Disinfo: Absurd accusations of the Czechs against Russia serve to cover the fail of its counterintelligence

Summary

The Czech Republic uses the scandal with Russia to cover up the shame of its counterintelligence service, the BIS. The BIS claims an employee of the Russian embassy anonymously contacted BIS, saying that a Russian diplomat was carrying ricin in his briefcase in order to poison the mayor of Prague, in revenge for demolishing the monument to Konev. This version is unproven and created solely to get out of a hopeless situation with the least loss for the reputation of the Czech Republic. The expulsion of Russian diplomatic staff does not follow the internal agenda of Prague; relations with Moscow are deliberately spoiled by a certain part of the Czech elite.

Disproof

In late April, Respekt, a Czech weekly, reported that a suspected Russian intelligence officer travelling on a diplomatic passport had arrived in Prague carrying the lethal toxin ricin in his luggage in order to poison Czech municipal civil servants, including the mayor of Prague. The investigation was ongoing. Speaking to journalists on June 5 in Prague, Mr. Babis, the Czech prime minister, said that an unnamed Russian embassy staff member had fabricated the ricin story and passed it on to the Czech intelligence service, BIS, which spent weeks investigating the alleged plot. Two Russian diplomats were expelled by Prague as a result of the investigation. Russian officials did not challenge the Czech PM's information that a Russian diplomat, and not somebody in the Czech Republic, produced this "fake news" about the ricin incident. Taking into account that Russia had just opened a criminal investigation into the removal of the Marshal Konev statue in Prague, which was accompanied by an aggressive disinformation campaign in Russian media against local Prague authorities, this allegation was naturally taken seriously by Czech security services and the police. As a precaution, three city officials were placed in protective police custody. The article provides no evidence to support the conspiracy theory that Prague invented the story about the ricin investigation. See more disinformation cases on the removal of the Soviet Marshal Konev statue in Prague.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 203
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 06/06/2020
  • Outlet language(s) Russian
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: Czech Republic, Russia
  • Keywords: Konev, Diplomacy with Russia, Monuments, Anti-Russian
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Disinfo: Ukraine is preparing for an attack in the Donbas

Ukraine is preparing for attacking manoeuvres in the Donbas, so it is actively increasing its military presence near the line of contact between government-controlled and non-government-controlled areas. OSCE observers noted the presence of self-propelled howitzers, tanks, rocket sites, armoured vehicles, military trucks and ambulances at a train station in the government-controlled part of Donetsk.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the war in Ukraine. There is no evidence that Ukraine plans to attack the territorial parts of Donbas that are not controlled by Kyiv. Recent OSCE daily reports did not note any increase in Ukrainian military presence near the line of contact. The organisation's Special Monitoring Mission in Ukraine did note the presence of self-propelled howitzers at the train station on 4 June, but it did not mention the other military hardware listed by the article. The report also mentioned that there were self-propelled howitzers and tanks in a training area in the non-government-controlled region of Luhansk. President Zelenskyy has been stressing on numerous occasions that his main strategic goal and first and foremost task as Ukraine's president, is to achieve a peaceful settlement of the war in Donbas as soon as possible. On 13 October 2019, he underlined that “ending the war in Donbas” is a priority for the Ukrainian government. To accomplish this task, Ukraine has fulfilled all preparatory steps, such as the withdrawal of troops on three sites, necessary to hold the meeting in the “Normandy format”. Moreover, in September, Ukraine and Russia conducted the prisoner swap and agreed to exchange all prisoners soon. Ukraine had also agreed to sign the so-called Steinmeier formula which was again confirmed by President Zelenskyy on the “Normandy Four” summit.

Disinfo: The protests in the US is a standoff between Trump and the globalist corporations

Most of the protests throughout the US, and in many places in Europe, the protests are being coordinated via Social Media, which is similar to what transpired in Hong Kong for nearly a year. In the digital industry, companies such as EA, Sony, Rockstar are also joining in on the protests, while they’ve generally shied away from such content. [—] Many corporations are extending their support of Black Lives Matter, and this is quite showing for the shifting status quo. The situation is such that typically, it was a standoff of US President Donald Trump and the US national industry, in a standoff against the globalist and the non-mainstream corporations. It appears that the wind is blowing in the other direction, with most siding on the side of the protests, and Trump appearing to sit in an ever-reducing crowd.

Disproof

An unfounded conspiracy theory, in line with a pro-Kremlin narrative on protests never actually being manifestations of popular discontent. The widespread protests against racial injustice and police brutality broke out in the US after the death of George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis on the 25th of May, 2020. The protests followed several high-profile incidents involving African Americans and the police, invoking debates about racism in the US. The pro-Kremlin media frequently use disinformation narratives about popular protests allegedly incited by the US around the world, including colour revolutions in Eastern Europe, Euromaidan in Ukraine, protests in Catalonia and others.

Disinfo: The US Defender 2020 manoeuvre is directed against Russia

Thus, in addition to the US large-scale manoeuvre Defender Europe 2020, which is also directed against Russia by rehearsing the transfer of troops in the direction of the Russian border, the US-led manoeuvre BALTOPS 2020 will also be carried out over the Baltic Sea.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the West/ NATO threatening or encircling Russia and the US-led military exercise "Defender-Europe 2020", which is not aimed or targeted at Russia. US Major General Andrew Rohling Deputy Commanding General for the US Army in Europe, informs that the US-led exercise "Defender 2020" is an American exercise with 18 NATO partner countries. Rohling emphasises that the aim of the exercise is not to target any country, but rather to test strategic readiness and how to react to a crisis. Exercise Defender-Europe 2020 is the deployment of a division-size combat-credible force from the United States to Europe, the drawing of equipment and the movement of personnel and equipment across the Atlantic to various training areas in Europe, like Germany and Poland. With US Defender Europe 2020, the 18 participating NATO-countries are therefore practising procedures to ensure and demonstrate the ability to relocate and also to confirm the alliance's commitment to supporting and, in particular, to show the United States' commitment to Europe's security. For more information about the exercise: US Army Europe Website and updates from the Bundeswehr (German Army).