Disinfo: Ukrainian civil war caused by Western-backed 2014 coup in Kyiv


Russia’s involvement in Ukraine is limited to acting as a mediator in the country’s half-decade old civil war, brought on by a Western-backed coup in Kyiv in 2014.


This is a recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative painting the 2013-14 protests in Kyiv as a coup orchestrated by the West, and alleging that Russia's armed aggression in east Ukraine is a civil war.

There was no coup d'état in Ukraine. The spontaneous onset of the Euromaidan protests was an organic reaction by numerous segments 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.

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


  • Reported in: Issue 171
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 03/11/2019
  • Language/target audience: English
  • Country: Russia, Ukraine
  • Keywords: Civil war, War in Ukraine, Coup, Euromaidan


Cases in the EUvsDisinfo database focus on messages in the international information space that are identified as providing a partial, distorted, or false depiction of reality and spread key pro-Kremlin messages. This does not necessarily imply, however, that a given outlet is linked to the Kremlin or editorially pro-Kremlin, or that it has intentionally sought to disinform. EUvsDisinfo publications do not represent an official EU position, as the information and opinions expressed are based on media reporting and analysis of the East Stratcom Task Force.

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Ukraine has lost half of its population over the past 30 years

During the last 30 years, in peacetime, Ukraine has lost almost half of its population. It decreased from 50 to 30 million people.


Wildly exaggerated numbers on the decrease of Ukraine's population. A recurrent pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the socioeconomic situation in Ukraine and Ukrainian statehood.

According to the State Statistical Service of Ukraine, the current constant population of Ukraine is 41.9 million people as of September 2019. According to the data from the last national census conducted in 2001, the overall population of Ukraine was 48,5 million people. The largest population was registered in 1993: 52,2 million people.

By giving membership to Georgia and Ukraine, NATO will contradict to its earlier guarantees

Moscow has repeatedly opposed the strengthening of the alliance by means of giving membership to Georgia and Ukraine. By doing so the alliance contradicts the guarantees given by Western leaders and Russia reserves the right to respond to the aggressive actions of its foreign partners.


Recurring pro-Kremlin narrative on NATO. Also, consistent with the NATO is encircling Russia narrative.

By signing the 1997 Act, Russia committed not to use force or any other method of threat neither against NATO members, nor against any other state. Russia violated the given principles as by the military intervention to Georgia in 2008, as by the illegal annexation of Crimea.

Massive cyber-attack in Georgia was orchestrated from the US

A massive cyber-attack in Georgia was orchestrated from the US. The famous group in the US launched hybrid warfare against Georgia, with the aim of returning Mikheil Saakashvili to power.


This is a conspiracy theory, with no evidence given to support the claim. It is in line with recurring pro-Kremlin narratives about US interference in sovereign countries and the United States' imperialistic global role.

More than 2,000 websites in Georgia were knocked out by a massive cyber-attack on 28 October 2019, with more than 15,000 websites affected in total. The hackers targeted the websites of the President’s administration, common courts, city halls and city councils of Batumi, Kutaisi and Kareli, as well as non-governmental organisations and media outlets. The homepages of the hacked websites were replaced by a photo showing Georgia’s ex-President Mikheil Saakashvili with the caption “I’ll Be Back.” The attack also took two TV stations off the air.