Disinfo: There are no Russian troops in Donbas


There are no Russian troops in Donbas, Ukraine, and there were never any troops at all.


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 claims are based on a manipulative interpretation of the OSCE report.

There is irrefutable evidence of direct Russian military involvement in Eastern Ukraine. The EU condemns the clear violation of Ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity by acts of aggression by the Russian armed forces since February 2014.

The former Chief of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission in Ukraine stated at the UN Security Council: "There have been cases where we have reported in the past people in uniforms, claiming to be from the Russian Federation and other countries, as well as mercenaries. SMM has reported observations of vehicles bearing Russian flags but did not observe the origin. I have to say to avoid any misunderstandings, in these reports, there has been no reference to the military units." The video of the statement can be found here [2:44:56 - 2:45:52].

This is not the first time OSCE statements are misquoted or taken out of context.


  • Reported in: Issue 176
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 21/11/2019
  • Language/target audience: Arabic
  • Country: Russia, Ukraine
  • Keywords: War in Ukraine, Donbas


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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EU observers are passive when it comes to Georgia’s provocations

The European Observers are completely passive and detached in relation to Georgia’s provocative actions at the South Ossetian border.

The President of South Ossetia, Anatoly Bibilov, directly addressed the co-chairs of the Geneva discussions, representatives of the EU observers’ mission in Georgia, and asked for decisive measures to be taken with Tbilisi to evade the real danger of a military conflict. However, there was no response. Georgia acts with the connivance of its Western partners.


This message is a part of a larger pro-Kremlin disinformation campaign against the EU's monitoring mission in Georgia (EUMM), which aims to undermine the international credibility of the mission by questioning its impartiality.

EUMM is an unarmed civilian monitoring mission of the European Union, deployed in September 2008 following the EU-mediated Six Point Agreement which ended the August war. The EUMM has been patrolling areas adjacent to the Administrative Boundary Lines with Abkhazia and South Ossetia day and night ever since, to ensure that there is no return to hostilities and to facilitate resumption of normal life for communities on the both sides of  Administrative Boundary Lines.

Tbilisi, Brussels and Washington orchestrate massive information attack against South Ossetia

The goal of the “Tsnelisi provocation” is to destroy the concept of South Ossetia’s border. A massive information attack orchestrated by Georgia, the EU and the USA against South Ossetia is another attempt by Tbilisi, Brussels and Washington to question the political consequences of the war in August 2008. Supported by its Western partners, Georgia is refusing to accept the consequences of its provocative actions. The country is refusing to sign a document on the non-use of force and is preparing its forces for a military conflict. The aim of South Ossetia is to put an end to Tbilisi’s aggression even by joining the Russian Federation.


Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative targeting the EU's monitoring mission in Georgia (EUMM), aiming to undermine its international credibility.

The Tsnelisi  incident took place on October 24 when the EUMM monitors had been detained by South Ossetian security actors. The EU Monitoring Mission released a statement noting that the incident "happened in an area understood to be on Tbilisi-Administered Territory in accordance with the traditional interpretation of the Administrative Boundary Line in that area."  See previous disinformation case accusing EU observers of border violation and provocation.

The USA will fulfil NATO’s Article 5 only if it is required by its national interests

The realist theory of international relations dominating the USA assumes that the national interest of the state is superior to the international law and treaties signed with its allies. In other words, Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty would be fulfilled by the United States only in a situation, when the US interests agree with its legal obligations.


Recurring pro-Kremlin narrative on NATO and the US military presence in Europe - it claims that the United States may not protect its European allies if it goes against the US national interests.

Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty is the critical component of the Alliance – it assumes that if a NATO Ally is a victim of an armed attack, every other member of the Alliance will consider this act of violence as an armed attack against all members and will take the actions it deems necessary to assist the Ally attacked. In other words, Article 5 is the cornerstone of NATO – it has been invoked only once in history as a response to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.