Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur

Representing the 9th District of Ohio

Ukraine

 

Zbigniew Brzezinski - On the Crisis in the Ukraine




Fact Sheet

Russian Fiction: The Sequel
Ten More False Claims about Ukraine

“No amount of propaganda can make right something that the world knows is wrong.”

– President Obama, March 26

 

Russia continues to spin a false and dangerous narrative to justify its illegal actions in Ukraine. The Russian propaganda machine continues to promote hate speech and incite violence by creating a false threat in Ukraine that does not exist. We would not be seeing the violence and sad events that we've witnessed this weekend without this relentless stream of disinformation and Russian provocateurs fostering unrest in eastern Ukraine. Here are 10 more false claims Russia is using to justify intervention in Ukraine, with the facts that these assertions ignore or distort.

1. Russia Claims: Russian agents are not active in Ukraine.

Fact: The Ukrainian Government has arrested more than a dozen suspected Russian intelligence agents in recent weeks, many of whom were armed at the time of arrest. In the first week of April 2014, the Government of Ukraine had information that Russian GRU officers were providing individuals in Kharkiv and Donetsk with advice and instructions on conducting protests, capturing and holding government buildings, seizing weapons from the government buildings’ armories, and redeploying for other violent actions. On April 12, armed pro-Russian militants seized government buildings in a coordinated and professional operation conducted in six cities in eastern Ukraine. Many were outfitted in bullet-proof vests, camouflage uniforms with insignia removed, and carrying Russian-designed weapons like AK-74s and Dragunovs. These armed units, some wearing black and orange St. George’s ribbons associated with Russian Victory Day celebrations, raised Russian and separatist flags over seized buildings and have called for referendums on secession and union with Russia. These operations are strikingly similar to those used against Ukrainian facilities during Russia’s illegal military intervention in Crimea in late February and its subsequent occupation.

2. Russia Claims: Pro-Russia demonstrations are comprised exclusively of Ukrainian citizens acting of their own volition, like the Maidan movement in Kyiv.

Fact: This is not the grassroots Ukrainian civic activism of the EuroMaidan movement, which grew from a handful of student protestors to hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians from all parts of the country and all walks of life. Russian internet sites openly are recruiting volunteers to travel from Russia to Ukraine and incite violence. There is evidence that many of these so-called “protesters” are paid for their participation in the violence and unrest. It is clear that these incidents are not spontaneous events, but rather part of a well-orchestrated Russian campaign of incitement, separatism, and sabotage of the Ukrainian state. Ukrainian authorities continue to arrest highly trained and well-equipped Russian provocateurs operating across the region.

3. Russia Claims: Separatist leaders in eastern Ukraine enjoy broad popular support.

Fact: The recent demonstrations in eastern Ukraine are not organic and lack wide support in the region. A large majority of Donetsk residents (65.7 percent) want to live in a united Ukraine and reject unification with Russia, according to public opinion polls conducted at the end of March by the Donetsk-based Institute of Social Research and Policy Analysis. Pro-Russian demonstrations in eastern Ukraine have been modest in size, especially compared with Maidan protests in these same cities in December, and they have gotten smaller as time has progressed.

4. Russia Claims: The situation in eastern Ukraine risks spiraling into civil war.

Fact: What is going on in eastern Ukraine would not be happening without Russian disinformation and provocateurs fostering unrest. It would not be happening if a large Russian military force were not massed on the border, destabilizing the situation through their overtly threatening presence. There simply have not been large-scale protests in the region. A small number of separatists have seized several government buildings in eastern cities like Donetsk, Luhansk, and Slovyansk, but they have failed to attract any significant popular support. Ukrainian authorities have shown remarkable restraint in their efforts to resolve the situation and only acted when provoked by armed militants and public safety was put at risk. Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) observers have reported that these incidents are very localized.

5. Russia Claims: Ukrainians in Donetsk rejected the illegitimate authorities in Kyiv and established the independent “People’s Republic of Donetsk.”

