Disinformation narratives floated in a most peculiar way this week, targeting Moon landing, Ukraine, Ursula von der Leyen, and more.

In 1957, the Soviet Union launched the first ever Sputnik – the artificial Earth satellite – into an elliptical low Earth orbit. And the world has never been the same since.

The launch had a direct impact on the United States’ decision to create NASA and the beginning of the Space Race. Some argue that the Moon landing wouldn’t have happened if Sputnik hadn’t been launched.

With a name bearing such significant legacy, Sputnik – the pro-Kremlin disinformation outlet, operating now in over 30 languages – has a lot to prove. And it has been proving its allegiance to the Kremlin and pro-Kremlin messaging since its establishment. It can hardly come as a surprise that the 50th anniversary of the Moon landing, which we celebrated on July 20, was used by Sputnik, RT and other pro-Kremlin outlets, all of whom were over the moon to revisit conspiracy theories and narratives that have been around for 50 years: namely, that the Americans did not land on the Moon at all.

In the last month, different versions of RT and Sputnik devoted – yes! – space to conspiracy theories about the Moon landing, which received over 6,200 engagements (shares, likes and comments) on Facebook and Twitter. The article from this batch which got the most attention (over 2,800 Facebook engagements on July 22) was published on RT Arabic, which used a filmmaker’s statement to provide actual “evidence” of the “falsification” of the landing. Other outlets warned us of future fakes – according to Tsargrad, new American missions to the Moon and Mars will be staged just like the one back in 1969. Well, if the new missions really were to end the same way Apollo 11 finished its task, we should all keep our fingers crossed!

The Darker Side of the Moon

But if you think the Moon landing was the main point of interest for the pro-Kremlin media this week, take your protein pills and put your helmet on – and read on (and if you didn’t think that, read on anyway!). After all, it is not the Moon, but Ukraine that is the biggest disinformation battlefield of all.

 

On Sunday, Ukrainians voted for their new parliament, in an election that – despite a few shortcomings – international observers deemed efficient and respecting fundamental freedoms. However, that did not convince the pro-Kremlin media. As the results of the exit polls were still coming in, disinformation channels claimed that the elections were neither free nor fair and suggested not recognizing their results. Pro-Kremlin media also accused Ukraine of not allowing phenomenal numbers of Ukrainians to vote, omitting the fact that due to continuing acts of aggression by Russian armed forces and the illegal annexation of Crimea, voting could not take place in the peninsula or the regions controlled by illegal armed groups. By contrast, international observers welcomed Ukraine’s efforts to make it easier for internally displaced persons to vote.

If all this sounds a bit familiar – well, it should. Pro-Kremlin media do not shy away from recycling the same narratives. Thus, disinformation messages that we observed before the Ukrainian presidential elections resurfaced again, with the same aim – to undermine the legitimacy of Ukraine’s electoral process and its democracy.

Notably missing from this latest litany of lies were the accusations of Ukrainian authorities staging provocations to sabotage the elections and their results that were abundant just a few months ago. It seems that in the eyes of the pro-Kremlin outlets, the role of chief agent provocateur was reserved specifically for the former president of Ukraine. However the drama element was still there, as one Russian state TV talk-show suggested that these were Ukraine’s last elections. World War 3 is approaching, it claimed, and Ukraine will disappear in the flood of refugees. One can only hope that before WW3 comes, we all will be able to take refuge on the Moon…

Don’t Blame This Sleeping Satellite, Blame the West

As Major Tom was floating in a most peculiar way, the usual disinformation messages about who was to blame for Russophobia and interference floated through the information space. Recently pro-Kremlin media found new targets, resulting from the European elections and the new institutional set-up now being shaped. According to disinformation outlets, the European Commission president-elect, Ursula von der Leyen, is demonising Russia to demonstrate her assertiveness (as a gynaecologist and a woman (!) she has no other choice, they claim). In the same vein, the new members of the European Parliament were also accused of Russophobia – which they allegedly use to further their political careers.

This week, we could also learn (sic!) about the West dreaming of splitting Russia and interfering in the internal affairs of post-Soviet states. It’s a common disinformation technique to blame somebody else, most frequently the West, for the Kremlin’s own sins. And it cannot be emphasised enough that it’s Russia who started the war in Ukraine, has a track record of interfering in Georgia’s internal affairs, and that it is the Kremlin’s aim to sow discord and deepen divisions among Western countries. But these facts don’t stop the disinformation outlets from repeating these shameful messages.

As Anton Chekhov said, “Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.” Throwing empty accusations and promoting conspiracy theories is easy. Providing real evidence requires effort. But we should be able to do this, if we managed to send men to the Moon. And we think our spaceship knows which way to go.

No links between Donbas militants and neo-Nazis
Additional details: Rebel forces in eastern Ukraine have never been associated with the neo-Nazis.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): RT (rt.com)
Reported by:
Disproof note:

Recurring disinformation narrative painting Russia and its proxies in east Ukraine as sworn enemies of fascism.

Both the so-called "rebels" occupying swathes of sovereign Ukrainian territory and their local precursors have numerous links to neo-Nazi and other far-right movements.

Pavel Gubarev, the first "people's governor" of the "Donetsk people's republic," is a former member of the neo-Nazi Russian National Unity.

See here for additional debunking by Polygraph.info, particularly the section titled "The neo-Nazis amidst Russian rebel ranks."

Keywords: War in Ukraine, Donbas, Nazi/Fascist
Countries: Russia, Ukraine
More
The incident in the Kerch Strait was a planned provocation by Poroshenko
Additional details: The incident in the Kerch Strait was a planned provocation by (Petro) Poroshenko.

The former president Poroshenko brought about this provocation purposefully in the course of the election campaign. He knew that the voters in the east and south of the country would not support him, and used this provocation to aggravate the situation, to introduce the state of emergency. He either wanted to introduce the state of emergency throughout the country or perhaps to postpone the elections. They wanted to keep power at all costs.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): Sputnik Deutschland
Reported by:
Disproof note:

No evidence given. Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation on Ukraine and Azov Sea saying that Petro Poroshenko instigated the provocation in Kerch Strait to extend his power.

On November 25, border patrol boats belonging to Russia’s FSB security service seized two small Ukrainian armoured artillery vessels and their crews after shooting at them, wounding several Ukrainian servicemen. Russia argued that they were in Russian waters. However, a bilateral treaty between Russia and Ukraine, signed in 2003 and ratified by Russia in 2004 governs the use of the Kerch Strait and the Sea of Azov. The agreement states this stretch to be the “internal waters” of both Russia and Ukraine.

On May 25, 2019, the United Nations Tribunal for the Law of the Sea ordered Russia to immediately release Ukrainian sailors and allow them to return to Ukraine. The EU has also urged Russia to release the captured crew.

The construction of the Kerch Bridge took place without Ukraine's consent and constitutes a violation of Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity. It has led, in parallel with the militarisation of the Azov Sea, to tougher controls on naval traffic in the strait. The European Union stated that it expects Russia to stop the inspections.

For more disinformation cases on the Kerch incident see here, here and here.

Keywords: Azov sea, Kerch, Provocation, War in Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko
Countries: Russia, Ukraine
More
Poland plans to establish an anti-Russian buffer zone including Belarus
Additional details: The main ideas behind Poland's geopolitical doctrine after 1989 (named after Giedroyc and Mieroszewski) are the following:

  • The need to weaken Russian positions in Eastern Europe through the creation of a buffer zone of countries opposing Russia;

  • The countries of this buffer zone should be under the sphere of economic and humanitarian interests of Poland. This means - no use of Russian energy sources by these countries and their use as a source of cheap labour force and a market for Polish goods;

  • Polish assistance with reforms and democratisation as well as reforming their national consciousness into anti-Russian one.


This doctrine de facto envisages (...) direct intervention into domestic affairs of the countries, which used to be part of Rzeczpospolita.

 
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): Imhoclub.by, Sozh.info, BelVPO
Reported by:
Disproof note:

This is a conspiracy theory and misrepresentation of actual Giedroyc-Mieroszewski doctrine. It contains recurring pro-Kremlin narratives about Poland's plans to partition Belarus and establish the Fourth Republic and to disrupt Belarus-Russia ties.

The mentioned doctrine was developed in the 1970s by Polish émigrés Jerzy Giedroyc and Juliusz Mieroszewski. The doctrine urged the need to rebuild good relations among Central and Eastern European countries and foresaw Poland's relations with Ukraine, Lithuania and Belarus as the foundation of its foreign policy. This called for Poland to reject any imperial ambitions and controversial territorial claims, and to accept the post-war border changes. The doctrine supported independence for Belarus and Ukraine. It did not promote the idea to establish a Polish empire at the expense of Poland's eastern neighbours. See here for more information about the Giedroyc-Mieroszewski doctrine.

Claims about Poland's alleged ''imperial dreams'' are part of recurring disinformation narrative, whose aim is to deteriorate Poland’s relations with its neighbours.

See earlier disinformation messages alleging that Poland has plans to turn Belarus into a vassal, anti-Russian state with Belarus’ western part being an eastern part of a new Polish state, that the Polish doctrine of IV Rzeczpospolita is part of the US doctrine of global dominance, and that IV Rzeczpospolita program's objectives are to trick, deceive, derussify and to take away the sense of self-preservation from Belarusian society as well as to disrupt the allied relations between Belarus and Russia.

Keywords: Imperialism/colonialism, Conspiracy, Nazi/Fascist
Countries: Poland, Russia, Belarus
More
The OPCW is in crisis, while Western countries are lying about chemical attacks in Syria
Additional details: Western countries deliberately hide the details of the chemical attack in the Syrian city of Douma on 7 April 2018, because the attack did not happen; this is another fake from the Western leadership. The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons hides these facts, in order not to be the violator of international law.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): RT Russian
Reported by:
Disproof note:

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the chemical weapons attack in Douma, Syria.

In March 2019, the OPCW confirmed in its final report that chlorine was used in the attack on Douma, April 7, 2018.

According to the Berlin Non-Profit Organisation Global Public Policy Institute (GPPi), chemical weapons were used more than 300 times in Syria.

Syrian government forces and their ally Russia continue to deny these facts.

Read more about chemical attacks here and here.

