Fact Check: Ukraine Is NOT A Part Of Russia, It's Independent

Fact Check

  • by: Courtney Kealy
Fact Check: Ukraine Is NOT A Part Of Russia, It's Independent Not Russia

Is Ukraine a part of Russia and can Russia enter at any time? No, that's not true: Ukraine has been internationally recognized as an independent country since 1991.

The claim appeared in a post published by simonparkes.org on February 22, 2022, titled "Ukraine Is A Part Of Russia, Meaning Russia Can Enter At Any Time..." (archived here), which opened:

Ukraine is Not a separate country - It was not registered as such, it is a part of Russia, meaning Russia can enter at any time. The Secretary-General of the United Nations has stated that Ukraine has not applied for border registration since 1991, so the state of Ukraine does not exist....

Users on social media only saw this title, description, and thumbnail:

Ukraine Is A Part Of Russia, Meaning Russia Can Enter At Any Time...

Ukraine is Not a separate country - It was not registered as such, it is a part of Russia, meaning Russia can enter at any time. The Secretary-General of the United Nations has stated that Ukraine has not applied for border registration since 1991, so the state of Ukraine does not exist.... And we don't know about it!!! 04/07/2014 UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon made a stunning statement, the distribution of which in Ukrainian media and the Internet is banned. The conflict between the two count

None of the claims in the post are true, according to Elise Giuliano, the director of graduate studies at the Harriman Institute for Russian, Eurasian and East European Studies at Columbia University. In an email to Lead Stories on February 25, 2022, she wrote:
All of this sounds like disinformation and propaganda coming from Russia / Russia sympathizers...the USSR collapsed in 1991. Ukraine became independent in 1991. It was never a member of CIS [Commonwealth of Independent States], which is a loose grouping of post-Soviet states. CIS is irrelevant to Ukraine's independent statehood.
Giuliano also noted the United Nations does not register borders of countries, especially non-member borders. She confirmed that the claim "The Secretary-General of the United Nations has stated that Ukraine has not applied for border registration since 1991, so the state of Ukraine does not exist" is also false.
Timothy Frye, a professor of post-Soviet politics at Columbia University and the author of "Weak Strongman: The Limits of Power in Putin's Russia," wrote in an email to Lead Stories on February 25, 2022:
Ukraine has been a member state of the UN since its creation and has been recognized by Russia and the entire membership of the United Nations as a sovereign state in this capacity.

Poland and Canada were among the first two countries to recognize Ukraine. According to the U.S. State Department:

The United States recognized Ukraine's independence on December 25, 1991, when President George H.W. Bush announced the decision in an address to the nation regarding the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Ukraine previously had been a constituent republic of the USSR.

The UN General Assembly website officially lists all 193 member states, which includes Ukraine.

U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres delivered remarks to the General Assembly in New York on February 23, 2022, when he reiterated the territorial integrity of Ukraine:

The history of this conflict is complex with at least two permanently opposing narratives.

I know that their authors will never agree on what happened in the past.

But in the present situation one thing is clear: the decision of the Russian Federation to recognize the so-called "independence" of Donetsk and Luhansk regions -- and the follow-up -- are violations of the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine and inconsistent with the principles of the Charter of the United Nations.

Guterres also released a strong statement on Ukraine on February 24, 2022, after Russian President Vladimir Putin launched what Guterres called "military operations inside the sovereign territory of Ukraine on a scale that Europe has not seen in decades." He called on Putin to stop immediately:

The use of force by one country against another is the repudiation of the principles that every country has committed to uphold. This applies to the present military offensive.

It is wrong.

It is against the Charter.

It is unacceptable.

But it is not irreversible.

There's no byline on the simonparkes.org post. There is a name at the bottom of the post, Alexander Panin. With several different Alexander Panins online, it's unclear who may have authored the claims. Lead Stories has written several fact checks of conspiracy claims published by Simon Parkes. Those fact checks have been collected for readers here.

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  Courtney Kealy

Courtney Kealy is a writer and fact-checker at Lead Stories. A graduate of Columbia University’s School of Journalism, she specializes in national and foreign affairs with more than two decades experience in the Middle East. Her work has appeared on FOX News, AlJazeera America, ABC News, the New York Times, Marie Claire, Time and Newsweek.

Read more about or contact Courtney Kealy

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