It has been an eventful couple of weeks for the Kremlin’s disinformation machine, with several inconvenient topics – from the United States’ withdrawal from the Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, to Robert Mueller’s congressional testimony, to RT’s £200,000 regulatory fine in the UK – all making international headlines and not looking good for the Kremlin. Besides seeking to manipulate the debate on these topics, the pro-Kremlin also produced an unusually diverse (and at times truly bizarre) set of disinformation cases. Was it the heatwave, or a full moon? Who knows. But put on your seatbelt, because this is going to be a wild ride!

The INF Treaty

On August 2nd, the United States officially withdrew from the INF Treaty, following Russia’s deployment of the SSC-8 missile system, which is nuclear-capable, mobile, hard to detect, and lowers the threshold for the use of nuclear weapons in armed conflict. In a press conference on the day, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg stressed that “all NATO Allies agree that these missiles violate the INF Treaty”, and that Russia has pursued the development and fielding of these systems despite years of engagement by the US and other Allies. He added that all NATO Allies support the US decision to withdraw given Russia’s continued violations, and that Russia therefore “bears the sole responsibility for the demise of the Treaty.”

But the pro-Kremlin media dutifully spins a completely different reality. In this alternate universe, nothing is ever Russia’s fault – on the contrary, the Kremlin actively tries to act in good faith and do the right thing, but is constantly victimised and scapegoated by the evil, power-hungry West.

This week, the pro-Kremlin media predictably dedicated its efforts to spinning just such an alternate reality about the demise of the INF Treaty. Apparently, there is no evidence that Russia violated its terms – in “fact”, the missile in question has a range of less than 500km, and is therefore compliant with the Treaty. The United States is thus solely to blame – Washington withdrew from the Treaty unilaterally, abandoning a fundamental agreement for global stability and security. It was the US, not Russia, which persistently avoided a dialogue to resolve problems within the INF framework. Washington specifically wanted to end the Treaty because it is developing its own novel missile system in order to boost the American military-industrial complex!

 

 

Disinfo Hall of Fame

If you’ve read this far, here’s your reward – the ten wildest cases from the last two weeks.

1. The Skripal case was invented to distract from British paedophilia scandals, which Theresa May covered up when she was Home Secretary!

2. All high-ranking politicians in the Baltic states are implicated in paedophilia. Makes them easier to control.

3. Tinder is planning to warn its users that Poland is dangerous for the LGBT community. Even though earlier this year, Warsaw held one of its largest ever pride marches, with another major LGBT demonstration just a few weeks ago.

4. The US controls Al-Qaeda and ISIS/Daesh. Don’t look so surprised! Everyone knows the Americans have been managing global terrorism since the end of the 20th century.

5. NATO is planning to attack and occupy Turkey. It was behind all the coup attempts, too!

6. A Romanian murder suspect was trafficking girls to NATO soldiers stationed at the Deveselu base. Better hide yo kids, hide yo wife!

7. The US and Anglo-Saxons are promoting a global totalitarian caste system. It’s disguised as “liberalism”!

8. Stalin established the independent Polish state after WWII. Same with Hungary, Czechoslovakia, and Romania – these countries all owe their independence to Stalin!

9. The US and NATO are involved in organ trafficking. Apparently invading and occupying an ally isn’t their only criminal pursuit (see #5).

And finally, we saved the best for last:

10. Russia is the most liberal country, where everyone who isn’t lazy has the opportunity to speak!

This is where sarcasm fails. Tell that to the hundreds of peaceful protesters arrested in Moscow over the last week for demanding fair elections. To Boris and Inga, the young couple viciously beaten by riot police. To the parents who face losing custody of their toddler for bringing him to an opposition rally. And to Olga Misik, the teenage girl arrested for reading aloud Russia’s constitution – which affirms the right to peaceful gatherings.

There is no evidence that Russia violated the INF Treaty
Additional details: No evidence thus far has been provided that Russia violated the INF Treaty. The most important treaty for Europe's stability and security was therefore ended for no reason. The European Union, in which France and Germany play a leading role, distanced itself from this fact and sided with the United States, as though Europe's security is of no consequence. The EU should have taken more decisive action to save the INF.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): Sputnik
Reported by:
Disproof note:

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the INF Treaty. Extensive evidence has been provided of Russia's violations 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 the agreement. In July 2014, then-US President Obama officially accused Russia of testing a missile in violation of the INF Treaty, which prohibits the US or Russia from possessing, producing or test-flying ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with a range  between 500 and 5500 kilometres.

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 the United States has remained in full compliance with its obligations under the INF Treaty since it entered into force and 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 and NATO have repeatedly engaged with Russia to preserve the INF treaty.

It is also false to claim that the EU did not take action to preserve the INF. 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. Previously, the EU also called on the US to consider the consequences of its withdrawal from the INF for its own security, the security of its allies, and that of the whole world.

For background on pro-Kremlin myths on the INF Treaty see here. For more cases about the INF, see here.

Keywords: INF Treaty, Missile defence system
Countries: US, Russia
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Skripal case was invented to cover up paedophilia scandals in the UK
Additional details: The Skripal scandal began when it became known that Theresa May, the former prime minister of the UK, covered up paedophilia scandals back when she was a Home Secretary.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): Grani Formata @ Sputnik Belarus time 04:18 - 05:30
Reported by:
Disproof note:

Conspiracy theory, repeating one of the many pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives about the Skripal poisoning.

The disinformation message implicitly refers to the so called Westminster paedophile dossier which was assembled by the British Member of Parliament Geoffrey Dickens. It was suggested that some of the files concerning paedophiles allegedly associated with the British government were deliberately destroyed or disregarded by the Home Office. It is groundless to allege that Theresa May attempted to cover the paedophile claims because it was she as Home Secretary who in 2014 triggered further inquiries on whether the Home Office failed to act on allegations made by MP Dickens in 1980s.

Writing in the Daily Telegraph in March 2015, Theresa May said the public were yet to grasp the full scale of the problem and called it a "once-in-a-generation opportunity" to examine the institutional child abuse in the UK.

The disinformation messages implying UK government conspiracy behind the Skripal case are frequently used by the pro-Kremlin media to obfuscate Russian involvement in the Skripal poisoning.

 

 

Keywords: Sergei Skripal, Theresa May, Boris Johnson, Conspiracy
Countries: UK, Russia
More
The Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact did not violate the rights of the Polish state
Additional details: Polish authorities once again showed their Russophobic nature by not inviting Russia to the celebrations of the 80th anniversary of the outbreak of World War II. Polish side, as always, accuses Russia of signing the non-aggression pact [the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact] in August 1939, even though it was repeatedly proven that this document did not violate the rights of the Polish state.

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

This message is part of the Kremlin’s policy of historical revisionism and an attempt to portray Russia's role in the World War II as not aggressive - see another example referring to Ribbentrop-Molotov pact here.

It is a proven historical fact that the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact contained the Secret Supplementary Protocol, which assumed the division of Poland and other Eastern European countries between the USSR and Germany. Thus, the signing of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact directly caused the German and Soviet military aggression against Poland in September 1939, which resulted in complete occupation of this country by Germany and USSR.

See similar examples of the Russian historical revisionism concerning Poland here and here.

Keywords: Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, Historical revisionism, WWII
Countries: Poland, USSR, Russia
More
The United States controls and manages Al-Qaeda and ISIS
Additional details: The Americans have been successfully managing global terrorism since the end of the 20th century – starting with  Al-Qaeda and ending with ISIS.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): Sputnik Polska
Reported by:
Disproof note:

No evidence given. This message is a wide-spread conspiracy theory that the United States established many terrorist organizations and that it has full control over global terrorism. Examples of similar messages are here, here and here.

Keywords: Al-Qaeda, Terrorism, Conspiracy, Daesh
Countries: US
More
France and Germany aim to use immigration as a weapon to weaken Italy economically and blackmail it politically
Additional details: France and Germany aim to use immigration as a weapon to weaken Italy economically and blackmail it politically in order to punish Italy because Italian voters refuse to follow EU rules imposed by Paris and Berlin.  France and Germany seek to transform Italy into a refugee camp.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): Sputnik Italia
Reported by:
Disproof note:

Conspiracy theory, no evidence given. Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about mass immigration being used as a weapon by powerful Western elites to weaken and destabilize Italy and/or other European countries. Another common pro-Kremlin narrative is that the Franco-German axis allegedly controls the EU (examples here, here and here), and, in this particular case, seeks to undermine Italy’s national interests.

Many EU countries – including France and Germany – are becoming increasingly aware that mass irregular migration poses a serious challenge for Europe as a whole, not just for individual member states.   Italy, where most migrants end up if they make it across the Mediterranean, is demanding that the rest of the EU share its burden.

The June 2018 EU summit recognized the need for a common European policy to control and regulate migration flows, which should include measures aimed at tightening Europe’s external borders and providing support to countries of origin.

At the recent 22 July EU summit in Paris, France and Germany launched a new initiative to form a group of EU countries willing to systematically share the resettlement of migrants rescued in the Mediterranean. 14 countries have agreed to join this group.

For further background on EU migration and asylum policies see here and here.

For more disinfo cases on migration, see here.

 

Keywords: migration, Refugees, Secret elites / global elites, Migration crisis, Europe
Countries: Italy, Germany, France
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Ukrainian gunboats did not respond to the legitimate request to stop
Additional details: On the 25th of November 2018 three Ukrainian gunboats Berdyansk, Nikopol and Yany Kapu, crossed the Russian maritime border in the Kerch Strait and were seized by Russia because they did not respond to the legitimate request to stop.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): Sputnik Italia
Reported by:
Disproof note:

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation 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.

At a meeting in Hamburg on 25 May, the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea  ordered Russia  to immediately release 24 captured Ukrainian servicemen, and also to return to the control of Ukraine warships Berdyansk, Nikopol and Yany-Kapu. The court also stated that it did not find evidence of the Russian version of a provocation by Ukraine in the Kerch Strait.

More cases about the Kerch Strait incident are available here.

Keywords: Azov sea, Kerch, Black Sea
Countries: Russia, Ukraine
More
EU institutions are merely tools to impose Franco-German hegemony over Europe
Additional details: EU institutions are merely tools used by Paris and Berlin to impose Franco-German hegemony over Europe.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): Sputnik Italia
Reported by:
Disproof note:

Conspiracy theory and a recurring pro-Kremlin narrative asserting that the EU is controlled by Germany and France and that the Berlin-Paris axis dominates other EU members (see examples here, here and here).