Keywords: Douma, OPCW, Chemical weapons/attack
Countries: Russia, The West, Syria
More
The only thing that prevents a bloody disintegration of Ukraine is Russia's policy
Additional details: The only thing that prevents a bloody disintegration of Ukraine is Russia's policy. Russia is so far not allowing to split the country into pieces, which would benefit the EU.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): Vremya Pokazhet @Pervyi Kanal (48:12 - 49:17)
Reported by:
Disproof note:

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the disintegration of Ukraine.

The European Union continues to support Ukraine, its territorial integrity and sovereignty against Russian aggression.

.

Keywords: Ukrainian disintegration
Countries: Russia, Ukraine, EU
More
Finland initiates a discussion in the EU about feasibility of Russia-sanctions
Additional details: While holding the EU presidency, Finland initiates a discussion in the EU about Russia-sanctions feasibility.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): Slovo i Delo
Reported by:
Disproof note:

Manipulative headline. No evidence given. The article is based on an opinion piece published in a Finnish newspaper, it does not reflect the government's policy.

Finland supports the restrictive measures against Russia.

Keywords: Sanctions
Countries: Russia, EU, Finland
More
There is a civil war in Eastern Ukraine
Additional details: We are talking about the president of a country with an ongoing civil war, where an army takes part in an internal conflict, where people are killed, and where peaceful citizens continue to die.
Language / Targeted audience:
Link to the disinformation: www.youtube.com/watch?v=BhGiCDZBrfM
Disinforming outlet(s): Vremya Pokazhet @ Pervyi Kanal [8:35-8:47]
Reported by:
Disproof note:

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the war in Ukraine, attempting to portray it as a civil war. It disregards the extensive factual evidence confirming ongoing Russian military presence in Donbas.  Prior debunks of this narrative can be found here and here.

The war in eastern Ukraine is not a civil conflict, but an act of aggression by the Russian armed forces, that continue since February 2014.

 

Keywords: Civil war, War in Ukraine
Countries: Ukraine
More
Kyiv is dissatisfied with the fact that many in Ukraine consider the Crimea Russian
Additional details: Verkhovna Rada proposed to introduce criminal punishment for not recognising Crimea as part of Ukraine. The emergence of such an initiative may appear because in Ukraine a huge number of people consider Crimea as part of the Russian Federation.

Ukrainians acknowledge this fact and treat it with understanding. In this regard, the Ukrainian authorities, despite five years of brainwashing their people, despite the anti-Russian rhetoric, could not overcome absolute reality.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): RT Russian
Reported by:
Disproof note:

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the illegal annexation of Crimea and recognition of Crimea as Russian territory. 

Only 4% of Ukrainians admit that Crimea is Russian, according to a survey by the Democratic Initiatives Foundation and the Razumkov Centre's Sociological Service.

According to the Democratic Initiatives Foundation, since 2016, Ukrainians have consistently expressed the opinion that Crimea should remain in Ukraine, and the proportion of respondents remained stable - 69% of Ukraine's population.

Crimea was annexed by Russia following an illegitimate referendum on March 16, 2014, following the deployment of “little green men” across the peninsula beginning in February 2014. Read more about Crimea's annexation and narratives surrounding it here.

Keywords: Ukraine, Crimea
Countries: Russia, Ukraine
More
There is no border between Russia and Ukraine
Additional details: There is no border between Russia and Ukraine after the latter pulled out of the treaty with Russia.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): Voskresnyi Vecher s Vladimirom Solovyovym @ Rossiya 1 time 50:11 - 50:15
Reported by:
Disproof note:

The Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Partnership between Ukraine and the Russian Federation established the principle of strategic partnership, recognition of the inviolability of existing borders, respect for territorial integrity and mutual obligations not to use their territory to the detriment of each other’s security. The agreement was signed in Kyiv on 31 May 1997 by the President of Ukraine, Leonid Kuchma, and the President of the Russian Federation Boris Yeltsin.

In fact, the annexation of Crimea by Russia and the military intervention in Donbas violated this agreement both politically and practically.

On 6 September 2018, the National Security and Defence Council of Ukraine decided not to extend the Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Partnership between Ukraine and the Russian Federation, which then expired on 31st March 2019.

The expiry of the Treaty doesn’t affect the documented recognition of the Ukrainian borders by Russia - Deputy Foreign Minister Olena Zerkal stressed, since in 2003, Russia and Ukraine signed a separate agreement on the Russian-Ukrainian borders.

In addition, UNGA Resolution 68/262 affirmed the United Nations General Assembly's commitment to the territorial integrity of Ukraine within its internationally recognised borders and underscored the invalidity of the 2014 Crimean referendum.

This message is part pf a recurring disinformation narrative referring to the Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Partnership between Ukraine and the Russian Federation. For similar cases see here and here.

 

Keywords: Ukraine, Russian expansionism
Countries: Russia, Ukraine
More
Ukrainian sailors admitted their intention to provoke Russia in the Black Sea
Additional details: Ukrainian sailors had admitted their intention to provoke Russia with the maneuver in the Black Sea. Even the logbook documents state that these ships had secretly entered Russian waters and wanted to pass undercover through the Kerch Strait. It is a deliberate provocation. This is clear from the documents and from the sailors' statements.
Language / Targeted audience:
Link to the disinformation: www.youtube.com/watch?v=enPkkOeCANk
Disinforming outlet(s): RT Deutsch Video @ [1:55 - 2:27]
Reported by:
Disproof note:

No evidence given. Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation on Ukraine and Azov Sea.

On 25 November 2018 border patrol boats belonging to Russia’s FSB security service seized two small Ukrainian armoured artillery vessels and their crews after shooting at them, wounding several Ukrainian servicemen. Russia argued that they were in Russian waters. However, a bilateral treaty between Russia and Ukraine, signed in 2003 and ratified by Russia in 2004, governs the use of the Kerch Strait and the Sea of Azov, which in the treaty is considered to be the “internal waters” of both Russia and Ukraine.

On May 25, 2019, the United Nations Tribunal for the Law of the Sea ordered Russia to immediately release Ukrainian sailors and allow them to return to Ukraine. The EU has urged Russia to release the captured crew.

The construction of the Kerch Bridge took place without Ukraine's consent and constitutes a violation of Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity. It has led, in parallel with the militarisation of the Azov Sea, to tougher controls on naval traffic in the strait. The European Union stated that it expects Russia to stop the inspections.

For further reporting see the Bellingcat, DFRLab and Polygraph.

Keywords: Azov sea, Kerch, Black Sea, Provocation
Countries: Russia, Ukraine
More
Ukrainian ships entered Russian waters in the Kerch Strait without registration
Additional details: In November 2018, Russia confiscated three Ukrainian ships, including the crew, 22 marines and two members of the Ukrainian secret service. These ships had entered Russian waters in the Kerch Strait without registration. After ignoring several warnings from the Russian coastguard, the Ukrainian ships were finally seized by Russian border guards and the FSB.
Language / Targeted audience:
Link to the disinformation: www.youtube.com/watch?v=enPkkOeCANk
Disinforming outlet(s): RT Deutsch
Reported by:
Disproof note:

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation on Ukraine and the Azov Sea.

On 25 November 2018, border patrol boats belonging to Russia’s FSB security service seized two small Ukrainian armoured artillery vessels and their crews after shooting at them, wounding several Ukrainian servicemen. Russia argued that they were in Russian waters. However, a bilateral treaty between Russia and Ukraine, signed in 2003 and ratified by Russia in 2004, governs the use of the Kerch Strait and the Sea of Azov, which the agreement considers being the “internal waters” of both Russia and Ukraine.

On May 25, 2019, the United Nations Tribunal for the Law of the Sea ordered Russia to immediately release Ukrainian sailors and allow them to return to Ukraine. The EU has also urged Russia to release the captured crew.

Keywords: Azov sea, Kerch, Black Sea
Countries: Russia, Ukraine
More
Kerch incident was a provocation by Poroshenko before Ukrainian elections
Additional details: The new head of the General Staff of Armed Forces of Ukraine confirmed that the incident in the Kerch Strait was a provocation, staged by Poroshenko in the run-up to the election campaign. That is an impertinence. The Ukrainian side admitted to the provocation.
Language / Targeted audience:
Link to the disinformation: www.youtube.com/watch?v=LhPB3YcxvvQ
Disinforming outlet(s): RT Deutsch @ 3:53-4:10
Reported by:
Disproof note:

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation on Ukraine and Azov Sea. No evidence given that the confrontation was a planned provocation and that the new head of the Armed Forces of Ukraine confirmed it.

On 25 November 2018, border patrol boats belonging to Russia’s FSB security service seized two small Ukrainian armoured artillery vessels and their crews after shooting at them, wounding several Ukrainian servicemen. Russia argued that they were in Russian waters. However, a bilateral treaty between Russia and Ukraine, signed in 2003 and ratified by Russia in 2004, governs the use of the Kerch Strait and the Sea of Azov, which the agreement considers being the “internal waters” of both Russia and Ukraine.

The construction of the Kerch Bridge took place without Ukraine's consent and constitutes a violation of Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity. It has led, in parallel with the militarisation of the Azov Sea, to tougher controls on naval traffic in the strait. The European Union stated that it expects Russia to stop the inspections.

For further reporting see the Bellingcat, DFRLab and Polygraph.

Keywords: Azov sea, Kerch, Provocation, Crimea
Countries: Russia, Ukraine
More
RT and Sputnik banned from UK media freedom conference, so they don’t ask the "wrong questions"
Additional details: The United Kingdom is isolating the “inconvenient ones”: it is ok to lie when all the like-minded ones stand up and lie in chorus, without those who will tell the truth. It is easier not to let Russia Today and Sputnik in, so they don’t ask the wrong questions. The fashion for Russophobia is still very much alive. They are in a state of panic that someone will ask the wrong questions.
Language / Targeted audience:
Link to the disinformation: radiovesti.ru/brand/62139/episode/2183472/
Disinforming outlet(s): Evrozona @ Vesti FM
Reported by:
Disproof note:

In reality, Russia's RT and Sputnik news agencies have been banned from attending a conference on media freedom in London for playing an "active role in spreading disinformation".