Fact: A broad and representative collection of civil society and non-governmental organizations in Donetsk categorically rejected the declaration of a “People’s Republic of Donetsk” by the small number of separatists occupying the regional administration building. These same organizations confirmed their support for the interim government and for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine.

6. Russia Claims: Russia ordered a “partial drawdown” of troops from the Ukrainian border.

Fact: No evidence shows significant movement of Russian forces away from the Ukrainian border. One battalion is not enough. An estimated 35,000-40,000 Russian troops remain massed along the border, in addition to approximately 25,000 troops currently in Crimea.

7. Russia Claims: Ethnic Russians in Ukraine are under threat.

Fact: There are no credible reports of ethnic Russians facing threats in Ukraine. An International Republic Institute poll released April 5 found that 74 percent of the Russian-speaking population in the eastern and southern regions of Ukraine said they “were not under pressure or threat because of their language.” Meanwhile, in Crimea, the OSCE has raised urgent concerns for the safety of minority populations, especially ethnic Ukrainians, Crimean Tatars, and others. Sadly, the ethnic Russians most at risk are those who live in Russia and who oppose the authoritarian Putin regime. These Russians are harassed constantly and face years of imprisonment for speaking out against Putin’s regular abuses of power.

8. Russia Claims: Ukraine’s new government is led by radical nationalists and fascists.

Fact: The Ukrainian parliament (Rada) did not change in February. It is the same Rada that was elected by all Ukrainians, comprising all of the parties that existed prior to February’s events, including former president Yanukovych’s Party of Regions. The new government, approved by an overwhelming majority in the parliament -- including many members of Yanukovych’s former party -- is committed to protecting the rights of all Ukrainians, including those in Crimea.

9. Russia Claims: Ethnic minorities face persecution in Ukraine from the “fascist” government in Kyiv.

Fact: Leaders of Ukraine’s Jewish as well as German, Czech, and Hungarian communities have all publicly expressed their sense of safety under the new authorities in Kyiv. Moreover, many minority groups expressed fear of persecution in Russian-occupied Crimea, a concern OSCE observers in Ukraine have substantiated.

10. Russia Claims: Russia is not using energy and trade as weapons against Ukraine.

Fact: Following Russia’s illegal annexation and occupation of Crimea, Russia raised the price Ukraine pays for natural gas by 80 percent in the past two weeks. In addition, it is seeking more than $11 billion in back payments following its abrogation of the 2010 Kharkiv accords. Russia’s moves threaten to increase severely the economic pain faced by Ukrainian citizens and businesses. Additionally, Russia continues to restrict Ukrainian exports to Russia, which constitute a significant portion of Ukraine’s export economy.

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Ukraine: The Haze of Propaganda by Timothy Snyder
https://www.nybooks.com/blogs/nyrblog/2014/mar/01/ukraine-haze-propaganda/

Fascism, Russia, and Ukraine by Timothy Snyder
https://www.nybooks.com/blogs/nyrblog/2014/mar/01/ukraine-haze-propaganda/
 
Also by Timothy Snyder:
Bloodlands: Europe Between Hilter and Stalin; published by Basic Books

