The Lies that Led to Invasion: Part 1 - "The Genocide in Donbass"
This is the first in a series of posts addressing each of the lies presented by the Kremlin or its supporters to justify its invasion of Ukraine.
The Russian disinformation regime works by saturating people with so many lies that it's usually impossible to adequately refute them all at once. So I am going to take it on one lie at a time.
To start with, one of the main excuses used by the Russian Government was the idea that the Ukrainian Government was committing genocide against Russian speakers in Ukraine.
Unsurprisingly, this is not true.
In 2014, the Ukrainian people overthrew a pro-Kremlin Oligarch President who then fled to Moscow. Immediately, Russian soldiers emerged in Crimea and the eastern Ukrainian regions known as The Donbass, purporting to be locals (despite being fully armed soldiers in camouflage) and demanded these regions be annexed by Russia.
These soldiers formed militias with local pro-Russian militants and began a conflict with Ukrainian soldiers.
It is during these ensuing battles that the alleged genocide has occurred, with the Ukrainian Army being accused by the Kremlin of relentlessly bombing the cities in this region to the point that known humanitarian President Putin could no longer bear to sit and do nothing...
So how many have actually died in The Donbass since this conflict began in 2014? The UN believes 14,400.
This is a lot, sure. But from that, at least 4,400 were Ukrainian soldiers and about 6,500 were pro-Russian militants.
The UN believes that a total of 3,404 civilians have lost their lives as a result of conflict in the Donbas. Every one of those deaths is tragic, but it is not a genocide, they are the victims of a conflict which the Russians launched.
These are deaths that occur when civilians find themselves living in a war zone. There is absolutely no evidence that the Ukrainian Army has at any stage targeted civilians. There is significant evidence of pro-Russian separatists murdering pro-Ukrainian civilians.
It is important to also note these figures include the 298 civilians who were killed when Russian militants shot down a passenger plane (MH17) in 2014.
It is also worth observing that the majority of the civilian deaths occurred in 2014 and 2015. Yet Putin decided that it was not until 2022 that there was an emergency that could only be resolved by military conquest.
The UN believes that as of 2 January 2023, 6,919 civilians have been killed as a result of Russia's 24th February invasion of Ukraine.