FACT CHECK: No, Russia Did Not Conquer Two Countries In Europe

Elias Atienza | Senior Reporter

A video shared on Facebook claims Russia had conquered The Netherlands and Bulgaria during the country’s invasion of Ukraine.

Verdict: Misleading

A Dutch city applied for an exemption from the European Union’s (EU) sanctions on Russian energy, which Bulgaria also received. Neither country has been “conquered.”

Fact Check:

The EU has placed sanctions on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine, with G7 ministers agreeing to impose a price cap on Russian-based oil, according to The New York Times. Russia has also announced the indefinite shutdown of the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline, deepening a major energy crisis in Europe, Reuters reported.

The Facebook video, viewed more than 60,000 times, claims Russia had “conquered” two countries. “The Netherlands and Bulgaria join Russia’s side,” the video’s thumbnail claims.

The claim is misleading. Neither the Dutch, Bulgarian or the Russian governments have announced that the Russians are not in charge of those countries. Likewise, there are no credible news reports suggesting any other countries have become involved in Russia’s war with Ukraine or is now under Russian occupation. (RELATED: Did The Ukrainian Navy Destroy 13 Russian Warships In One Strike?)

The Hague, a large city in the Netherlands, applied for an exemption Aug. 25 from the EU’s sanctions on Russian energy, according to Reuters. The Netherlands sought to exempt the city as they are reportedly struggling to reduce Russian energy dependence and find other energy sources, the outlet reported.

Bulgaria received an exemption from the EU’s sanctions on Russian energy, according to SeeNews. The country’s government also reportedly accepted only one of seven liquid natural gas (LNG) shipments from a U.S. company despite being cheaper than other exchanges in Europe, Euractiv reported.

While Bulgaria has refused to send weapons or militarily engage in the conflict, they did state in July it would continue to repair Ukrainian military equipment, according to the Associated Press.

“‘Ukraine is not alone in this struggle. The Netherlands will continue supporting Ukraine so that Russia’s aggression can be brought to a halt and peace can return,” Dutch Defense Minister Kajsa Ollongren said, according to an Aug. 22 press release. The release does not indicate the country is under Russian occupation.

This is not the first time the Russian-Ukraine conflict has spawned misinformation online. Check Your Fact recently debunked a video claiming to show a farm in Ukraine on fire as farmers harvest crops.

Elias Atienza

Senior Reporter
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