Disinfo: Biden copied sanctions on Russia from his predecessors, based on ridiculous claims of interference


Biden’s White House just approved a new round of sanctions against Russia that is practically a copy of those implemented by Donald Trump and Barack Obama, both in the reasons argued and in the quantity and quality of evidences. Of course, given that these are old sanctions with a new envelope, there had to be some punishment for the alleged Russian interference in the US 2020 elections, allegedly to favour Donald Trump. The same Donald Trump that for four years approved several packages of sanctions against Russia, by the way. And as in 2016, the alleged interference strategy would have been based on tiny and unknown websites who have their own 15 minutes of glory only when they are mentioned by the White House press conferences.


Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about sanctions and Russia as innocent of any misdeed.

This disinformation message implies that, given that Donald Trump as US president also imposed sanctions against Russia, and because the recent round of sanctions singled out some relatively unknown Russian outlets such as SouthFront, NewsFront, InfoRos and the Strategic Culture Foundation, the claim that Russia interfered in the 2020 US election to support Donald Trump is ridiculous.

However, the US Treasury Department stated that Russian Intelligence Services “operate a network of websites that obscure their Russian origin to appeal to Western audiences”, including those mentioned above, that “focus on divisive issues in the United States, denigrate U.S. political candidates, and disseminate false and misleading information”, and took part in a coordinated effort to interfere in recent US elections. Contrary to the claim, those outlets weren’t irrelevant and, according to US state researchers and independent experts, they had a significant impact in increasing polarisation in the US prior to both the 2016 and the 2020 elections. Relevant key players in this pro-Kremlin disinformation strategy such as Konstantin Kilimnik, Alexei Gromov and Yevgeni Prigozhin’s network have also been targeted by this round of sanctions.

Pro-Kremlin disinformation efforts to promote Donald Trump both in 2016 and 2020 have been well documented. See this and this for further debunking.

See other examples of these disinformation narratives in our database, such as claims that the West is using Navalny’s case as a pretext for sanctions; that the West needs a cause to sanction Russia and if there isn’t one, they will invent it; that Washington’s frequent accusations about Russian interference in US political processes are all unfounded; that the West invented Navalny’s poisoning to uphold the myth of an aggressive Russia; or that sanctions are a childish reaction of the EU.

This disinformation message appeared in the same TV programme as the claims that “No evidence of Russian involvement in the SolarWinds hacking, US sanctions only want to cripple Russian tech competitors” and that “Russia can’t be helping the Taliban; its experiences in Afghanistan, Chechnya and Syria prove that it is allergic to jihadists”


  • Reported in: Issue 241
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 20/04/2021
  • Article language(s) Spanish
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: US, Russia
  • Keywords: US Presidential Election 2020, Sanctions, Joe Biden, Donald Trump, Barack Obama, election meddling
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Disinfo: Czech allegations against Russia aim to overshadow failed attempt on Lukashenka's life

The US State Department immediately declared that they are not involved in any plot to make an attempt on [Lukashenka's life]. That is, they are not denying the conspiracy itself but only declared that they are not involved. However, who is going to believe the Americans now? In an absolutely similar manner, they were denying their involvement in the coup attempts in Venezuela and in the attempt on Maduro's life.

The US pretends that nothing has happened and the case of the detained US citizen is planned to be dealt with as normal. However, judging by the events that immediately took place in Czechia, the United States admitted its failure. The thing is that Czechia, all of a sudden, announced that military warehouses on its territory were blown up by Russians back in 2014. This whole story is meant to serve as a cover-up for the failed coup d'etat in Belarus.


An unsubstantiated claim about the explosion of an ammunition depot in Czechia in 2014, attempting to ridicule the revelations about GRU's involvement as an 'American attempt to cover a failed attempt on Lukashenka's life'. The second claim is also not supported by any evidence.

Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš and the temporary Minister of Foreign Affairs Jan Hamáček announced on 17 April that the Czech intelligence services collected evidence demonstrating Russian involvement in the 2014 Vrbětice explosion. More specifically, it implicates Unit 29155, a division of Russia's GRU agency previously linked to "assassination attempts and other subversive actions across Europe." According to Mr Babiš, the first discussions around the GRU’s involvement took place on the 7th of April 2021.

Disinfo: The escalation in Donbas is part of a US destabilisation pattern in post-Soviet states

The US wants to divide the Eurasian alliance by encircling Russia as much as possible. How to do it? By looking for a provocation, activating the Donbass conflict and throwing gasoline on the flames, which may get out of control [...]. The US is decided to put Russia in a disastrous situation throughout the post-Soviet environment: war between Azerbaijan and Armenia, the coup in Kyrgyzstan, the coup in Belarus, the government change and pressure over Moldova, the harassment of Nord Stream 2, the mermaid songs that we are hearing towards Georgia. It is all about encircling and setting up a provocation, while the West only points to the other side as the threat. The US states it clearly in its documents, for example in “Overextending and Unbalancing Russia” of the RAND Corporation.


This is a mix of several recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives about encircling Russia, popular protests as the result of Western-led colour revolutions and Russia as the ultimate target of international events. In this case, these narratives aim to blame the West for the recent escalation in Donbas, exempting Russia of any responsibility for its military buildup in the Ukrainian border.

Contrary to the claim, the escalation of tensions is not due to any US or Western provocation. Moscow-backed separatists have been mounting tensions in Donbas over the recent weeks under the pretext that Ukrainian troops are planning an offensive. Four Ukrainian soldiers were killed on 26 March 2021, which is the largest daily death toll for government troops since the fragile truce that took effect July 2020.

Disinfo: The West ignored the murder of a 6-year old child in a Ukrainian bombing in Donbas

These are the values of the West: an attack by Kyiv in Donbas killed a 6-year old child and the West did not comment. Neither the executors of the attack nor their Western backers minded that one of the victims was this child. A statement by the French and German foreign ministers Jean-Yves Le Drian and Heiko Maas didn’t mention this, it only showed their concern by the escalation of the conflict and its support to Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty and denounced Russia for moving troops inside Russian territory.

The death, or rather the murder, of this innocent child is already being investigated by the UN, while the incident has been silenced by the media.


This is a deliberate disinformation narrative about the Ukrainian army and the West, without a factual basis. While it is true that on April 6, the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine confirmed the death of a child “due to blast trauma and shrapnel wounds”, according to research by Russian and Ukrainian journalists who investigated the incident his death was not the result of a bombing by the Ukrainian army but an accident with explosives or old ammunition,.

Pro-Kremlin disinformation outlets such as RT German had initially spread information that a child allegedly died as a result of a Ukrainian drone attack in the NGCA [Non-Government-controlled-area] of Donbas, in the village of Oleksandrivske. The claim about a drone bombing was debunked by military expert Oleksandr Kovalenko, who wrote that an unmanned aircraft could not reach Oleksandrivske because the distance from the village to the government-controlled territory is about 30 kilometres. Then, the narrative in these pro-Kremlin disinformation pieces in Spanish language ignored the alleged presence of a drone and shifted the claim towards a generic “bombing” of unspecified origin.