Disinfo: Ukraine to blame for Odesa killings, guilty still at large

Summary

The death of about 50 pro-Russian activists in Odesa on 2 May 2014 is blamed on Ukraine's post-Maidan authorities. The investigation is very slow, the prescriptive period will expire soon, but perpetrators are still at large.

Disproof

This is a recurring disinformation narrative from pro-Kremlin outlets, claiming that post-Maidan authorities and Ukrainian patriots are to blame for the death of 48 protesters in street violence and the ensuing fire in the southern city of Odesa on 2 May 2014 and that Kyiv is covering up the perpetrators.

This claim is unsubstantiated because there is no supporting evidence to that effect. The investigation is still underway. Several pro-Russian individuals prosecuted in relation to these events have managed to flee. Some of them took refuge in the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea, now occupied by the Russian Federation, while others fled to the separatist-held territories in Donbas. It is their escape rather than Kyiv’s alleged delays of court proceedings that hampers the investigation because Ukraine’s judicial authorities have no access to the escapees.

About 300 well-equipped pro-Russian supporters attacked a march of about 2,000 Ukrainian patriots in Odesa that day. The pro-Russian activists (also known as anti-Maidan) were behaving very aggressively. Both groups used firearms in the clashes. Pro-Russian activists began throwing stones and Molotov cocktails at their opponents. The situation went out of control as the police failed to respond to violence effectively. Several pro-Russian activists and Ukrainian patriots were shot and killed as a result. The pro-Russian activists were beaten up and took refuge in the Trade Unions House nearby. Then a fire broke out in the building, which caused the death of 42 people. A total of 48 people, mostly supporters of secession from Ukraine and unification with Russia, died and about 200 were wounded during the violent events.

Contrary to Russian reports, there is no evidence that either Ukrainian authorities or Ukrainian patriots had set the building on fire. Some videos show unidentified persons throwing bottles of Molotov cocktails down from the roof of the Trade Unions House. It is still unclear who these people were. Claims about the alleged responsibility of Ukrainian authorities are unproven and unsubstantiated.

Read more pro-Kremlin disinformation cases about the Odesa tragedy.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 255
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 23/07/2021
  • Article language(s) Russian
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: Ukraine, Russia
  • Keywords: ECHR, Odessa tragedy, Human rights
see more

Disinfo: An OPCW document refutes the West’s allegations about the poisoning of Navalny

The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) has published a document that raises serious questions about the West's account of the alleged poisoning of the Russian dissident, Alexei Navalny.

On its tenth page, it was stated that the Technical Secretariat of the OPCW dispatched on 20 August 2020, at the request of Germany, a team to conduct a special visit to provide technical assistance, on the occasion of an "alleged poisoning incident of a Russian citizen."

This document raises serious questions about the chronology of events and refutes the West’s allegations about the poisoning of the Russian opposition activist. On August 20 a plane in which Navalny was traveling made an emergency landing in the Russian Siberian city of Omsk due to his deteriorating health, and only two days later, on August 22, Navalny was transferred to Berlin with the consent of the Russian authorities, which means that the OPCW team had been dispatched to provide "technical assistance" to Germany before the story emerged about Navalny's poisoning.

Disproof

This is a recurring pro-Kremlin narrative trying to deflect the blame for Navalny's poisoning from Russian actors. This narrative is also consistent with multiple previous attempts at discrediting the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). The claim was neither counterbalanced nor critically challenged in the article.

In fact, mentioning 20 August as the date when the OPCW secretariat deployed a technical assistance team was simply a mistake in the draft report of the Ninety-Seventh Session of the OPCW's Executive Council, as explained by the spokesman of the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs Rainer Breul. The mistake was later fixed in an updated version of the report.

Disinfo: Ukraine produces new 'initiatives' while not abiding by Minsk; Germany and France play along

Ukraine is producing new 'initiatives' regarding the Donbas war to deflect attention away from its failure to abide by the Minsk agreements. Germany and France are playing along.

Disproof

This is a recurring disinformation narrative from pro-Kremlin outlets, claiming that the blame for the non-implementation of the Minsk agreements falls on Ukraine while also accusing Germany and France of ignoring this fact.

In reality, one of the basic pre-conditions for a peace settlement in Donbas is a ceasefire, which the Moscow-backed separatists have been continually breaking since these agreements were signed. The positions of Germany and France, which are sponsors of the peace process, are in full accord with Ukraine's, where the strict implementation of these agreements is concerned. The European Council said in its conclusions on external relations issued on 24 June 2021:

Disinfo: Europe, US turn Ukraine into bridgehead for attacks on Russia

Europe and the United States have turned Ukraine into a bridgehead for attacks on Russia over the past seven years. Now it is not the Ukraine we remember. They have held a lot of military drills there aimed against Russia, including ones with the use of nuclear weapons. The Southern Ukrainian cities of Odesa, Ochakiv and Mykolaiv are turning into NATO bases. There are no Russian national interests in Ukraine now. There will be no Russian national interests in Ukraine until the Russian army strikes Ukraine’s Nazi leadership.

Disproof

This is a recurring disinformation narrative claiming the West is using Ukraine as a tool for military confrontation against Russia. In reality, cooperation between Ukraine and the West is multifaceted and not limited to military issues alone.

Kyiv and the European Union signed the Association Agreement in 2014, which paved the way for more comprehensive bilateral interaction in many spheres. This agreement is the main tool for bringing Ukraine and the EU closer together, promoting deeper political ties, stronger economic links and respect for common values. Ukraine receives financial aid from the West to stabilise its economy and help it overcome corruption.