It’s almost a tradition: As soon as elections take place, usually in Western countries, warnings of possible Russian influence make the rounds. This is also the case in the elections to the European Parliament, says an article in Sputnik Deutschland.

It’s not a tradition. It’s a legitimate concern, deriving from the fact that the Kremlin has a track record of interference in numerous elections around the world. Disinformation campaigns were observed across Europe, too, with the leading role of the Internet Research Agency reaching as far as the United Kingdom (Brexit referendum), Greece and Bulgaria, to name just a few examples. Bots were activated in discussions around the unofficial Catalan referendum, anti-migrant messages were spread in Italy and Germany, lies about a presidential candidate multiplied in France; false historical narratives and accusations of Russophobia are continuously directed at Poland and the Baltic states, respectively.

Of course, the evidence from recent years, even as substantial and coming from so many different sources as it has, doesn’t have to indicate future events. And even if we have not seen a massive blackout or a hacking attack targeting servers all across Europe, it’s definitely too late to say that nothing at all has happened in the run-up to the EU elections. EUvsDisinfo has continuously reported about pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives surrounding these elections. Continuously, little by little, constant pro-Kremlin dropping is trying to wear away a stone. Some question the existence of EU institutions, their democratic legitimacy, their influence on EU’s future and their independence. Others underline that being in the EU equals losing sovereignty. These messages were spread in at least eight languages, serving the Kremlin’s aim to weaken Europe.

How do pro-Kremlin outlets react to evidence and cold, hard facts?

Strategy number 1: who, us?

It’s almost a tradition: The Kremlin denies every accusation of meddling and pro-Kremlin outlets follow suit. There is no evidence. Whenever an article appears in the media or claims are made by either a research institution or a prominent politician, pro-Kremlin outlets use their websites and social media accounts to underline that there is no proof of interference. If experts know something about Russian interference, why don’t they show it? Well, here is the proof (and it’s been here for a while!).

Strategy number 2: hahaganda

Pro-Kremlin actors like to have some fun from time to time. They are only human, after all (well, sometimes they’re bots; but bots don’t have fun). They apply the ‘haha’ approach frequently: when confronted with compelling evidence or arguments, they joke. And they have done it to deny interference in the EU elections, too. Just recently, in reaction to an article by The New York Times, RT published several amusing GIFs and mocking reports, showing, for example, people pretending to be hackers. RT’s tweet, “NYT says Russian hackers are meddling in the upcoming European Parliament elections. Just don’t ask for proof” spread across different languages in the Twittersphere.

Strategy number 3: whataboutism

What about Brexit? What about the migration crisis? What about the democratic deficit? EU politicians and journalists are trying to stoke fear of Kremlin meddling in order to drive people’s attention away from the EU’s own problems. This is why they are accusing Russia of disinformation and interference. But they are unsuccessful, because – we didn’t do anything, anyway (see strategy number 1). Whataboutism – which basically is an attempt to change the subject – is another classic strategy of pro-Kremlin outlets. It’s true that the EU has to deal with various challenges, as indeed does every country in the world; but it doesn’t mean that there is no pro-Kremlin disinformation.

Strategy number 4: just keep going

Since you’re not doing anything, you may as well continue (not) to do it. The newest disinformation cases that we collected in the EUvsDisinfo database confirm the patterns already discovered and described. The aim of discrediting EU institutions is carried out by narratives about the European Parliament having no influence over the decision-making process and chief appointments in other EU institutions. Those institutions are said to be undemocratic and unaccountable. The European project is questioned by narratives about its servility to the United States and russophobic attitude (also seen by pro-Kremlin outlets in the form of the Eastern Partnership programme). The EU has also been portrayed as immoral and without values, and threatening national sovereignty.  A pretty long list of disinformation cases for somebody who claims to have nothing at all to do with disinformation.

As we have already written several times, disinformation campaigns are a long game. They neither start nor stop on election day. One of the aims of disinformation in the election period is to discourage citizens from voting. If this attempt is successful and the election turnout is low, pro-Kremlin outlets will then try to discredit the new EU leadership by questioning its credibility and legitimacy (based on turnout numbers). And so the disinformation cycle will regenerate once again. But EUvsDisinfo will be there to check facts, respond and make sure you know disinformation when you see it. In the meantime, make sure you know how to defend yourself against it.

Even though disinformation around the EU elections is keeping us occupied, we are still keeping our eyes, ears and keyboards open to other activities of pro-Kremlin outlets. Here are other topics that we collected for you this week:

Crimea joined the Russian Federation through a referendum
Additional details: Crimea joined the Russian Federation through a referendum
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): Sputnik Italia
Reported by:
Disproof note:

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative on the annexation of Crimea claiming that Crimean citizens chose to rejoin Russia through a legal referendum.

No international body recognises the so-called referendum and held on 16th of March 2014.

On the 27th of February 2014, when it was announced, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution which stated that the referendum in Crimea was not valid and could not serve as a basis for any change in the status of the peninsula.

A year after the illegal annexation, even the Kremlin admitted that the plan to annex Crimea was ordered weeks before the so-called referendum.

Five years after the illegal annexation of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol by the Russian Federation, the EU issued a statement in which it confirms its commitment to Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and reiterates that it does not recognise and continues to condemn this violation of international law.

For a similar case see here.

 

Keywords: illegal annexation, Manipulated elections/referendum, Referendum, Crimea
Countries: Russia, Ukraine
More
The EU was born in order to preserve the Atlanticist hegemony over Europe
Additional details: The EU was born in order to preserve the Atlanticist hegemony over Western Europe and, after the fall of the Berlin wall, over some countries of the former Warsaw Pact.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): Sputnik Italia
Reported by:
Disproof note:

Conspiracy theory and recurring disinformation narrative portraying the EU under the control of a hegemonic US.

The European Union is a unique economic and political union between 28 EU countries that together cover much of the continent.

The disastrous effects of the Second World War and the constant threat of an East-West confrontation meant that the Franco-German reconciliation had become a top priority. The decision to pool the coal and steel industries of six European countries ( Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlands), brought into force by the Treaty of Paris in 1951, marked the first step towards European integration. The Treaties of Rome of 1957 strengthened the foundations of this integration and the notion of a common future for the six European countries involved.

A further 22 countries have since joined the EU, including a historic expansion in 2004 marking the re-unification of Europe after decades of division. The process of joining the EU starts with an express request of the interested country made to the Council. No country can be forced to join the EU.

What began as a purely economic union has evolved into an organization spanning policy areas, from climate, environment and health to external relations and security, justice and migration. A name change from the European Economic Community (EEC) to the European Union (EU) in 1993 reflected this.