“We have not accredited RT or Sputnik because of their active role in spreading disinformation,” Foreign Office spokeswoman said.  “While it’s not possible to accommodate all requests for accreditation, journalists from across the world’s media are attending the conference, including from Russia”, spokeswoman added. One of the Russian journalists present at the event was Galina Timchenko,  founder and CEO of Meduza Russia Latvia.

In 2019, the British media regulator, Ofcom, found that RT (Russia Today) had been in “serious failure of compliance” with the rules of “due impartiality” in a total of seven cases. The media watchdog concluded that in seven of the ten cases under review, RT has violated Ofcoms standards.  Back then, Ofcom also made it clear that it would “consider these breaches for sanction.”

Keywords: Russia Today (RT), Freedom of speech, Sputnik
Countries: UK, Russia
More
Ukraine will fall apart because of the nationalists
Additional details: Nationalism is a disaster for any country, but in Ukraine, it verges on the grotesque. Ukraine will never make peace with Donbas because it is unacceptable for the nationalists. Ukraine is heading for a breakup.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): Vremya Pokazhet @ Pervyi Kanal [47:15 - 47:49]
Reported by:
Disproof note:

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives about Ukrainian nationalists and the disintegration of Ukraine with no evidence given.

In 2014, the far-right ‘Right Sector’ (often described as "ultra-nationalist" or "Nazis" by pro-Kremlin outlets) gained only 1.8% of the votes, far short of the threshold needed to enter Parliament. This demonstrates the attitude and support for far-right nationalist parties in Ukraine.

The current president of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who got 73.7% of the vote in the 2019 presidential elections, has repeatedly expressed his intention to end the armed conflict in the East of the country as soon as possible.

Keywords: Ukrainian disintegration
Countries: Russia, Ukraine
More
The West always dreams of splitting Russia
Additional details:



Anti-Russian hysteria in Georgia was a well-prepared provocation. It proves that there are forces that want to break cultural and economic ties with Russia. The same as with Ukraine and Moldova. Because even though the USSR disappeared, the connections remain. The West has always dreamed of splitting Russia into many small states in order to control them.


Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): Sputnik Armenia
Reported by:
Disproof note:

Conspiracy theory, based on a recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative casting civil uprisings as externally-funded "colour revolutions" or being geopolitically engineered, also seen in cases about Georgia, Ukraine, Belarus, Venezuela.

The disinformation message is also consistent with pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives about Russophobia, Western attempts to sever relations between Russia and Georgia, and protests as a part of hybrid war against Russia.

The current protests in Georgia were a spontaneous public reaction calling for the resignation of key national officials after Russian State Duma Deputy, Sergei Gavrilov, sat in the Georgian parliamentary speaker's seat while addressing a council of lawmakers from predominantly Orthodox Christian countries - the Interparliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy (IAO). Gavrilov is known for his support to Russia's aggression in Georgia's Abkhazia and South Ossetia regions.

Russia continues its military presence in both Abkhazia and South Ossetia in violation of international law and commitments undertaken by Russia under the 12 August 2008 agreement, mediated by the European Union.

Keywords: Provocation, Anti-Russian, Colour revolutions, The West
Countries: Russia, The West, Ukraine, Georgia
More
We have Nazis in Ukraine, not in Russia
Additional details: A television link-up was planned between viewers in Minsk (sic) and Moscow, which caused an absolute phenomenal wave of panic in Ukraine, since it is unthinkable to allow Ukrainians to talk with Russians, simple people, to find out that they have a lot of things in common. They have the same roots and talk about the same things.

Except that in Russia it is much better than in Ukraine. In Russia, there is no Hitler, and in Ukraine there are Neo-Nazis.
Language / Targeted audience:
Link to the disinformation: youtu.be/8BRwJgozvUE
Disinforming outlet(s): RT France @ 03:50 - 04:26
Reported by:
Disproof note:

Recurring pro-Kremlin narrative on Russophobia and Nazism in Ukraine that have been repeated since the outbreak of the Euromaidan pro-democratic and anti-corruption protests.

The link-up between TV channels in Moscow and Kiev (not Minsk) was indeed planned and then cancelled by the Ukrainian channel because of the negative reaction of the civil society and the authorities. The program was broadcast on Russian Channel 1 (its broadcasting is banned in Ukraine by law since 2014). In the program, artists and directors from Moscow talked about how they love Ukraine and how they suffer from the fact that they cannot go there. The words "Crimea" or "Donbas" were not mentioned at all during 2 hour-long program.

There are no Nazis in Ukraine’s government or parliament. Moreover, all manifestations of Nazism are banned in Ukraine. The Verkhovna Rada, at its meeting on 9 April 2015, adopted the law “On the Condemnation of the Communist and Nazi totalitarian regimes in Ukraine and the prohibition of propaganda of their symbols”. The document recognises that communist and national socialist (Nazi) totalitarian regimes in Ukraine are criminal and prohibits the public use and propaganda of their symbols. The Nazi totalitarian regime at legislative level is recognised in Ukraine as pursuing a policy of state terror.

Keywords: Ukraine, Media, Nazi/Fascist
Countries: Russia, Ukraine
More
The protests in Georgia are manipulated from the US
Additional details: It would be better for Georgia to wake up and understand that [current protests in Georgia] are not a “home grown” protest but one carefully manipulated from the US.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): New Eastern Outlook
Reported by:
Disproof note:

This is a recurring pro-Kremlin narrative casting civil uprisings in other countries as US-funded "colour revolutions", also present in the case of Georgia, Ukraine, Belarus, Venezuela.

Consistent with multiple pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives about the US and its global role. 

Keywords: Colour revolutions, Conspiracy
Countries: US, Georgia
More
Poland wants Belarus to return the property of Second Polish Republic
Additional details: Poland wants Belarus to follow Ukrainian failed economic model, i.e. massive emigration of the youth, education reforms focused on foreign labour market demands, full opening of the domestic market for European goods, and liquidation of high-technology companies.

Poland also wants Belarus to adopt a lustration law, which would strip members of any pro-governmental organizations of their rights. Furthermore, Poland wants from Belarus restitution of II Rzeczpospolita [Second Polish Republic] property, a total clean-up of the political sphere and a crackdown on opposition under the guise of fighting against Russian influence.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): Imhoclub.by, Sozh.info, BelVPO
Reported by:
Disproof note:

This is a collection of conspiracies with no evidence of Polish plans concerning the adoption of lustration and restitution laws in Belarus, a crackdown on the opposition with alternative views, or elimination of high-technology sectors in Belarus and Ukraine. It is consistent with recurring pro-Kremlin narratives about Polish and Western plans to disrupt Belarusian-Russian relations as well as about the negative impact of the EU Association Agreement on the Ukrainian economy.

The message misrepresents the outcome of EU-Ukraine economic cooperation. During 2016-2018, Ukraine increased its export to the EU from EUR 13.2b to EUR 18b. Read more about Ukraine-EU economic cooperation here.

See earlier disinformation cases alleging that Poland plans to take over Minsk after extensive subversive activities in Belarus, the West aims at cultivating anti-Russian sentiments in Belarus, and the IMF killing the Ukrainian economy.

Keywords: Anti-Russian, Conspiracy
Countries: Poland, Ukraine, Belarus
More
Zelenskyy claims that there is a civil war in Ukraine
Additional details: Zelenskyy claims that there is a civil war. By moving away from the traditional rhetoric of calling Russia an aggressor, he does basically say that it is indeed a civil war, where brother is against brother. He shows that he wants to put an end to this.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): Vremya Pokazhet @ Channel 1 TV [08:50-09:10]
Reported by:
Disproof note:

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation about the war in Ukraine. See similar cases here.

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy has never said that the conflict in Eastern Ukraine is a civil war. The President of Ukraine publicly speaks about Russia's involvement in the war in Donbas.

During the visit to Canada in July 2019, Zelenskyy emphasised that "Russia does not show goodwill to resolve the conflict. In particular, the Russian Federation did not support the "Khlibne" truce suggested by Ukraine, shelling continues, including of medical vehicles, the work of the OSCE SMM is restricted in the temporarily occupied territory of Donbas."

The European Union has strongly condemned the acts of aggression by the Russian armed forces in Ukraine, that are ongoing since February 2014.

 

Keywords: Volodymyr Zelensky, War in Ukraine, Donbas
Countries: Ukraine
More
Polish economy survives thanks to German contracts and energy cooperation with the US
Additional details: Poles are not really independent. Polish economy survives thanks to German contracts and its military budget is subject to NATO requirements. Polish energy sphere is becoming more dependent on expensive American liquefied gas. At the same time, Polish youth is emigrating to other EU countries, leaving obscure jobs for Ukrainian "slavery workers".
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): Imhoclub.by, Sozh.info, BelVPO
Reported by:
Disproof note:

This message is consistent with common pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives about Poland treating Ukrainian migrants like slaves and Poland's limited sovereignty. In this disinformation case, the current state of Polish-German relations, Polish membership in NATO and US-Polish energy cooperation allegedly prove that Poland is a state overly dependent on external actors.

The claim that the Polish economy survives entirely on German contracts is unfounded. In 2018, Germany accounted for 28,2% of Poland's total exports, which is less than a third. Neither Poland's NATO membership nor growing cooperation with the US in energy sphere prove Poland's dependence imposed from outside. Poland is a sovereign state, which determines its security and trade policies. Current efforts to diversify energy sources means, in the long term, that Poland will become independent from Russian energy supplies.

See earlier disinformation cases alleging that Poland is US's vassal state and a country with the highest social inequality in the EU.

 

Keywords: migration, gas, Energy, Sovereignty, Economic difficulties
Countries: US, Poland, Germany
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Eastern Partnership aimed at weakening Russia's geopolitical influence
Additional details: Despite the outwardly “reassuring” mood of European diplomats, the Eastern Partnership program, according to many experts, was from the very beginning aimed at weakening Russia's geopolitical influence in Eastern Europe as well as at creating alternative energy supply routes for Europe.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): Sputnik Armenia
Reported by:
Disproof note:

The Eastern Partnership programme is a frequent target of pro-Kremlin disinformation. Similar cases are available here and here.

The Eastern Partnership programme is not directed against any country, including Russia. It is a joint policy initiative which aims to deepen and strengthen relations between the European Union, its member states and six Eastern neighbours: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. Within this framework, guiding the EU's relations with its neighbours is the EU’s Global Strategy and the European Neighbourhood Policy, which calls for the need to focus on increasing the stabilisation and resilience of the EU's Eastern neighbours. See here for more information about EaP's objectives and a joint commitment to deliver tangible results for citizens across the region.

