Disinfo: Democracy and freedom prevent Europe from fighting the virus effectively

Summary

“Free” Europe is the most vulnerable to the coronavirus. China can defeat it, Europe cannot. Because there is democracy, freedom and the virus lives by its own laws. So far, practice shows that the Chinese system copes with the virus as efficiently as possible. WHO specifically recognised the effectiveness of Russia’s actions in combating the penetration of the virus and said that many should take an example from Russia.

Disproof

Pro-Kremlin disinformation about the 2019-nCoV coronavirus, aiming to undermine the EU. See related disinformation case alleging that Russia has found a way to treat coronavirus.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 188
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 06/03/2020
  • Outlet language(s) Russian
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: Russia
  • Keywords: coronavirus, Euro-scepticism, Virus / bacteria threat, European Union, WHO

Belarus

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Disinfo: Radioactive source stolen in Ukraine; EU in danger

In Ukraine, a radioactive source has disappeared from the city of Uzhhorod (Transcarpathian region). A radioactive source IBN-7 (1991 release) was stolen from Uzhhorod National University. A nuclear facility can be used for malicious purposes and will be smuggled into one of the four countries of the European Union – Romania, Hungary, Slovakia or Poland.

Disproof

Disinformation concerning nuclear issues and crime in Ukraine. In Ukraine, ionising radiation sources have been widely used in the medical field, nuclear energy, industry, geology, the military-industrial complex, as well as in scientific research. In Ukraine, all enterprises and organisations using ionising radiation sources are required to obtain an appropriate license from the State Nuclear Regulatory Inspectorate and many other permits. According to the data of the State Nuclear Regulatory Inspectorate in western Ukraine and Transcarpathia, in 2019, 358 different radiation facilities were used, but Uzhhorod National University did not have a permit for the use of any sources. That is, there was no active IBN-7 in the educational institution (p. 59-60). Also, the Russian media claim that the “stolen nuclear source” will soon be “smuggled out” to EU countries. However, all entry and exit control points at the border, both in Ukraine and in the EU, are equipped with special equipment to help detect illegal shipments of radioactive materials. In 2019, three such cases were identified on the western borders of Ukraine. The seized radioactive materials were transferred to a special nuclear storage facility "Radon". (p. 59-60) Moreover, the disinformation mentions that the IBN-7 was released in 1991, however, the "Mayak" enterprise’s website, which produces IBN-7, says that the maximum service life of this type of IBN is 10 years. After that, fast neutron sources are sent for nuclear disposal. (p.45)

Disinfo: Lithuania has no sovereign policy

Lithuanian politicians, do not and cannot, have their own opinions. Moreover, there is no Lithuanian policy and cannot be. There is a certain degree of sovereignty like that of a dog tied to a short leash. In the East of NATO and the EU, a Lithuanian political dog is tied to guard the yard. It has freedom within the chain, freedom of expression that is made to address two Eastern neighbors – Russia and Belarus.

Disproof

This message is part of a Pro Kremlin disinformation narrative undermining the statehood of Lithuania, presenting the Baltic states as not sovereign, as “vassals” of US and NATO and used against Russia. See other examples of this narrative here, here and here. Lithuania is an independent state, which makes sovereign decisions about its foreign and domestic policy. NATO's increased presence in the Baltic Sea region has been at the request of the Baltic states. Following Russia's aggressive actions against Ukraine, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia requested a greater NATO presence in the region. See earlier disinformation cases alleging that Lithuania is occupied by NATO, NATO buried Latvia’s and Lithuania’s independence, Baltic countries are typical replica states with no own political history and tradition, Lithuania is not independent because it follows the same position as the EU, NATO and the US, Lithuania is a hostage of the American interests in Eastern Europe.

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