 

 

Keywords: EU/NATO enlargement, Cold War, US presence in Europe, Europe
Countries: EU, US
More
Poland to build a memorial site to Adolf Hitler at Wolf's Lair
Additional details: Adolf Hitler's quarters, Wolf's Lair, was initially situated on the territory of East Prussia. After WWII, in order to avoid revival of Nazism, Stalin granted this territory to Poland. Now ungrateful descendants of "unboiled soap" plan to build a Hitler memorial site there.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): Sputnik Georgia, time codes: [2.24-3.43]
Reported by:
Disproof note:

There are no plans to build a Hitler memorial.

This message is part of the recurring pro-Kremlin narrative about omnipresence of Nazis in Europe.

As recently reported by Deutsche Welle and Smithsonian, the Wolf's Lair, one of Hitler's bunkers, is going to be reconstructed and turned into an educational site and museum. The reconstruction is part of a series of measures to refocus Wolf's Lair away from ghoulish entertainment to an educational site informing people about the fateful decisions taken there. Citing an official from the Culture Ministry, NYT reported that the aim of the restoration project and its exhibits is to "allow people to see how beliefs like Nazi ideology can warp a society."

See here for more information about the reconstruction.

The phrase "descendants of unboiled soap" derives from the alleged instances of soap being made from the victims of Nazi concentration camps. Referring to Poles as the "descendants of unboiled soap" is offensive and degrading.

Wolf's Lair, now situated in Kętrzyn, Poland, was located on the territory of East Prussia before 1945. The territory was transferred to Poland after the Potsdam Conference. Reminding Poles that Stalin granted them the land is part of a bigger narrative to portray Stalin as a person who presented Eastern European countries with their lands.

Keywords: Adolf Hitler, Europe, Nazi/Fascist
Countries: Poland, Europe, Germany
More
The EU and the US block rebuilding of Syria
Additional details: Rebuilding of Syria is blocked by EU sanctions and US oil embargo. Millions were devoted for the reconstruction of Notre-Dame, but the reconstruction and restoration of the Syrian churches takes place only sporadically with church and private funds.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): RT Deutsch
Reported by:
Disproof note:

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the Syrian war.

The EU is the leading donor in the international response to the Syrian crisis. In 2017, the EU, together with Ministers from Canada, Denmark, Egypt, France, Germany, Italy, Jordan, Netherlands, Norway, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sweden, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, the UK and the US emphasised that recovery and reconstruction support for Syria hinges on a credible political process leading to a genuine political transition that can be supported by a majority of the Syrian people.

Since the beginning of the Syrian crisis, the EU has mobilised all political and humanitarian tools at its disposal in support of the Syrian people, remaining one of the main supporters of UN-led efforts to reach a political solution and the main humanitarian donor for Syrians, with over €16.9 billion mobilised collectively from EU Member States in humanitarian, development, economic and stabilisation assistance.

Moreover, €10 billion was made available by the EU in 2018 to enable de-mining in liberated areas. This de-mining work is intended to make infrastructure and land safe for use once again, and also includes mine risk education for local populations, for returnees, and for displaced people.

Keywords: humanitarian aid, Syrian War, The West
Countries: EU, US, Syria
More
The Council of Europe will die without Russia's membership
Additional details: In a few weeks, two years will have passed since Russia stopped paying its annual contributions to the Council of Europe. Moscow is not concerned with this situation and is ready to leave the organisation. The Council of Europe will ultimately die without Russia.

If Russia leaves, the European Court of Human Rights will bear the greatest negative consequences as it will lose the largest human-rights 'market'. This will result in a strong blow to the Council of Europe's prestige.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): Sputnik Belarus
Reported by:
Disproof note:

This message is consistent with the pro-Kremlin narrative about the imminent collapse of Western and European institutions. Examples of the cases following this narrative include: a dying EU promotes an anti-Russian, anti-democratic agenda and NATO is useless.

After the annexation of Crimea in 2014, Russia's voting rights in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) were suspended. In protest, Russia stopped paying its annual contributions to the Council of Europe (CoE) in June 2017.

After two years of non-payment of its contributions, that is from June 2019, Russia could be formally excluded from the CoE through a decision of its Committee of Ministers. It could also opt to leave.

Though Russia's withdrawal would affect the reputations of both the CoE and Russia, there is no good reason to believe that this development would result in the death of the organisation. The Council of Europe includes 47 member states with approximately 820 million citizens. The CoE has functioned previously without Russia as a member state since its establishment in 1949 until 1996 when Russia joined.

The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) is one of the institutions which safeguard human rights in Europe. Even though Russia has the biggest number of cases pending in the Court, the number of cases has nothing to do with the institution's prestige. If Russia was to leave the organisation, Russian citizens would be deprived of the chance to defend their rights at the ECtHR.

Keywords: Council of Europe, Anti-Russian, Conspiracy
Countries: Europe, Russia
More
The European Parliament does not have real powers, EU bureaucrats decide
Additional details: The European Parliament does not have real powers and opportunities to influence the decisions taken by bureaucrats and pragmatic politicians.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): Sputnik Belarus
Reported by:
Disproof note:

This claim misrepresents the competences of the European Parliament and is consistent with a recurring pro-Kremlin narrative about a dysfunctional EU governed by the bureaucrats and elites who are out of touch with the needs of the people. See an earlier case about Brussels bureaucrats.

The European Commission cannot adopt new legislation or amend existing EU legislation without consent from the Council of the EU and the European Parliament. The European Parliament is directly elected by the EU’s population. It approves and removes the president of the European Commission. The European Parliament also has the power to censure the Commission with a vote of two-thirds of its members, thereby forcing the Commission to resign.

As EU co-operation evolved with time, the European Parliament progressed from a purely advisory role to one of co-decision on an equal footing with the Council. The Lisbon Treaty expanded the number of policies which are subject to ordinary legislative procedure to virtually all areas including the areas of freedom, security and justice, external trade, environmental policy and the common agricultural policy.

Keywords: European Parliament, Conspiracy
Countries: EU
More
NATO and the US do not fund any programs in Georgia
Additional details: NATO and the US do not fund any programs in Georgia. Georgia finances 100% of the programs itself.
Language / Targeted audience:
Link to the disinformation: www.myvideo.ge/v/3781655
Disinforming outlet(s): Obiektivi
Reported by:
Disproof note:

According to the “Security Assistance Monitor of the Center for International Policy”, in 2015-2019, the US allocated financial assistance to Georgia in the military field amounted to 167 million US dollars. In 2019 US allocated 35 million US dollars.