The EU is governed by the principle of representative democracy with citizens directly represented at Union level in the European Parliament and Member States represented in the European Council and the Council of the EU. The European Commission has a monopoly on the initiative in EU law-making and represents the Community interest.

Keywords: Europe
Countries: Italy, Germany, France
More
Tinder will warn its users that Poland is a country dangerous for LGBT community
Additional details: Tinder will warn its users that Poland is a country dangerous for LGBT community. A popular global dating application Tinder introduced “Traveller Alert”, which will warn its users about the countries potentially dangerous for representatives of the LGBT community. About 70 countries, such as Afghanistan, Tanzania, and Poland, are on the list.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): Sputnik Polska
Reported by:
Disproof note:

The story is based on the article by The Independent, which, even though it mentions the current situation in Poland, does not say that Poland is on the Tinder's list of countries unsafe for the LGBT community.

The Tinder Traveller Alert will warn its LGBT users about countries that continue to enforce prejudiced laws against LGBT persons. Tinder will use the list of about 70 countries with anti-LGBT laws – this list was prepared by the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA). This ILGA map presents the countries, where the Tinder Travel Alert will be on (red colour) – Poland is not among these countries. The full ILGA report on the state-sponsored homophobia is available here.

See here for other examples of pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives regarding the LGBT community.

Keywords: LGBT
Countries: Poland
More
Voters, the EU Parliament and national parliaments are disregarded by EU Commission
Additional details: The EU has not yet abolished elections, but it is on the way to do so. It has been proved many times that the EU is not interested in the will of the voters. Votes are repeated until the result is right, referenda and election decisions are ignored.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): RT Deutsch
Reported by:
Disproof note:

The EU is not planning to abolish elections. This is a conspiracy theory and a recurring pro-Kremlin narrative, which aims to portray the EU as a disintegrating bloc, overseen by a bureaucracy bringing harm to EU citizens and the sovereignty of its member states.

The EU is governed by the principle of representative democracy, with citizens directly represented at Union level in the European Parliament and Member States represented in the European Council and the Council of the EU.

 

Keywords: European Parliament, European Commission, EU disintegration
Countries: EU
More
The strategic aim of the UK Conservative party is Russia's collapse
Additional details: Boris Johnson will hardly become Russia's friend because the Conservative Party has made a strategic bet, that if something should crumble in the East, they would become the masters. Britain will continue to spare no expense to rock the the political situation in Russia and around it.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): Grani Formata @ Sputnik Belarus time 00:05 - 00:26
Reported by:
Disproof note:

Conspiracy theory consistent with a recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the West encircling Russia.

See similar disinformation cases about Western "Great Turan" doctrine aimed at creating a ring of unfriendly states along Russia's southern border,  anti-Russian plan for an "Anaconda ring", Western attempts to break Russia up into a few nominally independent states.

 

Keywords: Boris Johnson, Encircling Russia
Countries: UK, Russia
More
In the Baltic States Russophobia and neo-Nazism are established at the state level
Additional details: In the Baltic States Russophobia is established at the state level. The Baltic States propagate neo-Nazi ideas, persecute human rights defenders, close down media outlets. All of this resembles pre-war Nazi Germany.

 

 
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): Grani Formata @ Sputnik Belarus time 2:20 - 3:00
Reported by:
Disproof note:

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about Russophobia and Nazism in the Baltic countries.

The disinformation message appeared after Latvia blocked the access to the Baltnews portal. The decision citing EU sanctions to Russia was made after Latvian ministry of foreign affairs indicated that the portal belongs to the Rossiya Segodnya news agency, which is headed by Dmitry Kiselyov, who is on the EU’s list of sanctioned persons. Other Baltic States also recognize Baltnews portals as Russia's state financed propaganda media outlets. (See National Threat Assessment 2017 by the Lithuanian State Security Department).

See earlier disinformation cases alleging that the Baltic states openly glorify Nazism and that Russophobia is the main export of Lithuania.

Keywords: Russophobia, Conspiracy, Nazi/Fascist
Countries: Russia, Baltic states
More
Russia is the most liberal country where everyone has the opportunity to speak
Additional details: Russia is the most liberal country where everyone who is not lazy has the opportunity to speak. Meanwhile, in the advanced so-called Western countries, media are closed and they don’t accredit those who don’t please them.
Language / Targeted audience:
Link to the disinformation: radiovesti.ru/brand/60948/episode/2187622/
Disinforming outlet(s): Polnyi kontakt @ Vesti FM time 30:48-31:10
Reported by:
Disproof note:

Recurring pro-Kremlin narrative aimed at portraying the West as depraved, and Russia as the superior country.

According to the 2019 World Press Freedom Index, Russia is in 149th place out of 180 countries.

"Leading independent news outlets have either been brought under control or throttled out of existence. As TV channels continue to inundate viewers with propaganda, the climate has become very oppressive for those who question the new patriotic and neoconservative discourse, or just try to maintain quality journalism. More journalists are now in prison than at any time since the fall of the Soviet Union and more and more bloggers are being jailed", the report claims.

Furthermore, according to Freedom House, Russia is not free country.

"Pervasive, hyper-patriotic propaganda and political repression, particularly since the Russian forces’ invasion of Ukraine in 2014, have had a cumulative impact on open and free private discussion, and the chilling effect is exacerbated by growing state efforts to control expression on the internet. The government’s surveillance capabilities have increased significantly in recent years, and while most citizens are not subject to regular state supervision, authorities are thought to monitor the activities and personal communications of activists, journalists, and opposition members, according to the human rights organisation Agora".

Keywords: Media, Russian world
Countries: Russia
More
The US created NATO to keep European states in the bridle
Additional details: The US created NATO to keep European states in the bridle. And it works very well. They (USA) are dragging NATO into all the hot spots which they are fueling. They demand that the military of other NATO countries be ahead or near them.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): Sputnik Armenia [0:20 - 0:50]
Reported by:
Disproof note:

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about NATO and US presence in Europe.

On 4 April 1949, the foreign ministers from 12 countries, including the United States, signed the North Atlantic Treaty creating NATO. At the heart of the Alliance has always been collective defence and security of all its members. All NATO decisions are made by consensus, after discussion and consultation among member countries. Allies decide whether to engage in a crisis management operation on a case-by-case basis and by consensus.

 

Keywords: US presence in Europe, NATO
Countries: US, Europe
More
The Ukrainian reforms of 2014 led to total degradation
Additional details: In Ukraine, the regime changed in 2014. What happened in return? The degradation of the economy and the degradation of all basic life indicators. Except one: citizens of Ukraine have the opportunity to flee their country without visas.
Language / Targeted audience:
Link to the disinformation: radiovesti.ru/brand/60948/episode/2187652/
Disinforming outlet(s): Polnyi kontakt @ Vesti FM time 23:55-24:15
Reported by:
Disproof note:

The recurring pro-Kremlin narrative on Ukraine, its economy, and how it was ruined after 2014.

It's not the reforms of 2014, but the annexation of Crimea in March 2014, the war in Donbas, which started in April 2014, and the loss of Ukraine's largest trading partner, Russia, resulting in Ukraine's economy shrinking by 6,8% in 2014.

However, according to the International Monetary Fund, the growth rate of Ukraine's gross domestic product has been around 3 percent a year for the last three years, and the IMF predicts a similar rate even for the long term.

Keywords: Ukraine, economy
Countries: Ukraine
More
Ukrainian secret service manipulated a sound recording in the MH17 investigation
Additional details: The Ukrainian secret service manipulated a sound recording in the MH17 investigation.

As an indication of the manipulation, the Malaysian expert mentions the noise level in the sound recording: "That is manipulated. The noise level differs from this audio track. See this soundtrack, the noise level differs in this part. It is lower here and higher here".

Audio parts had been cut together. There are also many sections that have been cut out. "That is clear, you can see that, the lack of parts of the audio recording," the analyst added.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): Sputnik Deutschland
Reported by:
Disproof note:

No evidence presented. A recurring pro-Kremlin narrative on Flight MH17.

The Dutch-led Joint Investigation Team has concluded that flight MH17 was shot down on 17 July 2014 by a missile of the 9M38 series, launched by a BUK-TELAR, from farmland in the vicinity of Pervomaiskyi. At that time, the area was controlled by pro-Russian fighters. The BUK-TELAR was brought in from the territory of the Russian Federation and subsequently, after having shot down flight MH17, was taken back to the Russian Federation.

In 2018, Bellingcat confirmed that the BUK missile launcher which hit the airline near Donetsk was brought from Russia. 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.

Since July 2014, Russian authorities have been conducting a disinformation campaign, in which, together with the media they directly and indirectly control with the aim of covering up the truth about who shot down Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 over Eastern Ukraine.

See similar disinformation that Ukraine conceals recordings of the Malaysian Boeing flight controllers’ conversation debunked by StopFake here.

See more on the investigation of the MH17 catastrophe by Bellingcat here.

Keywords: Eastern Ukraine, War in Ukraine, Donbas, MH17
Countries: Malaysia, Russia, Ukraine, The Netherlands
More
All high-ranking politicians in the Baltic states are likely implicated in paedophilia
Additional details: One can assume that in the Baltic States politicians are not given access to big politics unless they have some involvement in paedophilia, because this is a method of control. No one needs people who are not easy to control there.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): Grani Formata @ Sputnik Belarus time 05:37 - 06:40.
Reported by:
Disproof note:

The disinformation message consistent with recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives about lost sovereignty of the Baltic States and Western moral decay.

See earlier disinformation cases alleging that necrophilia and bestiality are accepted norms in Sweden, Germany and Denmark and that Europe is close to legalising paedophilia. A collection of earlier paedophilia-related disinformation cases can be seen here.

