As NATO turned 70 last week, pro-Kremlin media obviously felt obliged to draw their audience’s attention to NATO’s atrocities and expansive nature, not to mention some broken promises.

What first draws the reader’s attention is the coordination. In Russian the guidelines about which themes to cover, who is to be treated positively, who should have negative coverage and who should be altogether ignored is called the temnik. This system has replaced the old style reactive approach of censorship with a proactive approach. As a result the same narrative about NATO promising to Russia that it would stay out of Eastern Europe was published in German, Italian, French and Spanish Sputnik. The headlines were also telling: “Moscow – old, familiar enemy: NATO in crisis of faith”, “70 years of propaganda, crimes and hypocrisies – Happy Birthday, ‘dear’ NATO!”, “The National Interest: How the NATO countries deceived Gorbachev” and “NATO – 70 years of the senseless struggle to exterminate Russia”.

But don’t be deceived. The underlying point of these articles isn’t solely criticism on NATO. It’s also about the sphere of influence. It’s about challenging the right of millions of people in Eastern Europe to choose their path as a nation and also about those countries’ right to join the international organizations that they want to join. And cultivation of the old narrative that “Western leaders promised the USSR that NATO won’t expand” is actually about denying those rights to entire countries. What’s even more interesting is the fact that no such promise was ever given. Gorbachev himself rejected such claims in October 2014, by saying “the topic of ‘NATO expansion’ was not discussed at all, and it wasn’t brought up in those years”.

The true crème de la crème has to be the pro-Kremlin narrative about NATO unleashing all wars on the planet in the last 25 years. The author of this claim obviously has not heard about certain conflicts in Georgia and Ukraine and the undeniable role Russia has played in those and continues to do so even today. But the good gets even better, as the end of the pro-Kremlin message claims that NATO is a tool for the US to establish dictatorship on the planet.

The undermining of Georgia continues in the following cases: “Georgia’s Anaklia seaport project is a NATO and US effort to regain a foothold in the Black Sea region” and “Georgia will become a military protectorate of the United States“. Here too the common denominator seems to be to downplay the right and the ability of countries to stand as sovereign entities when they are next to Russia.

Not enough gays

The good old narrative of Gayropa got a new plot twist last week, as pro-Kremlin media suggested that Schengen visa fees for Belarusians are high because the number of homosexuals per capita in Belarus is very low. But that’s not all, according to the article, a woman is not welcome in the EU if she has no balls. Makes sense, right? If not, well, here’s an explanation: this narrative links the EU’s moral decay to the Belarusian democratic opposition and at the same time portrays the EU as harassing Belarus.

In reality Belarus has not concluded a visa facilitation agreement with the EU and thus the higher fees. The actual visa agreement does not contain conditions about homosexuals and in 2017, Belarusians were granted 710,000 Schengen visas – the biggest amount in the world.

Cyanide in tear gas

Although tear gas can be rather uncomfortable, it’s not so far known to be on a par with Nina Ricci perfume rebottled in Russia in terms of its fatal consequences. Perhaps in an attempt to resuscitate the “they do it too” line of disinformation, the pro-Kremlin media suggested that cyanide might have been found in tear gas used against Yellow Vests protesters. What we do know for sure is the fact that no trace of cyanide poisoning was found and pro-Kremlin outlets have been using the narrative of violent repression of protests before.

The purpose of NATO's existence: a new cold war
Additional details: At its 70 years, NATO implements the same tasks as it's been originally planned: restraining Russia, ensuring US hegemony in the European security system and preventing the creation of a hard security system in Western Europe that would be independent.

The main purpose of NATO's existence is a new cold war, which started in 2014.
Language / Targeted audience:
Link to the disinformation: www.ng.ru/vision/2019-04-03/7_7547_vizhu.html
Disinforming outlet(s): Nezavisimaya Gazeta
Reported by:
Disproof note:

No evidence given. This is a recurring Kremlin narrative about the belligerent West/US and NATO attempting to encircle and weaken Russia.

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

NATO is not a threat to Russia. NATO's official policy towards Russia was most recently articulated by the heads of state and government of the Alliance at the Warsaw Summit in July 2016. They stated that "the Alliance does not seek confrontation and poses no threat to Russia. But we cannot and will not compromise on the principles on which our Alliance and security in Europe and North America rest".

Keywords: New Cold War, NATO
Countries: Europe, Russia, US
More
NATO is a foreign policy instrument of the USA
Additional details: NATO has become a foreign policy instrument of the USA, which has no allies but only vassals.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): Sputnik Deutschland
Reported by:
Disproof note:

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative on NATO as a geopolitical project of the US.

NATO was founded in 1949 by twelve sovereign nations: Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, the United Kingdom and the United States.  It has since grown to 29 Allies who each took an individual and sovereign decision to join this Alliance.

All decisions in NATO are taken by consensus, which means that a decision can only be taken if every single Ally accepts it.

No member of the Alliance can order the deployment of armed forces of other member states.

Keywords: security threat, US presence in Europe, Russophobia, NATO
Countries: International, US
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True Belarusian statehood and genuine independence only possible in the Union State with Russia
Additional details: Without the Union State of Russia and Belarus, the statehoods of the two countries would be inadequate and flawed, burdened by geopolitical catastrophes and disintegration. A genuine Belarusian statehood needs measures of deeper integration with Russia such as a common currency, a Union State citizenship, a fully-fledged Union parliament and other state bodies as well as a Constitution of the Union State. Those who promote the development of the Union State between Russia and Belarus are advocates for genuine Belarus' independence.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): Together with Russia, http://ross-bel.ru/
Vitbich, http://vitbich.org/
Civic initiative Soyuz, http://rosbelsoyuz.su/
Teleskop, http://teleskop-by.org/
Reported by:
Disproof note:

This disinformation message is consistent with a pro-Kremlin narrative about deficient and flawed Belarus' statehood and disastrous events without a deeper integration with Russia.

This narrative goes in hand with another disinformation narrative about Western attempts to organise a colour revolution in Belarus and to disrupt its relations with Russia.

Keywords: Deep state, Conspiracy
Countries: Russia, EU, Belarus
More
Post-Soviet countries are feudal principalities governed by the West
Additional details: The collapse of the Soviet Union was a major geopolitical disaster. Following its break-up, the so called independent post-Soviet states emerged. They are only nominally independent as, in fact, they are rather feudal principalities governed by the West. The integration of a post-Soviet space is a necessary precondition to get rid of external Western governance and to restore genuine independence and statehood.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): Vitbich, http://vitbich.org/
Civic initiative Soyuz, http://rosbelsoyuz.su/
Together with Russia, http://ross-bel.ru/
Teleskop, http://teleskop-by.org/
Reported by:
Disproof note:

Conspiracy theory, consistent with recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the Western dominance.

15 states that emerged after the collapse of the Soviet Union are independent countries, whose sovereignty is recognized by the international community.

Read more about the concept of the grand conspiracy, see earlier cases here.

Keywords: Conspiracy
Countries: Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Eastern Europe, West, Azerbaijan, Moldova, Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Georgia
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West aims to destroy historic conscience of Belarusian society
Additional details: Western countries control a network of Belarusian NGOs which threaten the Belarusian state and society. In the coming years, the West will direct its efforts to destroy the historic conscience of Belarusian society, to create a negative image of Russia and misconceptions of Russia-Belarus relations among Belarusians, to spark nationalism and to discredit important state and societal institutions including the President, army, law-enforcement agencies and Orthodox church.

These activities are already underway; however the development of information technologies makes them cheaper and gives them a new dimension.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): Sputnik Belarus
Reported by:
Disproof note:

This disinformation message is a conspiracy and a recurring pro-Kremlin narrative about Western attempts to organize a colour revolution in Belarus and to make Belarus an anti-Russia bastion.

The assistance given by the EU to Belarus is aimed at improving the quality of life of Belarusian citizens in a tangible and visible manner, by strengthening the economy, governance, connectivity and society. Find out more about the EU's assistance to Belarus here.