The US funds Coalition Readiness Support Programsupporting the participation of Georgian troops in Peacekeeping Mission in Afghanistan - ”Resolute Support Mission”. Military exercises play the most important role in the training of Georgian soldiers and upgrading their qualification. Georgia hosts various military exercises, including “Noble Partner” and “Agile Spirit”, organized by the USA and its partners.

In April 2019, NATO approved the “ Black Sea package ”. The framework of the package envisages training of Georgia’s naval forces and Coast guard service, paying visits to ports and sharing information. In addition, NATO vessels will participate in exercise together with Ukrainian and Georgian vessels. On March 18, 2019, NATO-Georgia exercise started at NATO-Georgia Joint Training and Evaluation Center (JTEC), Krtsanisi National Training Center. Three hundred and fifty soldiers from 21 NATO member states and 3 partner states participate in the exercise. The aim of the exercises held in the framework of Substantial NATO-Georgia Package is to strengthen Georgia’s defense capability. In 2018, Georgia and NATO signed an agreement, based on which the vehicles worth more than a million Euros will be transferred to the NATO-Georgia Joint Training and Evaluation Center (JTEC).

The narrative is part of a larger campaign aiming at influencing public support towards Georgia's NATO aspirations and portray neutrality as the most rational foreign policy choice for Georgia. See here for other examples of disinformation targeting Georgia.

More about the NATO/US military assistance to Georgia can be found here.

Keywords: Military, NATO
Countries: US, Georgia
More
A big number of European countries are under a new form of colonialism
Additional details: In the last decades a considerable number of European countries have lost their sovereignty. Ideological dogmas of liberal political correctness serve as a cover for a new form of colonialism. In many European countries political elites follow the mentioned dogmas and totally lack a sense of responsibility about their respective countries and peoples.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): Sputnik Belarus
Reported by:
Disproof note:

Conspiracy theory consistent with three out of the five most common pro-Kremlin propaganda narratives, namely the elites vs. the people, threatened values, and lost sovereignty.

Claims that certain countries are no longer truly sovereign is another very frequent narrative promoted by the pro-Kremlin disinformation sources. Examples of this narrative are numerous: Ukraine is ruled by foreignersThe EU is directed by Washington, Lithuania is occupied by NATO.

Keywords: Sovereignty, Conspiracy
Countries: Europe, The West
More
The Eastern Partnership Programme is against Russia
Additional details: According to many experts, from the very beginning, the Eastern Partnership programme was aimed at weakening Russia's geopolitical influence in Eastern Europe, as well as creating alternative energy supplies for Europe.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): Sputnik Armenia
Reported by:
Disproof note:

No evidence or expert opinion given. This message is an example of one of several pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives accusing the West, and in this case the EU, of encircling Russia.

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.

Keywords: Eastern Partnership, Encircling Russia
Countries: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Moldova, Russia, Ukraine, EU, Belarus, Georgia
More
Europe has accepted an immoral, perverted way of life
Additional details: Europe has distanced itself from God. Europe has accepted an immoral, perverted way of life and declared the sin of sodomy as a norm.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): Asaval-Dasavali
Reported by:
Disproof note:

Recurring pro-Kremlin narrative aimed at portraying Europe as immoral and incompatible with Christian values with the aim of influencing Georgia's pro-Western foreign policy and portraying the EU as a place with moral decay. 'Threatened values' is one of the most common narratives used by pro-Kremlin outlets.

See examples of similar disinformation cases here and here.

Keywords: Western values, Europe
Countries: Europe, EU
More
The West's only interest in Belarus is to make it anti-Russian
Additional details: The West's primary interest concerning Belarus is to turn it into an anti-Russia country either through the organisation of a colour revolution or by military means. During NATO military exercise Anakonda'18, a Polish map was published showing the direction of NATO attacks pointing at Minsk. The map also depicts a border on the East of Poland dividing Belarus as it was before September 1939.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): Vesti24.by
Belvpo.com
Soglasie.by
Reported by:
Disproof note:

This message is a conspiracy consistent with recurring pro-Kremlin narratives about the West's attempts to stage a colour revolution in Belarus, to turn Belarus into an anti-Russian country, and about Poland's plans to partition Belarus and establish the Fourth Republic.

The message refers to alleged Polish maps in use during 2018 military exercises.  ANAKONDA 2018 was a Polish-led multinational military exercise which took place in November 2018. It involved around 12,500 troops in Poland and approximately 5,000 troops from 10 NATO allies in the Baltic states and aimed to increase interoperability between the allies.

During the exercise, a number of webpages with dubious reputations and unknown ownership including Opednews.com published an article allegedly presenting NATO military scenarios. The article contained four maps, allegedly of the Polish military. On one, Western Belarus was shown as being taken by US, Polish, Lithuanian, and Latvian troops.

This article in Lithuanian, alleging aggressive NATO plans, was briefly published by Lithuanian internet portal Kas vyksta Kaune without editorial authorisation, as a result of a cyber-attack. The publication of this propaganda about NATO's planned invasion to Belarus due to a cyber-attack against a Lithuanian internet portal was widely covered in the Lithuanian press (see here and here).

Keywords: Anti-Russian, Colour revolutions, NATO, Conspiracy
Countries: Poland, The West, Belarus
More
Depravity, juvenile justice and sectarianism caused the Notre-Dame fire
Additional details: Modern Europe distanced itself from God and accepted depravity, juvenile justice, and sectarianism, that is why Notre-Dame is burning. Today's Europe trampled down eternal ideals and declared that defending gay activists is more important than Christian morals.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): Asaval-Dasavali
Reported by:
Disproof note:

Recurrent narrative that Europe distances itself from Christian values what leads to tragedies such as the fire of Notre-Dame. A similar case that the fire was a sign of Europe's decline can be found here.

Juvenile justice has been a target of disinformation campaigns in Georgia for years. Groundless allegations are spread, claiming that this issue has been imposed by the West and gives minors unlimited rights, which in the end is directed against the institution of family and its values. More about the disinformation narratives against the juvenile justice in Georgia can be found here.

Keywords: Notre Dame, Western values, European values
Countries: Europe, France
More
Crimea reunited with Russia through a democratic referendum
Additional details:
Crimea detached from Ukraine by a popular referendum and was ithen ncorporated into Russia.

The authorities of Crimea and Sevastopol held a referendum on 16 March 2014 on reunification with Russia. As a result, 96.7 percent and 95.6 percent of citizens respectively voted in favour of joining the Russian Federation.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): RT Deutsch, Sputnik Deutschland
Reported by:
Disproof note:

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative on the annexation of Crimea claiming that Crimean citizens chose to rejoin Russia through a legal referendum.