Keywords: Sergei Skripal, European values
Countries: UK, Baltic states
More
Poland pursues aggressive regional project Intermarium
Additional details: Polish foreign policy in Central and Eastern Europe reflects its plans to take Belarus and Ukraine under control and to create a buffer zone between Poland and Russia. In his inaugural speech, Polish president Andrzej Duda announced plans to revive Intermarium, a sanitary cordon in Eastern Europe under Poland's aegis. This idea is actively promoted by Poland-based Belsat TV channel which broadcasts to the Belarusian population. The harsh criticism of Nazi collaborators by Belarusian writer Yakub Kolas can be applied to present-time Belarusian promoters of Polish ideas.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): Imhoclub.by, Sozh.info, BelVPO
Reported by:
Disproof note:

This message is a conspiracy theory consistent with recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation about Poland's hostile plans towards Belarus and its imperial ambitions. It is also aimed to discredit Belarusian independent media, Belsat TV channel in particular, by drawing parallels with Nazi collaborators. A series of TV programmes by Belsat TV channel, titled Intermarium, discuss Belarusian historical events rather than promote Polish imperialist ideology as alleged.

In his inaugural speech, Polish president Andrzej Duda did not voice plans to revive a buffer zone in Eastern Europe under Polish patronage, as alleged. Speaking about the importance to have good neighbourly relations, Duda said: "We have to talk to our partners in Central and Eastern Europe, to the north of the Baltic Sea basin up to the Adriatic Sea." Nowhere in his speech did the Polish president refer to a buffer zone.

The disinformation claim seems to be based on conspiratorial interpretation of the Three Seas Initiative. Among other things Duda mentioned it in his interview to the Polish Press Agency a day before inaugural speech saying: "I am thinking of establishing a partnership bloc stretching from the Baltic Sea to the Black and Adriatic Seas."

The Three Seas Initiative, also known as the Baltic, Adriatic, Black Sea (BABS) Initiative, is a forum of twelve states in the European Union, located in Central and Eastern Europe: Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia. The initiative aims to create a regional dialogue on a variety of questions affecting the member states, primarily transport, energy, and digital.

See earlier disinformation cases alleging that Poland plans to take over Minsk after extensive subversive activities in Belarus, that Polish authorities and population dream of taking over most of Belarus' territory, and that Russian takeover of Crimea prevented Polish coup d'état in Belarus.

Keywords: Anti-Russian, Conspiracy, Nazi/Fascist
Countries: Poland, Russia, Ukraine, Belarus
More
The murder suspect from Caracal supplies girls to NATO soldiers
Additional details: New information emerges in the case of the horrific crimes in Caracal, which scandalised, horrified and terrified a whole country.

According to the local press, the man was part of a network that "supplies" girls to American soldiers at Deveselu.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): Sputnik.md, Aparatorul.md
Reported by:
Disproof note:

A new take on attempts to manipulate and misconstrue the role of the missile defense system in Deveselu and the personnel staffing it.

DIICOT (Direction for the Investigation of Organised Crime and Terrorism Offences) Romania officially denied the claims published by a local newspaper from Olt, according to which a rape and murder suspect had been investigated for supplying girls to the American military in Deveselu. Mihaela Porime, spokesperson for DIICOT, told G4Media.ro that the information is not true.

This is not the first time pro-Kremlin media uses fake stories to discredit NATO troops. See the "fake rape" story in Lithuania.

 

Keywords: Organised crime, NATO
Countries: Romania, US
More
US withdrew from the INF under the excuse that Russia refused to destroy the 9M-729 missile
Additional details: For years, Washington has avoided a dialogue to solve the problems within the framework of the INF Treaty. The US claim that Russia violated the agreement is totally unfounded, and the US withdrawal from the INF, under the excuse that [Russia] refused to destroy the 9M-729 missile, is totally unacceptable.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): Sputnik Serbia
Reported by:
Disproof note:

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about 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 the agreement. 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 or Russia from possessing, producing or test-flying ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with a range of between 500 and 5500 kilometres.

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 the United States has remained in full compliance with its obligations under the INF Treaty since it entered into force and that Russia has developed and fielded a missile system, the 9M729, which violates the INF Treaty and poses significant risks to Euro-Atlantic security."

US and NATO have repeatedly engaged with Russia to preserve the INF treaty. For background on pro-Kremlin myths on the INF Treaty see here.

Keywords: INF Treaty, Russia's Ministry of Defence, Vladimir Putin
Countries: US, Russia
More
Trump and Biden see NATO as an instrument worn on the finger of the United States
Additional details: Donald Trump and Joe Biden treat NATO as an instrument worn on the finger of the United States. Only Biden really wants to return to the situation of Obama, making NATO a totalitarian pig that completely follows the United States and does what the United States wants.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): Vremya Pokazhet @ Channel 1 time 12:05 - 12:46
Reported by:
Disproof note:

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative, portraying NATO as a dependent organisation, a threat to peace, and having a belligerent agenda.

All decisions in NATO are taken by consensus, which means that any decision can only be taken if every single Ally accepts it. Equally, the decision for any country to take part in NATO-led operations falls to that country alone, according to its legal procedures. No member of the Alliance can decide on the deployment of any other Ally's forces.

The United States is one of 12 founding members of NATO and plays a crucial role in European and transatlantic security. Nor Donald Trump, nor Joe Biden treat NATO as a puppet, and have not made similar statements.

Keywords: Donald Trump, Joe Biden, NATO, Warmongering
Countries: US, International
More
Russophobia has become a normal thing in Ukraine
Additional details: Russophobia has become a normal thing in Ukraine, even outside of politics. Cultural and educational exchanges, as well as contacts between relatives, have almost been forbidden.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): Vremya Pokazhet @Channel One TV time 47:45-48:12
Reported by:
Disproof note:

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about Russophobia in Ukraine.

Ukraine is not a fascist, Russophobic country as often claimed by the Kremlin media. It had to react to Russia’s annexation of Crimea and the war in Donbas. However, Ukraine has not forbidden contacts between citizens of Ukraine and Russia, as well as sports, cultural, scientific or other exchange. The borders [with Russia] are open. It still has direct bus and train connections with Moscow and Saint-Petersburg.

1.464 million Russian citizens visited Ukraine in 2017, placing Russia in third place behind Moldova and Belarus. The majority of Russian citizens came to Ukraine on private trips. 31,140 of Russians came as part of cultural, scientific, and educational exchanges.

Ukrainians are also visiting Russia. In 2017, 4.4 million Ukrainian citizens crossed the border with the Russian Federation.

Keywords: Ukraine, Anti-Russian, Russophobia
Countries: Russia, Ukraine
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Anything bad for Russia is good for modern Polish elites
Additional details: Тhe collapse of the USSR was a blow to Russia. The USSR represented Russia, even though there were many countries in it. And for the modern Polish elites, what is bad for Russia, is, in general, good.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): Sputnik Armenia time 0:35-1:10
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Disproof note:

One of the recurring Pro-Kremlin narratives Elites vs. People, describing Polish elites as Russophobic. Russophobia is often used in pro-Kremlin disinformation as well. Similar cases can be found here and here.

This statement appeared after the head of the European Council Donald Tusk posted on Twitter: “The collapse of the Soviet Union was NOT the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the century. The USSR collapse was a blessing to Georgians, Poles, Ukrainians and the whole of Central and Eastern Europe. And also to Russians."

Poland is a frequent target of Russian propaganda, which portrays Poland as anti-Russian and aggressivetoward Russia.

Keywords: USSR, Secret elites / global elites
Countries: Poland, USSR
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USSR was not going to divide Poland
Additional details: It is often said that Stalin or the Soviet government entered into a treaty with Germany in order to divide Poland and seize the Baltic states. Thе treaty was signed on the basis of national interests. But USSR had neither documents nor facts showing that Hitler would definitely attack Poland. There were intelligence reports - this was assumed, but there was no certainty. USSR certainly was not going to divide Poland.
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Disinforming outlet(s): Sputnik Armenia
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Disproof note:

A recurring disinformation narrative revising the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact.

Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact (the Treaty of Non-Aggression between Germany and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics) was signed on August 23, 1939. To the public pact of nonaggression was appended a secret protocol, which divided the whole of eastern Europe into German and Soviet spheres of influence. Poland east of the line formed by the Narew, Vistula, and San rivers would fall under the Soviet sphere of influence. The protocol also assigned Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, and Finland to the Soviet sphere of influence.

In 1989, the Soviet Congress of People's Deputies condemned these protocols: "The content of this treaty did not diverge with the norms of international law. However, during the signing of the treaty and in the process of its ratification the signature of an "additional secret protocol", which delimited the "areas of interest" of the parties from the Baltic to the Black Sea, from Finland to Bessarabia, was hidden."

The original documents were burned by the Nazis at the end of the war, but a microfilm copy was saved and turned over to British and American authorities, who revealed its contents. Read more about this in the New York Times article.

More about the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact: The Night Stalin and Hitler Redrew the Map of Europe (RFERL) and Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact: A 'honeymoon' for two dictators (Deutsche Welle).

Keywords: Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, Historical revisionism, WWII
Countries: Poland, USSR, Germany
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Migrants exhaust European budgets and bring waves of organised crime
Additional details: Europe is being infused with foreign values when they accept migrants, values like multiculturalism and demographic change.  [Migrants] exhaust European budgets and bring waves of organised crime. All of this has damaged Europe.
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Link to the disinformation: www.youtube.com/watch?v=5-H-fMyspJc
Disinforming outlet(s): Newsmaker@RT Arabic Time 7:45 to 8:15
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A claim supported by no evidence, in line with the Islamisation of Europe disinformation narrative; most studies on this issue have found either no link between migration and crime rates, or found links that could at best be described as tenuous.

This type of claim is part of a recurrent Russian narrative against migration and multiculturalism portraying migrants and refugees as a great source of danger. See here and here for examples.

As for exhausting the budget, a 2017 EU report found that the negative impact of asylum-applicants on EU budgets are only short-term and once the asylum-applicants are integrated in the labour market, they in fact offer social, economic and budgetary gains.

Keywords: migration, Refugees
Countries: Europe
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NATO is preparing colour revolutions in several CSTO countries
Additional details: NATO forces are preparing colour revolutions in some Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO) countries to put Western-controlled regimes in power. The goal of the Atlantic Alliance is to seed discord among the members of the CSTO and cooperating with NATO always implies an anti-Russian element.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): Sputnik Spanish
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Disproof note:

Six countries are full members of CSTO: Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan, with Afghanistan and Serbia as observer states. No evidence is provided to support the claim that NATO is working on fomenting protests in of any of them.

