Disinfo: Ukraine had nothing to do with the prisoner exchange, it was organised by the West and Russia

Summary

There is a need to remind that Ukraine is far from being a sovereign state and there is no need to talk about the merits of Volodymyr Zelenskyy in the exchange of prisoners. Ukraine is a node where the interests of Russia, the U.S., and the EU converge. And by taking into account the considerable influence of the last two on Ukrainian politics we can be sure that the exchange was coordinated by the Western “partners”.

The task was not to return the Ukrainian “heroes” who had been kept in the dungeons of the Kremlin. The real reason was to reduce the demonisation of Russia.

Disproof

This is a disinformation narrative delegitimising the sovereignty of the Ukrainian authorities and, in this case, their role in the latest prisoner exchange between Ukraine and Russia that took place on 7 September 2019.

The exchange process was initiated by the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on 7 August 2019.

“On 7 August 2019 I had a conversation with the Russian president Vladimir Putin. We agreed on the first stage of unlocking our dialogue and the first stage in ending the war, namely the return of our military and our sailors. We agreed to create working groups and we created them,” Volodymyr Zelenskyy said on September 7 after greeting the Ukrainian prisoners.

In the middle of August, Ukraine and Russia agreed to form a working group which would develop the exact plan of exchange. However, the key decisions were made by the Presidents of Ukraine and the Russian Federation.

"The working groups have been created and we have agreed that, within a month, we should speak very substantively, work hard, without lies, and bring our men home," Volodymyr Zelenskyy explained.

Negotiations on the exchange were held in complete secrecy, since both sides were fearing that any leaks could derail the swap.

Ukraine is a sovereign country. Its sovereignty is recognised by most of the world. Russia recognised Ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity in a Friendship Treaty signed in 1997 but has been violating it since the occupation of Crimea and the start of the war in Donbas.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 165
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 10/09/2019
  • Outlet language(s) Russian
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: Ukraine, Russia
  • Keywords: West, War in Ukraine
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The USSR signed the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact with Nazi Germany due to Poland's aggressive foreign policy

Historical documents newly released by Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs show that the Soviet Union decided to sign the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact with Nazi Germany for two reasons: the aggressive foreign policy of Poland, which prevented a Soviet alliance with France and the United Kingdom, and fears of an eventual Polish-German military alliance that would pose a really serious threat to the USSR.

Disproof

No documentary evidence is provided to support the affirmation and no dates are given to allow even the most superficial background check. This is part of Russian efforts of historical revisionism, in order to portray Russia’s role in World War II as a non-aggressive power and Poland as one of the main culprits of the conflict. In terms of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, it is a proven historical fact that it contained the Secret Supplementary Protocol, which assumed the division of Poland and other Eastern European countries between the USSR and Germany. Thus, the signing of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact led to German and Soviet military aggression against Poland in September 1939, which resulted in its complete occupation by Germany and the USSR. You can see other examples of disinformation narratives about the Ribbentrop-Molotov pact here, here and here, and about alleged Poland’s blame here, here and here.

There is a civil war in Ukraine

Ukrainians are saying they are fighting Buriats, where are they? None could be seen in the prisoner swap. Where are enlisted Russian soldiers? We are in fact exchanging some Ukrainians for others – it is after all a civil war. Zelenskyi got rid of Ukrainians he did not want, by sending them to what local idiots call “Mordor” – Russia. Ukrainians have not returned a single Russian soldier, because there are no Russian soldiers in Ukraine.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the war in Ukraine, casting it as a civil war. See more examples here.

The prisoner swap is not a "proof" of civil war in Ukraine. The international community, including the European Union recognizes and condemns clear violations of Ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity by acts of aggression by the Russian armed forces since February 2014.

Russian election technology is a proof of a well functioning democracy

It is very interesting for geopolitics to see how a country as big as Russia controls the territory. In such a large country the electoral system must be adapted. [Russia has] chosen the technology to face this challenge. Russia is posing as a laboratory of digital democracy in the world nowadays.

Disproof

An optical scan voting system to read marked paper ballots and count the results was used during the single voting day on September 8 at Russia's regional elections. Its is often presented by Russian authorities is a guarantee of fair election. However, it did not prevent the elections from the irregularities. The independent election observation association Golos reports:

"In a number of instances, vote counting was artificially delayed. This, in particular pertains to municipal elections in St. Petersburg where the counting was delayed most likely to rewrite the protocols. At Elista, as of 2am on September 9, not a single protocol of precinct election commissions was entered into the GAS “Vybory” (State Automated System of the Russian Federation), while precinct election commission No 43, six hours after the polling station was closed",

In general, Golos reported 1,708 voting violations across Russia, including 564 cases in Moscow. In one possible example in the Moscow region, a candidate from the Yabloko party shot video that appeared to show a stack of prepared ballots at a polling station. But even more than counting votes irregularities, for Golos, "the most important factor that influenced voting results was artificial restriction of competition". Thus, the Moscow City Election Commission (MCEC) refused to register all the independent opposition candidates. The claimed reason was the high percentage of rejected signatures. A significant part of the signatures was invalidated on the grounds of a so-called handwriting examination, which scientific validity and impartiality the candidates questioned. The elections took place amid the climate of violence, which can hardly be called "laboratory of democracy". The decision to bar many liberals from running sparked a wave of protests in the Russian capital, with some 50,000 turning out at the August 10 opposition event.During the July 27 demonstration, some 1,300 people were arrested. By September 16, seven protesters were sentenced to prison terms from 2 to 5 years. Six from them did not recognize their fault but all six were found guilty of aggression against police forces (pushing, pulling a hand of them), as well as of the repeated participation in a non authorized rally which is a criminal offence under the Russian law. 6 more protesters are now being investigated, one is facing trial