[Congressional Bills 113th Congress] [From the U.S. Government Printing Office] [H. Res. 447 Engrossed in House (EH)] H. Res. 447 In the House of Representatives, U. S., February 10, 2014. Whereas a democratic, prosperous, and independent Ukraine is in the national interest of the United States; Whereas the Government of Ukraine has declared integration with Europe a national priority and has made significant progress toward meeting the requirements for an Association Agreement; Whereas on November 21, 2013, following several months of intense outside pressure, Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych abruptly suspended negotiations on the Association Agreement one week before it was due to be signed at the European Union's Eastern Partnership Summit in Vilnius, Lithuania; Whereas this reversal of stated government policy precipitated demonstrations by hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian citizens in Kyiv as well as in cities throughout the country; Whereas the demonstrators have been overwhelmingly peaceful and have sought to exercise their constitutional rights to freely assemble and express their opposition to President Yanukovych's decision; Whereas the demonstrators have consistently expressed their support for democracy, human rights, greater government accountability, and the rule of law, as well as for closer relations with Europe; Whereas on November 30, 2013, police violently dispersed peaceful demonstrators in Kyiv's Independence Square, resulting in many injuries and the arrest of several dozen individuals; Whereas on December 11, 2013, police raided 3 opposition media outlets and the headquarters of an opposition party; Whereas on December 11, 2013, despite President Yanukovych's statement the previous day that he would engage in talks with the opposition, police attempted to forcibly evict peaceful protesters from central locations in Kyiv; Whereas several journalists, including from Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, and civic activists supporting the demonstrators have been brutally attacked; Whereas on January 16, 2014, the Ukrainian parliament passed, and President Yanukovych signed, legislation which severely limits the right of peaceful protest, constrains freedom of speech and the independent media, and unduly restricts civil society organizations; Whereas the passage of these undemocratic measures and President Yanukovych's refusal to engage in substantive dialogue with opposition leaders precipitated several days of violence and resulted in several deaths and hundreds of injuries, as well as numerous allegations of police brutality; and Whereas in the face of spreading demonstrations, Ukrainian Government representatives and opposition leaders have entered into negotiations which on January 28, 2014, resulted in the resignation of the Prime Minister and his cabinet and the repeal of most of the anti-democratic laws from January 16, 2014: Now, therefore, be it Resolved, That the House of Representatives-- (1) greatly values the warm and close relationship the United States has established with Ukraine since that country regained its independence in 1991; (2) supports the democratic and European aspirations of the people of Ukraine, and their right to choose their own future free of intimidation and fear; (3) calls on the United States and the European Union to continue to work together to support a peaceful resolution to the crisis, and to continue to support the desire of millions of Ukrainian citizens for democracy, human rights, government accountability, and the rule of law, and closer relations with Europe; (4) urges the Government of Ukraine, Ukrainian opposition parties, and all protesters to exercise the utmost restraint and avoid confrontation, and calls on the Government of Ukraine to live up to its international obligations and respect and uphold the democratic rights of its citizens, including the freedom of assembly and expression, as well as the freedom of the press; (5) condemns all acts of violence and calls on the Government of Ukraine to bring to justice those responsible for violence and brutality against peaceful protesters, and to release and drop any criminal charges against those detained for peacefully exercising their democratic rights; (6) welcomes the repeal by the Ukrainian parliament of most of the anti-democratic measures adopted on January 16, 2014, and urges President Yanukovych to continue to engage in substantive talks with opposition leaders to address the legitimate grievances of the opposition, and to take additional steps to de-escalate tensions; (7) urges the United States and the European Union to continue to make clear to Ukraine's leaders that those who authorize or engage in violence against peaceful protesters will be held personally accountable; (8) supports the measures taken by the Department of State to revoke the visas of several Ukrainians linked to the violence, and encourages the Administration to consider additional targeted sanctions against those who authorize or engage in the use of force; and (9) urges all parties to engage in constructive, sustained dialogue in order to find a peaceful solution to Ukraine's current political and economic crisis. Attest: Clerk.

Ms. KAPTUR. I want to thank Ranking Member Eliot Engel of New York for his great leadership and Chairman Chris Smith of New Jersey for bringing this vitally important resolution up tonight.

Madam Speaker, I rise to express my support for House Resolution 447, supporting the courageous democratic aspirations of the people of Ukraine. I want to thank, on a bipartisan basis, Congressman Jim Gerlach of Pennsylvania for his cochairmanship of our Ukrainian Caucus. We all stand in solidarity with the people of Ukraine.

The people of Ukraine have the human right to choose their own future, free of intimidation and fear. What courage it took for these interfaith religious leaders at Maidan to stand with their religious symbols, icons, and crosses and other religious garb, along with their leaders, with their backs to the barricades, protecting the students as they faced the police.