The alleged preparation of ‘colour revolutions’ to destabilise non-Western countries and take Western-backed leaders to power is a recurrent Russian disinformation narrative, frequently used to justify the persecution against domestic opposition. There are variations to this narrative, claiming that the force behind the ‘colour revolutions’ is either the US, NATO or George Soros, but it is often used to discredit popular protests all over the world, from Hong Kong to Georgia to Venezuela, and to justify the governments taking strong actions against them.

Keywords: Colour revolutions, NATO
Countries: Russia
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NATO promised Russia it would not expand to the East
Additional details: NATO promised Russia it would not expand to the East.

Russia has interest in stability between Lisbon and Vladivostok - not in wars. But Russia does not accept that NATO is expanding further and further eastwards. If one speaks of provocation and escalation dominance, it is NATO that is expanding eastwards, contrary to what was promised in 1990.

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

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation that NATO had promised the Alliance would not expand to the East and that NATO is de facto aggressive.

NATO allies take decisions by consensus and these are recorded. There is no record of any decision been taken by NATO about putting a halt to enlargement to the East. Personal assurances from individual leaders cannot replace Alliance consensus and do not constitute formal NATO agreements. Moreover, at the time of the alleged promise, the Warsaw Pact still existed, which by definition could not mean joining NATO by them. Its members did not agree on its dissolution until 1991. This was confirmed by Mikhail Gorbachev himself in an interview with Russia Beyond the Headlines:

The topic of 'NATO expansion' was not discussed at all, and it wasn't brought up in those years. I say this with full responsibility. Not a single Eastern European country raised the issue, not even after the Warsaw Pact ceased to exist in 1991. Western leaders didn't bring it up either.

Furthermore, the claim about NATO "expansion" misrepresents the process of NATO enlargement. NATO does not "expand" but considers the applications of candidate countries which want to join.

See more disinformation cases on NATO.

Keywords: security threat, EU/NATO enlargement, Anti-Russian, Russophobia, NATO
Countries: Russia, The West
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The new Ukrainian parliament is not going to comply with the Minsk Agreements
Additional details: Firstly, we need Ukraine to be neutral. Ukraine, which will not join NATO. But it's necessary to raise another question. With the last elections, Ukraine completely cut off the Donbas. It is obvious that new Parliament will not comply with any Minsk agreements. It doesn't need it.
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Link to the disinformation: youtu.be/Vce1Q9S0fcA?t=3170
Disinforming outlet(s): Voskresnyi vecher s Vladimirom Solovyoivym @ Rossiya 1 time 52:50-53:41
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Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the Minsk agreements, portraying Ukraine as a primary violator of the cease-fire.

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

The EU has condemned systematic restrictions to the freedom of movement of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission, by Russia-backed armed formations in Southern Donetsk and non-government-controlled areas along the Russian border.

According to the latest reports by the OSCE Monitoring Mission to Ukraine, there are violations of the Minsk agreement on both sides of the conflict.

The analysis of the Atlantic Council shows, that the majority of violations can be attributed to Russia-backed armed formations.

Keywords: Ukraine, Donbas, Minsk agreements
Countries: Ukraine
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The Polish ruling elites are pursuing an anti-Russian policy
Additional details: The Polish leadership did not invite Russian President for events related to the 80th anniversary of the outbreak of World War II. Since 2015, the Polish elites have been represented by a new party that consistently stands the anti-Russian line. The current demarches of Warsaw do not have any logic.
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Disinforming outlet(s): Sputnik Armenia
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Disproof note:

One of the recurring Pro-Kremlin narratives Elites vs. People, describing particularly Polish elites as Anti-Russian. Poland is often targeted by Russian propaganda, which portrays Poland as anti-Russian and aggressive toward Russia.

The fact that Warsaw did not invite the Russian leader to celebrations was explained by the Polish leadership: "Invitations have been sent to the EU, NATO, and Eastern Partnership members, but not to Russia’s President Vladimir Putin. Invitations have been issued according to a contemporary, not a historical context."

Pro-Kremlin outlets often use WWII narratives, both to strengthen the myth of the Red Army, to accuse Poland of being an initiator of WWII, of history rewriting and of intention to destroy the world order.

Keywords: Anti-Russian, WWII
Countries: Poland, Russia
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The role of NATO is to increase the confrontation with Russia
Additional details: What is the role of NATO? To increase the confrontation with Russia. This is also a way to reply to its voters, "We have our usual enemy, and we wrap our war hysteria over our old enemy." Obviously, no one wants to go for war with Russia. However, to present Russia as a reincarnation of the "evil empire" is always welcomed.
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Disinforming outlet(s): Sputnik Armenia time 1:36-3:13
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Disproof note:

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about NATO attempting to encircle and weaken Russia.

North Atlantic Alliance, is an intergovernmental military alliance between 29 North American and European countries. NATO constitutes a system of collective defence whereby its independent member states agree to mutual defence in response to an attack by any external party.

Relations between the NATO and the Russian Federation were established in 1991 within the framework of the North Atlantic Cooperation Council. In 1994, Russia joined the Partnership for Peace program, and since that time, NATO and Russia have signed several important agreements on cooperation. For more than two decades, NATO has worked to build a partnership with Russia, developing dialogue and practical cooperation in areas of common interest.

NATO-Russian cooperation has been suspended since 2014 in response to Russia’s military intervention in Ukraine. Since then Russian officials have accused NATO of a series of threats and hostile actions. NATO's approach to Russia is defence and dialogue.

More about NATO can be read here.

Keywords: Encircling Russia, NATO
Countries: Russia
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By 2050 Germany will become a Muslim country
Additional details: By the year 2050 Germany will become a Muslim country.
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Disinforming outlet(s): Georgia and the World
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Disproof note:

No evidence given. Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about migrants and Islamisation, whose aim is to stoke amplify negative emotions towards immigrants. A similar case can be found here.

According to the Pew Research Centre's study, migration drives the projected increase in the Muslim shares in European countries, including Germany. Share of Muslims in Germany would increase to 10.8% in 2050 under the medium scenario, in which regular migration continues at its current pace and refugee flows stop entirely. Even in the high scenario, if the recent volume of refugee flows continues, the research says, the share of Muslims in the country will rise to 19.7%.

Keywords: migration, Islamisation
Countries: Germany
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WikiLeaks confirms that the video of the US Moon landing was staged
Additional details: WikiLeaks released a Moon landing cut scenes filmed in Nevada desert, confirming that the Americans have not been on the Moon.

The publication of the video is revenge for the arrest of Julian Assange by the UK authorities on Washington's orders.
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Disinforming outlet(s): Reporter (Topcor.ru)
KM.ru
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Disproof note:

WikiLeaks did not publish this video. The user who published the video on Youtube is promoting mainly conspiracy content on his account.

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.

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.

Keywords: Moon landing, Julian Assange, Conspiracy
Countries: US
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White Helmets created by Western intelligence, have links to terrorist organisations
Additional details: The White Helmets are supported by the West, helped by Israel, and are also moving freely in areas controlled by terrorist organisations, fabricating and falsifying news images and feeding on foreign money, while some say that it is the fruit of Western intelligence work
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Link to the disinformation: www.youtube.com/watch?v=mwzmFpZRD0k
Disinforming outlet(s): RT News@RT Arabic Time 1:07 to 1:44
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Disproof note:

Recurring pro-Kremlin narrative about the association of the White Helmets with terrorism in Syria.

The claim that the White Helmets are the creation of Western intelligence work” is unsubstantiated and constitutes a groundless conspiracy theory. 

The White Helmets are a volunteer search and rescue organization made up of a group of Syrian civilians who mobilized to help war casualties in Syria, namely injured civilians trapped under the rubble of destroyed buildings. The organisation - which is made up of 3,400 volunteers including teachers, engineers, tailors and firefighters - states that it has no affiliation to any political or military actor and is committed to render services to anyone in need.  

See herehere and here for background on Russian disinformation campaigns against the White Helmets. 

 

 

Keywords: White Helmets, Syrian War, Terrorism
Countries: West, Israel, Russia, Syria
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Nationalists, dissatisfied with the election results, gather in Kyiv
Additional details: Ukrainian nationalists did not agree with the voting results of the elections to the Verkhovna Rada. They refuse to accept the results in the 223rd election district in Kyiv and intend to defend their opinion to the end.
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Disinforming outlet(s): Moskovskyy Komsomolets
Reported by:
Disproof note:

Recurring Kremlin narrative about nationalists in Ukraine. The article in "Moskovskyy Komsomolets" is not referring to any specific source of information.

The information concerning people gathering in Kiev was refuted by representatives of the nationalist political party "Svoboda". Deputy of "Svoboda", Yuri Levchenko, who was nominated in the 223rd district, said: “I officially announce that at the moment there are only 2 of my representatives at the district election commission (because I don’t need more, so far).” A video showed that police near the 223rd district noted that everything was calm there. There were also no gatherings near the Verkhovna Rada.

Keywords: Ukraine, Elections
Countries: Ukraine
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Stalin decided to establish the independent Polish state
Additional details: Stalin, after the victory in WWII, did not decide to include new republics into the USSR. He decided to establish independent countries such as Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Romania - and Poland.

 
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Disinforming outlet(s): Sputnik Polska
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Disproof note:

This message is part of Russian historical revisionism and part of a disinformation campaign portraying Russia as the peace-maker and liberator. See other examples of Russian historical revisionism concerning Poland here, here and here.

The very fact that Stalin did not turn Poland, Hungary, Romania, etc. into new USSR republics does not mean that he ''established independent states'' in Eastern Europe after WWII. In fact, these countries were kept under repressive communist regime and unable to make independent political, economic and military decisions.

The Sovietization of Poland and other countries of the so-called Eastern Bloc after the WWII was accompanied by terror, nationalisation of industry, expropriation of privately owned land and restrictions of civil and political freedoms. The Warsaw Treaty Organisation (the Warsaw Pact) was the Soviet Union’s “external empire”, where people faced daily strife, including shortages of food and housing. Read more about life in Poland under communist rule.