No international body recognises the so-called referendum, announced on the 27th of February 2014, and held on 16th of March 2014.  For the EU statement on the fifth anniversary of Crimea annexation see here.

Following the covert invasion of “little green men,” power in Crimea was vested in a makeshift executive headed by Sergey Aksenov, a former mafia enforcer.  The new Crimean regime conducted the referendum hastily and at gunpoint, barred impartial observers from entering the peninsula, and instead invited dozens of fringe politicians and activists to “monitor” the procedure, most of them far-right Kremlin loyalists.

The oft-cited figure of 97% has been contested by the Kremlin’s own Human Rights Council, which estimated that only between 30% and 50% of Crimeans took part in the referendum, of which some 50-60% favoured secession.

A year after the illegal annexation, Russian President Vladimir Putin admitted that the plan to annex Crimea was ordered weeks before the so-called referendum.

Keywords: illegal annexation, Manipulated elections/referendum, Referendum, Crimea
Countries: Russia, Ukraine
More
There was coup d’état in Ukraine in 2014
Additional details: There was coup d’état in Ukraine in February 2014.

Political and economic relations between Russia and Western countries had deteriorated after the coup in Ukraine in 2014.

After the coup d'état in Kyiv in February 2014, there were mass protests in Crimea and Eastern Ukraine.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): Sputnik Deutschland
Reported by:
Disproof note:

Recurring pro-Kremlin narrative about Euromaidan.

The spontaneous onset of the Euromaidan protests was a reaction of numerous parts of the Ukrainian population to former President Yanukovych’s sudden departure from the Association Agreement with the European Union in November 2013.  See the previous debunk here.

The 2014 presidential election in Ukraine was a genuine election largely in line with international commitments and respecting fundamental freedoms, despite the hostile security environment in two eastern regions of the country.  According to the OSCE, "the people of Ukraine had the opportunity to genuinely express their will at the ballot box".

This fact was reconfirmed by the parliamentary elections of 26 October 2014.  The OSCE characterised the vote as "an amply contested election that offered voters real choice, and a general respect for fundamental freedoms".

Keywords: Ukrainian disintegration, War in Ukraine, Coup, Euromaidan, Ukrainian statehood
Countries: Russia, Ukraine
More
The EU and the US interfered in the domestic affairs of Ukraine
Additional details: Five years ago the EU and the US intervened in the domestic affairs of Ukraine where they supported and provoked an anti-constitutional coup. As a result, Ukraine became a major source of regional instability.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): Sputnik Georgia
Reported by:
Disproof note:

Recurrent pro-Kremlin narrative about the Euromaidan and alleged Western interference into Ukraine.

Background:

The demonstrations which began in Kyiv in November 2013 – called "Maidan", or "Euromaidan" – were not provoked from outside but were a result of the Ukrainian people's frustration with former President Yanukovych's last minute U-turn when, after seven years of negotiation, he refused to sign the EU–Ukraine Association Agreement and halted progress towards Ukraine's closer relationship with the EU as a result of Russian pressure. The protesters' demands included constitutional reform, a stronger role for parliament, formation of a government of national unity, an end to corruption, early presidential elections and an end to violence http://bit.ly/2ftv6iT.

Keywords: Ukraine, Euromaidan
Countries: Ukraine, EU, US
More
MEPs will observe elections in Abkhazia
Additional details: MEPs will observe presidential elections in Abkhazia. The Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Abkhazia, Irakli Tuzhba, noted that the Abkhaz delegation received this declaration from MEPs during his visit to Brussels in March 2019.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): Sputnik Abkhazia; PIA
Reported by:
Disproof note:

The EU delegation in Georgia, when asked by Myth Detector about this issue, wrote in a letter that "the European Parliament or any of its official bodies (including the President, Committee on Foreign Affairs or Democracy Support and Election Coordination Group (DEG) have not made and do not intend to make any pledge on monitoring the above mentioned <<elections>>”.

According to the letter, if individual MEPs decide to arrive in Abkhazia in July 2019 and/or make public comments on the ongoing developments there, it will be their personal decision, which does not reflect the position of the European Parliament or the European Union.

The European Union does not recognise the self-proclaimed independence of the breakaway region of Abkhazia.

Further debunking by Myth Detector.

 

Keywords: European Parliament, Abkhazia, Occupation, Elections
Countries: EU, Georgia
More
United States intends to maintain control over Ukraine
Additional details: The United States intends to maintain control over Ukraine and is concerned about the unpredictability of Zelenskiy’s actions and his ability to start negotiations with Russia.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): RT Russian
Reported by:
Disproof note:

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the statehood of Ukraine, portraying it as a failed state under foreign control.

Ukraine is a sovereign state. Neither the US, nor the EU control Ukraine. Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity are respected by most of the free world, but were violated by Russia in 2014.

The relations between the US and Ukraine are bilateral relations between two independent countries.  The US recognised Ukraine as an independent state on 25 December 1991.  US policy is centred on realising and strengthening a stable, democratic, prosperous, and free Ukraine, more closely integrated into Europe and Euro-Atlantic structures.

See previous disinformation cases on this issue.

Keywords: Volodymyr Zelensky, Ukraine, Conspiracy
Countries: United States, Ukraine
More
The Baltic states pursue anti-Belarusian policies
Additional details: Lithuania stands out among the Baltic states with its active anti-Belarusian foreign policy. It attempts to block the launch of the Belarusian nuclear power plant. Latvia seems to be willing to buy energy produced at the Belarusian nuclear plant. However, it is under external control and will not allow the energy to pass through its territory to other EU countries.

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

Conspiracy theory about Latvia under external control and ungrounded generalisations about foreign policies of the Baltic states.

Lithuania's decision to ban the import of electricity from Belarus' nuclear power plant in Astravets is based on security concerns, rather than political considerations and anti-Belarusian policy as alleged.

On 7 June 2011, Lithuania lodged a complaint with the Implementing Committee of the Convention on Environmental Impact Assessment (the Espoo Convention) on the case of the Astravets nuclear power plant. In February 2019, the draft decision of the Meeting of the Parties of the Espoo Convention acknowledged that Belarus had failed to comply with some Convention provisions and encouraged Belarus and Lithuania to continue bilateral expert consultations.

See earlier disinformation case alleging that Lithuania fights against the Belarusian Nuclear Power Plant on the orders of Sweden and Finland.

