Disinfo: There is a Civil War in Ukraine

Summary

The worst thing is, there is a civil war in Ukraine. […] The conflict has run through the whole of Ukraine.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation about the war in Ukraine. Russia provoked the war in Ukraine, and it is therefore not a civil war.

The Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court stated that “the information available suggests that the situation within the territory of Crimea and Sevastopol amounts to an international armed conflict between Ukraine and the Russian Federation". This international armed conflict began at the latest on 26 February 2014 when the Russian Federation deployed members of its armed forces to gain control over parts of the Ukrainian territory without the consent of the Ukrainian Government. 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 to comply 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. According to the US Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA), Russian special forces and troops operated to mobilise, lead, equip, and support separatist militias in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine from spring 2014 to the present, although their presence was denied by Moscow. Russian President Vladimir Putin admitted Russia's military presence in Ukraine in 2015.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 148
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 02/05/2019
  • Outlet language(s) German
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: Ukraine
  • Keywords: Eastern Ukraine, Civil war
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President of Georgia does not willingly express opinions on the separatist regions

The new president of Georgia does not willingly express opinions on issues such as separatism prevailing in a large area of the country; the existence of problems like Abkhazia and South Ossetia, and the need to restore the territorial integrity of the country.

Disproof

Quite opposite to the claim made in the article, Georgian President Salome Zourabishvili recently stated that Russia's decade long military occupation of South Ossetia and Abkhazia has failed to break the national will to maintain sovereignty and achieve European Union and NATO accession. "It's a victory for Georgia and not for Russia." “In recent years, we have gone through similar tragedies. We are now experiencing what it means for our country’s territories to be occupied – what it means to have our country’s territorial integrity violated,” Zurabishvili said in her meeting with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev. Russia was an “occupying power”, and the biggest concern was “that it’s unpredictable”, she said. See here for other disinformation cases about Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

Kyiv admitted that Russia is protecting the residents of Donbas

Ukraine recognised that Russia is protecting the residents of Donbas. The country’s leadership said that Russian President Vladimir Putin decided to ease the procedure for obtaining Russian passports for residents of Donbas in order to be able to protect the citizens of his country.

Disproof

The news in the Russian media appeared against the backdrop of a decree by Russian President Vladimir Putin dated May 1 about the simplified granting of Russian citizenship to residents of the occupied territories of Ukraine - those who lived in Crimea before annexation, but left the peninsula after the Russian seizure, as well as those who now live in areas controlled by militants, so called "LNR" and "DNR". Claims that Ukraine admitted Russia is protecting residents are not true. Ukraine did not make such statements. On the contrary, after the signing of the Russian decree in Kyiv said that Putin had taken such measures in order to destabilise the situation in Donbas, legalize the "LNR" and "DNR" militants, and protect them from the Ukrainian court after the end of the war and the de-occupation of the Ukrainian territories. The Ukrainian government emphasises that people who are citizens of Ukraine and take part in illegal military formations of Donbas are collaborators. The Kremlin will issue passports primarily to its mercenaries. Russia took this step to legalise its aggression against Ukraine under the pretext that the Kremlin allegedly “protects its citizens” in the territories of the groups.

Crimea joined the Russian Federation after a referendum carried out in accordance with the rules of international law

In March 2014 Crimea joined the Russian Federation after a referendum carried out in accordance with the rules of international law.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative on the annexation of Crimea stating that the inhabitants of the Ukrainian peninsula chose to join Russia through a legal referendum. The so-called referendum held on the 16th of March 2014 has not been recognized by any international body. On the 27th of February 2014, when it was announced, 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. A year later even Russian President Vladimir Putin admitted that the plan to annex Crimea was ordered weeks before the so-called referendum. Five years later Federica Mogherini, the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, issued a statement on behalf of EU confirming the EU’s commitment to Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, stressing that EU does NOT recognize this referendum and continues to condemn this violation of international law.