Disinfo: EU cites zero facts about Russia’s alleged disinformation on coronavirus

Summary

The EU has not cited a single fact to substantiate its claims that Russia is spreading disinformation related to the coronavirus pandemic.

Russia does not even ask the EU to present any proof since it has already got used to Western nations’ attempts to use alleged Russian threat as some uniting factor.

Disproof

The statement advances recurring pro-Kremlin narratives which deny Moscow's role in in the spread of coronavirus-related disinformation, and portray any outside criticism of Russia as a symptom of "Russophobia".

The European External Action Service has issued special reports listing and detailing disinformation narratives related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The number of individual cases is approaching 500 (as of 4 May 2020), and each debunk can be accessed through the EUvsDisinfo database.

Facebook has removed 46 Pages, 91 Facebook accounts, 2 Groups, and 1 Instagram account for violating platform's policy against foreign interference, meaning coordinated inauthentic behavior on behalf of a foreign entity. The activity originated in Russia, the Donbas region in Ukraine and the Crimean Peninsula. The account network focused on topics such as the military conflict in Ukraine, the Syrian civil war, the annexation of Crimea, NATO, US elections, and more recently the coronavirus pandemic.  Facebook's investigation linked this activity to individuals in Russia and Donbas, and two media organizations in Crimea — NewsFront and SouthFront.  See EUvsDisinfo reporting here.

See here for supplementary debunking by POLYGRAPH.info.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue195
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 28/04/2020
  • Language/target audience: English
  • Country: EU, Russia
  • Keywords: coronavirus, European Commission, European Union, Anti-Russian, Russophobia

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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Euromaidan coup led to civil war in Donbas

The civil war in Ukraine has been raging since 2014 when Donetsk and Lugansk declared their independence from Kiev following a violent coup d’etat in the Ukrainian capital.

Disproof

This is a recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative painting the 2013-14 protests in Kyiv as a coup orchestrated by the West, and alleging that Russia's armed aggression in east Ukraine is a civil war.

There was no coup d'état in Ukraine. The spontaneous onset of the Euromaidan protests was an organic reaction by numerous segments of the Ukrainian population to former President Yanukovych’s sudden departure from the promised Association Agreement with the European Union in November 2013. See the full debunk of this disinformation claim here.

EU is supposed to mean solidarity but in practice, it fails 

The European Union is based on solidarity. We are being told this story at every European election.

However, when the coronavirus crisis emerged there was no solidarity. Italy was not helped by the EU. It was helped by China, by Russia and by Cuba and unfortunately, not at all by the European Union. They feel abandoned.

Disproof

The COVID-19 outbreak constituted a serious challenge on Europe's readiness for a crisis. But the claim that "EU has done nothing" 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.

The US and EU provided modest assistance to Italy, contrary to Russia

Russian military doctors have provided Italy with effective assistance in the fight against coronavirus. This was expected to excite Moscow’s “partners” from NATO structures, because the assistance rendered to Rome by the United States or Europe seemed, to put it mildly, modest.

Disproof

A recurring pro-Kremlin narrative that the EU left Italy alone to fight coronavirus. The COVID-19 outbreak constituted a serious challenge on Europe's readiness for a crisis and was politically exploited by anti-EU forces, including official Russian media.

The European Central Bank announced a €750 billion ($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.