The United Nations Human Rights Council found the ethnic Russians and Russian speakers in east Ukraine are stretching the truth when they claim mistreatment. The UN found a few attacks to be true, but otherwise found nothing of significance.
“Although there were some attacks against the ethnic Russian community, these were neither systematic nor widespread,” said the report, which follows two visits to the country last month by Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights Ivan Simonovic.
“Photographs of the Maidan protests, greatly exaggerated stories of harassment of ethnic Russians by Ukrainian nationalist extremists, and misinformed reports of them coming armed to persecute ethnic Russians in Crimea, were systematically used to create a climate of fear and insecurity that reflected on support to integration of Crimea into the Russian Federation.”
Russia used the ethnic Russians and Russian speakers in Crimea as a pretext to invade and eventually annex the peninsula from Ukraine on March 21.
The UN report also said the misinformation needs to stop immediately.
“Facts on the ground need to be established to help reduce the risk of radically different narratives being exploited for political ends. People need a reliable point of view to counter what has been widespread misinformation and also speech that aims to incite hatred on national, religious or racial grounds,” said UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay, whose Office (OHCHR) released the report.
Of course, Russia immediately condemned the UN’s findings.
“One gets the impression that the report was fabricated to correspond with conclusions formed in advance,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said of the document, issued after two visits to Ukraine last month by a U.N. assistant secretary-general.
The report was released as the Ukrainian army was deployed to combat against pro-Russian forces in east Ukraine. Heavy gunfire was reported as the army descended upon the airport in Kramatorsk. The soldiers quickly recaptured it from the pro-Russians. While Russian media reported deaths and injuries of pro-Russians, journalists on the scene could not confirm the information.