Keywords: Anti-Russian, Colour revolutions, Conspiracy
Countries: West, Russia, Belarus
More
NATO's Stoltenberg: Unless NATO keeps expanding, it will lose its relevance
Additional details: Unless the alliance keeps expanding, it will lose relevance and become just another international institution that produces purely declarative products.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): Sputnik-Georgia
Reported by:
Disproof note:

In his 3 April address to the US Congress, Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg discussed why NATO must remain a strong alliance, and in his 25 March press remarks in Tbilisi he explained NATO’s view on Georgia’s membership, but Stoltenberg has not talked about NATO’s relevance being related to its expansion.

A piece of disinformation at the intersection of two long-standing pro-Russian narratives – that NATO has lost its relevance after the dissolution of the USSR, and that the West has failed to keep its word to the USSR to stop NATO’s eastward expansion.

Keywords: EU/NATO enlargement, NATO
Countries: West, The West, Georgia
More
Stoltenberg demands that Georgia pays 2% of its GDP to NATO
Additional details: During his visit to Georgia in late March, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that Georgia should pay 2% of its GDP for defence and NATO will fulfill this purpose for Georgia. Effectively, Georgia should pay money to NATO without being a member and without being afforded protection under Article 5 protection.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): Georgia and the World
Reported by:
Disproof note:

Stoltenberg actually said: “I also welcome your commitment to spend 2% of GDP on defence. And I congratulate Georgia for spending… 20% of the defence budget on equipment and modernisation.”

Although those figures are NATO target indicators for member states, it was Georgia’s sovereign decision to meet those indicators because Georgia's defence spending is approved by the Georgian Parliament. Compliance with NATO standards and indicators is part of Georgia’s policy of further integration with the alliance.

See further debunking by Myth Detector.

Keywords: economy, NATO
Countries: Georgia
More
NATO controls the military infrastructure of Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova
Additional details: NATO controls the military infrastructure of Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova, without including these countries into the NATO block. Thus the Russian Federation is partially surrounded by NATO.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): Sputnik Polska
Reported by:
Disproof note:

NATO does not control military infrastructure of Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova. Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about NATO encircling Russia and NATO belligerence.

NATO and Ukraine cooperate as partners: “priority is given to support for comprehensive reform in the security and defence sector, which is vital for Ukraine’s democratic development and for strengthening its ability to defend itself. Cooperation has deepened over time and is mutually beneficial with Ukraine actively contributing to NATO-led operations and missions. In response to the Russia-Ukraine conflict, NATO has reinforced its support for capability development and capacity building in Ukraine.”

Read more about relations of NATO and Georgia and NATO and Moldova. 

 

Keywords: Transnistria, Russo-Georgian War, Donbas, NATO, Crimea
Countries: Poland, Moldova, Russia, Ukraine, Georgia
More
Georgia's Anaklia seaport project is a NATO/US effort to regain a foothold in the Black Sea region
Additional details: The Anaklia seaport project in Georgia is a NATO and US effort to regain a foothold in the Black Sea because they have no presence in the region.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): Ghamis studia @ TV Obiektivi (obieqtivi.net), 19:34:40
Reported by:
Disproof note:

Recurring pro-Russian narrative. The Anaklia project is a Georgian initiative intended as a step toward developing the country's logistical infrastructure.

NATO has no need to regain a foothold in the Black Sea because three of its member states, Bulgaria, Romania and Turkey, are Black Sea littoral states, with all appropriate civilian and military infrastructure. NATO did implement the 2016 Warsaw Summit decisions to enhance its presence on the alliance’s eastern and south-eastern borders. This involved the development of a tailored forward presence in the Black Sea region in the form of the Romanian-led multinational brigade in Craiova, reinforced Romanian and Bulgarian airspace protection capability, and additional measures to increase its maritime and air presence in the region, as well as conducting joint military exercises, some with the participation of NATO partners, Ukraine and Georgia.

However, none of the Alliance’s plans or policy documents mention building a civilian seaport in Georgia. See further debunking by Myth Detector here.

 

Keywords: Black Sea, Military, EU/NATO enlargement, NATO
Countries: United States, Georgia
More
If Belarus does not deepen integration with Russia it will turn into anti-Russia
Additional details: If Belarus does not deepen integration with Russia within the Treaty on Union State, it will follow the Ukrainian path and will turn into anti-Russia. All events in Belarus are currently developing the same way as in Ukraine a few years ago.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): RIA Novosti, Vgzlyad, SvobodnayaPressa, RossiyskiyDialog
Reported by:
Disproof note:

This message is consistent with the recurring an unfounded pro-Kremlin narrative about West's attempts to organize a Ukraine-like Maidan in Belarus and about the rise of Russophobia in Belarus. See earlier cases about the alleged western plans to make Belarus an anti-Russian bastion, or to organize Ukraine-like Maidan.

 

 

Keywords: Anti-Russian, Colour revolutions, Conspiracy
Countries: Ukraine, Belarus
More
NATO promised Russia it would not expand after the Cold War
Additional details: In 1989 NATO promised Russia it would not expand after the Cold War.

Mikhail Gorbachev knew: If East Germany joins NATO, the Eastern European countries could then follow this example. But the West assured him at the time that the alliance would not expand.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): Sputnik Deutschland
Reported by:
Disproof note:

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation that NATO had promised that the Alliance would not expand to the East.

NATO Allies take decisions by consensus and these are recorded.  There is no record of any such decision having been taken by NATO.  Personal assurances from individual leaders cannot replace Alliance consensus and do not constitute formal NATO agreement.

In addition, NATO's "Open Door Policy" is based on Article 10 of the Alliance's founding document, the North Atlantic Treaty (1949). The Treaty states that NATO membership is open to any "European state in a position to further the principles of this Treaty and to contribute to the security of the North Atlantic area".

Moreover, at the time of the alleged promise, the Warsaw Pact still existed. Its members did not agree on its dissolution until 1991.  The idea of their accession to NATO was not on the agenda in 1989. 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".

The Russian narrative that NATO, a defensive alliance, is de facto aggressive is not new.  Read more in this 2015 Tagespigel analysis.

See more disinformation cases on NATO.

Keywords: security threat, EU/NATO enlargement, Cold War, Russophobia, NATO
Countries: Russia, The West
More
All US aid to Georgia is solely military, ignoring country's economic and social needs
Additional details: The United States is allocating financial assistance only for Georgia’s military and defence needs, ignoring non-military assistance altogether.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): Sakinformi
Reported by:
Disproof note:

Unfounded allegations about US aid to Georgia. According to the US Congressional Research Service reference paper, US aid to Georgia does not demonstrate any considerable asymmetry in favour or either military or non-military aid:

In 2010 - 2017, US non-military aid to Georgia totalled $60 million a year on average. In addition, Georgia was awarded a five-year (2014-2019) Millennium Challenge Corporation grant of $140 to support educational infrastructure and training. In 2018, US non-military aid was $70.8 million; in 2019, Congress appropriated $89.8 million in non-military aid, and the President’s fiscal year 2020 non-military aid request for Georgia is $42.4 million.

As for US military aid, it averaged at $74 million per year in 2010-2017, while in 2018 military aid amounted to about $40.4 million. For 2019, total US military aid is estimated to reach $43.7 million.

The US Congressional Budget Justification requests for 2020 $38.5 million for Georgia’s economic support and development, $3 million for narcotics control and law enforcement, $2.2 million for military education and training, and $20 million for foreign military finance.

See further debunking by Myth Detector here.

Keywords: economy, Military
Countries: United States, Georgia
More
NATO cultivates Cold War block thinking and considers Russia as an enemy
Additional details: NATO continues to cultivate old ways of thinking and the image of Russia as an enemy.

One of the main objectives of the Western military alliance is still the "fight against the aggression of Moscow".