 

Keywords: USSR, Historical revisionism
Countries: Poland, USSR
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Detention of a Russian tanker in Ukraine - Poroshenko's provocation
Additional details: The detention by the Security Service of Ukraine of the Russian tanker NEYMA in the Ukrainian port of Izmail is an act of provocation, blackmail and piracy from Ukraine.  The raid of the Ukrainian special services in the Black Sea was initiated by the fifth Ukrainian president, Petro Poroshenko, and the detention itself grossly violates international norms.
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Disinforming outlet(s): RT Russian, Iz.ru, Ukraina.ru
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This is a new take on a recurrent disinfornation narrative on the Kerch strait incident.

The detention of the Russian tanker in the Ukrainian territorial waters is a systematic response from Ukraine to the aggressive policy of the Kremlin in accordance with the laws of the country. The Security Service of Ukraine, together with the military prosecutor's office, detained the ship NEYMA due to the involvement of the tanker in the attack and the armed seizure of the crew of three Ukrainian warships in the Kerch Strait in November 2018.

The Russian ship entered the port of Izmail, Odesa region, on July 24 under a new name, NIKA SPIRIT. Ukrainian operatives found that the name of the tanker, along with the IMO-8895528 number, was intentionally changed. In fact, the serial number of the ship corresponds to the original name, NEYMA. Thus, the Russian authorities wanted to conceal the involvement of the tanker in the act of Russian aggression.

The crew of the NEYMA tanker was sent home, as it was established that these Russian sailors did not take part in the seizure of three Ukrainian warships in the Kerch Strait. So there were no violations of international norms and Ukrainian laws during the arrest.

The Security Service of Ukraine is directly subordinate to the President of Ukraine (Article 1) and is accountable to the Verkhovna Rada of the country (Article 31): for the time being, the orders of the SSU are no longer in the jurisdiction of the fifth head of state, Petro Poroshenko. After the elections and inauguration of Volodymyr Zelenskyy on May 20, Poroshenko has no influence on the state and law enforcement structures of Ukraine.

Keywords: Azov sea, Black Sea, Petro Poroshenko
Countries: Ukraine
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US destroyed global security
Additional details: A new arms race has been declared. The United States destroyed global security. Relying on its economic dominance, Washington expects Russia’s economy to collapse under a new arms race.
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Disinforming outlet(s): Voskresnyi Vecher s Vladimirom Solovyovym [2:11:46 - 2:13:02]
Reported by:
Disproof note:

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about 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 the agreement. 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 or Russia from possessing, producing or test-flying ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with a range of between 500 and 5500 kilometres.

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 the United States has remained in full compliance with its obligations under the INF Treaty since it entered into force and that Russia has developed and fielded a missile system, the 9M729, which violates the INF Treaty and poses significant risks to Euro-Atlantic security."

US and NATO have repeatedly engaged with Russia to preserve the INF treaty. For background on pro-Kremlin myths on the INF Treaty see here.

Keywords: INF Treaty
Countries: US, Russia
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Washington is entirely responsible for the termination of the INF treaty
Additional details: The United States launched a whole propaganda campaign to accuse Russia of violating the INF Treaty. Washington, itself, ignored the claims of the Russian side about violations of the INF treaty for many years. The American side has specifically undermined the viability of the treaty.
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Disinforming outlet(s): Izvestia, Ria.ru, Tsargrad, RT
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Disproof note:

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation 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 the agreement. 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 or Russia from possessing, producing or test-flying ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with a range of between 500 and 5500 kilometres.

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."

US and NATO have repeatedly engaged with Russia to preserve the INF treaty. For background on pro-Kremlin myths on the INF Treaty see here.

Keywords: INF Treaty
Countries: US, Russia
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UK media watchdog fines RT without court decision
Additional details: The UK media regulator Ofcom slapped RT with a £200,000 fine over its alleged breach of due impartiality rules, without waiting for the High Court in London to rule on the legality of the penalty.
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Disinforming outlet(s): Sputnik News
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Disproof note:

The report aims to undermine Ofcom's credibility and integrity by claiming that the body issued the fine without giving RT an opportunity to make its case in court.

This is false. The document detailing the sanction decision explicitly states that Ofcom "will not enforce the sanction […] until those proceedings are concluded" (p. 2).

See here for a related debunk.

Keywords: Russia Today (RT), Anti-Russian, Media
Countries: UK, Russia
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Russian 9M729 missile does not violate INF Treaty
Additional details: The Russian 9M729 missile has a range of under 500km, and is therefore compliant with the INF Treaty.
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Disinforming outlet(s): RT (rt.com)
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Disproof note:

Recurring disinformation narratives on the INF Treaty.

The US has gathered detailed information on Russia’s flight-testing of the 9M792 missile to distances well over 500 kilometres. The US has provided Moscow with substantial information about the 9M729’s violations, including geographic coordinates and dates for the tests, but Russia continues to deny any wrongdoing.

The INF (Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces) Treaty, signed in 1987, prohibits the US and Russia from possessing, producing or test-flying ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges between 500 km and 5500 km.

In January 2019, Sputnik Italia all but conceded that the 9M729's technical specifications violate the provisions of the Treaty, but argued that Russia had been "pushed" to develop the missile by Washington's deployment of the Aegis missile defence system in Eastern Europe. See our debunk of this claim here.

See the latest NATO statement on the INF treaty here.

Keywords: INF Treaty, EU/NATO enlargement, Encircling Russia, Missile defence system, NATO
Countries: US, Russia
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There is no evidence of Russia’s involvement in the Skripals' poisoning
Additional details: U.S. Congressmen are insisting on introducing a new package of restrictions against Moscow because of the poisoning of the ex-GRU officer Sergey Skripal. However, no evidence of Russia's involvement in the Salisbury incident […] has been provided by the West.
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Disinforming outlet(s): RT
Reported by:
Disproof note:

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the Skripal poisoning claiming that the United Kingdom was never able to prove a “Russian trace” and did not provide detailed evidence of Russia’s involvement.

British police and investigations from the intelligence services 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.

Keywords: Sergei Skripal, Sanctions
Countries: UK, Russia
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Malaysia was sidelined from the MH17 investigation
Additional details: Malaysia does not have full access to all information about the [MH17] investigation, although it is invited to take part in investigating this disaster.
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Disinforming outlet(s): Politnavigator
Reported by:
Disproof note:

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

Malaysia's Prosecutor's office cooperated in the investigation conducted by the Dutch-led Joint Investigation Team (JIT).  Speaking at the press-conference of the JIT on 19 June 2019, the Deputy Prosecutor General of Malaysia Mohamad Hanafiah bin Zakaria reiterated Malaysia's commitment to the JIT in seeking justice for the victims and stated that the JIT findings were based on extensive investigation and legal research.  [See at 57:30 - 58:14]

The criminal investigation led by the 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 and from there the missile was launched.  After firing, the missile system, with 1 missing missile, went back to the Russian Federation.  On the 24th of May 2018, the JIT announced its conclusion that 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 prosecute Igor Vsevolodovich Girkin, Sergey Nikolayevich Dubinskiy, Oleg Yuldashevich Pulatov, and Leonid Volodymyrovych Kharchenko for causing the crash of flight MH17 and murdering the 298 persons on board.  The public hearing is scheduled for 9 March 2020 in the Netherlands.

Keywords: MH17
Countries: Malaysia, Russia, Ukraine, The Netherlands
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MH17: JIT investigators try to shield the real culprits
Additional details: Investigators of the MH17 case colluded with criminals. The Joint Investigation Team (JIT) is not interested in finding who is, in fact, responsible for the MH17 tragedy. Foreign detectives try to shield the real perpetrators. Therefore, versions that refute the Russian trace are not even considered.
Language / Targeted audience:
Link to the disinformation: utro.ru/life/2019/08/01/1410682.shtml
Disinforming outlet(s): Utro.ru
Reported by:
Disproof note:

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

The criminal investigation by the 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 there 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 that 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 the 298 persons on board. The public hearing is scheduled for March 9 2020 in the Netherlands.

The claims by Buk manufacturer Almaz-Antey that the missile could not have come from Russia were debunked already in 2015 by Bellingcat. The claims of 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.

Keywords: Anti-Russian, MH17
Countries: Malaysia, Russia, Ukraine, The Netherlands
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Crimea is now recognised as an integral part of Russia
Additional details: Five years after the Crimea decided to reunite with the Russian Federation in a referendum, the whole world starts to accept the fact that the region is an indisputable part of Russia and it cannot be otherwise.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): PolitPuzzle
Reported by:
Disproof note:

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

No international body has recognised the so-called referendum, announced on 27 February 2014, and held on 16 March 2014.  Thirteen members of the United Nations Security Council voted in favour of a resolution declaring the referendum invalid. 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.  On December 18 2018, the UN General Assembly confirmed its non-recognition of illegal annexation of Crimea.

On the fifth anniversary of Crimea's annexation, the EU reiterated its position of non-recognition of illegal annexation and continues to stand in full solidarity with Ukraine, supporting its sovereignty and territorial integrity.

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, Crimea
Countries: Russia, Ukraine
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The Pentagon doesn’t want to renounce Russian and Chinese equipment and software
Additional details: The Pentagon continues buying equipment and software of Chinese and Russian production, despite the warning of US authorities about an alleged security threat.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): Sputnik Spanish
Reported by:
Disproof note:

The affirmation is false, based in a distorted reading of a report by the Office of the Inspector General of the US Department of Defense. According to this document, in fiscal year 2018 the Pentagon spent around 32,8 million dollars in products of Russian and Chinese firms such as Kaspersky Lab and Lenovo. The report’s title is: “Audit of the DoD’s Management of the Cybersecurity Risks for Government Purchase Card Purchases of Commercial Off-the-Shelf Items”, and it is actually a warning against the potential risk posed by these firms for US national security.

The report was commissioned after the Department of Defense started to compile a ‘do not buy’ list of software by mid-2018, with the stated goal of minimising that risk and keeping code created in Russia and China out of its systems. To conclude from this document that the Pentagon continues buying this equipment and software is an interested lie.

You can see other examples of Russian disinformation on the propaganda machinery of the Pentagon, its unreliability to defend its allies or NATO’s dark actions to increase its budget.

Keywords: NATO
Countries: US
More
The US unilaterally withdraw from the INF treaty which is a core agreement for stability and global security
Additional details: The US unilaterally withdraw from the INF treaty which is a core agreement for stability and global security.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): Sputnik Italia
Reported by:
Disproof note:

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the INF Treaty. Extensive evidence has been provided of Russia's violations 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 the agreement. In July 2014, then-US President Obama officially accused Russia of testing a missile in violation of the INF Treaty, which prohibits the US or Russia from possessing, producing or test-flying ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with a range  between 500 and 5500 kilometres.

