Disinfo: 2014 Vrbětice explosion is being used as part of a planned disinformation campaign

Summary

Vrbětice explosion case is part of a planned disinformation campaign targeting Russia. There is an ongoing anti-Russian campaign waged in Czechia.

Disproof

Part of a recurring pro-Kremlin narrative according to which Russia is a victim of a Western anti-Russian campaign driven by Russophobia. This narrative is employed as a way to deflect accusations of wrongdoing levied against Russia.

There is a significant body of evidence proving that Russia was involved in the 2014 Vrbětice explosion, therefore there is no ground to claim that the Vrbětice case was a planned disinformation campaign.

At a press conference on 17 April 2021, Prime Minister Andrej Babiš and Deputy Prime Minister Jan Hamáček announced that members of the Russian military intelligence service GRU were involved in the explosion in Vrbětice in 2014, based on evidence and an investigation by the Czech security services, with investigators only learning of the Russian GRU's involvement four years after the explosion, following the revealed identity of agents involved in the poisoning of Skripal and his daughter in the UK. For example, the investigators mention an email sent to the Imex Group (operator of the munitions depot in Vrbětice), listing two agents suspected of poisoning Skripal in Salisbury, Chepiga and Mishkin.

In addition to the official investigation, the Russian involvement was also corroborated by an investigation undertaken by Bellingcat in cooperation with The Insider, Der Spiegel and Respekt.

See other similar cases here.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 259
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 06/09/2021
  • Article language(s) Czech
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: Czech Republic, Russia
  • Keywords: Vrbetice explosion, Russophobia, Anti-Russian
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Disproof

This is a recurring disinformation narrative widely promoted by pro-Kremlin outlets to make allegations of ”foreign control” of Ukraine. The narrative is aimed at undermining Ukraine's sovereignty and struggle for territorial integrity, as well as at discrediting international support in the wake of still ongoing acts of Russian aggression in the country's Donbas region and the Russian-occupied Crimean peninsula.

The disinformation claim above refers to a recent high-level summit between US President Joe Biden and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. The summit has resulted in broadening strategic cooperation between the two countries in a number of areas, including the economy, military, and climate among others. In sharp contrast to the disinformation claim, active economic cooperation with a foreign country does not result in becoming a colony.

Disinfo: Global elites overthrew Donald Trump

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Disproof

This disinformation claim combines a recurring pro-Kremlin narrative about secret global elites with the narrative about the stolen 2020 US presidential election from former President Donald Trump. The narrative is now being repeated in the context of the withdrawal of the US troops from Afghanistan.

Donald Trump was defeated by Joe Biden in a legitimate and valid election: the 2020 presidential election, which has been indisputably proven to be the most secure democratic election in history, well managed and legitimate, as determined by the US Supreme Court. See here more about OSCE election observations in the US.

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Disproof

This is a recurring disinformation narrative from pro-Kremlin outlets alleging that the West deceived the former Soviet Union and subsequently Russia by breaking its promise not to expand NATO to the East.

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