Moscow keeps calling for an end to Cold War block thinking.  But that would mean the alliance having to search for a new meaning and new goals. For NATO it is easier to live with the good old enemy image.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): Sputnik Deutschland
Reported by:
Disproof note:

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative, portraying NATO having a belligerent agenda against Russia.

Since the end of the Cold War, NATO has introduced sweeping changes to its membership and working practices – changes made clear by its adoption of new Strategic Concepts in 1999 and 2010.  Accusations that NATO has retained its Cold War purpose ignore the reality of those changes.

Moreover, NATO reached out to Russia with a series of partnership initiatives, culminating in the foundation of the NATO-Russia Council in 2002. No other country outside the alliance has such a privileged relationship with NATO.

As stated by NATO heads of state and government at the Warsaw Summit in July 2016, "the Alliance does not seek confrontation and poses no threat to Russia.  But we cannot and will not compromise on the principles on which our Alliance and security in Europe and North America rest".

 

Keywords: security threat, New Cold War, Anti-Russian, Cold War, Russophobia, NATO
Countries: Russia, The West, US
More
NATO is the global fuse to ignite war
Additional details: Today, NATO is the fuse the Anglo-Saxon powers use to ignite wars, just as the same powers instigated a war against Austria-Hungary and the German Reich. The same fuse passes over the Versailles treaty in 1919 and the Second World War.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): RT Deutsch
Sputnik Deutschland
Reported by:
Disproof note:

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

NATO is a defensive alliance, whose purpose is to protect its member states. Its exercises and military deployments are not directed against Russia – or any other country.  NATO is regularly updating the military requirements for civilian infrastructure, at a time when there are increased challenges to security.

Keywords: security threat, EU/NATO enlargement, War preparation, NATO, The West
Countries: International
More
Russians are the new Jews, the persecuted nation
Additional details: Russians are the new Jews, the persecuted nation. Globally Russians are discriminated because of their nationality.
Language / Targeted audience:
Link to the disinformation: www.youtube.com/watch?v=5aknjHdFKNQ
Disinforming outlet(s): Polnyi Kontakt @ Vesti FM (18:55 - 20:10)
Reported by:
Disproof note:

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about Russophobia.

The disinformation message appeared in relation to the case of Alexander Vinnik, a Russian citizen who was arrested in Greece in 2017 and indicted by the US on money laundering charges. Read more here.

Keywords: Jews, Russophobia
Countries: Greece, US
More
Western cybersecurity company is US media's sole source of information on Russian hybrid warfare
Additional details: Dmitri Alperovitch, one of the founders of the US-based cybersecurity company Crowdstrike and a Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council, is effectively the only source for the American media on Russian hackers and the hybrid war the Kremlin is waging against the world.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): Georgia and the World
Reported by:
Disproof note:

This is part of a long-standing Russian narrative of denying involvement any cyberwarfare incidents and shifting the blame to Moscow’s perceived adversaries.

Among other reliable sources, US, UK, German and Dutch intelligence agencies, US and European think tanks, and international IT and cybersecurity companies like Microsoft, Fidelis, Fireeye and Symantec regularly report cybersecurity incidents of various gravity originating from Russia. Most reputable media dedicate features to anniversaries of Russian hacking activities and provide overviews of the latest developments in Russia’s booming cyberwarfare sector. Therefore, Dmitri Alperovitch is very far from being the only source of information on Russian hackers and hybrid warfare for the US media.

Further debunking by Myth Detector here.

Keywords: Cyber
Countries: United States, Russia
More
Ukraine was involved in the Malaysian Boeing MH17 catastrophe
Additional details: The Ukrainian authorities were involved in the catastrophe of the Malaysian Boing over Donbas on 17 July 2014.

The Boeing catastrophe has connections to the Ukrainian side, this is confirmed by various facts. There is no doubt the Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko and his press agency knew about the catastrophe beforehand. Other Kyiv officials have also been connected to the case.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): Sputnik Polska
Reported by:
Disproof note:

An often-repeated pro-Kremlin narrative on the downing of MH17.

Bellingcat published numerous reports on the MH17 catastrophe investigation conducted by various parties with evidence supporting the lack of Ukrainian involvement into the catastrophe and proving Russia's involvement instead.

The Dutch and Australians government held Russia responsible for the incident. The Dutch Safety Board also confirmed Russia’s involvement into the catastrophe.

Keywords: MH17
Countries: Australia, Malaysia, Russia, Ukraine, The Netherlands
More
Petro Poroshenko intentionally created the Kerch Strait incident in order to cancel or postpone the elections
Additional details: The Kerch incident was used by President Petro Poroshenko to cancel the election in Ukraine, because he understood that it is difficult for him to win.
Language / Targeted audience:
Link to the disinformation: radiovesti.ru/brand/60948/episode/2156228
Disinforming outlet(s): Polnyi Kontakt @ Vesti FM time 04:52
Reported by:
Disproof note:

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives about the Azov Sea and presidential elections in Ukraine.

Background information:

On November 25 border patrol boats belonging to Russia’s FSB security service seized two small Ukrainian armoured artillery vessels and their crews after shooting at them, wounding several Ukrainian servicemen. Russia argued that they were in Russian waters.

However a bilateral treaty between Russia and Ukraine, signed in 2003 and ratified by Russia in 2004, governs the use of the Kerch strait and the Sea of Azov, which in the treaty is considered to be the “internal waters” of both Russia and Ukraine.

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

Further debunking by the Polygraph.

 

 

Keywords: Kerch, election meddling, Provocation
Countries: Russia, Ukraine
More
US Ambassador to Kyiv controls Ukraine
Additional details: The US Ambassador to Kyiv controls Ukraine. The Ukrainian government will do nothing until receiving instructions from the US Ambassador. Therefore, there are no complaints about fraud in the presidential elections in Ukraine.
Language / Targeted audience:
Link to the disinformation: youtu.be/tqiRWjI04mc
Disinforming outlet(s): 60 minut @ Rossiya 1 (44:25 - 44:45)
Reported by:
Disproof note:

No evidence given. Recurring pro-Kremlin conspiracy about Western meddling in Ukraine's elections.

Ukraine is a sovereign state, not controlled by any foreign government. Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity are respected by most of the free world, including the EU.

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

The election day in Ukraine was assessed positively overall and paves the way to the second round. Voting was well-organised, smooth, transparent and efficient, and procedures were generally adhered to.

The fact that the first round of elections was held without crucial violations is confirmed by various international organisations. The OSCE PA Election Observation Mission in Ukraine has declared that the first round of the presidential elections in Ukraine was competitive, and citizens had the opportunity to freely express their will.  “We can admit that there were definitely competitive elections and the opportunity to vote for the candidate the citizens wanted to elect was provided”, the OSCE Special Coordinator, OSCE PA Honorary President Ilkka Kanerva said.

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

The Canadian Election Observation Mission in Ukraine also considers the elections as fair. A press release of the Canadian Mission says that Ukraine’s highly competitive presidential election meets international standards.

Keywords: Elections
Countries: United States, Ukraine
More
Ukraine's presidential campaign is unique for the scale of electoral fraud
Additional details: The 2019 presidential election in Ukraine is unique for several reasons. First, it takes place amid a civil war. Second, notwithstanding the civil war, the electoral campaign is very competitive. The competition does not concern politicians or their electoral programmes but is centred around a degree of false statements by candidates. There was hardly a case before whereby the Central Electoral Commission's -system presented data on 50% of processed ballots by 9am the day following the election.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): https://sputnik.by/columnists/20190401/1040653202/Ukraina-vybory-prodolzhayutsya.html
Reported by:
Disproof note:

Recurring Kremlin's disinformation narrative about a civil war in Ukraine, and on election fraud in Ukraine.

The ODIHR Election Observation Mission's Statement of Preliminary Findings and Conclusions does not support allegation about large-scale electoral fraud. The document describes various procedural problems and irregularities however does not report about wide-scale falsifications which could significantly distort the actual voting results. "Election day was assessed positively overall and paves the way to the second round", according to the Statement.

