Disinfo: EU has not presented evidence for a Russian disinformation campaign on the coronavirus

Summary

The EU has not presented any specific evidence and has not even asked Russia for any proof on its allegations. Furthermore, the “Russian threat” is a unifying factor for Western countries.

Disproof

There is a constant effort by Moscow to deny the fact that pro-Kremlin outlets are engaged in a concerted disinformation campaign aiming to expand the impact of coronavirus in the EU and its member states. This has been exposed in various media reports (see here and here). There has also been extensive analysis of the stories and the narratives behind this effort. Some of the disinformation stories focus on promoting the narrative that coronavirus was created in a laboratory while others aim to discredit the efforts made by EU member states to contain COVID-19. Another narrative is concentrated in highlighting the cynical and selfish way some member states treated their EU partners, undermining solidarity within the Union. This ignores the significant efforts made by EU institutions in finding common solutions in the fight against coronavirus (see here and here). In April, Facebook removed 46 Pages, 91 Facebook accounts, 2 Groups, and 1 Instagram account for violating its policy against foreign interference which is coordinated inauthentic behavior on behalf of a foreign entity. The activity originated in Russia, the Donbass region in Ukraine and the Crimean Peninsula. The network posted about geopolitical and local news including 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. The activity was linked to individuals in Russia and Donbass, and two media organizations in Crimea — NewsFront and SouthFront. See EUvsDisinfo analysis here.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 197
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 28/04/2020
  • Outlet language(s) Greek
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: Russia
  • Keywords: coronavirus, Dmitry Peskov, Sergei Lavrov, European Union
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Disinfo: Presence of Russian mercenaries in Libya is nothing but rumours

The allegations that “Russian mercenaries” are present in Libya are nothing more than rumours.

Disproof

A recurring disinformation narrative about the Wagner group and Russian presence in Libya. The group is a private army linked to the Kremlin and has been fighting on the front lines of the Libyan war for nearly three months. The Russian firm Wagner Group is a shadowy mercenary outfit, actively engaged in conflicts on the Kremlin’s behalf from Ukraine to Syria to the Central African Republic. The Wagner group members are mostly ex-service personnel, fought clandestinely in support of Russian forces in Syria and Ukraine, according to Reuters interviews with dozens of contractors, their friends and relatives. According to Foreign Policy, the group fell into disgrace after the Syrian offensive and has recently been trying to find work in Africa in the training of local militias and with contracts for private security. Three Russian journalists who were investigating Wagner's presence in the Central African Republic were murdered in the summer of 2018. Others were threatened. Bloomberg reported, that more than 100 Wagner contractors arrived in Libya in early September to assist General Khalifa Haftar’s offensive against the GNA in Tripoli that began in April. To know more about the disinformation message regarding the Wagner group, check our report on a Russian attempt to hide all the pieces of evidence.

Disinfo: Euromaidan was organised by the Americans

What happened, you yourself know – a coup d’etat, Maidan, which in fact was organised by the Americans.

Disproof

A recurring pro-Kremlin narrative about Ukraine's statehood which claims that the Euromaidan protests were organised by foreign forces. The spontaneous onset of the massive Euromaidan protests was a reaction of the Ukrainian population to the sudden departure of President Yanukovych from the Association Agreement with the European Union and to the brutal dispersal of student protestors on 30 November 2013. Read similar cases: "The US backed the coup in Ukraine in 2014", "What is happening in Ukraine is a Western project".

Disinfo: Dangerous experiments were carried out on people in Lugar Lab in Georgia

As you know, in Georgia, in the laboratory of Senator Richard Lugar in the suburbs of Tbilisi, the US Army Department of Medical Research is deployed. The documents submitted by the ex-Minister of State Security of Georgia Igor Giorgadze confirmed that dangerous experiments were carried out on living people in the laboratory.

Disproof

A recurring pro-Kremlin narrative that Americans experimented on people in Georgia, with no evidence given. The U.S Embassy in Georgia officially addressed the conspiracy theories behind the Richard Lugar Centre as "nonsense and typical of Russian misinformation and propaganda campaigns." The Richard Lugar Centre for Public Health Research is a facility of the National Centre for Disease Control and Public Health (NCDC), which became operational in August 2013. The Lugar centre is a top-tiered institution in NCDC’s laboratory network and serves as a reference laboratory for Georgia’s public health system. Under no circumstances has this laboratory been designed or redesigned to build biological weapons. Read similar cases: "US might develop pathogen agents provoking dangerous diseases abroad including in the Lugar Lab located in Georgia", "US Department of Defence has a secret biological laboratory in Georgia".