Disinfo: Zelenskyy militarises Ukraine in the interests of Western countries

Summary

An all-Ukrainian poll initiated by the president, conducted on election day, included the question “Do you support Ukraine’s right to use the security guarantees defined by the Budapest Memorandum to restore its state sovereignty and territorial integrity?”

A positive answer to the question can legitimise the deepening of military cooperation between Ukraine and the West, the presence of foreign troops, including NATO troops, on its territory, and even the deployment of foreign military bases on a permanent basis.

Ukraine has agreed to the creation of a British military base in the Mykolaiv region.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about Ukraine and its relations with The West.

According to the Ukrainian president's office, on the day of the local elections, 25 October, Ukrainians were asked five questions on various issues. This poll, unlike a referendum, will not have direct legal consequences but will give every citizen an opportunity to comment on issues important to society.

The Deputy Head of the Office of the President Ihor Zhovkva commented on the question of the "creation of a British military naval base":

"Ukraine needs to create naval bases from scratch. I would like to emphasise that it is not a British naval base that will be located in Ukraine, but a Ukrainian base that will be built with the involvement of British specialists. We say that we need several modern naval bases. We must study the British experience, not repeat their mistakes. We have a different situation, not the same naval capabilities as in the UK, but we have two seas that need to be protected. We need one base on the Black Sea and one on the Azov Sea.”

Background:

A memorandum of intent between the Ministry of Defence of Ukraine and the Ministry of Defence of the United Kingdom on cooperation in developing and enhancing the capabilities of the Navy of the Armed Forces of Ukraine was signed during an official visit of President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to Great Britain.

The document was signed on behalf of Ukraine by Defence Minister Andrii Taran. According to him, it is a question of supply of modern samples of military equipment and the newest high-precision armament, adjustment of production of separate types of military production in Ukraine, and also development of Navy bases.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 218
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 27/10/2020
  • Language/target audience: Russian
  • Country: UK, Ukraine
  • Keywords: Volodymyr Zelensky, Military, Budapest memorandum, NATO, The West

Disclaimer

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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Russia will be surrounded by an arc of instability

Russia is swept in an arc of instability. This fall, three major conflicts broke out on the periphery of Russia in the countries that were part of the USSR. Two of them are of an internal political nature and are associated with the confrontation between the authorities and the opposition (Belarus) or the struggle between clan-criminal groups (Kyrgyzstan), and one (Karabakh) is an interstate one associated with the struggle for control over the territory.

To understand the reasons for such close attention of the American military to conflicts along the perimeter of the Russian border, it is worth recalling the recent RAND report dedicated to containing the Russian Federation. If you look at the map, it becomes obvious that the conflict zone spans Russia from the border with Belarus to the Caucasus and Central Asia, where, in addition to Kyrgyzstan, destabilisation can also affect Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

Disproof

The article appeared in the context of the recent escalation in Nagorno-Karabakh which is a continuation of the decades-old conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia. It is a conspiracy theory framing Russia as the ultimate target of international events, based on a recurrent pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about Russia being encircled through a so-called “Anaconda plan. It also contains a recurring pro-Kremlin conspiracy narrative that the West is the organiser behind any civil protests and colour revolutions, framing popular protests in Belarus and Kyrgyzstan as Western-backed destabilisation attempts. There is no evidence backing any of the claims.

The RAND Corporation is a US analytical centre that provides research and analysis in a variety of fields and helps to make political decisions. It is financed by US government agencies (US Department of Health and Human Services, US Army, US Air Force), the private sector, foundations and philanthropic contributions. It is not the first time that the RAND is being a target of attacks by pro-Kremlin media due to their regular publication of reports on the military and security aspects of relations with Russia. Previous cases in our database have already seen RAND report as a US plan to take Russia out of the post-Soviet space or as Ukraine's guideline for stirring up revolutions in Belarus and Russia.

EU sanctions against Russia dealt a big blow to Europe itself

The sanctions imposed on the Russian Federation have dealt a big blow to Europe itself, as it has lost 250,000 jobs due to economic restrictions.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about Western sanctions on Russia claiming that they have backfired. The claim was neither counterbalance nor critically challenged in the article.

Since March 2014, the EU has progressively imposed restrictive measures against Russia. The measures were adopted in response to the illegal annexation of Crimea and the deliberate destabilisation of Ukraine. According to research into the effect of sanctions, the cumulative export loss to Russia during 2014-2018 is estimated at EUR 30 billion (about -0.2% of EU’s GDP in 2018), incurred largely during 2014-2016, as EU exports to Russia recovered in 2017. Furthermore, most research supports the view that sanctions have worked as planned, noting the drag they have imposed on Russia’s general economic development since 2014. This adverse effect most likely operates by depressing both foreign trade and foreign capital flows into Russia. Russia’s own counter-sanctions have also had a clear negative effect on the welfare of the average Russian household. While these sanctions do effect EU's economy, the EU-wide impacts of the export losses are estimated at less than 0.2% of total value-added and employment.

The Belarusian protests are managed from Ukraine and NATO countries, Bernard-Henri Lévy is also involved

Among the Western countries, Lithuania and Poland carry out the most aggressive policies towards Belarus. They would hardly dare to take such a position without support of the UK and some US political circles. The collective West gave a carte blanche to Vilnius and Warsaw to interfere in Belarusian domestic affairs and use Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya as a puppet. If the Belarusian events were the consequences of domestic affairs only, Russian would not support the Belarusian authorities so openly. Russia made it very clear for everybody on the international arena that Western external pressure on Belarus to carry out a hostile takeover of Belarus along the Ukrainian scenario is not acceptable.

The Belarusian protests are managed by command centres located in Ukraine and NATO countries and fully controlled by foreign security bodies. Lithuania and Poland are just window dressing, covering the real participants of the big game against Russia. The enemy’s aim is to harm Belarusian security and economy as much as possible and to bring a loyalist government to power, or to create long-term instability in the closest country to Russia.

Bernard-Henri Lévy, who inspired the events in Yugoslavia, Libya, Syria and Ukraine, is now supervising Tsikhanouskaya’s team.

Disproof

This article promotes recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives about Belarus protests as being organised and controlled from abroad and as the West's attempt to organise a colour revolution. It is also consistent with pro-Kremlin narratives about the West's aggressive anti-Russian intentions, its activities to disrupt Belarusian-Russian relations, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya's 'puppet' status, and a Western takeover of Ukraine.

There is no evidence that the US, UK, Lithuania, Poland, or Ukraine are in anyway involved in the protests in Belarus. Large-scale protests began in Minsk on August 9 against the results of the presidential election, and then in other cities. People revolted against election fraud and police violence towards thousands of rally participants.