Keywords: Nuclear issues, Conspiracy, Baltic states
Countries: Latvia, Lithuania, Belarus
More
President of Georgia does not willingly express opinions on the separatist regions
Additional details: The new president of Georgia does not willingly express opinions on issues such as separatism prevailing in a large area of the country; the existence of problems like Abkhazia and South Ossetia, and the need to restore the territorial integrity of the country.
Language / Targeted audience:
Link to the disinformation: www.baki-xeber.com/siyaset/90646.html
Disinforming outlet(s): Baki xeber
Reported by:
Disproof note:

Quite opposite to the claim made in the article, Georgian President Salome Zourabishvili recently stated that Russia's decade long military occupation of South Ossetia and Abkhazia has failed to break the national will to maintain sovereignty and achieve European Union and NATO accession. "It's a victory for Georgia and not for Russia."

“In recent years, we have gone through similar tragedies. We are now experiencing what it means for our country’s territories to be occupied – what it means to have our country’s territorial integrity violated,” Zurabishvili said in her meeting with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev.

Russia was an “occupying power”, and the biggest concern was “that it’s unpredictable”, she said.

See here for other disinformation cases about Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

Keywords: Abkhazia, South Ossetia
Countries: Russia, Georgia
More
NATO bombings of Yugoslavia in 1999 killed thousands
Additional details: NATO bombings of Yugoslavia in 1999 killed thousands.

The necessity of the existence of NATO was explained in the post-Soviet era with the maintenance of democracy and stability in Central and Eastern Europe. In 1999 this led to bomb attacks on Yugoslavia. The military operation, which also killed peaceful civilians, lasted 78 days.  Counting thousands of victims, and with destroyed infrastructure - Yugoslavia was dissolved as a state.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): Sputnik Deutschland
Reported by:
Disproof note:

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation about the number of civilian casualties of NATO bombing, debunked by Polygraph.

In Serbia (excluding Kosovo) and Montenegro, 275 persons lost their lives in the NATO bombings: 180 civilians, 90 members of the Yugoslav Armed Forces, five members of the Ministry of Interior of Serbia.

The primary purpose of the campaign was to end violence and repression and force Milosevic to withdraw his military, police and para-military forces from Kosovo. (See NATO statement from 1999.)

Read more about disinformation about the war in former Yugoslavia here and here.

Keywords: Western Balkans, Bosnia war, War crimes, NATO
Countries: Yugoslavia, Kosovo, Serbia
More
Romanians feel less trust in the united Europe
Additional details:








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

This message is in line with the pro-Kremlin narrative on the disintegration of the EU.

The latest EU barometer shows that Romanian citizens' confidence in European structures is high.

Moreover, six out of ten Romanians declare that they tend to trust the European Parliament (60%, +4 pp compared to the data recorded in 2017), higher than the European average (48%).

The European Commission and the European Central Bank also enjoy a higher confidence than the European average. One in two Romanians says they tend to trust these institutions, against the background of a European average of 43% and 41%, respectively.

At the general EU level, the Eurobarometer survey shows highest support for the EU in 35 years. In addition, 60% of Europeans positively view EU membership.

Keywords: Euro-scepticism, EU disintegration
Countries: Romania, EU
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Poverty in UK comparable to Sub-Saharan Africa, UN says
Additional details: The UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights has compared the level of poverty in the United Kingdom to that found in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): RT
Reported by:
Disproof note:

False, recurring pro-Kremlin narrative on the decaying Western countries.

In his report published in November 2018, Special Rapporteur Philip Alston does identify poverty as a distinct concern for the United Kingdom. The 24-page document, however, contains no reference - let alone a comparison - to sub-Saharan Africa, where more than a quarter of the population faces starvation at any given moment.

RT's fabrication might be based on the following remarks, cited by The New York Times: “When you think of the special rapporteurs on extreme poverty and human rights, you expect them to be visiting sub-Saharan Africa or Haiti. You don’t expect them to be visiting the U.K.”

The comment does not compare poverty in the UK and elsewhere, it predates the UN report, and it was not made by Philip Alston, but by an expert from the University of Bristol.

Keywords: United Nations, Africa, The West
Countries: UK
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The European Commission is one of the most undemocratic institutions
Additional details: The European Commission is one of the most undemocratic institutions. These people [the EU commissioners] were not elected by anyone and they are not accountable to EU citizens.
Language / Targeted audience:
Link to the disinformation: www.youtube.com/watch?v=YL57chwPiWA
Disinforming outlet(s): RT Deutsch
Reported by:
Disproof note:

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative on the undemocratic EU and on the failed European values.

The European Commission is the EU's executive arm. Commissioners are first appointed by EU member states and then, as candidates, take part in hearings in the European Parliament. The EP members - which are elected by EU citizens directly - can reject a candidate and had exercised this power in the past. As for the President of the European Commission, his candidacy needs to be agreed by the European Council - that is, by democratically elected leaders of every member state. The European Commission as a whole is subject to a vote of consent by the Parliament and are then appointed by the European Council, acting by a qualified majority.

In the whole process of appointing new EU leaders the results of the European elections have to be taken into account. See here for more information.

Article 5 of the Treaty on the European Union ensured the principle of subsidiarity, which guarantees that decisions are taken as closely as possible to the citizen and that constant checks are made to verify that action at EU level is justified in light of the possibilities available at national, regional or local level. It is the principle whereby the EU does not take action (except in the areas that fall within its exclusive competence), unless it is more effective than action taken at national, regional or local level.

 

 

Keywords: Euro-scepticism, EU elections 2019, European Parliament, European Commission, EU disintegration, European values, Europe
Countries: EU
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UK trying to relaunch Skripal propaganda campaign
Additional details: The UK Government seeks to change House of Lords rules in an ostensible bid to stem the flow of "red money" from Russia and China.

In reality, given its timing, the measure aims to revive the mainstream media buzz surrounding Russia and help relaunch the UK's propaganda campaign regarding the alleged poisoning of Yuliya and Sergey Skripal.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): Sputnik News
Reported by:
Disproof note:

The story advances the recurring pro-Kremlin narratives on the Skripal poisoning and Western Russophobia.

The proposed amendments to House of Lords rules, which would require peers to disclose their financial links to Russian entities, is not timed to any specific event. It is part of a two-pronged initiative designed to limit undue financial and political influence of foreign governments.

The amendments have been under discussion since at least October 2018 and came on the heels of reports that multiple British peers were "seeking to lobby on behalf of Russian companies with links to the country's government". The same initiative includes the development of an espionage law which has been in the pipeline since Russian spies committed attempted murder on UK soil.

Moscow's accusations of the UK Government spreading Skripal-related propaganda is a case projection. Within four weeks of the Skripal poisoning, pro-Kremlin outlets promulgated no fewer than 138 contradictory narratives on the crime.