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 the United States has remained in full compliance with its obligations under the INF Treaty since it entered into force and that Russia has developed and fielded a missile system, the 9M729, which violates the INF Treaty and poses significant risks to Euro-Atlantic security."

US and NATO have repeatedly engaged with Russia to preserve the INF treaty. For background on pro-Kremlin myths on the INF Treaty see here.

Keywords: INF Treaty
Countries: US, Russia
More
Trump threatens to release thousands of ISIS members in Europe
Additional details: US president Donald Trump threatened to release thousands of members of the Islamic State terrorist group captured in Syria in Europe if European countries don't take them back.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): Sputnik Spanish
Reported by:
Disproof note:

This is a deliberate distortion of Donald Trump's words, who on February 2019 requested "Britain, France, Germany and other European allies to take back over 800 ISIS fighters [...] captured in Syria and put them on trial", warning that otherwise the US forces would be "forced to release them". But he didn't threaten to do that in Europe.

This is part of the recurrent Russian narrative about a US instrumentalisation of jihadist groups in the Middle East. You can see other examples of it here, here, here and here.

Keywords: Daesh
Countries: Iraq, Europe, Syria
More
State company Naftogaz of Ukraine recognised the annexation of Crimea
Additional details:

By filing a lawsuit Naftogaz is recognizing that Crimea is a Russian territory, and it recognizes Russia's rights to property in Crimea.

Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): RT Russian
Reported by:
Disproof note:

Pro-Kremlin disinformation about the illegal annexation of Crimea.

At the end of June 2019, Naftogaz filed a lawsuit in the Tribunal under the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, where they estimated the company's damage from the Russian annexation of Crimea at $5.2 billion. The Court has divided the consideration of the case into two stages and the final decision will be made in the second part, in 2020.

After the illegal annexation of Crimea, Russia seized drilling rigs, gas fields, underground storage facilities, the fleet, apartments and other properties belonging to the state company. Naftogaz of Ukraine initiated an international trial with Russia at the end of 2016.

Ukraine insists that the Kremlin, in addition to violating a number of international norms through the annexation of Crimea, grossly ignored the interstate agreement on mutual protection of investments between Kyiv and Moscow. It is this agreement that the Ukrainian and Russian leaders signed in 1998 that formed the basis of the Naftogaz lawsuit.

See more cases about the alleged recognition of Crimea.

Keywords: gas, illegal annexation, Crimea
Countries: Russia, Ukraine
More
The West continues to punish residents of Crimea for their will of self-determination
Additional details: Western countries continue their attempts to punish the residents of Crimea for their will of self-determination, expressed in a referendum in 2014. The refusal of EU countries to issue Schengen visas to Crimean residents with passports received on the peninsula after 2014, violates citizens' rights to free movement, contradicts international human rights standards and is politically motivated.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): IZ.ru, RIA.ru, Ukraina.ru
Reported by:
Disproof note:

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the illegal annexation of Crimea.

Disinformation message appeared after a statement of the head of the European Union’s mission in Moscow, Marcus Ederer.  On July 22, he stressed that the European Union did not recognise and will not recognise the Russian annexation of Crimea, therefore Russian passports issued in Crimea by the Russian authorities after the annexation will not be recognized and accepted when applying for a Schengen visa. Ederer advised residents of the peninsula to visit European countries using their Ukrainian documents.

With the annexation of the Ukrainian Crimea, Russia forcibly imposed the citizenship of the occupying country on two million Crimeans. Crimeans remain citizens of Ukraine, who can obtain a biometric passport and freely take advantage of the visa-free regime with the European Union by visiting a wide list of states without obtaining any additional visas.

You can read more on the topic here, here and here.

Keywords: Visa liberalisation, Crimea
Countries: Russia, Ukraine, EU
More
There are attempts to drag Russia into an arms race
Additional details: There are attempts to drag Russia into an arms race, just like in the 1980s', which according to Reagan, undermined the resources of the Soviet Union. However Russia will not play this game.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): Vremya Pokhazhet @ Pervyi Kanal [03:50 - 04:10]
Reported by:
Disproof note:

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about 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 the agreement. 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 or Russia from possessing, producing or test-flying ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with a range of between 500 and 5500 kilometres.

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."

US and NATO have repeatedly engaged with Russia to preserve the INF treaty. For background on pro-Kremlin myths on the INF Treaty see here.

Keywords: INF Treaty
Countries: US, Russia
More
No link between fires, floods and global warming
Additional details: There is no scientifically proven relationship between anomalies in nature, such as fires in some areas and floods in other areas, and global warming [...] Everybody is trying to link the situation to global warming, because all anomalies are now linked to rising temperature. However, there is no scientific finding to confirm a relationship between those waves and global warming.
Language / Targeted audience:
Link to the disinformation: ar.rt.com/m79v
Disinforming outlet(s): RT Arabic
Reported by:
Disproof note:

Over the recent months, hundreds of wildfires spread across southern Siberia in Eastern Russia, and as of August 1, the fires had burnt about 15,000 square miles, an area larger than the size of Belgium. The area has also witnessed deadly floods which took 25 lives and displaced over 30,000 people this June. 

Although it is common for wildfires to take place in the northern hemisphere between May and October, the locations and intensity of these fires as well as the length of time they have been burning has been described as unprecedented. In June alone, these fires emitted into the atmosphere more carbon dioxide than was released by Arctic fires in the same month between 2010 and 2018 put together.

This unusual scale was undoubtedly aggravated by rising temperatures in the Arctic. Mark Parrington, a wildfires expert at the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (Cams), told the BBC that "temperatures in the Arctic have been increasing at a much faster rate than the global average, and warmer conditions encourage fires to grow and persist once they have been ignited." Extremely dry ground and hotter than average temperatures, combined with heat lightning and strong winds, have caused the fires to spread aggressivelysay scientists. 

Some Russian specialists also admit that the fires are linked to climate change. For example, Maxim Yakovenko, head of Russia’s meteorological services, said that the fires are indeed linked to climate change. 

As for floods, researchers at the Russian Irkutsk State University, which is based in an area that was hit by the wildfires, said that the flooding was caused by "anomalous atmospheric processes taking place amid global and regional climate change," warning that Siberia is bound to experience even more weather extremes in the future. Just like wildfires, the area hasn't experienced floods this strong in years, and is not used to having them this time of the year either.  

Moreover, warming conditions are tied to deforestation, according to scientists. Timber is a major Russian exports, and environmental activists say that timber clearcutting allows vital topsoil to wash away, weakening the ability of the earth to hold extra moisture, which makes the region vulnerable to flooding. 

 

Keywords: Arctic, Climate, Siberia
Countries: Russia
More
US accused Russia of violating INF Treaty to help its own military-industrial complex
Additional details: The US needed to strengthen its military-industrial complex so it started building a new missile, which takes years. Once it was ready and it was time to test it, the US proclaimed Russia guilty of violating the INF treaty. It gave Russia 6 months to comply, because it took 6 months to finish the missile. The US is unable to sick to contracts. It understands either power or money.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): Vremya Pokhazhet @ 14:00 - 14:25; 15:00 - 15:08.
Reported by:
Disproof note:

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about 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 the agreement. 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 or Russia from possessing, producing or test-flying ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with a range of between 500 and 5500 kilometres.

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 the United States has remained in full compliance with its obligations under the INF Treaty since it entered into force and that Russia has developed and fielded a missile system, the 9M729, which violates the INF Treaty and poses significant risks to Euro-Atlantic security."

US and NATO have repeatedly engaged with Russia to preserve the INF treaty. For background on pro-Kremlin myths on the INF Treaty see here.

Keywords: INF Treaty
Countries: US, Russia
More
The blackout in Venezuela on July 22 was caused by a US spy plane
Additional details: Venezuelan government says that the electromagnetic attack that caused the blackout on July 22, leaving 15 of the 23 states of the country without electricity, was launched from a US spy plane. This hasn’t been denied by Washington, which says that it was a mission approved by several nations.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): RT Spanish News programme on 29/07/2019 time 11:58-12:12
Reported by:
Disproof note:

No evidence is given to support the claim that the July 22 blackout was caused by an electromagnetic attack or that it was launched from a plane. Rather, most experts think that the most likely reason for the frequent blackouts in Venezuela is the poor maintenance of the electric grid of the country.

Nicolás Maduro’s government tried to link the interception of a US surveillance plane EP-3 by a Sukhoi Su-30 of the Venezuelan Air Force on July 19 to the mentioned power outage that took place three days later. RT news programme intentionally misled spectators by claiming that Washington said “the mission was approved by several nations”. It referred to comments to the Associated Press Spanish service made by the head of the US Southern Command, Admiral Craig Faller, who admitted the existence of surveillance flights over Venezuela in close coordination with Brazil and Colombia, but by no means did he mean an operation to cause a blackout in a country.

You can see other examples of Russian disinformation about US actions in Venezuela, such as the sending of a hospital ship as preparation for a military intervention, plans for the fragmentation of the country or a “Maidan style” operation to overthrow Maduro.

 

Keywords: Nicolas Maduro, Cyber
Countries: Venezuela
More
Ofcom fine against RT disproportionate, part of UK's anti-Russian campaign
Additional details: By fining RT for its alleged breach of due impartiality rules, UK media regulator Ofcom is restricting the activities of Russian media for their willingness to cover controversial issues, and is thus complicit in the UK government's ongoing anti-Russian campaign.

The £200,000 fine is disproportionate compared with penalties previously imposed on other outlets, even those found broadcasting hate speech and inciting violence.
Language / Targeted audience:
Link to the disinformation: www.rt.com/news/465118-ofcom-fine-rt-court/
Disinforming outlet(s): RT (rt.com)
Reported by:
Disproof note:

Recurring disinformation claim painting UK institutions as inherently Russophobic and biased toward mainstream media outlets. More broadly, the report advances the meta-narrative stating that provision of "alternative viewpoints" is the sole raison d'etre of Moscow's media assets abroad. Read EUvsDisinfo analysis of this deceptive claim here.

