Disinfo: EU and NATO countries are hostile towards Russia because they fail at showcasing unity

Summary

Unfortunately, a wave of hostility has emerged [against Russia], but we prefer not to draw attention to it. We believe that this situation is caused by the failure of the Western countries, that is, the European Union and the NATO, to showcase a spirit of unity within their bloc.

Disproof

A recurrent narrative, consistent with suggestion that “Russophobia” is a driving force behind European policies. More on Russophobia here.

The COVID-19 outbreak constituted a serious challenge to Europe's readiness for a crisis. But the claim that "EU has failed in showing unity" is false.

The European Commission has approved a €50 million Italian aid scheme to support the production and supply of medical devices, as well as to help Italy provide the necessary medical treatment to those infected.

On the 13th of March, the EU proposed a Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative, envisaging EUR 835 million for Italy. On the 26th of March 26, the European Parliament unanimously approved the initiative.

The European Central Bank announced a 750 billion euro ($820 billion) asset purchase programme in an effort to help mitigate the impact of the coronavirus outbreak, as the death toll in Europe continued to rise. As part of the programme, investors will purchase Italian securities to help the country counter the serious risks of the coronavirus.

Individual EU members have also provided assistance to Italy specifically, including access to a hundred intensive care beds (Austria and Germany), 500 mobile medical units (Greece), 2.5 million masks (Austria and France), 30,000 protective suits (Czechia and France), 300 ventilators (Germany), as well as 50 medical personnel (Poland, Romania, and non-member Norway).

On the 26th of April Economy Commissioner Paolo Gentiloni said that a recovery fund to help EU countries weather the coronavirus’ economic impact should be worth €1.5 trillion and be available by mid-September.

Read similar cases claiming that Italy is alone defending itself from coronavirus, without any help from hypocritical EU and that the EU left Italy face to face with an invisible and terrible enemy.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 196
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 02/05/2020
  • Outlet language(s) Arabic
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: EU, Russia
  • Keywords: coronavirus, EU disintegration, NATO
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Ukraine's collapse accelerates, its regions are moving towards Russia without regard to Kyiv

Ukraine’s collapse has been developing since the proclamation of the country’s independence. By now it has reached a critical point. Odesa, Kharkiv, and Zaporizzhia regions are going to ask Russia for long-term economic assistance. They initiated negotiations with Moscow and neighbouring Russian regions about closer cooperation and integration. It is about some form of a regional economic partnership which will allow Ukrainian regions to survive through the economic crisis. It is hard to say yet how this economic cooperation will develop in the future. It may take the form of Crimea 1992 status [i.e. autonomous republics]. Mykolayiv and Kherson regions may also take part in the economic partnership. Therefore basically all eastern Ukrainian regions but Dnipropetrovsk region may develop a closer economic integration with Russia. The authorities of Ukraine will likely have to tolerate this development as it will be hard for them to wage a civil war on a few fronts.

Ukrainian authorities gave up on country’s regions. Regions do not hope for assistance from Kyiv or the West any longer. At the same time unemployment, poverty of the population, and industrial decline have all aggravated due to the pandemic. For years the regional authorities were worried that in case they move towards closer integration with Russia they could be announced separatists and suffer from counter-terrorist operation as in Donetsk or Luhansk. Now that the social and economic situation seriously aggravated, regional authorities of Ukraine can finally follow this path. It was opened by local legislation enacted five years ago which allows them to build a special relationship with neighbouring countries without regard to central authorities.

Disproof

This claim is consistent with coronavirus-related recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives about Ukraine's disintegration and imminent collapse. Ukraine is a sovereign state whose borders are guaranteed by international agreements and were de facto violated by Russia, which started a war in Ukraine. Ukrainian regions did not adopt local legislation which allows for independent economic or political relations which undermine the policies of central authorities, as alleged. Nor they are discussing such development with Russia as the publication claims.

See our stories about anti-Ukrainian propaganda Ukraine Under Information Fire andFive Years of Falsehoods: Was it Worth the While for the Kremlin? as well as earlier disinformation cases claiming that Ukraine invariably faces civil war and complete disintegration, that Ukraine is a failed state and will be split up, and that Ukraine will either be part of Russian civilisation or a decaying anti-Russian country emanating terrorist threats.