Read more about the most repeated myths about the Eastern Partnership initiative here.

Keywords: Eastern Partnership
Countries: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Moldova, Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Georgia
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Western embassies impose same-sex marriages to divide Belarusian society
Additional details: The LGBT flag waved by the British embassy in Belarus brings destructive consequences to Belarusian society. The US, Swedish and Israel embassies as well as the UN and WHO offices in Belarus also issued statements in support of the LGBT community. Belarusian opposition forces, civic campaigners, human rights defenders and independent media support 'holers' [the term used to describe LGBT by former Belarusian Interior Minister Ihar Shunevich] consider May 17th a more important day than Victory Day (May 9th). The promotion of same-sex marriages by foreign actors is aimed to divide Belarusian society, which values family over foreign perversions. Nevertheless, the Belarusian opposition along with the British Embassy continues to impose their values on the whole society.
Language / Targeted audience:
Link to the disinformation: grodnodaily.net/2019/05/23/raduzhnyj-flag/
Disinforming outlet(s): Grodnodaily.net
Reported by:
Disproof note:

This message is consistent with recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives about the morally corrupt West and threatened traditional values, as well as the West's aggressive actions towards Belarus and Belarusian society. It is also aimed at discrediting the democratic Belarusian opposition, civil society and independent media.

The UK and other Western embassies did not promote same-sex marriages in Belarus. The British Embassy in Minsk showed support for equal rights for Belarusian LGBT people by flying a rainbow flag for the International Day Against Homophobia. After the Belarusian Interior Ministry slammed the UK embassy in Minsk for flying a rainbow flag on the International Day Against Homophobia in 2018, UK Ambassador Fiona Gibb posted a video stating "We do so not to promote LGBT, but to promote equal rights for this community. LGBT people are not asking for special rights, but simply to enjoy the same respect, dignity and rights as others. As human rights are universal and should apply equally to all people, my government is committed to non-discrimination on any grounds, including sexual orientation and gender identity."

According to the May 2019 Report of the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Belarus, the systematic restrictions on the freedom of expression, assembly and association in Belarus lead to discrimination against the LGBTI community. Belarusian legislation does not have any laws specifically protecting sexual minorities from discrimination. The report reads: "Article 64.9 of the Criminal Code foresees aggravating circumstances for crimes motivated by “hatred or hostility towards any social group”. However, the term “social group” is very vague and prosecutions taking into account the article in regard to members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex community are reported as rare.”

See earlier disinformation cases alleging that the UK embassy in Belarus promotes genocidal and self-destructive policies, that the whole Belarusian opposition has become an LGBT community to get financial assistance from the UK, that pro-Western Belarusian opposition prefers commemorating WWII events with swastikas and LGBT symbols and that Schengen visa fees for Belarusians are high, because the number of homosexuals per capita in Belarus is very low.

Keywords: Western values, Conspiracy, LGBT
Countries: US, Israel, UK, The West, EU, Belarus, Sweden
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The West has again ordered Belarusian opposition to take over power by force
Additional details: The Belarusian National Congress (BNC), chaired by opposition politician Mikalai Statkevich, is a real aggressor. It is aggressive towards the Belarusian government, president, the Kremlin, and Belarusian people. Under the cover of peaceful protests, they continue calling people to protest and to burn rubber on Maidan. Such calls will intensify on the eve of Belarusian parliamentary and presidential campaigns. They would not boycott elections as in 2015, because this time the West tasked the BNC with violent take-over of power in Belarus.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): Grodnodaily.net
Reported by:
Disproof note:

This is a collection of conspiracies and ungrounded claims aimed to discredit the US and the West,  Mikalai Statkevich and the democratic Belarusian opposition. This disinformation message is consistent with pro-Kremlin narratives about subservient Belarusian opposition and independent media and Western attempts to organise a colour revolution in Belarus.

Mikalai Statkevich is a Belarusian politician and activist. He was a candidate at the 2010 presidential election in Belarus. After the election day crackdown, he was arrested and put in prison. On 26 May 2011, he was sentenced to 6 years in a medium-security penal colony. Amnesty International recognised him as a prisoner of conscience. The EU considered Statkevich as a political prisoner and repeatedly called on the Belarusian authorities to release him. Statkevich was released on 22 August 2015 on the presidential pardon. Since then he was repeatedly detained and faced short-term prison terms on political grounds.

This disinformation case about Mikalai Statkevich is not unique. Earlier disinformation stories alleged that in 2017 Statkevich's team attempted to carry out a terrorist act during the mass protest action in Belarus and that he proclaimed a crusade against the Orthodox Church in Belarus.

See also a similar recent disinformation case alleging that another Belarusian opposition leader - Andrei Sannikau - prepares a coup with US military assistance.

Keywords: Colour revolutions, Conspiracy
Countries: The West, Belarus
More
US is using protests in Georgia to take control of Anaklia Port
Additional details: The protests in Tbilisi have an external component. A confrontation between countries to receive control over Georgia’s Anaklia deep-sea port has a geopolitical dimension. Even the most cautious steps taken by Tbilisi to build a dialogue with Moscow cause nervousness in Washington.

It is evident that Anaklia will be developing not only as a logistical facility, but also as a naval base. This will accelerate Georgia’s integration into Euro-Atlantic structures. As a result, the US and NATO ships will be stationed close to the Russian borders, including Crimea and Abkhazia. Washington in playing out its Georgian strategy.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): Fond Stratehicheskoy Kultury
Reported by:
Disproof note:

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives about the US presence in Europe.

The Anaklia deep-sea port has been a target of pro-Kremlin disinformation for a long time. Over the past months, Russian and pro-Russian actors have been continuously raising the issue of construction of deep-sea ports in Georgia. These actors voice that the Anaklia Port is unacceptable for Russia, that it is designed for US and NATO military bases and that Georgia does not need deep-sea ports.

The Anaklia Port, however, is a Georgian initiative intended as a step toward developing the country's logistical infrastructure. The project is commercial and aims to create a world-class port complex for Georgia.

See disinformation narratives on the Anaklia deep-sea port here and here. More about pro-Russian disinformation narratives around Anaklia Port is here.

Keywords: Black Sea, US presence in Europe
Countries: US, Russia, Georgia
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The West keeps following Joseph Goebbels's tips to destroy history
Additional details: Nazi Germany did not emerge on its own. There was an external support behind its creation, with the aim to confront the USSR and Soviet society. Nazi Germany was a collective West attacking the USSR. Oddly enough, at present Poland is siding with those who attempted to conquer the USSR. For instance, Poland raises the issue of the monuments of Soviet soldiers. It is a Western tradition to destroy the whole history, because, according to Joseph Goebbels, people without history become a tool at the hands of Western propaganda.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): Gorizont Sobytiy @ Sputnik Belarus time 02:41 - 02:45, 09:40 - 10:30
Reported by:
Disproof note:

This message is a mix of conspiracy theories and baseless claims aimed to discredit the West by alligning it with Nazi Germany. An irrelevant reference to Joseph Goebbels, a German Nazi politician and Reich Minister of Propaganda of Nazi Germany, is also meant to discredit present-time Polish and EU policies.

It contains a recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about Nazis in the EU, which has been repeatedly debunked (see here). See earlier disinformation cases alleging that the US and EU countries are Russophobic, fascist and Nazi regimes and that the EU continues the aggressive policies of Nazi Germany.

Keywords: Propaganda, Joseph Goebbels, Historical revisionism, WWII, Conspiracy, Nazi/Fascist
Countries: Poland, The West, Germany
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The American empire imposes its will on vassal states
Additional details: Trump has already done a lot for Russia by reviewing relations with US-allied transatlantic partners, trying to impose his will on them and making them publicly acknowledge their status of American vassals.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): Sputnik Belarus
Reported by:
Disproof note:

Conspiracy theory without evidence.

This message is consistent with a classic pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative on US relations with EU countries. Pro-Kremlin outlets often allege that different countries, US' transatlantic allies in this case, are US vassals and remain under the American thumb. See earlier examples:  Poland is US's vassal state, Europe is occupied by the US and has limited sovereignty, the EU is directed by Washington, Germany is the executor of US hegemony over Europe.

 

Keywords: Donald Trump, Sovereignty, Vladimir Putin
Countries: US, Russia, EU
More
The West's vision of the world politics has been built on Russophobia
Additional details: Western bodies - perhaps except the US Congress - are all tired of this all-encompassing Russophobia. The West's vision of world politics has been built on Russophobia at least for the last five years.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): Grani Formata @ Sputnik Belarus time 01:59 - 03:12
Reported by:
Disproof note:

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about Russophobia. The message implies that the West's policy on Russia, including introduction of sanctions, were a result of a fundamental dislike of Russia or Russians rather than of blatant violations of international law by Russia, foremost when it comes to the annexation of Crimea and substantial support to separatists in the east of Ukraine.

See earlier disinformation cases alleging that the US and EU countries are russophobic, fascist and Nazi regimes, and that the US and the UK are using Skripal case to start a crusade against Russia.

For background, see EUvsDisinfo analysis "The “Russophobia” Myth: Appealing to the Lowest Feelings" here.

Keywords: Anti-Russian, Russophobia, NATO
Countries: Russia, The West, US
More
Mainstream Polish media not interested in the fate of Mateusz Piskorski
Additional details: Mainstream Polish media have not published a single interview with Mateusz Piskorski, accused of spying for Russia in 2016. Moreover, they are not interested in his fate, his life in prison or his life after his release on bail.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): Sputnik Polska
Reported by:
Disproof note:

This message presents the narrative of a corrupt and fraudulent mainstream media controlled by political elites and promoting their agenda to society, see examples here and here.

The story of Mateusz Piskorski has been a hot topic for all the mainstream Polish media since 2016 as were quite a few Polish citizens arrested with the accusation of spying for Russia. There are hundreds of articles and TV reports on this person (his arrest, background, charges, legal case). Moreover, two major Polish newspapers quoted parts of his letters sent from prison (here and here) - in these letters Piskorski defended himself from the accusations in espionage. According to words of Piskorski, he is accused of manipulation with public opinion and promotion of messages close to Russian narratives - from his point of view, these actions cannot be perceived as espionage.

