Disinfo: Ukrainian civil war broke out as a result of coup d'etat in Kyiv

Summary

The Ukrainian civil war broke out in 2014 in the wake of a Western-backed coup in Kyiv.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives painting the 2013-14 protests in Kyiv as a coup d'état, and the ongoing Russian military involvement in the Donbas as a "civil war."

There was no coup d’état in Kyiv in 2014; this is a longstanding pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about Ukraine's Euromaidan. The spontaneous onset of the Euromaidan protests was a reaction by numerous segments of the Ukrainian population to former president Viktor Yanukovych’s sudden departure from the promised Association Agreement with the European Union in November 2013.

Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity have been violated by continuos acts of aggression by Russian armed forces since 2014.

See also the statement / blog blog here by the EU High Representative Josep Borrell when he visited Ukraine, including Kyiv and the Stanytsya Luhanska check point in early January 2022. He speaks of the background and consequences of the war. The High Representative said, inter alia:

“I could eyewitness the consequences of the war in the Donbass region and hear and see how the conflict has dramatically affected the lives of thousands of people, with many destinies destroyed. ...

Russia is a party to this conflict, and not a mediator as it often claims. Our main interest, concern and purpose is to get Russia to de-escalate tensions.”

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 270
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 16/01/2022
  • Article language(s) English
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: Ukraine, Russia
  • Keywords: Civil war, Donbas, Coup, Euromaidan
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Disinfo: US private military contractors are preparing to use chemical weapons in Ukraine

US mercenaries (PMC) are preparing a provocation by using chemical weapons in war-torn Eastern Ukraine. Tanks containing unknown chemical agents have been transported to the cities of Adiyivka (Avgyeevka) and Krasny Lyman to carry out provocations.

Disproof

A recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation message about an alleged US provocation being planned in Ukraine using chemical weapons.

There is no evidence to substantiate claims about the preparation for chemical weapons attacks. There are also no private foreign armies in Eastern Ukraine that would fight together with Ukrainian troops.

Disinfo: NATO repeatedly promised to Russia not to expand eastward

NATO twice made a promise to Russia that it would not expand eastward. In 1990, during the negotiations over the unification of West and East Germany, and then, again, in 1993, when NATO was extending its Partnership for Peace policy eastward. In both cases, the assurances were given by US secretaries of state, James Baker and Warren Christopher, respectively. And in both cases, they took it upon themselves to speak, in effect, for NATO as a whole.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about NATO enlargement.

This claim has been debunked numerous times. NATO did not promise not to expand into eastern and central Europe back in 1990, which was confirmed by the former president of the Soviet Union Mikhail Gorbachev. Back in 2014, Gorbachev said “The topic of ‘NATO expansion was not discussed at all, and it wasn’t brought up in those years. I say this with full responsibility. Not a single eastern European country raised the issue, not even after the Warsaw Pact ceased to exist in 1991.”

Disinfo: Bernard-Henri Lévy was involved in overthrowing Gaddafi and destroying the country

[Bernard-Henri] Lévy is not just a journalist and a "philosopher" - he is a symbolic person. In recent decades, he not only fought Russia always and everywhere: from Georgia in 2008 to Ukraine in 2014, but also brought freedom to miserable peoples around the world.

The most memorable was his role in the Libyan events: it was Lévy who, after the start of the unrest, went to Libya, launched an agitation and most actively pushed [Nicolas] Sarkozy to the operation against Gaddafi. So on his personal account, there is already one act of aggression that actually destroyed the country - but it was for the sake of humanistic values.

Disproof

This is an example of recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation that seeks to discredit high-profile individuals in the West who are strongly critical of the Kremlin’s domestic and foreign policies.

Pro-Kremlin disinformation has often targeted Bernard-Henry Lévy in recent years because of his highly critical views of the Putin regime, and his endorsement of popular protests against authoritarian governments in various parts of the world including in the former Soviet Union. For example, he was present in Kyiv during the Euromaidan protests.