The fact that the first round of elections was held without crucial violations is confirmed by various international organisations. The OSCE PA Election Observation Mission in Ukraine has declared that the first round of the presidential elections in Ukraine was competitive, and citizens had the opportunity to freely express their will.  “We can admit that there were definitely competitive elections and the opportunity to vote for the candidate the citizens wanted to elect was provided”, the OSCE Special Coordinator, OSCE PA Honorary President Ilkka Kanerva said.

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

The Canadian Election Observation Mission in Ukraine also considers the elections as fair. A press release of the Canadian Mission says that Ukraine’s highly competitive presidential election meets international standards.

 

 

Keywords: election meddling, War in Ukraine, Donbas, Elections
Countries: Ukraine
More
NATO admits the disqualification of millions of voters had a big impact in Ukrainian elections
Additional details: Approximately 3 million people couldn’t vote in the Donbas region, neither could Ukrainians living and working in Russia since the Ukrainian Embassy didn’t open the planned voting stations. Moscow thinks that 7 to 10 million of Ukrainian citizens didn’t have the chance to participate in the electoral process. “This problem had an enormous influence in yesterday’s elections”, said the president of the observation mission from the NATO Parliamentary Assembly Michal Szczerba during a press conference on April 1st.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): Sputnik Spanish
Reported by:
Disproof note:

A misrepresentation of a quote by the Head of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly observation mission Michal Szczerba. His exact words were:

"What I observed was a free choice by free people. Ukrainians demonstrated their strong commitment to democratic and Euro-Atlantic values. I saw the enthusiasm of citizens of all ages participating in the election process in impressive numbers. However, I sincerely regret that not all could vote because Russia has illegally annexed Crimea and continues its military aggression in eastern Ukraine”.

No "disqualification" of voters took place in the Donbas, but security conditions didn’t allow the running of normal elections in several areas, despite the efforts of Ukrainian authorities to ensure that even soldiers on the frontline could vote.

You can see other examples of disinformation about Ukrainian elections here and here.

Keywords: Ukraine, Eastern Ukraine, NATO
Countries: Ukraine
More
No breakthroughs in Donbas or Crimea if Zelensky wins because it is Washington that decides
Additional details: There is no big difference for the US regarding who will be Ukraine's next president because, in any case, American geopolitical interests in Ukraine are strongly protected for the near future. If Volodymyr Zelensky becomes the next President, pressure on the Russian language in Ukraine will likely soften, whereas the powers of the Ukrainian Institute of National Memory over Ukrainian history and culture are likely be diminished.

On foreign policy, under Zelensky's presidency, Ukraine will continue Euro-Atlantic integration. The country's external debts to IMF and the World Bank will keep growing and relations with Russia will remain confrontational. As for the resolution of the Donbas conflict or Crimea’s status, these issues are decided in Washington rather than in Kyiv. The US is interested in unleashing anti-Russia hysteria in Central Europe and in containing Russia via an escalation in Russia-Ukraine relations.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): Sputnik Belarus
Reported by:
Disproof note:

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives about discrimination against Russian speakers in Ukraine, Ukrainian statehood and alleged control over Ukraine by the US as well as about anti-Russian hysteria in the West.

See an earlier case alleging that the Ukrainian elections are a competition among Washington's puppets.

Keywords: Volodymyr Zelensky, Anti-Russian, Donbas, Elections, Conspiracy
Countries: Russia, Ukraine, US
More
OSCE wants internet in Belarus be full of terrorists and anarchists
Additional details: The OSCE representative wants to make a stinking garbage out of the Belarusian segment of internet, and to turn it into a place full of extremists, terrorists and anarchists.

 

The OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, Harlem Désir, paid a three-day visit to Belarus. The visit's aim was to demonstrate how bad the things are with Belarus' media sphere.  Désir called on Belarusian authorities to reconsider existing measures that tighten state control of the internet. He urged to refrain from mandatory authentication of users posting online and praised the users’ right for anonymity. In other words, the OSCE Representative wants to make a stinking garbage out of the Belarusian segment of internet, and to turn it into a place full of extremists, terrorists and anarchists.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): BerestjeNews, Mogilew.by, Dranik.org
Reported by:
Disproof note:

No evidence given.

Excessive state control over the internet in Belarus and other media issues were raised by the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Harlem Désir in his meetings with the Belarusian authorities with the aim to define the contours of reforms necessary for developing a more favourable and pluralistic media environment.

From 1 December 2018 amendments into the Belarusian law “On mass media” entered into effect which provide for mandatory identification of users of Internet resources, including commentators, as well as on the forums. The new regulation was criticized by the UN Special Rapporteur on Belarus and human rights advocates as excessive and not corresponding to international standards.

 

Keywords: Internet, Terrorism, Conspiracy
Countries: Belarus
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There is no proof that Russia violated INF
Additional details: The NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg did not give any proofs that Russia allegedly violated the INF Treaty. The arguments of NATO members, proving Russia has violated the INF Treaty, are on the level of: “everything is in the social media”.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): Sputnik Polska
Reported by:
Disproof note:

NATO stated several times and provided details how Russia has violated the INF Treaty, for instance in its statement by the North Atlantic Council on 1 February 2019 and earlier on 4 December 2018 in the statement by the NATO Foreign Ministers.

Back in November 2018 Jens Stoltenberg urged Russia “to provide details on Russia to make quick changes to comply in full with the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty. Stoltenberg called on Russia to provide details about a new missile system the United States and other allies claim violates the accord”.

The NATO member – the US – also published a detailed report in February 2019 “Russian Compliance with the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty: Background and Issues for Congress” by the Congressional Research Service where they stated how exactly Russia violated the treaty.

Read more disinformation cases about the INF Treaty here.

Keywords: INF Treaty, Missile defence system, Maria Zakharova, NATO
Countries: Russia, US
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Ukrainian army is guilty for provocations and shelling on election day
Additional details: The Ukrainian army tried to provoke militants of the so-called “Donetsk People's Republic” to return fire, in order to disrupt the electoral process near the front-line. Also, the Ukrainian army is accused of shelling Horlovka.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): RT Russian
Reported by:
Disproof note:

A recurrent, pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative around the elections in Ukraine. Unfounded claims on shelling, supported only by statements from militants from the so-called the “Donetsk People's Republic”. The shelling mentioned is not documented in any way. The report of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission in Ukraine does not confirm such statements. “According to the Mission’s observations, the situation in the regions of Ukraine was calm during the presidential elections”, the report says.

Further debunking on StopFake.org.

 

Keywords: Ukraine, Donetsk, War in Ukraine
Countries: Ukraine
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The U.S sponsored the campaign of Petro Poroshenko
Additional details: The second round of Ukrainian elections will be won by the one who is told to win. It all depends on the United States, who invested a lot of money in Poroshenko’s campaign.
Language / Targeted audience:
Link to the disinformation: youtu.be/-DHK1JMyLbc
Disinforming outlet(s): Vremya Pokazhet @Pervyi Kanal (1tv.ru), time 30:00
Reported by:
Disproof note:

Recurring unfounded pro-Kremlin conspiracy theory about the Ukrainian elections.

On March 25, the National Agency on Corruption Prevention completed the analysis of interim financial reports on the receipt and use of the election campaign funds by candidates for the post of the President of Ukraine. The report declares that Petro Poroshenko's election campaign funds are credited exceptionally from his election fund’s accumulation account.

Examples of similar disinformation cases can be found here and here.

Keywords: Elections
Countries: Ukraine, US
More
Western project on Kurapaty memorial site plans to ruin Belarusian statehood
Additional details: The Kurapaty memorial site on the outskirts of Minsk has become a Western project to ruin Belarusian statehood. Regular prayers by the Belarusian Autocephalous Orthodox Church in Kurapaty are a proof of this. The prayers are conducted for political reasons, to blame the Belarusian authorities for their incapacity, to provoke revolutionary moods among the population and to, eventually, destabilise the country.
Language / Targeted audience:
Link to the disinformation: sozh.info/kuropatskaya-korova-oppozicii/
Disinforming outlet(s): Sozh, https://sozh.info/
Reported by:
Disproof note:

Conspiracy theory consistent with the pro-Kremlin narrative that the Belarusian Autocephalous Orthodox Church is favoured by the West in order to organise a full-scale split from the Russian Orthodox Church and to disrupt Russia-Belarus ties.