In 2016, Mateusz Piskorski was arrested and accused of espionage on behalf of Russia and China, for which he allegedly received financial remuneration between 2009 and 2016. Piskorski was reported in Polish media to have collaborated with fascist organisations in Poland and Russia, "observed" fake elections and referenda in Transnistria and Crimea, organised violent provocations aimed at exacerbating ethnic tensions in Ukraine, and met with Kremlin-backed militants in Ukraine's occupied Donbas region.

In May 2019, Piskorski was released from the arrest pending trial, remaining under police supervision.

Sputnik Polska devotes a lot of space to the case of Mateusz Piskorski. He himself is now a contributor to Sputnik's website.

Keywords: Mainstream media
Countries: Poland, Russia
More
US Democratic Party will win Ukrainian parliamentary elections
Additional details: Soros' associates, including Victor Pinchuk, are behind Volodymyr Zelenskyy. Pinchuk and his people placed a bet on the political parties of Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Svyatoslav Vakarchuk. Therefore, the US Democratic Party will inevitably win in the Ukrainian elections, because these parties are likely to form a governing coalition.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): Grani Formata @ Sputnik Belarus Time 14:36 - 15:50
Reported by:
Disproof note:

This message is a variation of a recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about Ukraine's 'American curators,' this time alleging that Ukraine's president is controlled by George Soros and his associates, including Ukrainian oligarch, Victor Pinchuk. This message contains recurring disinformation narratives about Western meddling in Ukraine's elections and Ukraine as a state under foreign control.

The alleged links between Soros and Zelenskyy were first reported by Rossiyskaya Gazeta, the official newspaper of the Russian government, in a February 2019 article which counts "friends of George Soros and other globalists" among members of Zelenskyy's election team, without further elaboration.

The Soros-Zelenskyy angle has since been picked up by pro-Kremlin websites in Russia and Ukraine, although the stories are usually unburdened by evidence. In a rare stab at fact-based reporting, one Russian website draws a link between Soros and Zelenskyy's economic adviser by noting that in 1993, the latter enrolled in an Estonian university where the tuition fee for his first year of study was partly covered by the Soros Fund.

See earlier disinformation cases alleging that George Soros controls Ukrainian leader, that Zelenskyy is part of a Clinton-led global campaign against Donald Trump, and that the US fully controls Ukrainian politics through Israel.

Read our past analysis about the all-powerful Mr Soros.

Keywords: Volodymyr Zelensky, Democratic Party (US), Conspiracy, Ukrainian statehood, George Soros
Countries: US, Ukraine
More
British lab in Porton Down was involved in Skripal poisoning
Additional details: The Porton Down laboratory near Salisbury was evidently somehow involved in the Skripal case, though it is unclear to what extent this was a "news game" between MI5 and Russia's SVR.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): Aeronet
Reported by:
Disproof note:
This is one of the many recurring pro-Kremlin conspiracy theories about the Skripal poisoning.

Earlier, pro-Kremlin media have claimed that Porton Down might have manufactured Novichok, or that the Porton Down laboratory was responsible for the Amesbury poisoning.

British police and intelligence investigations have produced hard forensic evidence which was sufficient to charge two Russian nationals – identified as officers of the Russian Military Intelligence, GRU – for the attack on the Skripals. Following this attack, the United Kingdom notified the OPCW, invited them to confirm the identity of the substance involved, and briefed members of the Security Council. The OPCW’s independent expert laboratories confirmed the UK’s identification of the Russian-produced Novichok nerve agent.

See more related cases here.

Keywords: novichok, Sergei Skripal, Conspiracy
Countries: UK, Russia
More
Nazis are still in power in Ukraine
Additional details: Nazis are still in power in Ukraine.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): Voskresnyi Vecher s Vladimirom Solovyovym @ Rossiya 1 (58:02 - 58:09)
Reported by:
Disproof note:

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about Nazi Ukraine. 

All manifestations of Nazism are banned in Ukraine. The Verkhovna Rada, at its meeting on 9 April 2015, adopted the law “On the Condemnation of the Communist and Nazi totalitarian regimes in Ukraine and the prohibition of propaganda of their symbols”. The document recognises that communist and national socialist (Nazi) totalitarian regimes in Ukraine are criminal and prohibits the public use and propaganda of their symbols. The Nazi totalitarian regime at legislative level is recognised in Ukraine as pursuing a policy of state terror. See a similar case from this week here.

 

Keywords: Nazi/Fascist
Countries: Ukraine
More
Trading American weapons is one of the main goals of NATO's existence
Additional details: Trading American weapons is one of the main goals of NATO's existence.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): RT Russian
Reported by:
Disproof note:

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about NATO portraying it as an aggressive organization with intent to destroy the world order.

NATO’s essential and enduring purpose is to safeguard the freedom and security of all its members by political and military means. Collective defence is at the heart of the Alliance and creates a spirit of solidarity and cohesion among its members.

The North Atlantic Treaty, the fundamental document of NATO states that any international disputes, in which NATO may participate, should be resolved by peaceful means in order to preserve international peace, security and justice.

More Russian fakes about NATO can be read here, here and here.

Keywords: NATO
Countries: United States
More
Previous Ukrainian Rada was the most Russophobic in Ukraine's history
Additional details: Previous Ukrainian Rada was the most Russophobic in Ukraine's history. It was full of criminals and murderers, who killed their fellow citizens. The main achievement of Rada is the disintegration of Ukrainian society.
Language / Targeted audience:
Link to the disinformation: www.youtube.com/watch?v=4oG-FIAMrP0&t=375s
Disinforming outlet(s): Vesti @ Rossiya 1 (52:27 - 52:42)
Reported by:
Disproof note:

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives about Russophobic and disintegrating Ukraine.

Keywords: Ukrainian disintegration, Russophobia
Countries: Ukraine
More
2019 parliamentary elections are the last ones in Ukraine
Additional details: These parliamentary elections were the last in Ukraine. There will be no elections in 2024. There will be no country called Ukraine. The events in the Middle East will make everyone forget what Ukraine is. We are talking about the WW3. Russia will be forced to let the refugees through to Ukraine, Europe and Turkey will do the same. The refugees will flood Ukraine, and it is going to be the end of the country.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): Voskresnyi Vecher s Vladimirom Solovyovym @ Rossiya 24 [1:00:19 - 1:00:53]
Reported by:
Disproof note:

Conspiracy theory with no substance or evidence.

See more cases about the elections in Ukraine and narratives about The Third World War.

Keywords: WWIII, Elections
Countries: Ukraine
More
Parliamentary elections in Ukraine were not representative, free nor fair
Additional details: Russia should not recognize the parliamentary elections in Ukraine, because there were no Russian observers, no PACE observers. There were clear violations in the electoral campaign. The elections cannot be called representative, free nor fair.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): Voskresnyi Vecher s Vladimirom Solovyovym @Rossiya 1 (41:09 - 41:42)
Reported by:
Disproof note:

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative, seeking to undermine legitimacy of elections in Ukraine. See previous case: Ukrainian elections have to be recognized as illegitimate.

According to the preliminary statement of the OSCE, Ukraine’s early parliamentary elections were efficiently run and respected fundamental freedoms.

The European Parliament election observation delegation to Ukraine said in a statement that notwithstanding the fact that the elections were taking place a few months earlier than planned, one can undoubtedly say that they were competitive, well administered and managed in an efficient way.

Keywords: Elections
Countries: Ukraine
More
Phenomenal number of Ukrainians couldn't vote in the elections
Additional details: A phenomenal number of Ukrainians did not have the possibility to vote in parliamentary elections. It was a dirty electoral campaign, with colossal pressure.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): Voskresnyi Vecher s Vladimirom Solovyovym @ Rossiya 1 (34:54 - 35:40)
Reported by:
Disproof note:

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation about the elections in Ukraine, seeking to undermine their legitimacy. See previous case: 10 million Ukrainians are not allowed to vote in presidential election in Ukraine.

According to the preliminary report by the OSCE, Ukraine’s early parliamentary elections were efficiently run and respected fundamental freedoms.

International observers note, that the parliamentary elections in Ukraine took place in the context of ongoing armed conflict in the east of Ukraine and the illegal annexation of the Crimean peninsula by the Russian Federation, which meant that voting could not take place in Crimea or the regions controlled by illegal armed groups.

Nevertheless, the OSCE  welcomed the fact that the simplified procedure for internally displaced persons to change their voting address has been extended to all voters across the country.

According to the EP election observation delegation: "The Central Election Commission has notably done its best to correct several shortcomings identified during the presidential elections earlier this year, such as the registration process for IDPs or mobile workers. The rising public confidence in this institution is a well-deserved testimony of these efforts."

 

Keywords: Elections
Countries: Ukraine
More
UN report on Venezuela ignores US sanctions, opposition violence
Additional details: The 5 July UN Human Rights Report on the situation in Venezuela lays a disproportionate amount of blame on the Maduro government, but ignores the effect of the US sanctions on the deteriorating socioeconomic crisis plaguing the Latin American country.

While readily condemning government forces for violence and repression of dissent, it does not discuss deaths at the hands of opposition protesters between 2014 and 2017. In one infamous episode in June 2017, a 22-year-old man was burned alive by an angry opposition mob -- one of at least 60 people murdered by the guarimberos during that riot.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): Sputnik News
Reported by:
Disproof note:

Recurring pro-Kremlin narrative on the situation in Venezuela, painting the ongoing socioeconomic catastrophe there as a direct consequence of US sanctions. See our debunk of this claim here.

Upon charging that the UN report ignores the role of US sanctions in the crisis, the article immediately acknowledges that the opposite is the case, quoting from the UN press release summarizing High Commissioner Bachelet's findings. In the very next sentence, however, it reverts to arguing that the report dismisses their effect "with a wave of the hand."

Explicit reference to the negative impact of sectoral sanctions was made in the report itself (pp. 5-6, 14) and during the press conference which accompanied its publication (1:21-1:35, in Spanish). At the same time, the report notes that the beginning of the economic crisis far predates the imposition of the sanctions regime, citing the Venezuelan government's own statistical data (p. 6, para 27).

