Many US media are known for their russophobic stance, and The New York Times is no exception. On May 4, eight of its articles and videos on Russia were awarded with the Pulitzer Price, using clearly russophobic terms like “exposing the predations of Vladimir Putin’s regime”, which exposes the clear bias of Western journalism against Russia and its political management. Two of the materials awarded are about bombings against hospitals and other civilian targets in terrorist- controlled territories in Syria. The NYT investigation seems to be very biased, given that the Russian Ministry of Defence pointed many times that it only carries out attacks on verified targets and it never hits medical facilities nor civilian infrastructures in Syria. The evidences presented by the media seem to be unfounded, since the flight records showed by the NYT don’t prove that Russia is guilty, which raises doubts about the veracity of the information and can’t be excluded that the images could have been fabricated.
Recurrent pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative, aiming to portray any criticism of Russia’s violations of international law as anti-Russian in nature and to discredit critics by questioning their true motives and attacking their legitimacy. It also intends to boost support for Vladimir Putin’s regime through nationalism, by equating any negative reference to the current Russian government with alleged “russophobia”. Deliberate targeting of civilians by the Russian air forces has been a permanent concern for human rights groups and observers of the Syrian conflict since the beginning of its intervention in the country in 2015. Both Syrian and especially Russian armed forces have been repeatedly accused of purposefully attacking schools, rescue workers and hospitals by Amnesty International, Western governments or the United Nations in different moments of the war. In March 2020, a report of the United Nations Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic, confirmed Russia’s responsibility in bombing civilian targets in at least two occasions. The report was based on evidence available, including witness testimonies, video footage, data imagery as well as reports by flight spotters, flight communication intercepts and early warning observation reports, enough for the body to conclude that there was reasonable grounds to believe that a Russian aircraft participated in two episodes tantamount to war crimes (p.6). In both incidents, the Russian Air Force did not direct the attacks at a specific military objective, amounting to the war crime of launching indiscriminate attacks in civilian areas. Bombing of hospitals in Syria have been a recurrent event during the armed conflict, which the NGO Medecins Sans Frontiers attributed to Russia in 2017. Moscow flatly denied any responsibility, trying to shift blame on the US air forces without presenting any evidence. In June 2019, doctors in the rebel-held area of Idlib stopped sharing coordinates of medical facilities with the UN after suspicions that they were being deliberately targeted by pro-Bashar Al Assad and Russian forces in what many observers considered a coordinated strategy. You can see other examples of this disinformation narrative in our database, such as allegations that the Russian army doesn’t deliberately target civilians, unlike the US, or that Amnesty International is an ideological tool of US security services; Russia’s insistence on an alleged lack of interest in finding the truth in the Skripal and Litvinenko cases or in the downing of the MH17 flight; or claims about the anti-Russian bias of the OPCW, the World Anti-Doping Agency, the PACE, Ukraine’s national DNA or the West in general.