Kurapaty is an area on the outskirts of Minsk, where at least 30,000 people (according to some estimates, up to 250,000 people) were executed for political reasons by the Soviet secret police, the NKVD in the period between 1937 and 1941. In 1993 the site was included in the register of the Cultural Properties of Belarus as the first-category of cultural heritage.

On 4 April 2019, the Belarusian authorities, without a prior notification of society began digging up wooden crosses at the Kurapaty memorial site. These actions provoked protests from the population in Kurapaty and disapproval from representatives of the Orthodox, Greek-Catholic and Catholic churches; not only the Belarusian Autocephalous Orthodox Church. Many other religious organisations are also speaking out against them (including the Belarusian Exarchate of the Russian Orthodox Church) because they consider Kurapaty an important memorial site.

 

Keywords: Orthodox Church, Conspiracy
Countries: Belarus
More
NATO has been trying to exterminate Russia for 70 years
Additional details: NATO was built upon a set of lies, such as an alleged expansion of Soviet communism. This was never true. As NATO expanded in the Eastern Europe, despite promises given to Moscow, Russia found out that it was in an existential danger. Any systematic concession to Western powers would mean the disappearance of Russia as a united state, the deprivation of its natural resources, not to say the destruction of its own population. Now NATO is focusing on its expansion in Latin America since the block needs the support of other governments in other continents to expand its networks and influences.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): Sputnik Spanish
Reported by:
Disproof note:

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about NATO and enemies encircling Russia.

No single Latin American country has joined NATO nor could it unless its founding charter is modified. As for other type of relations with NATO, many more countries have, or plan, to become partners of the Atlantic Alliance in the Middle East, Eastern Asia and in the post-Soviet region than in America.

You can see other examples of disinformation about NATO here, here and here.

Keywords: EU/NATO enlargement, NATO
Countries: USSR, Russia
More
NATO has unleashed all wars on the planet in the last 25 years
Additional details: NATO is the only organization that has unleashed all wars on the planet in the last 25 years. The organisation, which was intended to defend Europe, conducted its first military operation against Europe (in Bosnia, 1994).

NATO is a cynical and aggressive organization, a tool of the United States to establish dictatorship on the planet.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): Pyatyy Kanal (5 TV)
Reported by:
Disproof note:

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about NATO.

The primary purpose of the NATO campaign in Yugoslavia was to end violence and repression and force Milosevic to withdraw his military, police and para-military forces from Kosovo (see NATO statement from 1999). Read more about disinformation about the war in former Yugoslavia.

Keywords: Yugoslavia, NATO
Countries: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Europe, US
More
Merkel interfered in Ukrainian election
Additional details: After the first round of the Ukrainian presidential election Merkel demanded Zelensky to publish his electoral programme. She interfered in the Ukrainian election.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): Vremya Pokhazet @ Pervyi Kanal (35:35 - 35:57)
Reported by:
Disproof note:

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the presidential election in Ukraine. Angela Merkel has not interfered into the Ukrainian election.

Keywords: Volodymyr Zelensky, Petro Poroshenko, Elections, Angela Merkel
Countries: Ukraine
More
Zelensky's presidential bid is an attempt by Macron to brainwash Ukraine
Additional details: Volodymyr Zelensky's presidential bid is an “attempt” of French President Emmanuel Macron to “brainwash” Ukrainians and obscure real situation there.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): Vremya Pokhazet @ Pervyi kanal (28:15 - 28:22)
Reported by:
Disproof note:

Conspiracy theory with no evidence. Consistent with recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the elections in Ukraine.

Keywords: Volodymyr Zelensky, Emmanuel Macron
Countries: Ukraine
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In 15 years, NATO has pumped 5 billion euros from Latvia
Additional details: The North Atlantic Treaty Organization has become a huge money making machine. Over the past 15 years, NATO has pumped 5 billion euros from Latvia.


NATO members are seen as colonizers and occupiers in the countries where they pretended to install democracy.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): Sputnik Latvia
Reported by:
Disproof note:

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about NATO.

The defence expenditure of NATO members "represent payments by a national government actually made, or to be made, during the course of the fiscal year to meet the needs of its armed forces, those of Allies or of the Alliance".

In 2006, NATO Defence Ministers agreed to commit a minimum of two per cent of their Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to spending on defence. According to NATO, the defence capacity of each member country has an important impact on the overall perception of the Alliance’s credibility as a politico-military organisation.

The 2% of Latvia's GDP for defence spending is mainly focused on strengthening the national defense capability to enhance combat and response skills of the Armed Forces and National Guard. According to the Foreign Minister of Latvia Edgars Rinkēvičs, Latvia should up its defence spending as "It's in the interests of our own safety".

Keywords: NATO
Countries: Latvia, US
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Schengen visa fees for Belarusians are high, because the number of homosexuals per capita in Belarus is very low
Additional details: The problems with Schengen visas for nationals of Belarus stem from smear reports by the Belarusian opposition to the EU about banned gay prides in Minsk. EU politicians do not want to let Belarusians in, nor lower the visa fees, because the rights of sexual minorities are violated and because the number of gays per capita in Belarus is too low. The EU is also concerned with gender inequality in Belarus. A woman is not welcome in the EU if she has no balls. This is what the EU's policy towards Belarus is based on. Since the Belarusian opposition does not mention a couple of thousand of Belarusians gays in its quarterly reports to the EU, no better EU's attitude towards Belarus can be expected in the near future.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): Podneprovie
Reported by:
Disproof note:

Conspiracy theory consistent with recurring pro-Kremlin narrative about EU's moral decay and aimed at discrediting the Belarusian democratic opposition. Similar Belarus-related cases with this narrative can be seen here and here.

Belarus has not concluded a visa facilitation agreement (VFA) with the EU. For this reason Belarusians indeed have to pay a higher visa fee and to undergo more complicated application procedures for Schengen visas compared to the nationals of the countries with functioning VFAs. So far Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine have been granted a visa-free regime with the EU, whereas Azerbaijan, Armenia and Russia have functioning VFAs with the EU.At present a standard Schengen visa fee for the nationals of Azerbaijan, Armenia and Russia stand at EUR 35 while for Belarusians it is EUR 60.

Minsk started the negotiations over visa facilitation and readmission agreements in 2014, later than other EaP countries.

VFAs do not contain conditions about gender equality or the numbers of homesexuals in the country. Notwithstanding the absence of functioning visa facilitation agreement, Belarus is the world leader in the number of Schengen visas issued  per capita among around 100 countries with a visa regime with the EU. Belarus is among the countries with the lowest Schengen visa refusal rates. In 2017 around 710,000 Schengen visas were issued in Belarus by EU countries' consulates and a refusal rate was as low as 0.3%, official EU statistics show.

 

Keywords: Western values, Conspiracy
Countries: EU, Belarus
More
Tear gas used by the police against Yellow Vests may now contain Cyanide
Additional details: After demonstrations number 19 and 20 of the Yellow Vests, protesters claimed to have been hit more violently than with the tear gas usually used by the police. Its chemical compound has created controversy, some relaying on Twitter the results of medical tests that demonstrate cyanide poisoning.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): Sputnik French
Reported by:
Disproof note:

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative on the violent repression of the Yellow Vests protests.

A Yellow Vest member posted a copy of her medical test and a comment "positive cyanide tests" suggesting she was poisoned after having inhaled tear gas at demonstrations. French TV LCI first spoke to the protester and author of the Tweet as well as a toxicologist, who explained that  the concentrations of thiocyanates found in the blood of this patient are compatible with concentrations observed in smokers and would have to be at least 10 times higher to indicate poisoning.

