Disinfo: The Association Agreement destroyed Ukrainian economy, it became a Western colony

Summary

Almost six years have passed [since the Association Agreement was signed between Ukraine and the EU]. What did this widely advertised agreement give to Ukraine? Judge for yourself. Ukraine has become the poorest country in Europe and one of the poorest in the world. The Ukrainian economy was destroyed. Investments fell to zero. This means that the country has essentially become a colony of the West and has lost its independence.

Disproof

Conspiracy theory. Recurring pro-Kremlin narrative on Ukraine and its relations with the European Union. In June 2014, the 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. Since 2014, the EU and the Financial Institutions have mobilised more than €15 billion in grants and loans to support the reform process, with strong conditionality on continued progress. See here for more details about EU-Ukraine relations. Since 2016, there has been a steady increase in the export of more value added products, such as machinery and appliances and transport equipment, while the number of companies exporting to the EU has increased from 11,700 companies in 2015 to more than 14,500 companies in 2019. The total trade turnout increased to 52.6 bln USD in 2019. During 2015-2019, Ukraine also increased its export to the EU from 13 bln USD to 24 bln USD. Overall in 2019, Ukrainian export to the EU increased by 3.9%. Now, the EU accounts for almost half of Ukrainian export. The EU remains a key trading partner of Ukraine with a share of 40.1%. See here for more details about EU-Ukraine trade relations. According to the World Bank, foreign direct investment in Ukraine decreased since 2013, with the lowest amount in 2014. However, they have not fallen to zero: 3.4 bln USD in 2016, 2.8 bln USD in 2017 and 2.4 bln USD in 2018.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 197
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 14/05/2020
  • Outlet language(s) Russian
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: EU, Ukraine
  • Keywords: Ukraine, economy, Abandoned Ukraine, Economic difficulties, Ukrainian statehood, Euromaidan
see more

Disinfo: US might be developing weaponised insects; Pentagon's biolabs must be investigated

Leaving your opponent without a harvest, which could lead to famine, is a much slower approach to reaching one’s aim. But it is a practical one, as the land could still be used for growing crops in the future. Such a bioweapon (an insect that introduces genetically modified material) could be deployed by an aggressor without the need for special equipment, thus leaving no trace of an attack. No means of spreading any chemicals or toxins would be found either as these could serve as indirect proof of a deliberate (far from natural) attack on plants. Filling a field with weaponized insects is all one needs. Concerns are growing about the fact that the United States has been providing a great deal of funding for biological programs that may have dual uses, such as conducting controversial experiments with infectious agents that cause deadly diseases; testing mechanisms of dispersal; increasing the scope of military research in biolabs abroad, and others. And as there are more and more questions about the nature of research done in numerous secret biolabs of the Pentagon, an unbiased international investigation ought to be conducted into their work.

Disproof

An unfounded conspiracy theory connected to recurring disinformation claims about the US allegedly developing bioweapons at secret facilities. See related examples of disinformation about the Lugar lab in Georgia. These messages are a longstanding element of pro-Kremlin disinformation - and especially in the current context of the coronavirus pandemic, pro-Kremlin media have been actively spreading disinformation claims about the US - or the West more broadly - manufacturing biological weapons; see here for an overview. Also see related disinformation cases alleging that US laboratories in Ukraine are deadly; that COVID-19 brings attention to secret US laboratories on the borders of US and China; that US is afraid of leakage of infectious substances on its territory so it builds secret laboratories in colonized countries.

