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    11 Myths Putin Is Spreading About The Crisis In Ukraine

    Last week Russian President Vladimir Putin gave a faltering speech in Moscow about how Russia was doing just fine, really. Sanctions weren’t having an effect on Russia’s economy, he said, while sombrely ordering Russians to work harder. He rambled through his conspiracy theories about Ukraine’s democratic uprising and stumbled over a defence of his invasion of Crimea. In case you actually believe your own story, Mr. Putin, your reality check is here.

    1. Putin Says: Crimea voted to join Russia.

    Reality: The March 16 “referendum” on annexation to Russia was held at gunpoint, under military occupation, under conditions that were neither free nor fair. Virtually the entire international community rejected the "referendum".

    2. Putin Says: Russia has not deployed troops to Ukraine.

    Reality: NATO has released satellite imagery clearly showing Russian combat troops inside Ukraine, equipped with heavy weaponry that is only used by the Russian military and not by Ukraine’s.

    3. Putin Says: In Eastern Ukraine, pro-Russian militants (backed up by Russian troops) represent the will of the people.

    Reality: The people of eastern Ukraine massively reject the idea of leaving Ukraine. The “independence referenda” held in militant-occupied areas in May and the “presidential and legislative elections” in November were completely rejected by the international community.

    4. Putin Says: Parts of Ukraine rightfully belong to Russia.

    Reality: Russia itself has previously affirmed its recognition of Ukraine’s borders and sovereignty multiple times, like in 1991 when the Soviet Union split and in 1994, when Moscow signed the Budapest Memorandum.

    5. Putin Says: Russia is entitled to a “sphere of influence” around its own borders.

    Reality: Ukraine’s future is for Ukrainians alone to decide. Russia’s actions violate one of the core principles of the Charter of the United Nations: the sanctity of the political independence and territorial integrity of nations.

    6. Putin Says: NATO is breaking its promise on expansion.

    Reality: No such promise was ever made. Even former Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev recognized this. It wasn’t up to the USSR then, and it’s not up to Russia now to determine what countries get to join NATO.

    7. Putin Says: The Ukrainian government is fascist.

    Reality: The government of Ukraine has been led by moderate forces since the fall of the Yanukovych regime. In Ukraine’s recent parliamentary elections, parties described by Russia as “fascist” received less than 5% of the vote.

    8. Putin Says: The Ukrainian government is illegitimate.

    Reality: Ukrainians have voted twice in the last six months to elect their leadership, in votes recognized by the international community as legitimate.

    9. Putin Says: NATO is hostile to Russia.

    Reality: Since the 1990s, NATO has tried to engage with Russia as an important partner, including through the creation of the NATO-Russia Council. No other country has had such a privileged relationship with NATO.

    10. Putin Says: Sanctions against Russia are not working.

    Reality: Russia itself has admitted that international sanctions are costing it approximately $40 billion USD. The ruble’s value has plummeted by 25% in the last four months alone. Sanctions have also caused businesses to withdraw enormous amounts of capital from Russia, weakening its economy further.

    11. Putin Says: The West rejects Russia.

    Reality: When the Soviet Union fell, Russia was not rejected, but was brought in as a key global player. Russia was also brought into APEC and invited to join the G-7.

    Mr. Putin says a lot of things that just don’t jive with reality. The reality is this:

    Ukrainians live in an independent country. They deserve to make their own decisions, free from Russia’s meddling.

    And Russians are a proud and historic people... they deserve better than Mr. Putin's dishonesty.

    French version of this story here

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