Disinfo: A third world war because of North Macedonia

Summary

A third world war because of North Macedonia:
After Montenegro became NATO’s newest member in 2018, a journalist asked President Trump, “why should my son go to Montenegro to protect it from an attack?” Now the same will need to be explained about North Macedonia.

Disproof

This is a recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative attacking NATO, on the one hand trying to paint it as a warmongering, aggressive organisation and on the other hand attempting to undermine NATO's mutual security guarantee. It is also part of a longstanding pro-Kremlin disinformation campaign aimed at preventing North Macedonia and other Balkan countries from joining NATO. For example, pro-Kremlin media have spread false claims like that NATO needs Macedonia and Montenegro to test radioactive ammunition, that NATO is a real danger in the Western Balkans and has destroyed Montenegro’s army, and that Macedonians have rejected the agreement to rename the country and erase their national identity.

North Macedonia officially joined NATO as its 30th member on 27 March 2020. NATO is a defensive alliance whose purpose is the protection of its member states. NATO member states make sovereign decisions about their own security. The Alliance considers the applications of candidate countries who want to join the alliance based on their own national will. 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". Every sovereign nation has the right to choose its own security arrangements. This is a fundamental principle of European security and one to which Russia has also subscribed.

See other examples of disinformation on NATO presence in the Balkans, such as its ‘invasion’ of the region, its alleged destruction of the army in Montenegro, its claimed support of a ‘Greater Albania’, and its plans to kill people while based in Macedonia.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 190
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 27/03/2020
  • Language/target audience: Czech
  • Country: North Macedonia, Montenegro
  • Keywords: Western Balkans, EU/NATO enlargement, WWIII, NATO
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Disproof

Conspiracy theory, with no evidence provided to support any of the claims and part of Russia’s disinformation campaign on the coronavirus, well documented by both media and governments. Elements of this campaign were widely reported by Russian and international publications, and by the European External Action Service.

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Disproof

Conspiracy theory and baseless accusations with no evidence provided. This is part of the ongoing pro-Kremlin disinformation campaign around the coronavirus, which often involves attempts to portray the EU and European countries unable to deal effectively with the outbreak. In this case, the claim attacks the alleged incompetence and ignorance of Belgian people, without providing any evidence to back up its accusations.

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Disproof

Misleading headline.

What the pro-Kremlin media portrays as a widespread phenomenon is based on anecdotal evidence. For a more detailed debunk see reporting by BBC Russian service.