On June 30, American film director Oliver Stone presented his documentary, “Revealing Ukraine,” at the Taormina Film Festival in Italy.
The film, which focuses on the events leading up to the 2014 Ukrainian revolution and its aftermath, prominently features Viktor Medvedchuk, a close Putin associate sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury Department for his role in threatening “the peace, security, stability, sovereignty, or territorial integrity of Ukraine.”
It also features Stone’s interview of Russian President Vladimir Putin, who is godfather to Medvedchuk's daughter Darina.
In the Putin interview, the Russian president covered topics ranging from U.S. election meddling to events in Ukraine.
Georgian Sniper Story resurfaces
On February 20, 2014, snipers opened fire on a Euromaidan demonstration in Kyiv, Ukraine, killing more than 50 people. While security forces have widely been blamed for the killings, the investigation into those events has not been concluded.
Putin told Stone that Georgian snipers had been present on Maidan Nezalezhnosti, the central square in Kyiv, “completely ruling out” the possibility that ousted former president Viktor Yanukovych could have used force against the civilian population.
Stone himself had previously repeated this claim on social media.
However, Polygraph.info already debunked this claim, initially made by an Italian journalist who blamed the Euromaidan killings on Georgian mercenaries operating under the direction of former Georgian Prime Minister Mikhail Saakashvili.
That account was full of holes, from clearly forged Georgian security service documents to video footage uncovered by BBC Monitoring allegedly proving the men were in Kyiv in 2014, but video which was later found to have been shot in December 2016.
Putin himself presented no new evidence to back up this previously discredited claim.
‘Never interfered in U.S. elections’
In his interview with Stone, Putin also categorically rejected claims that Russia interfered in the 2016 United States presidential election:
“I didn’t interfere then, and I don’t want to interfere now, and I don’t intend to do it in the future,” Putin said.
He added that while “Russian bloggers” might have expressed themselves online, it was “nonsense” to believe they played a critical role in the outcome.
However, as Polygraph.info previously reported, a district court in Washington DC indicted 12 Russian military intelligence officers accused by U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team of hacking the Democratic Party’s computers, stealing their data and publishing that information to influence the 2016 election.
In addition, three entities and 13 Russian individuals, including “Putin’s Chef,” Yevgeny Prigozhin, and his Internet Research Agency (IRA), a so-called “troll factory,” were indicted for interfering in the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign in order to “sow discord in the U.S. political system,” support the presidential campaign of then-candidate Donald Trump and disparage then-candidate Hillary Clinton.
The Computational Propaganda Project, launched by the European Research Council, a research body established by the European Commission, found that the IRA had “launched an extended attack on the United States by using computational propaganda to misinform and polarize US voters.”
The project concluded that during 2015-17, “over 30 million users shared the IRA’s Facebook and Instagram posts with their friends and family, liking, reacting to, and commenting on them along the way.”
On November 25, 2018, Russian Coast Guard boats attempted to stop a Ukrainian tugboat as it was on its way to transit the Kerch Strait from the Black Sea into the Azov Sea, between Russia and Russian-occupied Crimea.
In his interview with Oliver Stone, Putin alleged that the incident was “a provocation” organized by then Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in a bid to introduce “special conditions” and postpone elections in Ukraine.
This conspiracy theory, cited repeatedly in the run-up to the March 31, 2019 Ukrainian presidential election, proved to be false.
The Ukrainian election went ahead as scheduled, although conspiracy theories about a Poroshenko power grab continued.
Two days before the election, Russian state TV presenter Dmitry Kiselyov claimed Poroshenko would use “dirty election techniques” to falsify the results.
A day after the election, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin accused Poroshenko of illegally trying to influence the outcome of the election.
Variations of that message were widely broadcast across numerous Russian state media platforms.
Long after Poroshenko conceded defeat to current president Volodymyr Zelenskiy, reports continued to circulate claiming Poroshenko was manufacturing a way to stay in power.
But Zelenskiy was sworn in as Ukraine’s sixth president without incident on May 20, 2019, discrediting that allegation, which Putin nonetheless chose to repeat.
‘Obama didn’t keep his word’
Putin spoke with Stone about former U.S. President Barack Obama, accusing him of not keeping his word on unspecified agreements made regarding Ukraine during a telephone conversation.
"You know, Obama is no longer the president, but, nevertheless, there are certain things that we don’t speak about publicly. In any case, I can say that our agreements, which were reached in this telephone conversation, were not fulfilled by the American side,” Putin said, adding that he would not give further details.
While Putin has previously accused the United States of duplicity in regards to the ouster of Yanukovich, without further elaboration, the veracity of Putin’s most recent comments remain unclear.