See further debunking by the LCI.

Keywords: yellow vests
Countries: France
More
NATO invaded the Balkans
Additional details: After the disappearance of the "Soviet threat" NATO was deprived of its raison d'être, which is why, in 1993, Washington called for either a change in direction, or closure of the organisation. These slogans had a powerful effect and then the Alliance invaded the Balkans under US command.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): Sputnik French
Reported by:
Disproof note:

Disinformation message consistent with recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation about NATO aggression.

Slovenia joined NATO in 2004. Albania and Croatia joined NATO in 2009. Bosnia and Herzegovina joined NATO's Partnership for Peace (PfP) program. The State Union of Serbia and Montenegro applied to NATO's PfP in June 2003. Montenegro declared independence on 3 June 2006, subsequently joined the PfP, and then NATO itself without Serbia in 2017. The permanent representatives of NATO Member States  signed a protocol on the accession of North Macedonia to NATO on 6 February 2019. The country will become a member of NATO as soon as all Allies have ratified the Accession Protocol.

NATO launched a campaign of air strikes against Serbia beginning on the 24th  of March 1999 to stop Belgrade's crackdown against ethnic Albanians in Kosovo. The primary purpose of the campaign was to end violence and repression and force Milosevic's to withdraw his military, police and para-military forces from Kosovo (see NATO statement from 1999). See more cases about NATO and the Balkans here.

 

Keywords: EU/NATO enlargement, NATO
Countries: Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Slovenia, Yugoslavia, Greece, Croatia, Albania
More
Under the leadership of Petro Poroshenko, Kyiv has not advanced in the way of Europe
Additional details: The State Duma recalled that over the past five years, under the leadership of Petro Poroshenko, Kyiv has not advanced in the way of Europe, but only moved away from Moscow.

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

Recurring pro-Kremlin narrative on Ukraine's lack of progress on its European ambitions.

Ukraine is a priority partner for the European Union, also within the EU's Eastern Partnership. An Association Agreement, including a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) between the EU and Ukraine, was negotiated between 2007 and 2011 and signed on 21 March and 27 June 2014 under the presidency of Petro Poroshenko. It replaces earlier frameworks for cooperation. The Association Agreement is the main tool for bringing Ukraine and the EU closer together: it promotes deeper political ties, stronger economic links and the respect for common values.

On 20 April 2016, the European Commission presented a proposal to allow visa-free travel to the Schengen area for Ukrainian citizens. As of June 2017 Ukrainians have been able to travel visa-free to the Schengen areas.

 

Keywords: Ukrainian disintegration
Countries: Ukraine, EU
More
The Polish Church refused to recognise the autocephaly of the Orthodox Church in Ukraine
Additional details: The Polish Orthodox Church has confirmed that it does not recognise the autocephaly of the "new church" in Ukraine, the office of the Council of Bishops of the Polish Orthodox Church said.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): RIA Novosti
Reported by:
Disproof note:

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the autocephaly and Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

In the official communication of the Office of the Council of Bishops of the Polish Autocephalous Orthodox Church, it is noted: "The PAKP Bishops' Council, in response to letters on the autocephaly of the Orthodox Church in Ukraine, unambiguously inform that the Polish Autocephalous Orthodox Church was and is for the granting of full independence - the autocephaly of the Orthodox Church in Ukraine."

The further debunking on StopFake.org.

Keywords: Ukraine, autocephaly, Orthodox Church
Countries: Poland, Ukraine
More
In the nearest future we may expect a provocation in Crimea from NATO
Additional details: In the nearest future we may expect a provocation in Crimea from NATO. Such steps are necessary to either bring Poroshenko to power or for cancelling the elections.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): Vremya Pokhazet @ Pervyi Kanal (53:30- 54:24)
Reported by:
Disproof note:

Conspiracy theory, consistent with recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about provocations and presidential election in Ukraine. 

The disinformation message appeared in relation to the statement of the Ukrainian minister of foreign affairs that Ukraine needs to get back its occupied territories - Crimea and Donbas.

Keywords: Provocation, NATO, Petro Poroshenko, Elections, Crimea
Countries: Ukraine
More
After the election Ukraine will fall apart
Additional details: No matter who wins the second round of the Ukrainian election, the country will fall apart. If Zelensky wins, Poroshenko will call on the nationalists to hit the streets and if Poroshenko wins, then Tymoshenko will call people to the streets. Ukraine will fall apart and the south eastern regions must become a part of Russia.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): Vremya Pokhazet @ Pervyi Kanal (36:43 - 37:03)
Reported by:
Disproof note:

Conspiracy theory with no evidence. Consistent with recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation about the presidential election in Ukraine. 

Keywords: Yulia Tymoshenko, Ukrainian disintegration, Petro Poroshenko
Countries: Ukraine
More
In 1999 NATO bombing Yugoslavia killed around 2,500 people
Additional details: From the 24th of March 1999 to the 10th of June of the same year, NATO’s bombing in former Yugoslavia killed 2,500 people.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): Sputnik Italia
Reported by:
Disproof note:

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation about the number of civilian casualties of NATO bombing. An overview of various estimates of casualties in connection with the bombings can be found here.

Read more about disinformation about the war in former Yugoslavia.

See here for similar disinformation cases about the war in former Yugoslavia.

 

 

Keywords: NATO
Countries: Yugoslavia, Serbia
More
Despite promises made to Gorbachev, NATO expanded to include former USSR and Warsaw Pact countries
Additional details: At the time of German reunification, NATO promised Gorbachev that it would not expand to the East in the case the USSR gave up the Warsaw Pact and allowed the fall of Berlin wall.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): Sputnik Italia
Sputnik French
Reported by:
Disproof note:

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation that NATO had promised that the Alliance would not expand to the East.

NATO Allies take decisions by consensus and these are recorded.  There is no record of any such decision having been taken by NATO.  Personal assurances from individual leaders cannot replace Alliance consensus and do not constitute formal NATO agreement.

In addition, NATO's "Open Door Policy" is based on Article 10 of the Alliance's founding document, the North Atlantic Treaty (1949). The Treaty states that NATO membership is open to any "European state in a position to further the principles of this Treaty and to contribute to the security of the North Atlantic area".

Moreover, at the time of the alleged promise, the Warsaw Pact still existed. Its members did not agree on its dissolution until 1991.  The idea of their accession to NATO was not on the agenda in 1989. 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".

The Russian narrative that NATO, a defensive alliance, is de facto aggressive is not new.  Read more in this 2015 Tagespigel analysis.

See more disinformation cases on NATO.

 

Keywords: Mikhail Gorbachev, EU/NATO enlargement, Encircling Russia, NATO
Countries: Russia
More
A limited military conflict may erupt while a Canadian ship is standing in the Odessa port
Additional details: This is how Poroshenko will win the elections: a Canadian ship is standing in the Odessa port, all the sailors are sitting at the bar, there is an explosion, three days later someone from Donetsk is charged with the accusations; the Canadians respond. And three days later, Poroshenko, as Commander-in-Chief, delivers a speech and receives 53% of votes in the election.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): Vremya Pokhazhet @ Pervyi Kanal (32:55- 33:30)
Reported by:
Disproof note:

Conspiracy theory. Consistent with recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about provocations and Ukrainian presidential election.

Keywords: Provocation, Petro Poroshenko, Elections
Countries: Canada, Ukraine
More
Poland, Hungary increasingly disenchanted with EU rule
Additional details: Poland and Hungary are becoming increasingly disenchanted with the rule from Brussels. In view of this and the looming prospect of the UK's exit from the EU,  other member states could follow suit and accelerate the bloc's disintegration.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): RT (rt.com)
Reported by:
Disproof note:

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative on the EU falling apart - see previous examples here, here and here. In both Poland and Hungary, citizens supporting their country's EU membership outweigh those opposing it by overwhelming margins.

