Disinfo: The incident in the Kerch strait was a crime of the Ukrainian military

Summary

Ukraine will get back its ships detained in Crimea, but only after recognising their provocation in the Kerch Strait. The Russian side considers the incident in the strait as a crime of the Ukrainian military.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation about the Kerch incident. On the 25th of November 2018, border patrol boats belonging to Russia’s FSB security service seized two small Ukrainian armoured artillery vessels and a tug boat and their crews after shooting at them, wounding several Ukrainian servicemen and arresting 24 members. Russia stated they were in Russian waters. However, according to the bilateral agreement between Ukraine and Russia, the Kerch Strait and the Sea of Azov are the internal waters of both Russia and Ukraine. The agreement gives both parties the power to inspect suspicious vessels. Furthermore, both the 2003 bilateral agreement and UN Convention on the Law of the Sea provide for freedom of navigation. For further reporting see Bellingcat, DFRLab and Polygraph.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 171
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 05/11/2019
  • Outlet language(s) Russian
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: Ukraine, Russia
  • Keywords: Ukraine, Kerch, Military, War crimes, Provocation, Crimea
see more

Poland and the Baltic countries are the Western world's jackals who can produce a global catastrophe

The stationing of the US military in Lithuania and preparations for NATO military exercises is partly a response to integration processes between Russia and Belarus. This is a way to pressure Belarusian elites, to scare them, and to put forward the following message: this is not your war, you better raise a white flag and surrender. Lithuanians, Latvians, and Poles are again playing the role of the Western world’s jackals and could thus again trigger a catastrophe for the whole of humankind.

Disproof

This claim is a conspiracy theory aimed at discrediting Poland and the Baltic states and the West as a whole. It is consistent with recurring pro-Kremlin narratives about alleged Western aggression and anti-Russian activities, attempts to disrupt Belarus-Russia relations and to counteract the Union State between Belarus and Russia. NATO is a defensive alliance and does not pose a threat to Russia. Its purpose is to protect its member states. Every country that joins NATO undertakes to uphold its principles and policies, and this includes the commitment that "the Alliance does not seek confrontation and poses no threat to Russia," as reaffirmed at the Brussels Summit. For more information about NATO-Russia relations and disinformation narratives about NATO, see here and here. See earlier disinformation cases alleging that the West is targeting the Union State between Belarus and Russia and that Poland is to blame for being attacked by Stalin in 1939.

Eastern Partnership is about external control and disintegration, Belarus is part of the Russian World

From the historical point of view Belarusian history is inseparable from all-Russian history. Belarus has to be in civilizational unity with Russia and the Russian World because Belarus is an integral part of all-Russian civilization. The so-called Euro-integration, Eastern Partnership and other programs of Euro-Atlantic cooperation which are imposed by the West, are unacceptable. Quasi-Euro-integration is based on a geopolitical catastrophe and the policy of external governance thanks to keeping post-Soviet space in the disintegrated state.

Disproof

This publication is aimed at discrediting all Western mechanisms of cooperation with Belarus including the Eastern Partnership program and suits into recurring pro-Kremlin narratives about the all-Russian nation and Russian world/civilization and Western aggressiveness towards Belarus and Russia. The "all-Russian nation" is an imperial Russian and Russian irredentist ideology that is a favoured pro-Kremlin narrative aimed at weakening the national identity of Belarusians and Ukrainians, as well as their sovereignty. Belarus is a well-defined nation-state with a long history; it preserved language, literature and identity, despite foreign rule for long periods. The Eastern Partnership (EaP) is a joint policy initiative which aims to deepen and strengthen relations between the European Union (EU), its Member States and its six Eastern neighbours: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine. The Eastern Partnership initiative is a mutually beneficial and constructive platform for countries in the region to build a closer relationship with the EU if they choose to do so. The EU does not demand any of its partners to make a choice between the EU or any other country. The Eastern Partnership stands for good neighbourly relations and respects the individual aspirations and ambitions of each partner country. Read more about the Eastern Partnership and its priorities here. See earlier disinformation cases alleging that the Eastern Partnership aims to erode Belarusian identity and promote the views of Polish gentry, that Alyaksandr Lukashenka skipped the Eastern Partnership summit in Brussels because the West could organise his killing and that Belarus, Russia, and Ukraine are three Russian political nations.

Russia is not a part in the conflict in Donbas

Ukrainian authorities keep calling Russia the “aggressor”. However, the Russian authorities have repeatedly reminded that Moscow is not a party to the conflict. Russia is part of the Normandy process for the Ukrainian settlement, and also participated in the drafting of the Minsk agreements, which aim to put an end to the conflict in the Donbas.

Disproof

A recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the war in Ukraine, claiming that Russia is not part of the conflict in Donbas, that Russia has nothing to do with the war in eastern Ukraine and that there is a “civil war” in Donbas. The European Union stated in July 2014 that "arms and fighters continue flowing into Ukraine from the Russian Federation". At the NATO Summit in Wales in September 2014, NATO leaders condemned in the strongest terms Russia’s military intervention in Ukraine and demanded Russia to stop and withdraw its forces from Ukraine and from the country’s border. NATO leaders also demanded Russia comply with international law and its international obligations and responsibilities; refrain from aggressive actions against Ukraine; halt the flow of weapons, equipment, people and money across the border to the separatists; and stop fomenting tension along and across the Ukrainian border. In 2015, Russian President Vladimir Putin admitted Russia's military presence in Ukraine.