DISINFO: Coronavirus epidemic prevented NATO deadly attack against Belarus
DISINFORMATION CASE DETAILS
  • Outlet: Podneprovie (archived)*
  • Date of publication: April 17, 2020
  • Outlet language(s): Russian
  • Reported in: Issue 195
  • Countries / regions discussed: South Korea, Norway, US, Belarus, Lithuania, Estonia, Russia, Latvia
Tags:
Defender Europe 2020 coronavirus Biological weapons Military exercise WWII Conspiracy theory NATO Baltic states

DISINFO: Coronavirus epidemic prevented NATO deadly attack against Belarus

SUMMARY

The coronavirus pandemic disrupted NATO aggressive plans camouflaged under Defender 2020 military exercises. It seems that NATO was planning a surprise military attack around the 75th anniversary of the WWII Victory Day. Without the epidemic, Belarusian cities and villages could already be on fire. On the other hand, it can also be that instead of military exercises NATO actually planned the spread of coronavirus as a biological weapon. Instead of protection and peace, NATO military spread the coronavirus infection in the Baltic states and Norway. First “zero patient” in Latvia was a NATO soldier. NATO military may also be behind the spread of coronavirus in South Korea. It cannot be ruled out that they also brought COVID-19 to the United States. Generally, the NATO military is the main transmitter of coronavirus. Russia and Belarus have so few coronavirus cases because NATO military is not stationed on their territories. The authorities of Belarus need to investigate who actually brought coronavirus infection into the country, whether the pro-NATO Belarusian opposition was implicated.

RESPONSE

The publication puts forward a number of coronavirus-related and Defender2020-related conspiracies aimed to discredit the NATO and the Belarusian opposition. It is consistent with recurring pro-Kremlin propaganda narratives about alleged Western aggressiveness towards Belarus and Russia, the coronavirus as West's / NATO's biological weapon, and the Belarusian opposition as destructive West-financed group. NATO did not have any attack plans against Belarus as alleged. NATO’s secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg affirmed that Defender Europe 2020 was not directed against any particular country. Its purpose was to practice the rapid deployment of large-scale forces across the Atlantic into Europe, demonstrating the US military’s ability to quickly send a massive contingent to support NATO and respond to any crisis. In response to the current outbreak of the COVID-19 virus and guidance by the United States Secretary of Defence, the exercise was modified in size and scope. A "zero patient" in Latvia was not a NATO soldier as alleged. It was reported that the first positive-tested individual was female who travelled from Milan to Munich and then flew to Riga on 29 February. Speculations about NATO soldiers as the main cause of the coronavirus spread in South Korea, Norway, US, and the Baltic states are ungrounded. Generally, there is no evidence of the deliberate spread of the virus by NATO, as the article suggests. Covid-19 has been detected in virtually all countries in all continents. There is no evidence of the deliberate spread of the virus in Italy, China or any other country, as the article suggests. The claim that Belarus and Russia have few coronavirus cases because of the absence of NATO military on their territory is fake. In fact, as of 30 April, Belarus and Russia have more identified coronavirus cases, both in absolute and relative terms, than many NATO countries including neighbouring Lithuania, Latvia, and Poland. Read earlier disinformation cases alleging that COVID-19 reached NATO and disrupted its anti-Russian plans, that the virus was brought to Italy by NATO's secret terrorist network, that NATO prepares for big war with Russia in line with Hitler's attack directions, that the Belarusian opposition plans a genocide with Soros-funded coronavirus-infected test tubes, and that pro-Western opposition in Belarus prepares 'kill lists' and a genocide.

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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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