Disinfo: Belarus is surrounded by foreign troops

Summary

Foreign military surrounded Belarus. The West has increased intelligence against Minsk, as well as deployed a foreign contingent to the borders. More than 10 thousand soldiers, 40 combat aircraft and 500 units of heavy military equipment are located near the borders of Belarus.

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NATO neighboring countries are increasing their military presence and intelligence activities towards Belarus.

Disproof

No evidence given. This is part of a Russian disinformation campaign on post-electoral events in Belarus, merged with recurrent pro-Kremlin narratives portraying NATO as an ever-aggressive organisation.

In an earlier statement, NATO has dismissed allegations that it was conducting a military buildup near the country’s western border but said it was closely monitoring the situation following his contested re-election.

See other examples of pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives in Belarus, such as claims that the EU reaction to Lukashenko’s victory is an example of Western double standards; that the same lack of democracy and repression is present in EU countries that criticise them in Minsk; that the arrest of Russian mercenaries in Belarus was a Ukrainian provocation, and the Ukrainian secret services may have planned terrorist attacks on Belarusian territory; that the West wants to prepare another Maidan in the country; or that Belarusians, Ukrainians and Russians are one single nation.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 209
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 31/08/2020
  • Language/target audience: Russian
  • Country: Belarus
  • Keywords: Military, West, Alexander Lukashenko, Coup, NATO

Disclaimer

Cases in the EUvsDisinfo database focus on messages in the international information space that are identified as providing a partial, distorted, or false depiction of reality and spread key pro-Kremlin messages. This does not necessarily imply, however, that a given outlet is linked to the Kremlin or editorially pro-Kremlin, or that it has intentionally sought to disinform. EUvsDisinfo publications do not represent an official EU position, as the information and opinions expressed are based on media reporting and analysis of the East Stratcom Task Force.

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Visa liberalisation for Ukraine “bites the dust”

Visa liberalisation for Ukraine “bites the dust”. One of the most important achievements of the “Ukrainian Maidan”, which ex-President Petro Poroshenko was so proud of, visa-free visits to the EU countries were cancelled indefinitely due to the coronavirus epidemic. However, even after opening the borders, “visa-free” travel will not return in its previous form, or rather, only the name will remain from it.

It is no secret that Ukrainians massively used the opportunity to travel to the EU for illegal work. From 2021, the European Union is introducing an electronic system to comply with the rules of the visa-free regime, which will be impossible to deceive. It will be possible to use “visa-free” only for tourist purposes, or to visit relatives, and for no more than 3 months.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives claiming that the EU and the West, in general, have abandoned Ukraine, and more specifically about the visa-free travel and ETIAS system.

The introduction of the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) is not only dealing with Ukraine. It will affect citizens from all countries which do not need entry visas to the EU.

Lukashenka was Lithuania’s economic god and benefactor

The reorientation of Belarusian cargo flows from Lithuania may negatively affect its economy, and then the republic will face very grim consequences.

Lithuania occupies a special position in the EU. It has been given many economic privileges, like Poland and the Czech Republic. […] The European Union is pursuing an expansionist policy, and Lithuania is the one that should pay for it. […] If Lithuania is left without Belarusian goods and loses this transit, it will face very dire consequences. Lukashenka was her God and benefactor in the economic sense.

Disproof

Pro-Kremlin disinformation about Lithuanian economy and Belarus. 

The disinformation message appeared after the incumbent Belarusian president said he planned to reorient cargo flows away from Lithuanian ports and claimed that 30% of Lithuanian budget was formed by Belarusian cargo traffic.

NATO builds up military forces on the border with Belarus

NATO countries bordering Belarus are building up their military capabilities and intensifying intelligence. Recently, Belarus’ neighbours have been strengthening both their military potential and the ability to receive and deploy foreign troops. At the same time, intelligence activities against Belarus have been seriously intensified.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about Belarus.

The NATO leadership has repeatedly denied statements about the build-up of the alliance's forces near the western border of Belarus. "There is no NATO buildup in the region. NATO’s multinational presence in the eastern part of the Alliance is not a threat to any country. It’s strictly defensive, proportionate & designed to prevent conflict & preserve peace"  said NATO spokeswoman Oana Lungescu on 16 August.