The "60-people-murdered" claim is unreferenced and false. The figure was likely lifted from a June 2017 BBC report, which cites Venezuela's chief prosecutor as saying that "[a]t least 60 people have been killed in protest-related violence since the beginning of April" that year. In other words, a total five dozen people (both pro-government and pro-opposition) were killed (not necessarily "murdered by guarimberos") in the space of two months (not during one riot) in a year which saw an average of 27 protests daily. By the end of July 2017, the total number of protest-related deaths had risen to 124 (p. 10), of which 46 were attributed to law enforcement and 27 to pro-government militias (p. 12); of the remaining 51 deaths, only four were tentatively attributed to anti-government groups (p. 32).

Keywords: United Nations, Nicolas Maduro, Human rights, Economic difficulties, State oppression, Sanctions
Countries: US, Venezuela
More
Ursula von der Leyen is demonizing Russia to demonstrate her assertiveness
Additional details: Ursula von der Leyen engages in Russophobia to show that the EU has a powerful and willful leader. A woman who was previously a gynecologist must show she is assertive.

Her, and the rest of German establishment, like all German aristocrats, suffer from the [German field marshal Friedrich] Paulus complex: they can’t forgive Russia for Stalingrad.

Ursula von der Leyen is either not well versed in today’s politics, or is consciously playing the game of many, which sells well both in the US and the EU: demonizing Russia.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): Vremya Pokhazhet @ Pervyi Kanal [7:49 - 9:05; 12:06 - 12:45]
Reported by:
Disproof note:

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation about the EU and Russophobia.

The disinformation message appeared in the context of Ursula von der Leyen telling media that the EU should continue sanctions to Russia. Read the interview here in German.

Keywords: Ursula von der Leyen, Russophobia
Countries: EU, Germany
More
Members of the European Parliament use Russophobia to advance their political careers
Additional details: Anna Fotyga writes anti-Russian resolutions on behalf of the European Parliament in order to advance her political career. One cannot do that on pro-Russian position. Russophobia pays really well.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): Vremya Pokhazhet @ Pervyi Kanal [03:56 - 04:30]
Reported by:
Disproof note:

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the European Parliament and Russophobia, combined with a personal attack on the member of the European Parliament Anna Fotyga.

The disinformation message appeared in the context of the European Parliament July 18, 2019  resolution on Russia, calling upon the Russian authorities to release without delay all illegally and arbitrarily detained Ukrainian citizens, including Crimean Tatars, the recently detained Red Square peaceful demonstrators of 10 July 2019, Ukrainian citizens detained on politically motivated charges and the 24 crew members of the Ukrainian naval vessels;.

 

Keywords: European Parliament, Russophobia
Countries: EU
More
Events in Crimea and Donbas in 2014 started because Ukraine decided to prohibit the Russian language
Additional details: Events in Crimea and Donbas in 2014 started because Ukraine made an idiotic decision to prohibit the Russian language.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): Vremya Pokhazhet @ Pervyi Kanal [48:49 - 49:10]
Reported by:
Disproof note:

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives about the annexation of Crimea, war in Ukraine and the alleged discrimination of Russian language.

The message is intended to distract the audiences from Russia's responsibility for military aggression in Ukraine and illegal annexation of Crimea.

Read more about the Ukrainian language law here.

 

 

 

Keywords: Russian language, War in Ukraine, Crimea
Countries: Ukraine
More
Russiagate is a hoax invented by the American Deep State
Additional details: Russiagate is a hoax invented by the American Deep State.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): Sputnik Italia
Reported by:
Disproof note:

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation combining claims on the lack of Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election, the Mueller report, and a conspiracy theory about the deep state, in the US or or elsewhere

Robert Mueller's investigation concluded that Russia did interfere in the 2016 election. Robert Mueller’s report maintains that “the investigation did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities”.  Nevertheless, it states that Russian interference activities did take place. See here for full Mueller report.

As concluded earlier by the US intelligence community and by Mueller’s own inquiry “the investigation established that the Russian government perceived it would benefit from a Trump presidency and worked to secure that outcome, and that the Campaign expected it would benefit electorally from information stolen and released through Russian efforts”.

For further debunking, see here.

For other cases about Russian interference in the US elections 2016, see here.

Keywords: election meddling, Robert Mueller
Countries: US, Russia
More
NATO forces could be used against European states opposing the US’s wishes
Additional details: NATO forces could be used against the governments of European states which take decisions that go against the US’s wishes. This idea is supported  by The New York Times, which is the mouthpiece of the US “deep state”. The Armed Forces of NATO member states obey orders issued by the US military command.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): Sputnik Italia
Reported by:
Disproof note:

This message is consistent with a basic pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative on US relations with EU countries. Pro-Kremlin outlets often allege that different countries, America's transatlantic allies in this case, are US vassals and remain under the American thumb. See earlier examples: Poland is US's vassal state, Europe is occupied by the US and has limited sovereignty, the EU is directed by Washington, Germany is the executor of US hegemony over Europe.

NATO is a political and military alliance, and NATO member states make sovereign decisions about their own security. NATO and US military presence in these states is possible only on the basis of the clear consent of the hosting nation. Moreover, all NATO decisions are made by consensus, after discussion and consultation among member countries.

The New York Times article referred to by Sputnik discusses recent military exercises in Eastern Europe, involving US special forces - and the special forces of several Eastern European states - aimed at thwarting hybrid warfare operations [that is, operations that involve a mix of subversion, cyber-attacks and information warfare].

For other disinfo cases related to NATO see here.

Keywords: Military exercise, Sovereignty, NATO
Countries: US, EU
More
The US is entirely responsible for the demise of the INF treaty
Additional details: The US is entirely responsible for the demise of the INF treaty. Its action has destructive consequences for the security of the US’s European allies.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): Sputnik Italia
Reported by:
Disproof note:

Recurring pro-Kremlin narrative claiming that the US is entirely responsible for the demise of the INF treaty.

Russia bears primary responsibility for the end of the INF Treaty, because it has produced, tested and deployed the 9M729 missile, which violates it. In July 2014 the then-US President Obama officially accused Russia of testing a missile in violation of the INF Treaty, which  prohibits the US and Russia from possessing, producing or test-flying  ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges between 500 and 5500 kilometers.

In March 2017, a senior US military official accused Russia of deploying the new missile, which posed a threat to NATO and to facilities within the NATO area of responsibility.

In a joint statement released after the meeting held at NATO Headquarters in Brussels on Tuesday 4 and Wednesday 5 December 2018, NATO Foreign Ministers stated that “Allies have concluded that Russia has developed and fielded a missile system, the 9M729, which violates the INF Treaty and poses significant risks to Euro-Atlantic security”.

The US  has gathered detailed information on Russia’s flight-testing of  the 9M792 missile to distances well over 500 kilometers, and has spent almost six years in dialogues with Russia to try to resolve Russia’s non-compliance. However, Russia consistently refused to address US and NATO concerns.

 

Keywords: INF Treaty, Nuclear issues
Countries: US, Russia
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Tbilisi, Baku and Yerevan won't join EU and NATO unless they hold LGBT pride
Additional details: Does anyone think that Tbilisi, Baku and Yerevan will be able to join the EU or NATO until they hoist the LGBT community flag?
Language / Targeted audience:
Link to the disinformation: geworld.ge/ge/vilniusshi-geiaglumi/
Disinforming outlet(s): Georgia and the World
Reported by:
Disproof note:

No evidence given. Recurring pro-Kremlin narrative claiming the morally corrupt West obliges other countries to conduct Pride parades and imposes the legalization of gay marriages.

The claim is consistent with "'threatened values' narrative which is one of the most common narratives used by pro-Kremlin disinformation outlets.

Keywords: Western values, LGBT
Countries: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia
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White Helmets continue to deceive about the attacks in Syria
Additional details: The "White Helmets" is an organization that creates fake videos and photos about the war in Syria.  All the work of the "White Helmets" is directed exclusively at a Western audience and does not reflect the real state of affairs in Syria.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): RT Russian
Reported by:
Disproof note:

This is a recurring and enduring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the White Helmets.

The "White Helmets" movement originated in Syria in 2012, when the first detachments of volunteer rescuers appeared in the territories outside of the control of Bashar al-Assad's troops.  In 2014, volunteer teams merged into a national organisation, the Syrian Civil Defence, which is the official name of the White Helmets.  Volunteers save people from the rubble after bombings, despite the danger of dying themselves as a result of repeated air strikes.  Activists have documented the use of chemical weapons in Syria by the Assad government and allied forces. Because of this, they have become the target of an extensive Russian disinformation campaign.

For more fakes about the work of  the "White Helmets" read here and here.

Keywords: White Helmets, Chemical weapons/attack
Countries: Syria
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The US didn’t provide any proof that Russia violated the INF treaty
Additional details: In October 2018, US President Donald Trump stated that the US would withdraw from the INF treaty due to Moscow's violations of its commitments. However, the US didn’t provide any proof to support this claim.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): Sputnik
Reported by:
Disproof note:

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative that the US is entirely responsible for the demise of the INF Treaty, and that Russia was fully compliant with it.

In July 2014, President Obama officially accused Russia of testing an intermediate-range land-launched missile in violation of the INF. Russia’s violations were also acknowledged by NATO Foreign Ministers in a meeting in Brussels on 4 December 2018. NATO allies share the US government’s assessment that Russia has developed and fielded a missile system, the 9M729, which violates the INF Treaty and poses significant risks to Euro-Atlantic security. The US gathered detailed information on Russia’s flight-testing of the 9M792 missile to distances well over 500 kilometers, in violation of the INF, and provided Moscow with evidence about the 9M729’s violations, including geographic coordinates and dates for the tests. Russia has continually denied any wrongdoing.

In a statement released on 1 February 2019, the North Atlantic Council noted that Russia had “taken no demonstrable steps toward returning to full and verifiable compliance” and that “Russia will bear sole responsibility for the end of the Treaty.”

In February 2019, the US suspended its participation in the INF Treaty, stressing that nearly 6 years of diplomacy and more than 30 meetings have failed to convince Russia to return to compliance with the INF Treaty. On 3 July 2019, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a federal law on the suspension of the INF Treaty. On 5 July 2019, the Russia-NATO Council was held, following which Secretary-General of the Alliance, Jens Stoltenberg, said that NATO and the Kremlin have fundamental differences in this matter.

