Disinfo: The West falsely accuses Russia of election meddling

Summary

Relations between Russia and the West deteriorated in the wake of the conflict in eastern Ukraine and the successful referendum on Crimea’s reunification with Russia in 2014. The West has repeatedly accused Moscow of meddling in other nations’ political processes, inducing the 2016 US presidential election and the Brexit vote, without providing sufficient proof. Russia continues to deny all such allegations.

Disproof

This is a recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative attempting to paint Russian military aggression against Ukraine as a domestic civil conflict; Moscow's illegal annexation of Crimea as a "re-unification" preceded by a legitimate democratic "referendum"; and accusations of Russian meddling in Western democratic processes as factually unfounded and driven by "Russophobia". No international body has recognised the so-called Crimea referendum, announced on 27 February 2014, and held on 16 March 2014. Thirteen members of the United Nations Security Council voted in favour of a resolution declaring the referendum invalid. On 27 March 2014, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution which stated that the referendum in Crimea was not valid and could not serve as a basis for any change in the status of the peninsula. On 17 December 2018, the UN General Assembly confirmed its non-recognition of the illegal annexation of Crimea. On the fifth anniversary of Crimea's annexation, the EU reiterated its position of non-recognition of the landgrab and continues to stand in full solidarity with Ukraine, supporting its sovereignty and territorial integrity. Moreover, the international community, including the European Union, recognises and condemns clear violations of Ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity by acts of aggression by the Russian armed forces since February 2014. Extensive evidence confirms that Russia did meddle in the 2016 US presidential elections, specifically aiming to damage Hillary Clinton's campaign and aid Republican candidate Donald Trump. Some assessments suggest this interference affected the outcome of the vote, particularly in three critical swing states where Trump's victory margins were the thinnest. Likewise, Russian state efforts to affect the outcome of the Brexit vote are well-documented, both in news reports and parliamentary enquiries (see especially pp. 43-52). Fore more information on Russia's interference in Western democratic processes, see the EUvsDisinfo Elections page.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 184
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 13/02/2020
  • Outlet language(s) English
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: UK, US, Ukraine, Russia
  • Keywords: election meddling, Brexit, Anti-Russian, Manipulated elections/referendum, Crimea, Referendum, Elections, Russophobia, War in Ukraine
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There is no accurate list of victims who were killed during NATO bombing of Yugoslavia

There is no accurate list of all the victims even after 20 years since the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia. Estimates are that during the NATO bombing, between 1,500 and 2,500 people died and about 6,000 were injured. However, none made a list of their names.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the number of civilian casualties of NATO bombing, previously debunked by Polygraph, and war in former Yugoslavia, aiming to portray NATO's bombing in Yugoslavia as more devastating and to demonise NATO's actions during the Yugoslav war. The Sputnik article presents no source of the quoted number of killed civilians.

According to the Humanitarian Law Center, in Serbia (excluding Kosovo) and Montenegro, 275 persons lost their lives in the NATO bombings: 180 civilians, 90 members of the Yugoslav Armed Forces and five members of the Ministry of Interior of Serbia. In Kosovo, 484 people were killed: 267 civilians (209 Albanian and 58 non-Albanian), 171 members of the YA, 20 members of the Serbian MUP and 26 members of the KLA (19 of whom died in the NATO bombing of the Dubrava prison, near Istok).

Crimea is a Russian region

Crimea is a Russian region; in light of current development programmes, any proposal to supply water to [Crimea] on a commercial or a non-commercial basis can be considered.

Disproof

This is a recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about Russia's illegal annexation of Crimea.

Crimea is not Russian but was illegally annexed by Moscow based on an illegitimate referendum. On 27 March 2014, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution in which it stated that the referendum in Crimea was not valid and could not serve as a basis for any change in the status of the peninsula. On 17th December 2018, the UN General Assembly confirmed its non-recognition of the illegal annexation of Crimea.

The conflict in Donbas is an internal Ukrainian problem

For Donbas, this is an internal Ukrainian problem, and we [Russia] are doing everything we can to contribute to its solution.

Disproof

One of the most common disinformation narratives claiming that Russia has nothing to do with the war in Ukraine. See a similar case denying Russia’s involvement in the conflict in Eastern Ukraine.

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 and at successive summits since then, NATO leaders condemned Russia’s military intervention in Ukraine in the strongest terms and demanded that Russia stop and withdraw its forces from Ukraine and along the country’s border. NATO leaders also demanded that Russia complies with international law and its international obligations and responsibilities; end its illegitimate occupation of Crimea; 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.