On Saturday we remembered that it has been three years since Russia illegally annexed a part of Ukraine. This was highlighted by EU High Representative Federica Mogherini’s statement reiterating that the European Union does not recognise the illegal annexation of Crimea and continues to condemn this violation of international law, and that Russia’s illegal actions remain a direct challenge to international security, with grave implications for the international legal order that protects the unity and sovereignty of all States.
But it was not only the European Union that focused on Ukraine this week. As usual, also a considerable amount of pro-Kremlin disinformation was pointed in this direction. Russian state TV’s ‘Vremya pokazhet’ programme devoted a significant amount of time to the question “With whom is Ukraine fighting?” – we provide some answers here, here and here. In the show, Ukraine was described again as an anti-Russian creation. It was claimed that it is forbidden to speak Russian in Ukraine – an often repeated disinformation. And it was stated that the country is falling apart since no political force supports a united Ukraine – in fact it is only the Russian-backed separatists in Donbass and the Russian administration of Crimea annexed by Moscow that do not support the idea of a united Ukraine.
Russia’s Defence Ministry TV channel Zvezda was also actively disinforming about Ukraine this week, claiming widespread hunger among the population and spreading fake statements from officials in Ukraine concerning the lack of a budget for the Eurovision song contest to be held in Kyiv in May.
Russia Today predicted social unrest due to these supposed food shortages, distorting the statements of an economist talking on another issue as shown by Stopfake. Czech outlets claimed that Natalia Savchenko had called for soldiers to overthrow the Ukrainian government and described the Ukrainian army as being on the verge of a total collapse in morale. Neither story was substantiated.
Extremely negative depictions of life in Europe also continued to trend this week. We saw reports of the EU as an autocratic structure that cannot be held accountable by its member states; of an EU supplying drugs to Moldova; and of an EU somehow planning to get rid of paper money as a way to gain full control over the movements of its populations.
We also saw the allegation that member states had orchestrated the diplomatic row between the Netherlands and Turkey last week deliberately to bring about the disintegration of the Union – with the explanation that Germany wants to create the “new Europe”. And of course, we heard once more the hackneyed allegations that the EU supports neo-Nazis.
According to Sputnik, the EU is supplying drugs to Moldova.
Disinformation cases reported in the previous week