Keywords: novichok, false flag, Sergei Skripal, Propaganda, Russophobia
Countries: UK, Russia
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Polish and Lithuanian mercenaries spotted by Luhansk militias in Eastern Ukraine
Additional details: Paramilitary elements from Poland and Lithuania working for a foreign security firm arrived to an area in Eastern Ukraine to train Ukrainian troops in sabotage techniques, according to the spokesperson of the Luhansk militias, Ivan Filiponenko.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): Sputnik Spanish
Reported by:
Disproof note:

No evidence given to support this claim. The existence of paramilitary fighters or mercenaries from NATO or US-friendly countries is a recurrent narrative in Russian disinformation since at least 2014, and it prompted a diplomatic protest from Poland back then.

The allegation has been repeatedly debunked in those years, but resurfaces again and again since it is useful to try to discredit the Ukrainian army and the countries that support Kiev efforts for stabilization. Many false incidents have been attributed this ‘ghost army’, from rapes to vendettas against Ukrainian soldiers due to low morale.

See here for other disinformation cases about alleged presence of foreign mercenaries in Eastern Ukraine, from Baltic snipers to snipers from Georgia, female snipers from Poland, and even a whole NATO brigade.

 

Keywords: Ukraine, Eastern Ukraine, War in Ukraine, Donbas, Foreign mercenaries
Countries: Ukraine
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Ukrainian naval vessels violated the Russian border in Kerch Strait
Additional details: Three Ukrainian naval vessels violated the Russian border on 25th of November of the last year. They entered the closed waters of Russia’s territorial sea and headed for the Kerch Strait through the Black Sea. They demonstrated dangerous manoeuvres and failed to obey the legitimate orders of the Russian authorities. The Russians arrested the sailors on the charges of illegal border crossing. Vladimir Putin called the incident a provocation related to the low ratings of then President Poroshenko before the elections.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): Sputnik Abkhazia
Reported by:
Disproof note:

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the Kerch Strait incident.

On November 25th 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. 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 are considered to be the “internal waters” of both Russia and Ukraine.

Read more about the pro-Kremlin disinformation campaign on Azov sea and the Kerch Strait incident.

 

Keywords: Azov sea, Kerch
Countries: Ukraine
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Foreign powers command political parties in Romania
Additional details: The electoral campaign for the future European Parliament is ongoing. In Romania, as in the entire Union, the battle takes place between sovereignists and globalists. Romanian parties such as USR-PLUS, PMP, and Pro Romania obey orders coming from abroad and try to annihilate national sovereignty for the benefit of foreign powers.
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Disinforming outlet(s): Sputnik.md/ro
Reported by:
Disproof note:

Conspiracy theory, no evidence given.

This message is in line with previous narratives claiming that the EU is a threat to member states' sovereignty and economic survival,  and that foreign powers are interfering in Romanian internal affairs.

Keywords: EU elections 2019, Puppets
Countries: Romania, EU
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US is destabilising the world, organising colour revolutions, political and economic crises
Additional details: The US' geopolitical power is declining. That is why the country is betting on destructive processes in the world. Starting wars, inciting political and economic crises, organising colour revolutions. However, Russia successfully neutralises destructive plans of the US and regularly stands in Washington’s way.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): Sputnik Abkhazia
Reported by:
Disproof note:

This is a recurring pro-Kremlin narrative casting civil uprisings in other states 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
Countries: US
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Joseph Stalin was a father of the Belarusian nation
Additional details: The transformation of Belarusians into a nation mainly took place in 1920s - 1950s. The Belarusian nation's father, a Belarusian George Washington, was Joseph Stalin. Lavrentiy Tsanava was a Belarusian Thomas Jefferson.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): Teleskop, Vitbich
Reported by:
Disproof note:

This message misrepresents the Belarus' history, as Joseph Stalin contributed to the demise of Belarusian elites, rather than contribute to the development of the Belarusian nation.

According to incomplete estimates, approximately 600,000 people fell victim to Soviet repression in Belarus between 1917 and 1953. The repression peaked during the 1930s and especially during the USSR-wide Great Purge of 1937-1938, in times of Joseph Stalin as a head of the USSR and Lavrentiy Tsanava as a head of BSSR's NKVD (as of late 1938).

The purges of the Belarusian Soviet Socialist Republic elites were more thorough than in any other republic, leading to the demise of 90 per cent of the Belarusian intelligentsia, historian Per Anders Rudling concludes in his PhD thesis.

See an ealier disinformation case alleging that the victims of Stalin's repression were not innocent.

Keywords: Joseph Stalin
Countries: USSR, Belarus
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The European Parliament has no effect on the EU Commission
Additional details: The European Parliament is powerless, so few people want to take part in the election. Is it even important who you vote for?  Even a landslide win in the Parliament will have no effect on the Commission or the Council. And that is exactly where the real power lies. The European Parliament has no real influence on the actual important policy areas.

 

 
Language / Targeted audience:
Link to the disinformation: www.youtube.com/watch?v=YL57chwPiWA
Disinforming outlet(s): RT Deutsch
Reported by:
Disproof note:

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative on the undemocratic EU and on the failed European values.

After the EU Parliamentary elections, one of the first tasks of an incoming Parliament is to elect a new President of the European Commission. Member states (the Council) nominate a candidate for the post, but in doing so they must take account of the European election results. Moreover, Parliament needs to approve the new Commission President by an absolute majority (half of the existing MEPs plus one). The EP members can reject a candidate and had exercised this power in the past. The President and the other members of the Commission are subject to a vote of consent, as a body, by the Parliament and are then appointed by the European Council, acting by a qualified majority.

As for the powers of the European Parliament, it is one of the two co-legislators - which means that without it, legislation is not adopted. It also approves the EU budget, has control powers and the right to intervene before the European Court of Justice.

See here for other disinformation cases about the European Parliament.

Keywords: Euro-scepticism, EU elections 2019, European Parliament, European Commission, EU disintegration, European values
Countries: EU
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Lithuania does not want to take Kalinowski's DNA test
Additional details: Lithuania does not want to take a DNA test based on remains of Konstanty Kalinowski's brother who is buried in Belarus. This test would help to identify the remains which supposedly belong to the executed 1863 uprising leader.

