Washington and Brussels pushed Ukraine towards civil war

Summary

In the winter of 2013-2014, the Maidan Revolution in Kyiv ousted former President Viktor Yanukovich who had refused to ratify an association agreement with the European Union, getting closer to Vladimir Putin‘s Russia. A diplomatic disaster for Europe: Washington and Brussels proposing such an agreement actually forced Ukraine to choose a side, pushing the country to a civil war, while it had been a buffer between the West and Russia until then.

The conflict turned into a disaster for the Ukrainian army. But how was this possible? How could a region of 3 million people and its army of 10-15,000 insurgents stand up to a country of 40 million and its 150,000 soldiers? Do not forget that the people of Donbas defend their home, their land, their history, their heritage.

One must understand one thing Russia absolutely did not want this war in Donbas. One thing is certain, it was not the Russians who provoked this war.

Disproof

Recurrent pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the civil war in Ukraine.

The Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court recognised 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".  The 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.

The European Union stated in July 2014 that "arms and fighters continue flowing into Ukraine from the Russian Federation".  At the NATO Summit in Wales in September 2014, NATO leaders condemned in the strongest terms Russia’s military intervention in Ukraine and demanded Russia to stop and withdraw its forces from Ukraine and from the country’s border. NATO leaders also demanded Russia to comply with international law and its international obligations and responsibilities; refrain from aggressive actions against Ukraine; halt the flow of weapons, equipment, people and money across the border to the separatists; and stop fomenting tension along and across the Ukrainian border.

Russian President Vladimir Putin admitted Russia's military presence in Ukraine in 2015.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 157
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 28/06/2019
  • Language/target audience: French
  • Country: US, Russia, The West, Ukraine, EU
  • Keywords: Eastern Ukraine, Civil war, Donbas, Euromaidan
  • Outlet: Sputnik France time 02:02 - 02:29, 16:40 - 17:18, 25:20 -25:26
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‘Old’ EU member states introduced sanctions on Russia after the provocation of the downing of MH17 by Ukraine

‘Old’ EU member states have quite developed economic ties with Russia. They followed the ‘new’ EU member states and supported the introduction of sanctions on Russia only after the famous provocation of 17 July 2014 when Flight MH17 was shot down by Ukrainian anti-aircraft gunners. At present, the ‘old’ EU member states delay the investigation into the downing of MH17 because it has become clear that Russian responsibility cannot be established.

Disproof

This is a disinformation claim about the downing of Flight MH17, for which Russia is responsible, and misrepresents the history and causes of the EU’s sanctions on Russia.

The first round of EU sanctions against Russia was introduced on 17 March 2014, before MH17 was shot down. The first bans and asset freezes against persons involved in actions against Ukraine's territorial integrity followed Russia's illegal annexation of Crimea. Later, in view of Russia's actions destabilising the situation in eastern Ukraine, the EU imposed economic sanctions in July 2014 and reinforced them in September 2014. In March 2015, the European Council linked the duration of those economic restrictions to the complete implementation of the Minsk agreements.

Crimea reconnected with Russia in referendum to avoid NATO troops there

On 18 March 2014, the referendum in Crimea sealed the peninsula’s connection to Russia, after the latter sent its troops. In fact, Moscow could not conceive that this peninsula, strategic and historically Russian, was going to become Western, or that NATO would set up troops there.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the annexation of Crimea, claiming that Crimean citizens chose to rejoin Russia through a legal democratic referendum.

No international body recognizes the so-called referendum, announced on 27 February 2014, and held on 16 March 2014. For the EU statement on the fifth anniversary of Crimea's annexation, see here.