More disinformation cases on the INF treaty can be found here.

Keywords: INF Treaty, Nuclear issues, Missile defence system, NATO
Countries: US, Russia
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American astronauts never landed on the Moon
Additional details: The landing of US astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on the Мoon in 1969 is the largest deception in the history of mankind. Americans have never been on Earth’s satellite, since there is no evidence other than photographs taken in a studio on Earth. There are no stars in the photo and the US flag is waving, although there is no atmosphere on the Moon. Also there are no traces of the landing of the ship on the satellite. Even Buzz Aldrin himself recently admitted that he had never been on the Moon.

The money allocated for the fake “moon program” was in fact spent on financing the war in Vietnam and the development of the American military industrial complex.


Now Washington and NASA intend to fly to the Moon and even Mars in the same fake way.

 

 
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): Tsargrad.tv
Reported by:
Disproof note:

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative based on one of the most common conspiracy theories in the world. There is a substantial amount of evidence that on July 20, 1969, astronauts landed on Earth's satellite for the first time in the history of mankind. Since then, a total of 12 American astronauts have visited the Moon. 

As for the most common "evidence" of conspiracy theorists: there really is no wind on the Moon, and the US flag looks like it is fluttering only because it could not be pulled straight from all sides on a special holder. The video from Moon landing clearly shows that the flag moves only when it is touched by astronauts. Stars are not visible because the photos were taken with a slow shutter speed and only the lightest objects - the astronauts and the ship - fell into the frame. On the surface of the Moon, only small traces of contact between the pillars of Apollo remained, since the force of attraction there is much weaker than that of the Earth, and the landing was soft.

On the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission, experts from NASA posted a three-hour recording of the landing of the ship on the surface of Earth's satellite. On the frames it is perfectly visible how the astronauts work on the surface of the moon. You can also see photo panoramas from the Moon, created for the anniversary of the Moon landing. NASA experts connected images from the landing sites of all the missions of Apollo, which landed on Earth's satellite.

Buzz Aldrin never said that he hadn't been on the Moon. His words were taken out of context. In 2018, a girl asked Aldrin about why the lunar program was discontinued after 1972. In the full, unedited version of the interview, Aldrin mentions that he visited the Moon, saying that he and Armstrong achieved what the President wanted and that the world is proud of what he did (time 07:10-09:10).

Keywords: Moon landing
Countries: United States
More
The EU could end the war in Ukraine with one telephone call
Additional details: The EU is in a position to end the war in the Donbas with just one telephone call to Kyiv, to encourage the Ukrainian rulers to engage in dialogue.

The tactic that has been adopted by the EU on the Ukrainian issue is as follows: it is more convenient to impose sanctions against Russia than to end the war in Donbas with a call to Kyiv; encouraging Ukrainian leaders to engage in dialogue with the other side of the conflict.

The EU addresses Russia out of convenience, and not because Russia is the cause of the problem.

 
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): Sputnik Deutschland
Reported by:
Disproof note:

Recurring pro-Kremlin narrative about the war in Ukraine.

It was not the European Union, but Russia, which provoked military conflict in Ukraine, so the EU cannot end the conflict without Russia's involvement.

In March 2015, the European Council linked the duration of EU sanctions to Russia to the complete implementation of the Minsk agreements, acknowledging Russia's responsibility to uphold the Agreements.

Overwhelming evidence confirms that Russia is sending mercenaries to Donbas. The European Union stated in July 2014 that "arms and fighters continue flowing into Ukraine from the Russian Federation", and continues to condemn clear violations of Ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity by acts of aggression by the Russian armed forces. Moreover, Russian President Vladimir Putin admitted Russia's military presence in Ukraine in 2015.

The European Union continues to support independence and territorial integrity of Ukraine, as well as the reform process within the country.

 

Keywords: War in Ukraine, Donbas, The West
Countries: Russia, Ukraine, EU
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Russia is not a part of the domestic conflict in Ukraine
Additional details: Russia is not a part of the domestic conflict in Ukraine. Russia repeatedly pointed out that it was neither one of the sides of the domestic conflict in Ukraine nor a subject of the Minsk agreements on conflict resolution in the Donbas. For Moscow, the Crimean question is off the table forever.

 
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): Sputnik Deutschland
Reported by:
Disproof note:

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about Ukraine and the war in Ukraine.

The EU condemns the clear violation of Ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity by acts of aggression by the Russian armed forces since February 2014.

The Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court recognised that “the information available suggests that the situation within the territory of Crimea and Sevastopol amounts to an international armed conflict between Ukraine and the Russian Federation". The international armed conflict began at the latest on 26 February 2014 when the Russian Federation deployed members of its armed forces to gain control over parts of the Ukrainian territory without the consent of the Ukrainian Government.

The European Union stated in July 2014 that "arms and fighters continue flowing into Ukraine from the Russian Federation".  At the NATO Summit in Wales in September 2014, NATO leaders condemned in the strongest terms Russia’s military intervention in Ukraine and demanded Russia to stop and withdraw its forces from Ukraine and from the country’s border. NATO leaders also demanded Russia to comply with international law and its international obligations and responsibilities; refrain from aggressive actions against Ukraine; halt the flow of weapons, equipment, people and money across the border to the separatists; and stop fomenting tension along and across the Ukrainian border.

In 2015, Russian President Vladimir Putin admitted Russia's military presence in Ukraine.

 

Keywords: Eastern Ukraine, Civil war, Hybrid war, War in Ukraine, Donbas, Minsk agreements
Countries: Russia, Ukraine
More
Demonstrations in Hong Kong pushed by foreigners
Additional details: People of foreign nationality, especially Americans, tried to push the young people of Hong Kong to protest. The Chinese police identified one such person; their photo was published by the Hong Kong press. His name is Brian Patrick Kane. He's an American. He shouted, "Do not step back", he tried to teach young Chinese people to humiliate and attack the police.
Language / Targeted audience:
Link to the disinformation: youtu.be/FYHrHFGBr-s?t=129
Disinforming outlet(s): RT France @ 02:10 - 03:20
Reported by:
Disproof note:

No evidence given. Recurring conspiracy narrative on the absence of any naturally grown protests in different countries.

No evidence given how the presence of one American can be relevant in multi-million crowd. As South China Morning Post reports, millions of people have taken to the streets to protest against a controversial extradition amendment that would allow for the transfer of suspects to face trial on the Chinese mainland. Although the protests have prompted the Hong Kong government to suspend the bill, protesters continue to demand its complete withdrawal.

 

Keywords: Colour revolutions, Conspiracy
Countries: China
More
MH17 was a carefully planned operation against Russia
Additional details: The downing of MH17 flight was not an accident, it was a carefully considered and prepared multi-faceted domestic operation. Russia was deemed guilty by default.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): Tsargrad
Reported by:
Disproof note:

One of the multiple disinformation narratives on the downing of the MH17 denying Russia's responsibility. See here an info-graphic summarizing evolution of disinformation narratives.

The Dutch-led criminal investigation by the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) has been ongoing since 2014. On 28 September 2016, the JIT announced that flight MH17 was shot down by a missile from the 9M38 series, which was launched by a BUK TELAR missile system.  The system was transported from the Russian Federation to an agricultural field near the town of Pervomaiskyi in Eastern Ukraine, from where the missile was launched.  After firing, the system - with 1 missing missile - went back to the Russian Federation.  On the 24th of May 2018, the JIT announced its conclusion the BUK TELAR used to shoot down MH17 came from the 53rd Anti-Aircraft Missile Brigade, a unit of the Russian armed forces from Kursk in the Russian Federation.

On the basis of the investigation conducted by the JIT, consisting of law enforcement agencies from Australia, Belgium, Malaysia, Ukraine and the Netherlands, the Dutch Public Persecution service will persecute Igor Vsevolodovich GIRKIN, Sergey Nikolayevich DUBINSKIY, Oleg Yuldashevich PULATOV and Leonid Volodymyrovych KHARCHENKO for causing the crash of the MH17 and murdering of 289 persons on board.  The Public Prosecution Service alleges the four cooperated to obtain and deploy the BUK TELAR at the firing location with the aim of shooting down an aircraft. For that reason they can also be held jointly accountable for downing flight MH17.

The European Union and NATO have called on the Russian Federation to accept its responsibility and to fully cooperate with all efforts to establish accountability.  On the basis of the JIT’s conclusions, the Netherlands and Australia are convinced that Russia is responsible for the deployment of the Buk installation that was used to down MH17.  The two governments are formally holding Russia accountable.

Keywords: MH17
Countries: Russia
More
Euromaidan protests were orchestrated by the U.S. and other Western countries
Additional details: The West had been preparing participants of Euromaidan since May 2013. Throughout 2013, Western countries were preparing the population for a turn towards the West. The U.S. Embassy in Kyiv has been training activists since spring 2013 on how to use social networks to organise protests. The British Embassy launched a communications strategy in early 2013 aimed at encouraging Ukrainians to join the EU and to sign the Association Agreement.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): Fond Strategicheskoy Kultury
Reported by:
Disproof note:

Recurring pro-Kremlin narrative claiming that Euromaidan was a coup d’état, organised by the US and other Western states.

The protest movement known as Euromaidan, which lasted from the end of November 2013 until the end of February 2014, was a spontaneous uprising of the Ukrainian people, not a coup d’état.

People protested against the government of former President Yanukovych who, in a U-turn decision, decided not to sign the Association Agreement with the European Union that he had promised for years.

For more disinformation cases about Euromaidan see here.

Keywords: Ukraine, Euromaidan, Ukrainian statehood
Countries: West, US, UK, Ukraine
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There are no Russian ground troops in Syria
Additional details: The Russian army has never sent any ground troops, and hence no special units to Syria. The article by Reuters about alleged involvement of Russian ground forces and special units in the province of Idlib is an absolute lie. Only observation troops of the Russian military police are positioned in Idlib.
            
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): Sputnik Serbia
Reported by:
Disproof note:

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative claiming that Russian ground troops are not active in Syria.