The absence of DNA test will allow Lithuania to avoid a blunder as it can turn out that the remains belong to a different person. Moreover, by not taking the test Lithuania expects to have grounds for information war against Belarus with the use of Belarusian opposition to please Lithuania's nationalistic policies.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): Sozh.info
Vitbich.org
Reported by:
Disproof note:

This message is built around conspiracies consistent with recurring pro-Kremlin narrative about Western aggressive activities towards Belarus. It also aims at playing on nationalist sentiments and a complex Lithuanian-Belarusian-Polish history. There is no confirmation that Lithuania has changed its plans to test the DNA of the presumed remains of Konstanty Kalinowski's brother, who is buried in Belarus. See a recent case alleging that Lithuania promotes terrorism in Belarus by commemorating of Konstanty Kalinowski.

Background information:

Wincenty Konstanty Kalinowski, also known as Kastuś Kalinoŭski was a 19th-century writer, lawyer and revolutionary. As one of the leaders of the Belarusian, Lithuanian and Polish national revival and the leader of the 1863-1864 uprising (also known as January uprising) against Imperial Russia, Kalinowski is considered a national hero in Belarus, Lithuania and Poland.

In 2017-18 Lithuanian archaeologists found the remains of Kalinowski and other leaders of the uprising in the centre of Vilnius. The Lithuanian authorities plan to rebury their remains and to open a monument to the January uprising in 2019. In response to an appeal by Belarusian public figures to the Lithuanian state, the Lithuanian government stated it plans that the inscriptions on the monument will be written in Belarusian, Lithuanian and Polish.

Keywords: Information war, Conspiracy
Countries: Lithuania, Belarus
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The IMF impoverishes Ukraine
Additional details: The IMF is carrying out an experiment on the Ukraine and its people. It makes a rich country impoverished, as it happened everywhere it went.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): RT Russian
Reported by:
Disproof note:

Recurring pro-Kremlin narrative about the West taking away everything from Ukraine - for similar cases see here and here.

Ukraine's comprehensive programme of economic reforms, backed by IMF loans, aims to restore macroeconomic stability, promote sustainable growth, and strengthen economic governance and transparency.  It also includes a new social protection program which aims at providing social assistance for low-income families.

See here for more information about the relations between Ukraine and the IMF.

 

Keywords: Ukraine, economy, IMF
Countries: Ukraine
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The US is leading the final phase of a Maidan scenario in Venezuela and calls it operation “Liberty”
Additional details: The American government is orchestrating a Maidan scenario in Venezuela called Operation “Liberty”, which is in its final phase. However, even if the final phase fails, the USA will not let go of Venezuela and instead of the colour revolution, Trump’s administration will drown Caracas in blood. As much as the US would like to regain control over Venezuelan oil, Trump will not like to see the “import of coffins covered with US flags” amid an election campaign. Therefore, American businesses offered him a solution - to start a military intervention with the help of 4500-5000 mercenaries.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): Sputnik Abkhazia
Reported by:
Disproof note:

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about events in Venezuela.

No proof is given about the plan for US military intervention. According to Reuters, "U.S. officials have dismissed Russian allegations about U.S. plans for Venezuela as baseless "propaganda". Also, several US military officials have stressed there are no military options being actively considered for Venezuela. See a similar disinformation case here.

Keywords: Nicolas Maduro, Military, Euromaidan
Countries: Venezuela, US
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Ukrainian authorities launched a military operation in LNR and DNR after the coup d’état
Additional details: In April 2014 Ukrainian authorities launched a military operation against the self-proclaimed LNR and DNR, which had announced independence after the coup d’état of February 2014 in Ukraine.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): Sputnik Polska
Reported by:
Disproof note:

A recurring pro-Kremlin narrative on the coup d’état in Ukraine. For similar cases see here and here.

There was no coup d’état in Ukraine in 2014. The Euromaidan protests were a spontaneous reaction among large parts of the Ukrainian population, ignited by the decision of former President Yanukovych not to sign the Association Agreement with the European Union in November 2013. The Maidan movement resonated with widespread discontent with corruption and mismanagement under Yanukovych’s rule.

The concept of "civil war" in Ukraine is a well-known pro-Kremlin narrative about the war in Ukraine.

In April 2014, the head of the National Security Council of Ukraine, Oleksandr Turchinov, announced the launch of the Anti-Terrorist Operation in Eastern Ukraine.  This was a reaction to attempts by illegal Russian armed groups controlled by Russia to seize administrative buildings and security forces in the Donbas. The fighting began the next day of the same year. Later, the anti-terrorist operation was reformatted into the United Force Operation.

After the outbreak of hostilities in the Donbas, there was a reaction from the United States and the European Union, which imposed the first sanctions against Russia for its aggression against Ukraine. Anti-Russian restrictions have been repeatedly extended and supplemented.

Ukraine has repeatedly provided evidence of Russia's participation in the war in the east of the country. In January 2017, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine reported that Kyiv filed a lawsuit in the International Court of Justice of the United Nations with the aim of bringing Russia to responsibility for committing acts of terrorism and discrimination, which are the result of its illegal aggression against Ukraine.  The lawsuit contains all the facts of Russian aggression against Ukraine, evidence of the illegal annexation of the Crimea and the occupation of Donbas.

In addition, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in April 2018 at the official level found Russia guilty of occupying Donbas. The Assembly’s report introduced the concept of "temporarily occupied territories (of Ukraine) in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, controlled by the Russian occupation administration".

 

Keywords: DNR, LNR, Coup, Euromaidan
Countries: Russia, Ukraine
More
Candidate for Mayor of Zugdidi trades in human organs
Additional details: Mikheil Saakashvili's wife, who is currently running for the Mayor of Zugdidi, trades on human organs. Saakashvili brought Georgian doctors and servicemen from Ukraine who now take wounded and newly killed soldiers out of an anti-terrorist operation zone. After that, they place these soldiers in specialised transport, where they remove organs from their bodies. A now-former employee of the Ukrainian Security Service disseminated a video exposing Saakashvili and his wife of their "black transplant" activities. The EU and the US have an interest in human organ trafficking.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): Asaval-Dasavali
Reported by:
Disproof note:

Recurring disinformation narrative about Mikheil Saakashvili's family being involved in human organ trafficking.  The claim reoccurred in the Georgian media in the context of the upcoming mayoral elections in Zugdidi, where Saakashvili's wife is running for office. No evidence is given to support the claim that the EU and the US have an interest in human organ trading. This is part of the reappearing pro-Kremlin narrative that human organ trafficking is systematic and is encouraged by the West.

Furthermore, the video referred to as proof of the claim is manipulated (see section video montage). The video of an unspecified representative of Ukraine's Secret Service appeared on Youtube on September 23, 2015. The footage in the video was a fragment from the video uploaded on Youtube on August 9, 2014, by a user Диванный партизан (Couch partisan). A video containing analogous footage was also uploaded later, on May 5, 2015, by an information portal, Hunter News, with the title: Трупы детей, убитых украинскими карателями Луганск 18+ (Corpses of children killed by Ukrainian chasteners, Luhansk, 18+). The further debunking of the video can be found here.