According to a Eurobarometer poll conducted in autumn 2018, 70% of Polish respondents said EU membership has been "a good thing" for their country, against 6% taking an opposing view (p. 18). In Hungary, these percentages were 60% and 7%, respectively (ibid.). Moreover, 87% of Poles and 79% of Hungarians opined that their country "has on balance benefited" from EU membership (p. 22), against 7% and 14%, respectively, who disagreed.

Concerning the EU as a whole, the positive view of membership stands at 62%, the highest percentage since 1992 (p. 17). Some 68% of EU citizens feel their respective countries have benefited from integration into the bloc, the highest result since the question was first asked in 1983 (p. 21). Crucially, "nearly all general indicators measuring support for the European Union" have spiked since the results of the UK Brexit referendum were announced in summer 2016. Were an EU membership referendum held in a member state, an average 66% of voters would vote to remain. Only 17% would opt to leave (p. 27).

 

Keywords: Euro-scepticism, Brussels, Brexit, Europe
Countries: Poland, Hungary
More
Canada is participating in provocations in the Black Sea
Additional details: Poroshenko is about to stage a serious provocation as he has no other way to win the elections. Germany refused to participate in provocations in the Black Sea, while Canada agreed and sent its ships.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): Vremya Pokhazet @ Pervyi Kanal (20:50 - 21:21)
Reported by:
Disproof note:

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about provocations and Ukrainian presidential elections.

From April 5 to April 13, 2019 NATO holds multi-national naval drills in the Black Sea. Military vessels from Romania, Bulgaria, Canada, Greece, the Netherlands and Turkey participate in the exercise.

The exercise scenario is fictitious and aims at planning and conducting a Crisis Response Operation (CRO), under the mandate of a Resolution of the United Nations' Security Council (UNSC), in the context of a security environment characterized by symmetric and asymmetric threats. Read more here.

 

 

 

Keywords: Provocation, NATO, Petro Poroshenko
Countries: Canada, Germany
More
EU won't invest in Ukraine
Additional details: Nowadays, no country, not even the European Union invests in Ukraine. Without investments, it will be very difficult to revive the Ukrainian economy.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): Sputnik Azerbaijan
Reported by:
Disproof note:

Recurrent disinformation narratives about the EU abandoning Ukraine and the collapsing Ukrainian economy.

The European Union supports Ukraine in ensuring a stable, prosperous and democratic future for all its citizens. Since spring 2014, the EU has stepped up its support for economic and political reforms in Ukraine.

The main EU countries investing in Ukraine in 2016 were: Cyprus – $427.7 million, equivalent to 21.7% of the total investment amount; Great Britain – $403.9 million (20.5% of the total amount), Netherlands – $255 million (12.9% of the total amount); Austria – $249.9 million (12.7%); Italy – $209.9 million (10.6%); Hungary – 187.6 million (9.5%); Germany – 75.2 million (3.8%). At the same time, the amount of Ukrainian direct investments (equity capital) in other countries’ economies on the 31st of December 2016 totaled $6233.4 million, including the EU countries – $6014.4 million (96.5%) and other countries of the world - $219 million (3.5%).

The EU is Ukraine's largest trading partner, accounting for more than 40% of its trade in 2016. Ukraine accounts for 0.9% of EU's total trade, with a turnover of €29.6 bn in 2016.

Ukraine exports to the EU amounted to €13.1 bn in 2016. The EU exports to Ukraine amounted to over €16.5 bn in 2016. Total trade between the EU and Ukraine increased by 27.1 % from January to August 2017 vs January to August 2016. In that period, exports from EU to Ukraine increased by 26.6% whereas imports from EU to Ukraine increased by 27.7 %.

The EU is a large investor in Ukraine. EU investors held investments worth around €16.1 bn in Ukraine in 2015.

The EIB will lend EUR 50m to finance transport infrastructure improvements throughout the country, along with a EUR 10m grant agreement under the multi-donor E5P fund that supports municipal investments in energy-efficiency and environmental projects in the Eastern Partnership countries.

Consult “Investing in Ukraine’s future”, EIB’s Special Action Plan for Ukraine: the EU bank delivers on its promise of EUR 3bn in 3 years.

Keywords: economy, Economic difficulties
Countries: Ukraine, EU
More
Georgia will become a military protectorate of the United States
Additional details: Georgia intends to join the NATO, after which it will become a military protectorate of the United States.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): Sputnik French
Reported by:
Disproof note:

Georgia becoming a protectorate of the US after joining NATO is one of the recurring and occasionally contradictory disinformation narratives about the same topic. Disinformation outlets state that The West is forcing Georgia to accept the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia in order "to drag Georgia to NATO". See also "Georgia to give up its territorial integrity in order to join NATO" or obligation of holding gay prides and other "preconditions" for Georgia  to join NATO. On the other hand, we can read "NATO troops participation in Georgian military pushes Putin to set up military bases on occupied parts of Georgia".

See also "Russia will never allow Ukraine or Georgia to join NATO".

Georgia's movement to join NATO was intensified after the de-facto occupation of a part of its territory.

 

Keywords: EU/NATO enlargement, NATO
Countries: West, Georgia
More
With the illegitimate war against Yugoslavia, NATO made the world a theatre of war
Additional details: With the war against Yugoslavia 20 years ago, which was contrary to international law, NATO made the world a theatre of war.
Language / Targeted audience:
Link to the disinformation: www.youtube.com/watch?v=9w9FQtCGJ2Y
Disinforming outlet(s): RT Deutsch time 05:47
Reported by:
Disproof note:

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the war in former Yugoslavia.

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

The NATO operation for Kosovo followed over a year of intense efforts by the UN and the Contact Group, of which Russia was a member, to bring about a peaceful solution. The UN Security Council on several occasions branded the ethnic cleansing in Kosovo and the mounting number of refugees driven from their homes as a threat to international peace and security. NATO's Operation Allied Force was launched to prevent the large-scale and sustained violations of human rights and the killing of civilians.

At the North Atlantic Council meeting on 12 April 1999, NATO expressed support for the "political aims of the international community: a peaceful, multi-ethnic and democratic Kosovo in which all its people can live in security and enjoy universal human rights and freedoms on an equal basis."

 

 

Keywords: Kosovo, War crimes, International Law, NATO
Countries: Yugoslavia, The West
More
Far-right US stooge Guaido has low support in Venezuela
Additional details: Juan Guaido, the US-recognized interim president of Venezuela, represents the fringe right segment of the anti-Maduro opposition.

Crowds at pro-Guaido rallies are shrinking by the day. The self-proclaimed president's approval is much lower than Maduro's.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): RT (rt.com)
Reported by:
Disproof note:

Recurring pro-Kremlin narrative disinformation narrative about Juan Guaido and Venezuela.

Juan Guaido is not a far-right politician, nor an American stooge. He is the President of the National Assembly of Venezuela who stepped in as an interim president on the basis of the Venezuelan Constitution, after the mass protests in the country following the Presidential election. Juan Guaido was recognized as the interim president of Venezuela by at least 47 countries, against 14 which expressed their ongoing support for Nicolas Maduro.

No evidence testifying to shrinking crowds at Guaido rallies is supplied, although multiple opinion polls contradict the claim about the opposition leader's low public approval. Between 61% and 74.4% (p. 3) of respondents hold a favourable view of Juan Guaido, against Maduro's "all-time low" of 14%; between 63.3 (p. 9) and 77.9% (p. 14) recognize Guaido as the legitimate president of Venezuela, against 5-14.5% recognizing Maduro as such; 77% would support Guaido in an early presidential election, whereas 23% would vote for Maduro.

Keywords: Juan Guaido, Nicolas Maduro, Coup, Nazi/Fascist
Countries: United States, Venezuela
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Polish farmers want anti-Russian sanctions to be lifted
Additional details: Hundreds of angry farmers protested in Warsaw, demanding that the anti-Russian sanctions be lifted, as they put farmers on the brink of a ruin.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): Ren.tv
Reported by:
Disproof note:

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation on sanctions. 

