Disinfo: The Ukrainian authorities would burn Donbas residents at the stake if it were acceptable

Summary

The Ukrainian army and authorities purposefully make the lives of Donbas residents unbearable. For instance, the army destroys water towers and power-relay stations.

Kyiv hates that Moscow has offered Russian citizenship to residents of the unrecognised Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics. The Ukrainian authorities want the residents of these territories to suffer and their children to hide underground. Kyiv created the conditions for Donbas residents to die in torment from shelling, hunger, cold, and infections. However, they were saved by Russian humanitarian assistance.

In reality, Ukrainian authorities are only interested in the residents of Donbas as subjects of repression and judicial processes with charges of treason. If it were acceptable to burn them at the stake, the Ukrainian authorities would do it.

Disproof

This case is an extreme variation of typical pro-Kremlin disinformation messages about Ukraine's alleged aggression and intimidation, particularly against Russian speakers living within its borders. It presents completely speculative and unfounded claims about Kyiv's policies concerning the Donetsk and Luhansk territories in order to discredit the Ukrainian authorities and army. There is no evidence that Kyiv is pursuing the harmful and violent policies against civilians described in the article.

The article turns the history of the Donbas conflict upside down, claiming that Russia is providing humanitarian assistance, when in fact Russia is responsible for the military conflict in the first place. Ukraine has repeatedly provided evidence of Russia's role in the war in the east of the country. In January 2017, the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs reported that Kyiv filed a lawsuit in the International Court of Justice of the United Nations with the aim of bringing Russia to account for committing acts of terrorism and discrimination, which are the result of its illegal aggression against Ukraine. The lawsuit contains all the facts of Russian aggression against Ukraine, evidence of the illegal annexation of the Crimea, and the occupation of Donbas.

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.

Other examples of disinformation cases alleging discrimination against Donbas residents include claims about cut off water supplies to Luhansk and the prevention of Donbas residents from voting in the presidential elections.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 154
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 12/05/2019
  • Outlet language(s) Russian
  • Country: Ukraine, Russia
  • Keywords: Ukrainian disintegration, Russian expansionism, Ukrainian statehood, Conspiracy theory, Donbas
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Bloomberg started information war against Russia and works against Belarus-Russia relations

Bloomberg wrote about Vladimir Putin’s insidious plot concerning Belarus and referred to an anonymous source close to the Kremlin. The anonymous source is a trick, as in reality it does not exist. Anything can be published based on references to the “sources close to the Kremlin”. Bloomberg does its best to turn Belarus and Russia against each other to prevent the establishment of the Union State between the two countries. Bloomberg will continue writing about political and economic disagreements between Belarus and Russia, and its future allegations will be based on the “sources close to the Kremlin”. It was indeed Bloomberg who started an information war against Russia, and it was Bloomberg who was at the head of all international conflicts.

Disproof

This message is conspiracy which is consistent with repetitive pro-Kremlin narratives about the West staging an anti-Russia information war, West's attempts to disrupt Belarus-Russia relations, and about Western media outlets as subservient to Western political elites. On 24 April 2019 Bloomberg published an article, titled Putin’s Term Limit Stirs Fears of a Takeover in Belarus. It says that Russia's recent slash of economic subsidies to Belarus fuels fears in Minsk that the Kremlin may look for Belarus' possible absorption. According to the article, three people close to the Kremlin said to Bloomberg that "Putin may lay plans to head a unified state with neighboring Belarus to sidestep a constitutional ban on remaining president after 2024." The use of unnamed sources does not violate journalist ethics under certain conditions. It is justified when information from source is important to the story, could not be obtained any other way and the source is credible, the International Journalists' Network explainer says. After an increase in tensions between Belarus and Russia in December 2018, Belarusian president Alexander Lukashenko himself publicly spoke about Moscow's interest to incorporate Belarus under the cover of 'deep integration'. Belarusian and Russian state-owned and state-controlled media regularly report about political and economic disagreements between the two countries. Episodic Bloomberg publications about Belarus-Russia relations do not stand out in this respect. See a similar recent disinformation case alleging that Russian company Rosneft is an object of defamatory campaign by Reuters and other western media.

Russia introduced passport control at the border with Belarus because of European fraud with export of food

EU businesses did multiple attempts to bypass Russian embargo and to sell their food products on the Russian market. This way Europeans framed the Belarusian government. These massive provocations by EU businesses resulted in a passport control on Belarus-Russia border that the Russian government had to introduce.

Disproof

This ungrounded claim is consistent with recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation about West's attempts to bring discord in Belarus-Russia relations.

In the last years Russia indeed restricted control at the border with Belarus. It established a security zone with random border controls along the border with Belarus and moved flights to Belarus from domestic to international terminals. Given that the signing of the Agreement on mutual recognition of visas between Belarus and Russia is delayed, the issue of transit through Belarus-Russian border for third country nationals remains unresolved.

Not a single air defence system of the Russian armed forces has ever crossed the Ukrainian border

Not a single air defence system of the Russian armed forces has ever crossed the Ukrainian-[Russian] border.

Disproof

One of the multiple pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives about the downing of the MH17 flight.

The JIT has been able to identify a large part of the route concerning the arrival and the departure of the BUK-TELAR. This was the result of intercepted telephone conversations, witness statements, photographs and videos that had been posted on social media, and a video never shown before which was obtained from a witness. The system was transported from Russian territory into eastern Ukraine and was later transported on a white Volvo truck with a low-boy trailer. The truck was escorted by several other vehicles and by armed men in uniform.