There is a wide spectrum of evidence disproving this claim:

In  2016, Russian military intervention helped President Assad's forces regain the control of territory in Syria. The Russian military took news crews to Kawkab in Hama province to demonstrate their success. Moscow built up substantial ground forces throughout Syria.The estimates place around 4,000 troops on the ground even including several private military companies (PMC)—ENOT Corp, “Wagner” and Morgan Security Group PMC — along with Russian military police with modern weaponry. Early examples of Russian interaction with pro-government militias date back to at least August of 2015, although they are more limited.

Pictures of Russian soldiers and officers interacting with the Prophet Younis Mountain Battalion, a Latakia-based pro-Assad militia, are available.

 

Keywords: Russia's Ministry of Defence, Civil war, Syrian War
Countries: Russia, Syria
More
Europe is doing everything to destroy the INF treaty
Additional details: Instead of accusing Russia of “all sorts of sins,” Europe should begin a constructive dialogue on the INF Treaty. Europe must look at itself, review its behavior and start a constructive dialogue in order to preserve this treaty. But they are doing everything to destroy the INF Treaty, and then blame Russia.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): Sputnik Armenia time 1:20-1:30
Reported by:
Disproof note:

Unfounded accusation of Europe's role in the destruction of the INF treaty. In fact, the EU urged the treaty's parties, the United States and the Russian Federation, to remain engaged in constructive dialogue to preserve the INF Treaty and ensure its full and verifiable implementation, which is crucial for Europe’s and global security.

The EU has called on the US to consider the consequences of its possible withdrawal from the INF for its own security, the security of its allies and that of the whole world. The EU has also called on both the US and Russia to remain engaged in constructive dialogue to preserve the INF Treaty, and on Russia to address the serious concerns regarding its compliance with the treaty. NATO considers Russia to be in violation of the INF Treaty, and the alliance has called on Russia to return urgently to full and verifiable compliance with the agreement.

For background about INF treaty and European defence see here.

Keywords: INF Treaty, Europe
Countries: Europe, Russia
More
The investigation of MH17 was turned into an anti-Russian show
Additional details: Russia has its own version of what happened [with the MH17 flight downing on July 17, 2014]. But Western investigators simply assigned the perpetrators. If there was evidence, they would turn it into a bigger show. But they have nothing, so they continue to raise this topic by official statements. This is easier than admitting that the investigation was not objective.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): Sputnik Armenia
Reported by:
Disproof note:

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the downing of the MH17.

Regarding the Russian version of events, the claims by Buk manufacturer Almaz-Antey were debunked already in 2015 by Bellingcat. The evidence conducted by the Russian military company Almaz-Antey is only a small sample of misleading claims and conspiracy theories advanced by Moscow since 2015, many of which have contradicted one another. See previous debunking of these claims herehere, and here, and a summary of disinformation narratives on this case here.

The criminal investigation in the case was lead by the Joint Investigation Team - JIT - since in 2014. On 28 September 2016, the JIT announced that flight MH17 was shot down by a missile from the 9M38 series, which was launched by a BUK TELAR missile system. The system was transported from the Russian Federation to an agricultural field near the town of Pervomaiskyi in Eastern Ukraine, from where the missile was launched. After firing, the system - with 1 missing missile - went back to the Russian Federation. On the 24th of May 2018, the JIT announced its conclusion the BUK TELAR used to shoot down MH17 came from the 53rd Anti-Aircraft Missile Brigade, a unit of the Russian armed forces from Kursk in the Russian Federation.

On the basis of the investigation conducted by the JIT, the Dutch Public Persecution service will prosecute Igor Vsevolodovich Girkin, Sergey Nikolayevich Dubinskiy, Oleg Yuldashevich Pulatov, and Leonid Volodymyrovych Kharchenko for causing the crash of the MH17 and murdering the 289 persons on board. The public hearing is scheduled for March 9, 2020 in the Netherlands.

Keywords: Anti-Russian, MH17
Countries: Malaysia, Russia, The Netherlands
More
The West is blatantly interfering in the internal affairs of post-Soviet countries
Additional details:



After the collapse of the USSR, the West believed that the “end of history” had arrived. And that it was then allowed to grossly interfere in the affairs of certain states. Moreover, it unceremoniously commands internal political processes. Ukraine is the most glaring example.





Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): Sputnik Armenia
Reported by:
Disproof note:

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives about Ukrainian statehood and the West's strategy of encircling Russia.

Ukraine is a sovereign state and not controlled by any foreign government. Its sovereignty and territorial integrity are respected by the Western countries but were violated by Russia in 2014. Ukraine is an independent state with a democratically elected president and Parliament.

The EU and the US work closely with Ukraine and support the democratic development of Ukraine in accordance with the UN Charter’s principles of non-interference into internal affairs and respect towards territorial integrity and political independence.

Keywords: Encircling Russia, USSR, Sovereignty, The West
Countries: West, Ukraine
More
OSCE says there has never been Russian weapons in Eastern Ukraine
Additional details: With regards to a specific stance on south-eastern Ukraine, we must rely on the conclusions of the “Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe”, which has stated, more than once, that there has never been heavy Russian weaponry in this region. 
Language / Targeted audience:
Link to the disinformation: www.youtube.com/watch?v=5-H-fMyspJc
Disinforming outlet(s): Newsmaker@RT Arabic Time 11:20 to 11:35
Reported by:
Disproof note:

Denying the presence of Russian forces in Eastern Ukraine is a recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative. Moreover, claims that the OSCE did not find evidence of Russian presence in eastern Ukraine goes against statements of the former First Deputy Chief Monitor to the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine, Alexander Hug. It is not the first time that such claims have been made 

In an interview, delivered in Autumn 2018, Hug mentions that the Mission has been recording the instances of Russia's involvement in the war in Donbas (in Eastern Ukraine). "We have been seeing at least in six instances convoys leaving and entering Ukraine, which we have been documenting, which have been driving towards the unsecure border with the Russian Federation in the middle of the night, on dirt roads, and have been seen at the unsecure border at areas where there is no official border crossing," Hug said.  

"The Special Monitoring Mission has also seen tracks that are in close proximity of the unsecure border with the Russian Federation. We have also described multiple times […] specific types of weapons that we have seen in the areas not controlled by the Government, and we have seen and spoken to prisoners taken by the Ukrainian Armed Forces who claimed to have been members of a Russian unit fighting on rotation in Ukraine. All of these facts have been made available and I have been referring to them, including in that interview. These facts speak for themselves," Hug concluded. 

See here for more information about Russian forces in Ukraine. 

Keywords: Eastern Ukraine, Alexander Hug, OSCE
Countries: Russia, Ukraine
More
European Council sanctions are irrational and unjustified
Additional details: We must remember that the European Council is imposing irrational and unjustified sanctions on us [Russia]. 
Language / Targeted audience:
Link to the disinformation: www.youtube.com/watch?v=5-H-fMyspJc
Disinforming outlet(s): Newsmaker@RT Arabic Time 12:03 to 12:10
Reported by:
Disproof note:

Recurring pro-Kremlin narrative claiming both that international sanctions against Russia are not justified (see similar cases here and here) and that they produce no negative effects on Russia (similar cases here, here and here).

All EU sanctions against Russia were imposed after major illegal actions by the Russian Federation, or against persons that have directly threatened the territorial integrity of Ukraine.

The first round of EU sanctions against Russia was introduced on 17 March 2014. The first bans and asset freezes against persons involved in actions against Ukraine's territorial integrity followed Russia's illegal annexation of Crimea.

Later, in view of Russia's actions destabilising the situation in eastern Ukraine, the EU imposed economic sanctions in July 2014 and reinforced them in September 2014.

In March 2015, the European Council linked the duration of those economic restrictions to the complete implementation of the Minsk agreements. The EU remains ready to reverse its decisions and reengage with Russia when it starts contributing actively and without ambiguities to finding a solution to the crisis. 

 

Keywords: illegal annexation, Sanctions, Referendum, Crimea
Countries: Europe, Russia, Ukraine
More
24 Ukrainian sailors were captured after they violated Russia's border
Additional details: The Parliamentary Assembly of Council of Europe called on Russia to release the 24 Ukrainian sailors who were captured in November 2018 after they violated the Russian border.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): Sputnik
Reported by:
Disproof note:

This is a recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the November 2018 Kerch incident. On 25 November 2018, border patrol boats belonging to Russia’s FSB security service seized two small Ukrainian armoured artillery vessels and a tug boat and their crews after shooting at them, wounding several Ukrainian servicemen and arresting 24. Russia argued that they were in Russian waters. The EU has urged Russia to release the captured crew.

However, the Kerch Strait and the Sea of Azov, as addressed by the 2003 bilateral agreement between Ukraine and Russia are defined as the internal waters of both Russia and Ukraine. The agreement gives both parties the power to inspect suspicious vessels. Furthermore, both the 2003 bilateral agreement and UN Convention on the Law of the Sea provide for the freedom of navigation.

More cases about the Kerch Strait incident are available here.

Keywords: Azov sea, Kerch, International Law, War in Ukraine
Countries: Russia, Ukraine
More
European economy loses tens and hundreds of billion dollars due to sanctions
Additional details: The whole Eurasia is trying to get rid of US dictate.

Washington solves all its geopolitical claims both to Russia and Iran solely at the expense of European allies and partners. The losses suffered by the European economy due to sanctions since the end of 2014 are already over tens and hundreds of billion dollars.

 

 
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): Sputnik Armenia
Reported by:
Disproof note:

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about Western sanctions on Russia and US presence in Europe. You can see other examples here, here, and here. 

Since March 2014, the EU has progressively imposed restrictive measures against Russia. The measures were adopted in response to the illegal annexation of Crimea and the deliberate destabilisation of Ukraine.

The narrative about sanctions is often backed by false statistics, contrary to the actual evidence. During the last ''Direct Line'', Russian President Vladimir Putin said: “Because of the sanctions, we lost $50 billion, Europe - $240 billion.” In reality, the economic effects on individual EU countries vary according to their exposure to the Russian market.

By the most recent research into the effect of sanctions, the cumulated export loss to Russia during 2014-2018 is estimated at EUR 30 billion (about -0.2% of EU’s GDP in 2018), incurred largely during 2014-2016, as EU exports to Russia recovered in 2017.

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Keywords: Sanctions, Europe
Countries: Russia, EU, US
More


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