Over the past few months, the world has stood witness as Ukrainians have risen up, united in their desire for a more free, transparent, and democratic Ukraine. If one knows anything about the history of Ukraine, one knows what it took to do that in that place.

The passage of House Resolution 447 here this evening means that our Congress stands in solidarity with those in Maidan and that we lend our support to the hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians peacefully demonstrating in the freezing, bitter subzero temperatures for over 2 months for a more democratic and better future for all their people. If there is a God--and I believe there is--surely he or she will look down on this place and bless these people.

The Ukrainian national anthem opens with the words:

Ukraine's glory has not yet died, nor her freedom; upon us, fellow compatriots, fate shall smile once more.

Indeed, fate shall smile once more upon Ukraine. Long live Ukraina. Long live her young people who hold in their hearts the democratic future of that nation.

Madam Speaker, I urge the passage of H. Res. 447. I say to my colleagues here, this is a most important crossroads in history. Truly, this country can be the borderland nation that links West and East and South and North in that important part of the world.

The world needs Ukraine. She is already the third-largest grain exporter to the world's people. Her talent, her artistry, her vision has been quashed for so many, many, many decades and generations. Now is her moment, and we stand with her people, aspiring to that better day for all.

Mr. SMITH of New Jersey. Madam Speaker, I just want to take 30 seconds to respond and thank the gentlelady from Ohio for her very eloquent defense of the Ukrainian people and for, again, reminding Americans and the world of the pivotal role that the patriarch and the highest, as well as people who are just among the faithful, are playing.

The religious community is standing in solidarity with those who are aspiring for freedom, democracy, and respect for human rights. And they have literally put themselves between the police and the barricades in a way that puts their very lives at risk, holding up crosses, holding up other, as the gentlelady said, icons of faith to say that we serve a God of peace and reconciliation.

Ms. KAPTUR. Will the gentleman yield?

The SPEAKER pro tempore. The time of the gentleman has expired.

Mr. SMITH of New Jersey. I yield myself an additional 30 seconds, and I yield to the gentlewoman. Ms. KAPTUR. I would just say to the gentleman, looking back at the history of Ukraine and that region, the fact that you would have leaders of the Jewish faith, leaders of the Islam faith, leaders of Christian faiths, be they Orthodox or Uniate or Roman Rite, all--all-- risking their substance, it is just incredible.

This should be on the front page of every newspaper in the world, and world opinion should move progress forward and help those people who have stood in that bitter cold weather for over 2 months. Unless you have traveled to Ukraine and experienced those temperatures yourself, you would not fully appreciate what they are enduring.

 

Пані КАПТУР: Я хочу подякувати заступнику голові Еліот Енґел з Ню Йорку за його хороше провідництво та  голові Крис Смит з Ню Джерзі за те що він сьогодні вечір подав цей законопроєкт до дискусії.

 

Пані Спікер, я встаю виявити свою підтримку законопроєкру 447, котре підтримує відважне демократичне прагнення українського народу.  І хочу подякувати на базі єдності між двома партіями Конгресмена Джима Ґерлаха з Пенсилвенії за його співголовство української фракції Конґресу.  Ми всі стоїмо в солідарності з українським народом.

 

Український народ має людське право вибрати своє власне майбутнє, без залякуванню та без страху.  Яку хоробрість це вимагало коли духовенство різних віровизнань стояли на Майдані з іконама, символами, та хрестами, обороняючи студентів з плечми до варикад і лицем до міліції.

 

Протягом останних кількох місяців, світ був свідком того, що українці повстали з'єднані в прагненню до вільній, відкритій, та демократичній України.  Знаючи історію України, знаємо яку відвагу такі вчинки вимагають.

 

Якщо ми тут сьогодні вечір ухвалимо законопроєкту 447, це значить що наш Конґрес стоїть в солідарності з тими на Майдані і що ми підтримуємо тих сотні тисяч людей котрі мирно демонструють на Майдані, котрі вже понад два місяці мерзнуть задля демократичну країну і за краще майбутнє для свого народу.