Contrary to the tone of the article, Ofcom does not do the UK government's bidding; it is an independent watchdog funded by companies it regulates. Accordingly, the type and severity of the penalty imposed on RT was determined by Ofcom's publicly available penalty guidelines (pp. 2-3), as well as precedents cited in the report accompanying the sanction decision (pp. 30-36). The latter document states that one factor contributing to the size of the fine included RT's commission of "multiple breaches of due impartiality rules, which occur[ed] during a concentrated period of time" (p. 8). Indeed, the seven breaches committed in the space of one month (p. 3) account for nearly half of RT's due impartiality violations since 2012 (ibid., p. 10).

Ofcom's report also deals with the claim that the fine is disproportionate when compared to penalties previously imposed on other channels. The decisions cited by RT are "over five years old and were decided before" the current edition of penalty guidelines, and were made against channels "with less access to funding […] and in some cases much better compliance records than RT" (p. 20).

See here for background information about this case.

Keywords: Propaganda, Anti-Russian, Media, Russophobia
Countries: UK, Russia
More
Norway rejected sanctions against Russia due to fish exports
Additional details: Norway stopped fish exports to Russia, but was not able to find an alternative market, which resulted in big losses for the country’s economy and, subsequently, in the lifting of the sanctions. If Norway suffered from the sanctions imposed on Russia, so will Georgia.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): Georgia and the World
Reported by:
Disproof note:

Recurring pro-Kremlin claiming that Norway is struggling to find a substitute for the Russian fish market and has lifted sanctions as a consequence. .

In fact, Norway joined the EU in imposition of sanctions on Russia in 2014 and supported the extension of sanctions in 2019, together with other partner countries. Moreover, Norwegian fish exports have been increasing since 2014.

Further debunking by Mythdetector Georgia.

 

Keywords: Sanctions
Countries: Norway
More
US and NATO are co-perpetrators in organ trafficking
Additional details: International factors were involved in organ trafficking crime in Kosovo. The US and NATO were helping the Albanians and they are co-perpetrators of all these crimes.

Organ trafficking was a way to earn big money that the Albanians needed to buy weapons.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): Sputnik Serbia
Reported by:
Disproof note:

There is no evidence provided for the claims that the US and NATO were involved in this crime.

These allegations are connected to the so-called "Medicus case" which was tried before a court and brought forward convictions of two doctors.

See more disinformation cases about Kosovo here.

Keywords: War crimes, NATO
Countries: US, Kosovo
More
The Mueller investigation confirmed there was no collusion between Russia and the Trump administration
Additional details: The Mueller report confirms that there was no collusion between Russia and the Trump administration.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): Sputnik Italia
Reported by:
Disproof note:

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about Russia's interference in the 2016 US presidential election.

The claim that the Mueller investigation did not find any evidence of collusion between Trump campaign officials and the Russian government is false.

Robert Mueller’s investigation sought to establish whether members of the Trump campaign – several of which entertained systematic contacts with individuals connected to the Russian government – conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its 2016 US election interference activities.

The investigation established that the Russian government perceived it would benefit from a Trump presidency and worked to secure that outcome – and that the Trump campaign expected it would benefit electorally from information stolen and released through Russian efforts. Specifically, the investigation concluded that 1) the Russian government interfered in the US election in sweeping and systematic fashion, and 2) there was insufficient evidence to make a prosecutorial decision to charge any member of the Trump campaign with taking part in a criminal conspiracy.

However, as Mueller explained during his testimony to the House Intelligence Committee, not making a charging decision does not mean the investigation failed to turn up evidence of conspiracy. During this testimony, Mueller confirmed that his investigation did indeed uncover some evidence of conspiracy between Trump campaign officials and the Russian government, even though it was not seen as sufficient to bring conspiracy charges against any member of the Trump campaign.

Ultimately, during the course of the investigation, more than 30 defendants were charged with committing federal crimes, including 12 officers of the Russian military. Seven defendants have been convicted or plead guilty. For a summary of the indictments, see here. Based on Justice Department policy and principles of fairness, the Special Counsel team decided it would not make a decision as to whether the president committed a crime.

Read the full Mueller report here.

For more disinfo cases about the Mueller investigation, see here.

Keywords: election meddling, Robert Mueller, Manipulated elections/referendum, Elections
Countries: US, Russia
More
Poland and the Baltics are United States’ "Trojan horses" in the EU
Additional details: Russia supports a strong European Union led by Germany. Poland and the Baltic states are "Trojan horses" of American politics in the EU. They attempt to prevent a continental union between Russia and Germany, which Anglo-Saxons have always been very worried about.

A removal of Soviet monuments, an ideological challenge to both Belarus and Russia, is carried out by Polish authorities as instructed by the US. Poland is, therefore, a watchdog of the American imperialism. Its task is not only to spoil the relationship with Russia and to hold a hostile course towards 'Russkiy Mir' (Russian World) in the East but also to prevent Russia-German rapprochement.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): Grani Formata @ Sputnik Belarus time 03:49 - 04:53
Reported by:
Disproof note:

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about US presence in Europe.

Poland and the Baltic states are sovereign countries, which determine their security and defence policy. Other countries are also often groundlessly claimed to be US-controlled, see further examples here.

See earlier disinformation cases alleging that Poland is the US's "Trojan horse" and is a fully controlled country, that Latvia is a US's vassal state and that Poland plans to establish an anti-Russian buffer zone including Belarus.

Keywords: US presence in Europe
Countries: US, Poland, Russia, Baltic states, Belarus, Germany
More
MH17: Malaysian Boeing's disaster supports the myth that Russia is the aggressor
Additional details: The Malaysian Boeing's disaster is one of the pillars of the myth that Russia is the aggressor and must be subjected to sanctions.

Ukrainian authorities deny their involvement and blame Russia for everything. If the guilt of the Ukrainian side were proven in case of MH17, it would be much more difficult for Kyiv to convince irritated European partners to maintain anti-Russian sanctions.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): Sputnik Armenia
Reported by:
Disproof note:

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives about the downing of the MH17 and sanctions against Russia.

The EU imposed restrictive measures against Russia before MH17  downing, from March 2014, in response to the illegal annexation of Crimea and the deliberate destabilisation of Ukraine.  At special meeting on 16 July, 2014, a day before MH17 downing, EU leaders agreed on targeting Russia with a new set of 6 restrictive measures.The EU sanctions continue to be in effect.

The criminal investigation in the MH17 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, 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 MH17 and murdering all 298 people on board.

Keywords: Sanctions, MH17
Countries: Russia, The West
More
Outsiders are putting a lot of effort to prevent rapprochement of Georgia and Russia
Additional details: Russophobia in Georgia is artificial. Georgian people don't have a negative attitude towards Russians and Russia. But Georgia doesn’t have its voice. The current government of Georgia is not independent, it broadcasts a foreign voice. The “patrons” from the outside are doing everything to prevent Georgia from getting closer to Russia. They work very actively with civil society, and this will not end tomorrow.

 

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

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the US presence in Europe and color revolutions.

Pro-Kremlin media consistently claims that Georgian elected president and authorities are not independent and do not work in the interests of their people, they have Western curators and all kind of protests are "West engineered". See for example previous disinformation case claimingthat Western attempts to sever relations between Russia and Georgia.

The recent 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: US presence in Europe, Colour revolutions
Countries: Russia, Georgia
More
Poland did not invite Putin to the WWII commemoration ceremony to disrupt Belarus-Russia relations
Additional details: By refusing to invite Russian President Vladimir Putin to the WWII commemoration ceremony Poland attempts to turn Belarus and Russia against each other. They hope that if [Belarusian president] Lukashenka comes to the ceremony and Putin does not, there will be bad blood between two of them.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): Grani Formata @ Sputnik Belarus time 05:00 - 05:26
Reported by:
Disproof note:

Conspiracy theory consistent with recurring pro-Kremlin narratives about the West's anti-Russian actions and attempts to discredit and disrupt Belarus-Russia relations.

Poland's decision not to invite the Russian delegation to WWII commemoration ceremony has to do with Russian aggression against Ukraine. Krzysztof Szczerski, chief advisor to the Polish president, stated in March 2019 that the anniversary ceremony will be held “in the company of countries with whom Poland now cooperates closely for peace based on the respect for international law, for the sovereignty of nations and of their territories”. This point was reiterated by Jacek Sasin, Polish deputy prime minister in July, who said: "I think it would be inappropriate to mark the anniversary of the beginning of the armed aggression against Poland with the participation of a leader who today treats his neighbours using the same methods."

See earlier disinformation cases alleging that Poland attempts to destroy the world order by not inviting Russia to commemorate the start of WWII and that the real reason behind the refusal to invite Russia is the Russian ban on the imports of Polish apples.

Keywords: Anti-Russian, WWII, Conspiracy
Countries: Poland, Russia, Belarus
More
Latvia lost its sovereignty to the EU
Additional details: Latvia has no sovereignty in the EU. It has its flag and coat of arms but virtually no economy is left. The country lost a third of its population and its foreign policy is totally dictated by Brussels and Washington with no space for an independent policy left.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): Grani Formata @ Sputnik Belarus time 08:12 - 08:33
Reported by:
Disproof note:

Recurring pro-Kremlin narratives about lost sovereignty, external control and socio-economic degradation of the Baltic states in the EU.

Latvia is a sovereign country, which determines its domestic and foreign policies. 

See earlier disinformation cases alleging that Latvia is a US vassal state, that the Baltic states pursue anti-Belarusian policies as instructed by external actors, that Lithuania is a "typical dying young democracy", and that the Baltic states are dying because they chose not to be with Russia.

Keywords: Sovereignty
Countries: Latvia, Baltic states, EU
More
Donbas events were a classic rebellion against the Fascist tyranny
Additional details: United Nations documents infer that the people have the right of rebellion against tyranny. Donbas events were a classical uprising against Fascist tyranny. People were told that they would be killed for speaking the Russian language.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): Grani Formata @ Sputnik Belarus time 18:06 - 18:38
Reported by:
Disproof note:

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative attempting to portray Donbas events as a civil war, with the aim to obscure ongoing acts of aggression by the Russian armed forces in Ukraine.

This message also contains another common pro-Kremlin narratives about Fascist / Nazi Ukraine and persecution of the Russian language speakers.

