aid scheme to support the production and supply of medical devices, as well as to help Italy provide the necessary medical treatment to those infected.

Ukrainian government and Maidan leaders are guilty of the May 2, 2014 Odesa tragedy

Everyone knows that it was Parubiy [one of the leaders of the Euromaidan and the former speaker of the parliament] who organised the Odesa Khatyn [the fire in the House of the Trade Unions], resulting in 48 deaths and more than 250 people injured. Most of the victims of the tragedy were burned alive in the House of Trade Unions. The investigation established that riots in Odesa were organised and planned.

Disproof

Pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about May 2, 2014 clashes in Odesa and the resulting fire in the House of the Trade Unions. There is no evidence of Andriy Parubiy's involvement in the 2014 Odesa tragedy. At the time, Andriy Parubiy was the Secretary of the National Security and Defence Council. Regarding the investigation, United Nations Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine noted in its report in 2019: "Five years on, there has still not been any accountability for the killings of six and violent deaths of 42 individuals. Some of the criminal proceedings launched after the tragic events have stalled at the pre-trial investigation stage, while others did at the trial stage. This suggests a lack of genuine interest from the authorities to ensure justice for victims and accountability for perpetrators."