Fake news: Ukraine punishes the people of Crimea and leaves them without water

Ukraine punishes the Crimean people for choosing to join Russia, unilaterally blocking the North Crimean Canal, which supplies water to the peninsula, the Russian press writes, criticizing the Ukrainian authorities. Kiev has indeed cut off water supply to the peninsula after its annexation by Russia but says that the existing water resources in Crimea are sufficient for the needs of the population, and the purpose of the North Crimean Canal, built during the Soviet period, is to carry water to industrial facilities.

NEWS: “The head of the Crimean Parliament’s Committee on People’s Diplomacy and Inter-Ethnic Relations, Yuri Gempel, has invited the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Dunja Mijatović to visit the peninsula and see the consequences of the Kiev water blockade […].

“We will show an empty canal and tanks without water. The world community should be aware of the consequences of Ukraine’s barbaric policy, which has disrupted the peninsula’s water supply through the North Crimean Canal” Gempel told RIA Novosti.

According to him, the international community should evaluate the actions of the Kiev authorities, who want to harm and destroy the Crimean people for their democratic choice and desire to live in their historical homeland – Russia […].

After the reunification of Crimea with Russia, the water supply was cut off unilaterally. The water issue has been solved due to the extraction of water from underground sources, as well as from natural reservoirs, but in the last year the resources have become scarce due to the reduced amount of precipitation.

The government has already prepared a comprehensive plan to ensure water supply to the peninsula. About 50 billion rubles will be allocated for its implementation. At the same time, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba has stated that the Ukrainian authorities “will surely find” the international company that will participate in this project to prevent its implementation.The head of the Crimean Parliament’s Committee on People’s Diplomacy and Inter-Ethnic Relations, Yuri Gempel, has stated that Kiev’s will not to allow the construction of facilities for water supply in Crimea was dictated by the “destructive and evil nature” of the Ukrainian authorities.”

NARRATIVES: 1. Kiev punishes the people of Crimea because they democratically voted to reunite with Russia. 2. Ukraine will discourage any Moscow initiatives to address the peninsula’s drinking water supply

CONTEXT / LOCAL ETHOS: Crimea was attached to Russia in March 2014 following a referendum, held without international observers and under pressure from the Russian army, in which 95.6% of participants (from an approximately 35% participation) were in favor of joining the Russian Federation. The referendum was held after Russian forces, whose presence in Crimea after the collapse of the USSR was constant, captured the entire peninsula following a military operation not initially assumed (the invasion of the so-called “little green men”). Attaching Crimea was, practically, according to all the norms of international law, an annexation. This was followed by the insurrection of pro-Russian separatists (with Moscow’s support) in the Donbass region of eastern Ukraine, where, despite numerous truces, the armed conflict has continued to this very day, resulting in nearly 13,000 deaths, according to UN figures.

OBJECTIVE: The purpose of these narratives is to blame Ukraine for the problems in Crimea after 2014. Despite promises in recent years, Moscow has failed to provide water to the peninsula and has not made any decision to close the industrial facilities. The Russian press aims to create an image of Ukraine as a barbarian state, which persecutes the Crimean population, which would lead to a total rejection of the projects and platforms developed for the recovery of the peninsula, launched by Ukraine.

WHY THE NARRATIVES ARE FALSE: Ukraine has not blocked the peninsula’s water supply to punish the population. Losing control of the territory and industry, supplying water to the peninsula would mean supporting the de facto occupation of the territory. Kiev has demonstrated at various meetings that the population can be provided with water from local resources, and the North Crimean Canal was built during the Soviet period to transport water especially to industrial facilities on the peninsula. In addition, Kiev points out that, according to international law, the aggressor state, ie Russia, is responsible for the humanitarian situation.

GRAIN OF TRUTH: The civilian population of Crimea is affected by water scarcity as Russia has not stopped the operation of the existing industrial facilities, so the existing water must be shared with them.

OFFICIAL REACTIONS: The MFA of Ukraine has mentioned countless times that the unblocking of the North Crimean Canal will take place only after the recovery of the peninsula.

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