It is true that Polish farmers protested against sanctions - but they have actually demanded Russia to lift its sanctions imposed on the EU, which prevent Polish farmers to sell their products in Russia. All demands of the protesting farmers, associated in the organisation Agrounia, can be found here.

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

Keywords: Protest, Anti-Russian, Economic difficulties, Sanctions
Countries: Poland, Russia
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Russia does not occupy Ukrainian territory
Additional details: Russia does not occupy Ukrainian territory. The words 'occupation' or 'annexation' are completely inapplicable to the Crimea - neither de facto nor de jure.

The self-proclaimed people's republics of Luhansk and Donetsk were repelled by Kyiv and everything that happens in the region is a consequence of the policies of Ukraine's current leadership.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): RT Deutsch
Reported by:
Disproof note:

Recurring pro-Kremlin narrative about the Russian aggression in Ukraine and on the illegal annexation of Crimea.

Russia started the war against Ukraine in 2014, violating Ukraine's territorial integrity by the illegal annexation of Crimea, supporting and arming separatist groups in Eastern Ukraine.

Crimea is a part of Ukraine illegally annexed by Russia. In 2014, the Russian troops forced the parliament of Crimea to organise an illegal referendum and then conducted the annexation of it that has been condemned by the UN General Assembly (see the resolution A/RES/68/262 on the territorial integrity of Ukraine).

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

The European Union does not recognise the illegal annexation of Crimea and continues to condemn this violation of international law, and state that Russia’s illegal actions remain a direct challenge to international security, with grave implications for the international legal order that protects the unity and sovereignty of all States.

The European Union stated in July 2014 that "arms and fighters continue flowing into Ukraine from the Russian Federation".

Also, at the NATO Summit in Wales in September 2014, NATO leaders condemned in the strongest terms Russia’s military intervention in Ukraine.

Moreover, in 2015, Russian President Vladimir Putin admitted Russia's military presence in Ukraine and Russian involvement in the occupation of Crimea.

 

Keywords: Territorial dispute, Occupation, War in Ukraine, Crimea, Ukrainian statehood
Countries: Russia, Ukraine
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Ukraine is under the external control of the US and EU
Additional details: Ukrainian administration, the secret service and the military are under US control.

EU's interference in Ukraine always comes across well as "support", while Russia is called to respect Ukraine's sovereignty.
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Disinforming outlet(s): Sputnik Deutschland, RT Deutsch
Reported by:
Disproof note:

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives about the EU and US relations with Ukraine and Ukrainian statehood.

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

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

For the EU Ukraine is a priority partner.  In June 2014, EU and Ukraine signed an Association Agreement, including a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA), which promotes deeper political ties, stronger economic links and the respect for common values.

Keywords: US presence in Europe, Ukrainian disintegration, The West, Ukrainian statehood
Countries: Ukraine, EU, US
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Poroshenko and Zelensky are puppets of Western imperialism
Additional details: Both Poroshenko and Zelensky are puppets of Western imperialism and enemies of Ukrainian people.
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Disinforming outlet(s): Teleskop
Reported by:
Disproof note:

Conspiracy theory, no evidence given about alleged Western influence over the Ukrainian electoral process. This is a recurring disinformation narrative about Western meddling in Ukraine's elections and Ukraine as a state under foreign control.

See also earlier cases naming Ukrainian presidential candidates US puppets.

Keywords: Volodymyr Zelensky, Ukraine, election meddling, Petro Poroshenko, Conspiracy
Countries: West, Ukraine
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OSCE will not consider citizens of Belarus European, unless Minsk consults pro-EU NGOs about reforms in media sector
Additional details: The OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, Harlem Désir, wants Belarus' civil society to take part in discussion about reforms of media sector. Civil society actually means pro-EU activists, rather than the NGOs which promote the Union State between Russia and Belarus. If pro-EU activists are not included in the reforms process,  then the OSCE will not consider citizens of Belarus as Europeans.
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Disinforming outlet(s): BerestjeNews, Mogilew.by, Dranik.org
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Disproof note:

This message is a conspiracy and consistent with pro-Kremlin narrative about EU strategy to organize a colour revolution in Belarus through financing of controlled NGOs.

Excessive state control over the internet in Belarus and other media issues were raised by Harlem Désir in his meetings with the Belarusian authorities with the aim to define the contours of reforms necessary for developing a more favourable and pluralistic media environment.

Normally international organizations including the OSCE prefer seeing specialized NGOs as part of consultation process with state authorities, regardless NGOs' foreign-policy priorities. In this case, the OSCE Representative meant the NGOs with a proven expertise in the issues related to media freedom and functioning of the media sector, regardless pro-EU or pro-Russia foreign policy preferences of a given organization or its members.

OSCE has never conditioned the acknowledgement of a country as European by the participation of certain NGOs in the reforming process. In fact, the OSCE's 57 participating states are located in Europe, northern and central Asia, and North America.

 

Keywords: Colour revolutions, Conspiracy
Countries: Belarus
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The West does not want the war in Ukraine to end
Additional details: The Western community is concerned that the war in Ukraine could end after the Ukrainian presidential elections.

One of the myths of German foreign policy is the idea that Chancellor Angela Merkel is striving for peace in the Ukrainian conflict.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): RT Deutsch
Reported by:
Disproof note:

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation about the war in Ukraine.

The European Union supports Ukraine in ensuring a stable, prosperous and democratic future for all its citizens. The EU is unwavering in its support for the country's territorial integrity and sovereignty and sees the full implementation of the Minsk agreements as the basis for a sustainable, political solution to the conflict in the east of the country.

Moreover, not only the EU in general, but also the German Chancellor Angela Merkel in particular, repeatedly stressed out that there is "no military solution" to the conflict in Ukraine.

 

 

 

 

Keywords: Eastern Ukraine, War in Ukraine, Russophobia, The West, Angela Merkel
Countries: Ukraine, EU, Germany
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Integration with the EU would bring a complete loss of independence to Belarus
Additional details: Integration with the EU would mean a complete loss of Belarus' independence. Genuine Belarus' independence is achieved through the development of the Union State between Russia and Belarus.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): Together with Russia, http://ross-bel.ru/
Vitbich, http://vitbich.org/
Civic initiative Soyuz, http://rosbelsoyuz.su/
Teleskop, http://teleskop-by.org/
Reported by:
Disproof note:

This message is consistent with pro-Kremlin narratives about negative effect of EU's membership on national sovereignty and generally about the EU's decay. It goes in hand with another narrative about the incomplete Belarus statehood without a close union with Russia.

Closer cooperation with the EU does not require partner states to share their sovereignty and lose their independence. Cooperation within the Eastern Partnership helps strengthening state and societal resilience: it makes both the EU and the partners stronger and better able to deal with internal and external challenges.

Keywords: EU/NATO enlargement, Conspiracy
Countries: EU, Belarus
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US meddles in the Ukrainian elections
Additional details: The United States and the European Union are controlling the Presidential elections in Ukraine. Obviously, the direct influence of American and European politicians is not only on the election campaign, but also on the future outcome of the Ukrainian elections as a whole. American or European observers and other experts in Ukraine are agents of foreign influence.This is a direct intervention of the US and the EU in the internal affairs of Ukraine.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): RT Russian
Reported by:
Disproof note:

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative around the Ukrainian elections.

American experts help their Ukrainian counterparts in cybersecurity issues - US experts have shown how to resist Russia's interference in the electoral process in Ukraine, which will helps make the elections transparent.

NATO experts also helped Ukraine in the field of security - this concerned not only military-technical assistance in the war with Russia, but also the protection of Ukrainian cybersystems from foreign interference during the elections. NATO experts help the Ukrainian CEC in ensuring the stability and security of the electronic system from external influences. The EU analysts helped Ukraine in countering disinformation during the elections.

Keywords: Elections
Countries: Ukraine, EU, US
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