Disinfo: The war in Ukraine and in Afghanistan follow a similar pattern: the West ignores Russian or Soviet interests


The war in Ukraine and in Afghanistan follow a similar pattern: The West ignores Russian or Soviet interests directly in the country’s neighbourhood.

The conflict over Ukraine and Crimea for more than five years seems to follow a similar pattern to that over Afghanistan 40 years ago: Western activities deliberately ignore Soviet or Russian interests directly in the country’s neighbourhood. When Moscow can no longer ignore this, and reacts to it, it is accused of exactly that, in both cases first and foremost by the USA. This is followed by one-sided blame, distraction from one’s own role and interests, and sanctions.

[Context: The conflict over Crimea was a consequence of the coup in Kyiv in February 2014.]


Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about Western belligerence towards Russia, Western attempts to encircle Russia, its involvement in the war in Ukraine, stating that the 2013-2014 Euromaidan protests resulted in an illegal coup; painting Ukraine and other states as failing states incapable of making its own policy choices and painting the West as the puppet-master of their politics.

The Euromaidan was not organised by the West but was the sovereign choice of Ukrainians for pro-European development. 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. There was no coup d'état in Ukraine.

After Yanukovych’s escape from Ukraine in 2014, Russia illegally annexed the Ukrainian Crimean peninsula. Also, the war in Eastern Ukraine is a well-documented act of aggression by Russian armed forces, ongoing since February 2014.

In late December 1979 Soviet troops invaded in Afghanistan after staging a coup against the incumbent President, Hafizulla Amin. The Soviet Union intervened in support of the Afghan communist government in its conflict with anticommunist Muslim guerrillas during the Afghan War (1978–92) and remained in Afghanistan until mid-February 1989. The war in Afghanistan became a quagmire for what by the late 1980s was the disintegrating Soviet Union. The Soviets suffered some 15,000 dead and many more injured; around 2 million Afghan civilians were killed during the war.  In 1988 the United States, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and the Soviet Union signed an agreement by which the latter would withdraw its troops from the country.


  • Reported in: Issue 175
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 30/11/2019
  • Language/target audience: German
  • Country: Afghanistan, Russia, Ukraine, US
  • Keywords: illegal annexation, West, Encircling Russia, European Union, Anti-Russian, War in Ukraine, Coup, Russophobia, Euromaidan


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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Crimea and Sevastopol are irreversibly Russian

Crimea became part of Russia again after the March 2014 referendum, with 96.77 percent of voters in the Republic of Crimea and 95.6 percent of Sevastopol’s people voting in favour of joining Russia. This was after the overthrow of the regime in Ukraine in February 2014.

The Russian leadership has stated many times that the people of Crimea have expressed their desire to rejoin Russia, in a democratic process that fully complies with the requirements of international law and the Charter of the United Nations. According to President Vladimir Putin, the Crimea issue is complete and irreversibly closed.


Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation about Crimea and Sevastopol.

Crimea is part of Ukraine that was illegally annexed by Russia. Following the covert invasion by “little green men”, the referendum in Crimea was conducted hastily and at gunpoint, barring impartial observers from entering the peninsula. Therefore, no international body recognises the so-called referendum, announced on the 27th of February 2014, and held on 16th of March 2014.

Previous government was sabotaging prisoner exchanges in Donbas due to anti-Russian hysteria and Russophobia

If there was a clear decision to exchange all prisoners, then it could be implemented. It will take a short period of time. This could have been done under Poroshenko, but he didn’t want it, intentionally, because he didn’t need any territory or these people, he needed a policy of anti-Russian hysteria and Russophobia.


Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the War in Ukraine and the Minsk agreements.

In the last five years, numerous talks on the exchange of the prisoners have been held in the Minsk format (in the Trilateral Contact Group). As a result, hundreds of prisoners have been exchanged during 2014-2017. In general, 4 prisoner swaps have taken place: on 26-27 December 2014, 26-27 August 2015, 2 August 2017, and 27 December 2017.

War in Donbas is a consequence of USSR’s break-up and ban against Russian language

The war in Donbas is a consequence of the USSR’s dissolution. The war originates from the ban on speaking Russian, which was impossible in the Ukrainian Soviet Social Republic, but it happened in Ukraine. The Belarusian and Ukrainian societies have to finally realise that the Russian language is native to Belarus and Ukraine, just as it is to Russia. It belongs to all three branches of Russian people: Great Russians, Little Russians, and Belarusians, this is our common heritage.


This case misinterprets the reasons behind the war in Donbas and puts forward propagandistic narratives about the all-Russian nation and Russian World/civilization.

It presents the war in Donbas as a result of USSR's break-up and the alleged ban on the Russian language, thus disregarding the actual sequence of events and extensive factual evidence confirming ongoing Russian military presence in Donbas. The law on regional languages was repealed by the parliament of Ukraine on February 23, 2014. However, the decree was not signed then. The law officially expired only on February 28, 2018, when the Constitutional Court of Ukraine declared the law unconstitutional. The EU condemns the clear violation of Ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity by acts of aggression by the Russian armed forces since February 2014.