The right to rebellion against tyranny can be inferred in the third paragraph of the preamble to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which states: "Whereas it is essential, if man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human rights should be protected by rule of law." However Ukraine was not subject to an authoritarian regime. After the Euromaidan the new President was elected in free and fair elections. According to the OSCE, "the people of Ukraine had the opportunity to genuinely express their will at the ballot box."

Keywords: Russian language, Donbas, Nazi/Fascist
Countries: Russia, Ukraine
More
NATO has a plan to attack and occupy Turkey
Additional details: NATO has a plan to attack and occupy Turkey. NATO was behind all coup attempts in Turkey. Turkey has bought Russian S-400 missile systems in order to prepare and defend itself from possible occupation by NATO.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): Sputnik Italia
Reported by:
Disproof note:

Conspiracy theory, consistent with recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about NATO.

NATO is a political and military alliance, and NATO member states, including Turkey, 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.

Fora an overview of Turkey-NATO relations see here

For a similar case see here.

Keywords: Sovereignty, NATO
Countries: Turkey
More
The US and Anglo-Saxons promote global totalitarian caste system under the cover of liberalism
Additional details: Under the cover of liberalism, the US and Anglo-Saxons attempted to impose totalitarianism and the dominance of transnational corporations. They want to get full access to world resources, to establish total control over societies and the rule of small groups of the population including rich people and sexual minorities.

The concept of "golden billion" is a good manifestation of such plans. It envisages the well-being of a billion individuals who would live at the expense of the rest of the global population. A technocratic global caste system would include the castes of super-rich people, the one of "golden billion" and the exploited rest.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): Grani Formata @ Sputnik Belarus time 17:27 - 17:45, 18:48 - 20:23
Reported by:
Disproof note:

This disinformation message promotes the concept of big conspiracy and is consistent with the Shadow Government narrative. It is also aimed at discrediting liberal values such as respect of minority groups' rights.

Golden billion is a term used by the Russian speakers to describe the relatively wealthy people in industrially developed nations, or the West (see for example here).  It is often used in different modifications of conspiracy theories.

See earlier disinformation cases alleging that global neo-colonialists stage colour revolutions and conquer indigenous national elites, that Western leaders are merely marionettes of the shadow rulers, and that the Anglo-Saxons rule America “from abroad” and are now trying to control Russia.

Keywords: Conspiracy, The West
Countries: US
More
The West wanted to stage a global war in Ukraine, but Russia moved the battlefield to Syria
Additional details: The West had suggested to stage a war in Ukraine, but Russia refused to do it. Historically Ukraine is a Russian land inhabited by Russian people, many of them duped though. Russia, therefore, moved the battlefield to Syria. This was right to do because the wars are better to be staged on others' territory. The powers of the world are sorting out their relations in Syria.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): Grani Formata @ Sputnik Belarus time 21:28 - 22:30
Reported by:
Disproof note:

Conspiracy theory consistent with recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about belligerent West and its implication in the war in Ukraine.

The disinformation message aims to deny ongoing acts of aggression by the Russian armed forces in Ukraine. See previous cases here.

The Syrian conflict began in 2011 and has its own tragic and complicated timeline unrelated to events in Ukraine. Implying that the West instigates wars around the world is another conspiracy theory, widely used by the pro-Kremlin media.

This message also suggests that  Ukrainians are part of Russian people, which is a recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative aimed weakening the national identity of Ukrainians and eroding Ukraine's sovereignty. Ukraine is a well-defined nation-state with a long history which preserved language, literature and identity, despite foreign rule for long periods.

Keywords: War in Ukraine, Conspiracy, The West
Countries: Russia, Ukraine, Syria
More
The EU is an oligarchic entity which aims to keep post-Soviet space disintegrated
Additional details: The European Union is a reactionary, oligarchic entity with a goal to create a unipolar world. In this context the EU views post-Soviet republics exclusively through the prism of unipolarity with the aim to keep the post-Soviet space in the state of disintegration. All EU programs, including the Eastern Partnership are designed around this idea. The sooner post-Soviet countries realize the harm of the European path, the sooner disintegration will end, and the countries will become truly independent.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): Vmeste s Rossiyey
Reported by:
Disproof note:

This message represents common pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives on the undemocratic EU, its aggressive policies and the Eastern Partnership Programme.

The Eastern Partnership (EaP) is a joint initiative involving the EU, its Member States and six Eastern European Partners: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine. It is not against any country; it is a mutually beneficial and constructive platform for countries in the region to build a closer relationship with the EU if they choose to do so. See here for the most repeated myths about the EaP initiative.

Read earlier disinformation cases alleging that the Eastern Partnership Programme is a concealed form of colonisation and that the EU's aim behind the Eastern Partnership programme is to change the political regimes in Belarus and Russia.

Keywords: Oligarchs, Eastern Partnership, Conspiracy
Countries: EU, Belarus
More
The West wants to turn Belarus into anti-Russian outpost
Additional details: The European Union and the West do not care about the promotion of democracy and market economy in Belarus. Their interest is to turn Belarus into an anti-Russian outpost. Belarusian and Russian independence and sovereignty are only possible in the Union State of Belarus and Russia.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): Vmeste s Rossiyey
Reported by:
Disproof note:

Conspiracy theory consistent with a common Belarus-related pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about Western attempts to bring discord in Belarusian-Russian relations and to turn Belarus into an anti-Russian country.

Over the past two years, there has been progress in EU–Belarus relations. Belarus has been participating more pro-actively in the Eastern Partnership, in particular, in the multilateral formats, negotiations on a Mobility Partnership were concluded and negotiations on a Visa Facilitation and Readmission Agreements were recently finalised paving the road for signing the long-awaited agreements. However, nothing in bilateral tracks of cooperation suggests that the EU's goal is to make Belarus an anti-Russian outpost as alleged. Read more about the relations between the EU and Belarus here.

See earlier disinformation cases alleging that the US and NATO see Belarus only as part of an anti-Russia bastion, the West's only interest in Belarus is to make it anti-Russian and that the West aims at cultivating anti-Russian sentiments in Belarus.

Keywords: Union State of Belarus and Russia, Anti-Russian, Conspiracy
Countries: Russia, EU, Belarus
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Mueller admitted that there was no collusion between Trump and Russia
Additional details: In his 24 July testimony before US Congress, Special Counsel Robert Mueller repeatedly admitted that there was no collusion between Trump and Russia.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): RT News @ RT, time 00:58-01:55
Reported by:
Disproof note:

Recurring pro-Kremlin narrative on Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election.

Robert Mueller makes clear in his report that "collusion" is not a legal concept under US federal law, and that gathering evidence thereof would have fallen outside the scope of the special counsel investigation (p. 2). The report does, in fact, identify "numerous links between individuals with ties to the Russian government and individuals associated with the Trump campaign" (p. 9).

These links, however, were judged as insufficiently deliberate on the part of Trump campaign staffers to sustain charges of conspiracy (special counsel report, p. 65), the term which Mueller used in his testimony to recount the conclusions of his report.

See the original debunk here.

Keywords: election meddling, Robert Mueller, Elections
Countries: US, Russia
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EU integration no longer exists and the Brussels Agreement is dead
Additional details: Messages that Serbia received from the West clearly show that EU integration does not exist anymore. Also, it is clear that the Brussels Agreement is dead.

 

 

 

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

There is no evidence provided for these claims and they are not the official position of the Serbian government as confirmed by Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabić who underlined as well that Mr Popović was neither in charge of the Brussels Agreement and its assessments nor European integration.

The Government of the Republic of Serbia has set European integration as one of the most important foreign policy objectives. See here for more information about EU-Serbian relations.

The EU is by far the biggest donor to Serbia with more than €3.6 billion (3.688) in grants provided over the past 18 years in all fields, ranging from rule of law, public administration reform, social development, environment and agriculture. The financial assistance is provided through the EU’s Instrument for Pre-Accession (IPA) which aims to help Serbia to prepare for assuming and effectively implementing obligations of its future membership in the EU. Since 2000, the EU has implemented projects regarding Serbia’s transport infrastructure, health care, air and water quality, solid waste treatment, justice and public administration reform to deliver better services to citizens.

The President of Serbia and the President of Kosovo agreed to continue the political dialogue within the Brussels Agreement in September 2018. A panel attended by the two Presidents during the GLOBSEC forum last June also concluded that the agreement is in the interest of both sides.

Keywords: EU/NATO enlargement, The West
Countries: Serbia
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Belarusian opposition treats Belarusian people as cannon fodder for American missiles
Additional details: The Belarusian opposition supports pro-Western propaganda and blames Lukashenko and Putin for everything. It misrepresents the situation alleging that American missiles in Poland are directed against Lukashenko and Putin personally. Hence, it calls people to take part in protests and to overthrow the dictatorship, otherwise the missiles will strike ordinary people. This is slave's rhetoric because the missiles are targeting all, including opposition members.

Instead of protesting against it, the opposition asks for more American missiles against own people. The opposition treats the Belarusian people as cannon fodder and disrespects it to the extent that this can provoke a global war. Even in case of real military actions, the opposition will be vehemently arguing that the West is good while Russia is bad. Belarusian independent media will support any American military provocation launched from the Polish territory.
Language / Targeted audience:
Link to the disinformation: grodnodaily.net/2019/06/20/uvazhat-sebya/
Disinforming outlet(s): Grodnodaily.net
Reported by:
Disproof note:

A collection of conspiracies and ungrounded claims aimed to discredit the US and the West and the democratic Belarusian opposition.

The disinformation message is consistent with pro-Kremlin narratives about subservient Belarusian opposition and independent media, alleged plans of the Belarusian opposition to stage a coup in Belarus with US military assistance, Western attempts to organise a colour revolution in Belarus and belligerent West.

There were no statements by leading Belarusian opposition parties in support of either larger Russian military deployment along the borders with Belarus or larger US military presence in Poland.

See earlier disinformation cases alleging that the Belarusian opposition, civic activists and independent journalists make kill lists for Western security bodies, that Russia saved Belarus from Western bombing like in Yugoslavia, that Poland plans to take over Minsk after extensive subversive activities in Belarus, and that the West's only interest in Belarus is to make it anti-Russian.

Keywords: Anti-Russian, Colour revolutions, Coup, Conspiracy
Countries: US, Poland, Russia, Belarus
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