Russia will remain the main enemy of NATO for decades

The Alliance will activate as soon as the coronavirus pandemic ends. This also applies to the conduct of exercises, and NATO military activity will significantly exceed traditional volumes. In the final documents of NATO, adopted at a number of summits, the Russian Federation was called the main threat. To change its policy in a different geographical direction, the alliance leadership needs to hold a special summit to cancel the decisions. But the NATO leadership will never agree to this, not to look funny. No. Russia will remain the number one enemy for the alliance for decades to come.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about Western Russophobia, NATO encircling Russia and having a belligerent agenda against Russia. NATO has reached out to Russia consistently, transparently and publicly over the past 26 years. The Alliance created unique cooperation bodies – the Permanent Joint Council and the NATO-Russia Council – to embody its relationship with Russia. It has invited Russia to cooperate on missile defence, an invitation extended to no other partner. Also, NATO has reached out to Russia with a series of partnership initiatives, culminating in the foundation of the NATO-Russia Council in 2002. No other country outside the alliance has such a privileged relationship with NATO. For more information see the Warsaw Summit Communique. NATO exercises and military deployments are not directed against Russia – or any other country. NATO is not encircling Russia. Russia's land border is just over 20,000 kilometres long. Of that, less than one-sixteenth (1,215 kilometres), is shared with NATO members. Russia has land borders with 14 countries. Only five of them are NATO members. However, in March 2014, in response to Russia's aggressive actions against Ukraine, NATO suspended practical cooperation with Russia. "We do not seek confrontation, but we cannot ignore Russia breaking international rules, undermining our stability and security." By signing the NATO-Russia Founding Act, Russia also pledged not to threaten or use force against NATO Allies and any other state. It has broken this commitment, with the illegal and illegitimate annexation of Crimea, the territory of a sovereign state. Russia also continues to support militants in eastern Ukraine. More facts about NATO-Russia relations can be read here.

Some in the US want to prevent China from explaining its efforts to deliver aid against Covid-19

When Condoleezza Rice said that “we shouldn’t let China shift the narrative on what it did with Covid-19”, she was referring to the fact that Chinese authorities delivered humanitarian aid to the affected countries once they overcame the outbreak in their country. Rice is part of an administration that was planning a war with China for 2015.

Disproof

This is a deliberate distortion of the words of former US Secretary of State and Hoover Institution Fellow, Condoleezza Rice, who actually said, in an online interview with the site RealClear Politics: “[Chinese authorities] are going to try to shift the narrative from their initial responsibility for not fessing up to what was happening, to we got on top of it and this is how we helped the world. That's how they're going to shift the narrative. Don't let it happen”. As it is clear from the original interview, she wasn’t referring to obscuring China’s aid deliveries, as claimed, but to hiding China’s alleged initial mistakes in handling the pandemic and concealing its severity. Allegations that the Bush Administration was planning a war with China for 2015 are conspiratorial thinking not backed up with any evidence. On the contrary, Sino-US relations experienced a sustained period of unprecedented stability during George W. Bush's presidency (2000-2008), leading to increasing economic and international cooperation. In 2001, President Bush signed a proclamation granting China permanent normal trading relations (PNTR status) with the United States. There is no reason to think that the US may have been secretly preparing for an armed conflict with Beijing. This is part of Russia’s disinformation campaign on coronavirus, specifically about US and China’s role in it. This campaign has been well documented by both media and governments, and some of its elements were widely reported by Russian and international publications and by the European External Action Service. The EUvsDisinfo database has a long set of Kremlin-linked disinformation cases on this subject, such as claims that Bill Gates and George Soros are sponsoring the Wuhan coronavirus, that it is a UK, US or NATO creation and Americans have its cure, that it is an artificial disease which specifically targets Chinese DNA, that it is a pretext to gain control of the world’s population, that it was created with economic goals while big pharma companies are spreading panic for their own profits, that it is a biological weapon against Russia and China, that it will wipe out Ukraine’s population in a few days or that it was predicted by Nostradamus and others. This disinformation message appeared in the same article as claims that “Former members of the Bush Administration created an anti-communist group called Red Dawn to advise president Trump against China” and that “Coronavirus may be the latest steps in NATO’s containment strategy against China”.