 

Якщо є Бог — і я вірю що є — напевно він чи вона побачить Україну і благословить її людей.

 

Національний гімн Україну починається цими словами:

 

            ''Ще не вмерла України і слава, і воля.  Ще нам браття-українці усміхнеться доля.''

 

Звісно, доля усміхнеться щераз Україні.  Хай живе Україна на довгі літа.  Хай живе на довгі літа її молодь, яка тримає в своїх серцях демократичне майбутнє своєї держави.

 

Пані Спікер, я спонукаю ухвалення законопроєкту 447.   Я кажу своїм колегам що ми зараз при надзвичайно важливому роздоріжжю в історії.  Дійсно, ця країна може стати зв'язком між Заходом і Сходом, між Півднем а Північом в тій важливій частині світу.

 

Світові потрібна Україна.  Вона на третому місці в світі в експортів зерна до різних народів по цілому світі.  Її таланти, її мистецтво, її майбутнє декадами і поколіннями вже придушували.  Зараз її момент, і ми стоїмо з народом, очікуючи кращого дня для всіх.

 

Депутат СМІТ з Ню Джерзі: Пані спікер, я хочу коротко відповісти та подякувати пані з Огайо за її виразну оборону українського народу і за те що вона щераз нагадує американському народові та світу ключеву роль котру грають патріарх і духовенство, а також і прості віруючі.

 

Духовна громада стоїть в солідарності із тими котрі прагнуть до свободи, до демократії, до пошани до прав людини.  І вони стали між міліцією та барикадами, ризикуючи свої власні життя, і тримали вгору хрести та ікони, як пані Каптур сказала, щоби показати що ми всі служимо Богу миру та злагоди.

Recent news on Ukraine from Rep. Kaptur:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/what-next-for-ukraine/2014/03/21/dab50db8-b131-11e3-a49e-76adc9210f19_story.html

https://www.nybooks.com/blogs/nyrblog/2014/mar/01/ukraine-haze-propaganda/

https://www.cleveland.com/open/index.ssf/2014/02/house_passes_ukraine_resolutio.html

https://www.toledoblade.com/Politics/2014/02/03/Marcy-Kaptur-s-Ukraine-roots-run-deep.html

https://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2014/mar/20/fascism-russia-and-ukraine/

 

Additional resources on non-violent demonstration:

https://www.aforcemorepowerful.org/resources/nonviolent/methods.php

https://content.time.com/time/photogallery/0,29307,1887394_1861256,00.html

More on Ukraine

March 6, 2017 Press Release

Cleveland -- On Monday, Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur (OH-09), Dean of the Ohio Delegation and founding Co-chair of the Congressional Ukraine Caucus, will hold a press availability regarding concerning reports that President Donald Trump's campaign met with Russian officials last year.

February 3, 2017 In The News

U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D., Toledo), along with one other Democrat and two Republicans, today introduced a resolution aimed at uniting Congress behind a tougher line on Russian aggression in Ukraine. The resolution calls on Russia to stop violating the agreed upon cease-fire, and stop the violence in eastern Ukraine. Miss Kaptur, a founding co-chair of the House Ukraine Caucus, attributed the resolution to new attacks by Russia on Avdiivka in the Donetsk Region of Ukraine.

February 3, 2017 Press Release

Kaptur introduces bipartisan House Resolution calling on Russia to stop the bombing and violent attacks in eastern Ukraine
With many dead and dozens wounded, Kaptur leads call for Russia to stop the killing

February 2, 2017 Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 2, 2017
Bryan Shuy (Harris), 202-225-5311
Josh Stewart (Kaptur), 202-225-4146
Aaron Clark (Fitzpatrick), 202-225-4276
Emily Del Morone (Levin), 202-240-9855                                            

 

Bipartisan Ukrainian Caucus Co-Chairs Statement on Escalation of Violence in Eastern Ukraine