Disinfo: Poland uses Russophobia to raise its status in the Western community

Polish President Andrzej Duda signed an updated national security strategy for the country, which focuses on the military threat that allegedly comes from Russia. Polish authorities purposefully intimidate citizens with the “Russian threat”, fixing in official documents unconfirmed information about alleged “hybrid wars” and “cyber attacks” conducted by Russian intelligence agencies, and about “aggressive plans” of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation. Russophobia serves as a way for the ruling elite to rally the nation in the face of an imaginary enemy. Also, with the help of anti-Russian policy, Warsaw is trying to raise its status in the Western community.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative equating criticism of the Kremlin's actions or policies with "Russophobia", i.e., an irrational and unjustified hatred of Russia itself. The Polish authorities do not promote any policy of “intimidation with Russia” and they do not fuel the “anti-Russian propaganda”. Poland's primary Russia-related concerns are a result of Russia's annexation of Crimea and its ongoing involvement in the military conflict in eastern Ukraine. The Polish government shows its full support to Ukraine in the war and supports complete restoration of Ukraine's territorial integrity. The full text of Poland's 2020 national security strategy is available here. On Polish security concerns regarding Russia, the document states:

The most serious threat is the neo-imperial policy of the authorities of the Russian Federation, pursued also by means of military force. The aggression against Georgia, the illegal annexation of Crimea and activities in eastern Ukraine have violated the basic principles of international law and undermined the pillars of the European security system. [...] Furthermore, the Russian Federation carries out activities below the threshold of war (of hybrid nature), which pose the risk of the outbreak of a conflict (including an unintentional one, originating from a violent escalation as a result of an incident, especially a military one), and undertakes multi-faceted and comprehensive actions using non-military means (including: cyber-attacks, disinformation) to destabilise the structures of Western states and societies and to create divisions among Allies. It should be assumed that that the Russian Federation will continue its policy of undermining the current international order, based on international law, in order to rebuild its power and spheres of influence.

Read similar cases on alleged Polish "Russophobia", such as "due to Polish Russophobia, there will be no public commemoration of the anniversary of Szczecin capture" and "Polish authorities created an insane hysteria of intimidation with Russia, used for the needs of domestic politics".

Disinfo: Errors and lack of evidence in the investigation of the MH17 case

The investigation of the MH17 case can hardly be called objective because, from the very beginning, the Dutch experts made a large number of mistakes. Therefore you cannot trust the results of their activities. The investigation did not offer anything new, but rather, it came across as “outright fakes”.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about MH17, involving an attempt to discredit the Joint International Investigation (JIT) and the criminal trial that is underway in the Hague. The article doesn't provide any evidence of the alleged fakes or "mistakes" of the JIT investigation. The special team known as the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) was established to conduct the criminal inquiry into the downing of flight MH17. The JIT comprises officials from the Dutch Public Prosecution Service and the Dutch police, along with police and criminal justice authorities from Australia, Belgium, Malaysia and Ukraine. After years of painstaking investigation, the JIT has concluded that flight MH17 was shot down on 17 July 2014 by a BUK-TELAR missile of the 9M38 series, from farmland in the vicinity of Pervomaiskiy (or: Pervomaiskyi). At that time, the area was controlled by Russian armed formations. The BUK-TELAR missile was brought in from the territory of the Russian Federation and subsequently, after being used to shoot down flight MH17, was taken back to the Russian Federation. The JIT concluded that the BUK-TELAR used to down MH17 originates from the 53rd Anti Aircraft Missile brigade, a unit of the Russian army from Kursk in the Russian Federation. On the basis of the JIT investigation, the Dutch Public Prosecution Service is prosecuting three Russians and one Ukrainian for shooting down MH17 and murdering all 298 persons on board: Igor Vsevolodovich Girkin, Sergey Nikolayevich Dubinskiy, Oleg Yuldashevich Pulatov, and Leonid Volodymyrovych Kharchenko. The first session of the court proceedings started on the 9th of March in the Hague. The European Union and NATO have called on the Russian Federation to accept its responsibility and to fully cooperate with all efforts to establish accountability. On the basis of the JIT’s conclusions, the Netherlands and Australia are convinced that Russia is responsible for the deployment of the BUK installation that was used to down MH17. The two governments are formally holding Russia accountable. Read similar cases such as: "The trial in The Hague on flight MH17 is based on Ukraine's fakes" and "The JIT builds all its conclusions on doubtful data".