Keywords: Ukraine, Mikheil Saakashvili
Countries: Ukraine, Georgia
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The US is using jihadist terrorism to destabilise Asian countries
Additional details: It is likely that US and Saudi intelligence ordered the recent Easter Day attacks perpetrated by jihadist terrorists in Sri Lanka against Christians in churches and hotels. The US aim to destabilize Sri Lanka because the latter is one of Beijing’s main partners in the One Belt One Road Initiative and is moving into China’s sphere of influence.

It is also probable that ISIS attacks in the Philippines – which took place when Manila was trying to break away from its alliance with the US and to draw closer to China – were supported by US intelligence. It also likely that US and Saudi intelligence have exploited religious tensions in Thailand to destabilize this country, which is also an important partner in China’s Belt and Road Initiative.

US, British and Saudi intelligence services have supported and used jihadist terrorist groups to achieve geopolitical goals in countries such as Syria, Libya, Afghanistan and Bosnia.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): Sputnik Italia
Reported by:
Disproof note:

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives that US and other Western intelligence services are supporting and using jihadist groups to advance geopolitical goals.

There is no evidence that the US, UK nor other Western governments and their intelligence services have supported radical Islamist terrorist groups in any region of the world.

On the contrary, ever since the September 11 terrorist attacks the US and its allies have been engaged in a enormous military and intelligence efforts to counter Al Qaeda, ISIS and other radical Islamist terrorist groups around the world. Read more here and here.

 

Keywords: Terrorism financing, Terrorism, Daesh
Countries: Thailand, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Afghanistan, Libya, China, Africa, US, Syria
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The EU wants to weaken the power of the Republika Srpska
Additional details: The European Commission intends to provide €1 million to involve civil society organisations in decision-making and policy-making in Bosnia and Herzegovina.  The EU intends to increase funding in order to weaken the power in the Republika Srpska and support the strengthening of the role of Muslims and Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina.  In the West, they want to support financially any protest actions against Serbian President Milorad Dodik.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): RT Russian
Reported by:
Disproof note:

Conspiracy theory.

The European Union does not finance anti-government rallies. The funding that will be available through the Civil society facility and media programme  is aimed at strengthening cooperation and dialogue between the government and civil society in Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is in fact meant to assist governments in the country to better include civil society organisations into the decision and policy-making and improve/develop their strategic documents defining cooperation with civil society and social partners (e.g. employees, employers).

Read more cases about the Western Balkans.

 

Keywords: Democracy
Countries: Bosnia and Herzegovina, EU
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The European Union was created by Washington as an anti-Russian project
Additional details: The history of the European Union shows that this organisation was never conceived in the interest of the European people, but against Russia. When the USSR was dissolved in 1991, Washington decided to transform the organisation in Brussels into a supra-national structure and introduce the nations of the Warsaw Pact, placing this anti-Russian « European Union » under the protection of NATO, and forbidding it any political role.The European Union has never fought for peace, but only for its Anglo-Saxon masters.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): Oriental Review
Reported by:
Disproof note:

Recurring pro-Kremlin narrative on the United States, dictating EU and member state policies. Similar examples can be found here and here.

Keywords: EU elections 2019
Countries: United States, Europe
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Ukraine wants to place nuclear mines on the border with Russia
Additional details: Ukraine wants to install nuclear mines along the length of the entire border with Russia. The location of mines should be recognised as a state secret, because Ukraine can develop its own nuclear weapons without any obstacles.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): Gazeta.ru
Reported by:
Disproof note:

There is no Ukrainian state program that would involve the creation of nuclear weapons.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Ukraine gained the third largest nuclear arsenal in the world: 176 intercontinental ballistic missiles and strategic bombers capable of carrying nuclear weapons.  However, in December 1994, Kyiv signed the Budapest Memorandum.  This international document provided security guarantees in exchange for the renunciation of nuclear weapons.  The guarantors of the memorandum are the United States, United Kingdom and Russia.

In the same year, in 1994, the export of nuclear missiles from Ukraine to Russia began.  The process lasted two years.  The last Ukrainian nuclear warhead was exported to Russia in the summer of 1996.  Ukraine completely lost its nuclear status in 2001, when it dismantled the latest mine-launch facility of intercontinental solid-fuel missiles.  Since then, Ukraine does not possess any nuclear weapons.

Consistent with recurring pro-Kremling disinfomation narrative on encircled Russia.

Keywords: Nuclear issues
Countries: Russia, Ukraine
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Intelligence services are behind the fire at the Notre-Dame cathedral
Additional details:
The fire at the Notre-Dame of Paris is probably the work of intelligence services.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): Sputnik.md
Fr.sputniknews.com
Reported by:
Disproof note:

Conspiracy theory without any evidence. The police investigation into the Notre Dame fire shows that it was most likely due to a short circuit in a temporary elevator used for the renovation works. Arson was not confirmed by any evidence.

Read other disinformation cases on Notre Dame fire here.

Keywords: Notre Dame
Countries: France
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The Ukrainian election is full of massive election manipulations and falsifications
Additional details: The Ukrainian election is full of massive election manipulations and falsifications.

The massive election manipulations and falsifications of Petro Poroshenko are certainly no secret in Germany.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): RT Deutsch
Reported by:
Disproof note:

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the Ukrainian elections. See here for the summary of disinformation around presidential elections in Ukraine.

The presidential election in Ukraine was competitive and held with respect for fundamental freedoms, the international observers concluded in a preliminary statement published after the second round of elections.

Rebecca Harms, Head of the delegation from the European Parliament for the second round of elections, said: “I would like to congratulate the citizens of Ukraine for their deep commitment to democracy, demonstrated in competitive elections in which they had a free choice".

Moreover, the OSCE PA Election Observation Mission in Ukraine has declared that the first round of the presidential elections in Ukraine was competitive, and citizens had the opportunity to freely express their will. "We can admit that there were definitely competitive elections and the opportunity to vote for the candidate the citizens wanted to elect was provided", the OSCE Special Coordinator, OSCE PA Honorary President Ilkka Kanerva said.

Following the first round of the presidential elections in Ukraine, the same position was announced by the Head of the EP election observation mission for the first round of elections Dariusz Rosati. According to him, these elections were definitely competitive, since no candidate could be clearly identified as the likely winner.

 

 

Keywords: election meddling, Manipulated elections/referendum, Petro Poroshenko, Elections
Countries: Ukraine
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