Disinfo: Ukraine holds drills with US in the midst of conflict in Donbas

Summary

Ukraine has announced that it will hold military drills with the United States amid an armed conflict in Donbas. The "Rapid Trident" exercise starts on 20 September and will last until 1 October. Ukraine, the United States and 15 more countries will participate with 6,000 soldiers.

Ukraine has been conducting military operations against Donetsk and Luhansk since 2014 when these new democracies were declared in response to a violent change of government that took place in February of the same year.

Disproof

This is a recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative combining the war in Ukraine, Euromaidan, and Nazi/Fascist Ukraine.

The war in Ukraine is not a civil conflict but a well-documented act of aggression by Russian armed forces, ongoing since February 2014.

There is irrefutable evidence of direct Russian military involvement in Ukraine. The Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court has 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."

Additionally, there was no coup d'état in Ukraine in February 2014. The spontaneous onset of the Euromaidan protests was an organic reaction by numerous parts of the Ukrainian population to former President Yanukovych’s sudden departure from the promised Association Agreement with the European Union in November 2013. See the full debunk of this disinformation claim here.

As far as agreements for a political solution are concerned, Kyiv has repeatedly stated that it seeks a peaceful solution in Donbas and that the Minsk agreements are the only option to end the war there. Ukraine is not at war with millions of people from Donetsk and Luhansk as pro-Kremlin disinformation outlets often like to portray it. These claims intentionally misrepresent the reality of Russia's direct and crucial important support to separatist militant groups in Eastern Ukraine.

The involvement of Russian personnel and equipment in the creation of the DPR and LPR has been well documented already for years. The destabilisation of Eastern Ukraine and the illegal annexation of Crimea has been condemned by the Council of the European Union and led to restrictive measures since 2014.

See similar recent cases claiming that war in Ukraine is an internal conflict: Donbas conflict is a civil war; Kyiv has been conducting a military operation against Donbas because they refused to recognise the results of the coup;

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 259
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 20/09/2021
  • Article language(s) Greek
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: Ukraine, US
  • Keywords: War in Ukraine, Eastern Ukraine, Donbas
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Disinfo: Sanctions are beneficial to Russia so the West should recognise Crimea as Russian

Instead of making gratuitous statements about the so-called "annexation" of Crimea, the French authorities would do better to recognise it as an integral part of Russia.

Russia has benefited from Western sanctions imposed on it after the peninsula was attached. Sanctions are not beneficial to the West. Sanctions are beneficial to Russia.

Crimea, offered to Ukraine within the USSR by Nikita Khrushchev in 1954, was reattached to Russia following the referendum held in March 2014, following the coup d'état in Ukraine in February of the same year. Kyiv continues to regard Crimea as Ukrainian territory.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives about the illegal annexation of Crimea and sanctions against Russia.

The impact of sanctions needs to be evaluated in the long run. However, primarily assessments show a significant and negative impact on the Russian economy.

Disinfo: There is democracy in Russia, since there are a lot of participants in the Duma elections

There is democracy in Russia, since there are a lot of participants in the Russian parliamentary elections.

Disproof

A large number of candidates does not guarantee that the whole electoral process meets the high standard of democracy. Many candidates were denied the right to register.

The OSCE was unable to observe and evaluate the electoral parliamentary elections of 17-19 September 2021 due to major limitations imposed by Russian Authorities.

Disinfo: Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew visits the US which asked him to split the Orthodox world

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew is paying a visit to the United States. This should come as no surprise as it was the United States and the West which forced him to grant autocephaly to the Church of Ukraine, thus splitting the Orthodox World.

Disproof

Pro-Kremlin disinformation outlets frequently attack the establishment of an autocephalous Ukrainian church. The Constantinople Patriarchy, not the US, decided to grant the autocephaly to the Ukrainian church. The final decision was made in January 2019, when all members of the Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate signed off the Tomos of autocephaly. The signing of the Tomos happened after months of careful preparation and consideration by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and the Holy Synod.

For more information and analysis on pro-Kremlin disinformation against the Church of Ukraine see here.