Russian media misrepresented Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko this week, claiming that he admitted returning Russian annexed Crimea back to Ukraine at the present time is unrealistic. What Ukraine’s President actually said during his annual address to the Ukrainian parliament is that Ukraine cannot return Crimea militarily at the present time, but will ultimately do so through legal means.

Website screenshot TASS
Website screenshot Vzglyad

Russia’s news agency TASS not only misrepresented Poroshenko’s actual words, but added that Ukraine’s President hopes to create conditions that will turn Crimea into an unbearable burden for the Russian Federation. Russia’s newspaper Vzglyad put its own spin on the fake claiming “Poroshenko understands that Crimea cannot be returned to Ukraine”.

The genuine version of President Poroshenko’s annual address is available on YouTube. The sentences that TASS has taken out of context Poroshenko spoke at one hour, twenty seven minutes, 17 seconds into his address.  The unbearable burden he speaks of, involves creating a difficult legal situation for Russia by pursuing the return of Crimea legally, through international courts.  This is what he actually said:

“Can we take Crimea away from Russia by force? Realistically – no. Will Russia leave Crimea on its own? Unfortunately, no. But together we can create conditions so that Crimea becomes an unbearable burden for Moscow. A thief sometimes throws out the stolen goods when they become too burdensome. We must create conditions so that Crimea becomes a burden for Moscow by using international law, sanctions, international courts, arbitration, various international platforms, monitoring mechanisms, from the United Nations to UNESCO. Bringing the Russian Federation to bear international responsibility for its actions is unfortunately a long, but I believe, an effective process. We will force Russia to answer for its actions in Ukraine in the language of law.”