An information agency Interpressnews published a material on February 13, titled “Constantine Kosachev – The EU and NATO Continue to Divide Europe, Instead of Uniting it, and Ukraine is a Tragic Example of This.” The statement made by the Chair of the International Committee of Russia’s State Council at a scientific conference was also disseminated by a Russian news agency RIA Novosti, on February 13.
Constantine Kosachev, Chair of the International Committee of Russia’s State Council: “The last tragic example, still unfolding, or, maybe, degrading, in front of us is the fate of our beloved Ukraine, which faces a completely artificial and inconvenient choice – ‘whose side are you on?’ In my opinion, currently, NATO and the EU keep dividing Europe, instead of uniting it.”
Blaming the Ukraine Crisis on the West is a narrative of the Russian propaganda, which aims to avoid the responsibility for the occupation. On one hand, Russia annexes Crimea and Sevastopol and makes them federal subjects inside the Russian Federation, and on the other hand, it blames the West for the division of the country. Russia tries to establish an identical narrative in Georgia, too, by stating that Georgia, through the integration into NATO, will lose the territories, occupied by Russia.
Annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation and the support of the pro-Russian separatists
- On 27-28 February, 2014, pro-Russian armed groups seized two airports and administrative buildings in Crimea.
- On March 1, the Russian Duma accepted the request of the President Vladimir Putin to use force in Ukraine with the aim of protecting Russian interests.
- On March 16, pro-Russian separatists organized a referendum. 97% of the voters supported the integration of Crimea into Russia. The results of the referendum were proclaimed as illegitimate by the UN, the EU and the international community, however, it became a legal basis for the so-called agreement between Vladimir Putin and the representatives of Crimea and Sevastopol.
- On March 18, 2014 – the annexed Crimea, together with Sevastopol, de-facto joined the Russian Federation.
- On April 7, 2014 – pro-Russian activists demanding independence occupied the government buildings in Donetsk, Luhansk and Kharkiv. The next day, Ukrainian governmental forces re-gained control over the administrative buildings in Kharkiv.
- May 11, 2014 – pro-Russian separatists proclaimed independence based on illegitimate referendums carried out in Donetsk and Luhansk. The Government of Ukraine launched an anti-terrorist operation in the east of the country. According to the UN data, more than 6,000 people were killed due to the conflict, and more than million were displaced.
- According to the claims by the Government of Ukraine, NATO and Western leaders, there are evidences that prove that Russia was supplying the separatists with arms and military power. According to the statement by the Supreme Allied Commander Europe of NATO Allied Command Operations, Philip M. Breedlove made on November 12, 2014, a buildup of Russian tanks, artillery and troops had been recorded on the territory of Eastern Ukraine.
- On April 17, 2014, Vladimir Putin stated on air that Russian troops were behind the defense forces in Crimea. Since the annexation of Crimea, Russian Government kept on denying the reports of Russian militaries being in Crimea.
- On August 26, 2014, Russian paratroopers were arrested in Ukraine. According to the Russian side, the paratroopers crossed the border accidentally.
- On December 17, 2015, during an annual conference, Vladimir Putin stated that Russian military specialists were working in Ukraine, however, denied the involvement of the Russian regular army.
Western policy on non-recognition of the Crimean annexation and sanctions
As a response to the acts directed against the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine, NATO stopped military cooperation with Russia in 2014, whereas the EU continued the sanctions imposed on Russia for annexing Crimea from 2017 to June 23, 2018.
- Since April 2014, NATO stopped the military cooperation with Russia as a response to the illegal annexation of Crimea. Allied Ambassadors reiterate NATO’s firm position on Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty at meetings of the NATO-Russia Council, which continues to meet periodically.
- The EU constantly reiterated the non-recognition policy towards the annexed Crimea in its 2015, 2016 and 2017 declarations of the High Representative. On June 19, 2017, the European Council extended the restrictive measures in response to the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol by Russia until 23 June 2018.
- A bill, adopted by the United States on August 2, 2017 concerning the imposition of new sanctions upon Russia, Iran and North Korea, mentions that it is the policy of the United States to never recognize the illegal annexation of Crimea by the Government of the Russian Federation or the separation of any portion of Ukrainian territory through the use of military force.
- In response to the annexation of Crimea, Russia was suspended from the G8 club of rich countries and the UN General Assembly adopted a special resolution on the territorial integrity of Ukraine, declaring the referendum on Crimea’s accession to the Russian Federation illegal.
Just like in the case with Crimea, on August 26, 2008, Russia recognized Abkhazia and so-called South Ossetia as independent states (Decrees #1260 and #1261 of the President of Russia, Dmitry Medvedev) and signed military treaties with them, foreseeing “the creation of Joint Army Groups”. Russia paid more than $3 billion to Nicaragua, Venezuela and Nauru for the recognition of Sokhumi and Tskhinvali.
Denying facts – Real facts about particular events are denied or wrongly re- interpreted to establish doubt in audience.
Prepared by Dali Kurdadze