FALSE: After the liberation of Crimea, the Armed Forces of Ukraine plan to carry out genocide of the local population — interview with military

FALSE: After the liberation of Crimea, the Armed Forces of Ukraine plan to carry out genocide of the local population — interview with military

2 July 2023
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Verification within Meta’s Third-Party Fact-Checking Program

There is information circulating online that, according to a Ukrainian serviceman, the Armed Forces of Ukraine plan to carry out genocide of the local population after the liberation of Crimea. “These are socially dangerous people for the Ukrainian state in Crimea. That’s all — the suitcase, the train station, Russia! I think a lot will go to the mainland part of Russia. This will slightly ease the situation in working with the civilian population,” he says. He claims that Ukrainian fighters will “deal with” those who have moved from Ukraine to Russia and obtained Russian passports, sending them to prison. If these people “resist,” they will “fall from the weapons of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.”

However, the serviceman’s words are taken out of context.

The interview in question is with military serviceman Ihor Ruliak, a native Crimean. The interview discusses the question of returning the peninsula under Ukrainian control through both military and socio-political means. There was no mention of any “genocide.” Here is an excerpt from the interview:

Roman Bebekh: “Many had to accept Russian citizenship, take passports. This is a forced measure because otherwise you simply cannot live there. Do you treat such people normally?”

Ihor Ruliak: “Yes, normally.”

Roman Bebekh: “On the other hand, there are people who publicly burned Ukrainian passports. What should be done with such people?”

Ihor Ruliak:  “Well, nothing. This is a ‘Pandora’s box,’ what can you do with it? He is not Ukrainian. Anyone who burned a Ukrainian passport is no longer Ukrainian in any case. We cannot prove that he is a citizen of Ukraine. When he has a Russian passport, then, I don’t know, deportation. These are socially dangerous people for the Ukrainian state in Crimea. That’s all — the suitcase, the train station, Russia. I think a lot will go to the mainland part of Russia. This will slightly ease the situation in working with the civilian population.”

So, in response to the interviewer’s question about what to do with Crimeans who burned their Ukrainian passports and have Russian passports, Ruliak mentioned “deportation.” He indeed acknowledged such people as socially dangerous, but he did not propose killing or destroying individuals with Russian passports. Regarding Crimeans in general, the military serviceman stated that he treats them normally and responded with “nothing” when asked if something should be done with them.

Ruliak’s suggestion of imprisonment or elimination was not directed at those who moved from Ukraine to Russia and obtained Russian passports, but rather at traitors participating in the war. The example he mentioned involved an acquaintance of his who studied at the Security Service of Ukraine Academy but later transferred to the Federal Security Service (FSB) Academy in Russia and began working for Russian intelligence agencies. Under international law, combatants, or participants in combat actions, are legitimate military targets.

The UN Convention on Genocide defines genocide as any of the following acts committed with the intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial, or religious group:

  • killing members of the group;
  • causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
  • deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
  • imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
  • forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

Deporting Russian citizens to Russia does not constitute genocide, as it does not involve the destruction of a national group. The fight against Russian soldiers or collaborators is also not genocide.

Attention

The authors do not work for, consult to, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and have no relevant affiliations