WAR PROPAGANDA: Ukraine has given up Donbas and Crimea

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky speaks at the press conference after the opening session of Crimea Platform conference in Kyiv Ukraine, 23 August 2023.
© EPA-EFE/OLEG PETRASYUK / POOL   |   Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky speaks at the press conference after the opening session of Crimea Platform conference in Kyiv Ukraine, 23 August 2023.

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Ukraine has given up Crimea and Donbas because it deprived Ukrainians in this area of their citizenship, according to a false narrative promoted by Russian propaganda.

Propaganda: The introduction of multiple citizenship in Ukraine is tantamount to Kyiv fully renouncing any claim to Donbas and Crimea

NEWS: A bill on the multiple citizenship has been filed at the Supreme Rada of Ukraine. Its purpose is to introduce certain regulations that prevent the citizens of the Russian Federation from obtaining Ukrainian citizenship. Meanwhile, against the backdrop of fighting in ex-Soviet space, as I’ve written on a number of occasions, we can notice a genuine civil war.

[Ukrainians in Crimea and Donbas] have obtained the Russian citizenship on a voluntary basis. According to the said law, they will no longer be given the option to revert to the Ukrainian citizenship.

[…] The population is forced to fight to survive without the help of the state, which justifies any measures and decisions taken by Russia. Ukraine abandoned the population in the new Russian regions. This means Ukraine has renounced its claim to these territories for good.

NARRATIVE: Kyiv renounces its claim to Donbas and Crimea and the citizens in these territories.

Fact: Multiple citizenship has nothing to do with the concession of certain territories, and laws don’t apply retroactively

WHY THE NARRATIVE IS FALSE: On January 22, on Ukrainian Unity Day, president Volodymyr Zelensky introduced a bill that will amend the Constitution in order to allow multiple citizenship. The bill is expected to allow foreign combatants and Ukrainian ethnics abroad to own Ukrainian passports, without renouncing other citizenship. Zelenskyy said the law will not apply to “citizens of aggressor states”, Russia. Moreover, the legalization of multiple citizenship draws Ukraine closer to legal regulations at EU level in the context of the launch of EU accession talks with Ukraine.

The Russian government media misinterpreted this piece of news in order to manipulate public opinion, promoting a false narrative in Russian-language media in Crimea and Donbas about Kyiv abandoning its citizens and renouncing any claim to these territories, to Russia’s benefit. In fact, the bill drafted by president Volodymyr Zelenskyy has nothing to do with the status of territories occupied by the Russian army. Since the start of the full-scale invasion, the Ukrainian president has repeatedly said that Ukraine is unwilling to renounce the territories in the east in order to end the war with Russia, and the Ukrainian army is ready to fight Moscow as long as it takes. According to Ukrainian legislation, Donbas and Crimea are de jure “temporarily occupied territories”.

Russian propaganda describes the president’s legislative initiative as an act of treason from the point of view of inhabitants of regions occupied by Russia, as a form of depriving them of Ukrainian citizenship, which is untrue. Those citizens who were forced to obtain the Russian citizenship still have the Ukrainian citizenship. The Ukrainian state considers all people in occupied territories citizens of Ukraine, whereas by providing them with Russian citizenship, Moscow does not rob them of their Ukrainian citizenship.

In May 2023, the Ukrainian Ombudsman, Dmytro Lubinets, recommended Ukrainians in territories occupied by Russia to accept the Russian citizenship and based on their newly acquired status, to immediately leave the territory. “Ukrainian citizens who refuse the Russian passport will be arrested”, Lubinets said, adding that the Government in Kyiv recognizes the complicated situation they face. From a legal point of view, Ukraine considers all documents issued by the Russian occupation government as illegal, which means Ukrainians will not be deprived of their Ukrainian citizenship. To Kyiv, they are Ukrainian, not Russian citizens.

Furthermore, the procedure of withdrawal of Ukrainian citizenship is very complex, requiring the examination of the Presidential Administration in each specific case. Citizenship withdrawal is an action affecting individuals, not a community, and it is signed and legally motivated by the country’s president.

The draft law created by Volodymyr Zelensky does not address those Ukrainians who were forcefully handed Russian identification documents, but to those Russians who want to obtain Ukrainian citizenship. As long as the two countries are at war, providing Ukrainian citizenship to Russian citizens poses a national security risk. This law does not apply retroactively, but is designed to enable the Ukrainian diaspora to get closely involved in the development and support of Ukraine. Zelenskyy referred to Ukrainians in Europe, the USA, Canada, Asia, Latin America, “all those who help, despite the hundreds and thousands of kilometers that separate them from their homeland”.

  • Publication / Media:
    UKRAINA.RU
  • Date of publication:
    23/01/2024
  • Target audience:
    The Russian-speaking population in Russia and in Russian-held territories of Ukraine
  • Amplification:
    CRIMEA-NEWS, SPUTNIK, DZEN.RU, the Telegram channels of Russian media outlets, and state-owned TV stations
  • Political affiliation:
    The Kremlin
  • Key narrative:
    Kyiv renounces its claim to Donbas and Crimea and the citizens in these territories

EBOOK> Razboi si propaganda: O cronologie a conflictului ruso-ucrainean

EBOOK>Razboiul lui Putin cu lumea libera: Propaganda, dezinformare, fake news

Marin Gherman

Marin Gherman




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