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
  • Language/target audience: Greek
  • Country: Russia
  • Keywords: coronavirus, Dmitry Peskov, Sergei Lavrov, EU
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The EU doesn’t provide Venezuela with humanitarian aid

Several countries provide humanitarian aid to Venezuela: China, Russia and Cuba.

The European Union or any country of the EU don’t provide any humanitarian aid, only economic sanctions, because the EU is under the diktat of the United States and has no freedom concerning its foreign policy.

Disproof

A recurring narrative about the European Union being a puppet of the United States and unable to make independent decisions on issues such as humanitarian aid and international sanctions.

Between 2016 and 2019, the European Union allocated more than €90 million in emergency humanitarian aid to assist Venezuelans in need inside the country, and those hosted in neighbouring countries. In March 2019, an additional emergency sum of €50 million was allocated. Furthermore, the EU provides Venezuela with humanitarian aid in the framework of the struggle against the new coronavirus:

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.

Coronovirus is Western operation, the WHO is controlled by Bill Gates

In the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak the US waged an information war against China. Through US-controlled foundations and media, mass hysteria was organised, with the aim of isolating China and attacking its economy. Later on, another virus strain was discovered in Italy but ignorant media continued sowing panic around “Chinese coronavirus.” In addition to fake media reporting about over-crowded hospitals and long lines of ambulances, producers and distributors of surgical masks, disinfectant, lab coats, lung ventilators, toilet paper, etc. also created an inflated demand based on coronavirus speculation. Now companies producing digital equipment for controlling people’s mobility come on up.

The World Health Organisation announced a pandemic although this decision goes in contrast to its own criteria. They say that a pandemic can be announced only if the share of infected people exceeds 5%. This controversy is logical, though, if one takes into account that the WHO is largely, by 75%, financed by international pharmaceutical companies and acts in their interests. Given that the annual returns of pharmaceutical giants have declined over the last years, they found a new business model focused on prevention of disease through vaccination of the population. The problem is that, in many countries, vaccination is voluntary. To overcome this problem and to make vaccination mandatory, the world should be frightened to the extent that people beg to be vaccinated. The WHO completed this mission by announcing a pandemic.

The US refuses to finance the WHO because Donald Trump does not wish to fund Bill Gates’ initiatives. The thing is the US contributions account for 15% of WHO budget, while all the other countries’ contributions stand at an additional 10%. At the same time, Bill Gates’ foundation contributes to 32% of WHO budget, which makes Gates the largest WHO sponsor.

Disproof

An unfounded coronavirus-related conspiracy theory about WHO and Bill Gates, sharing a recurrent pro-Kremlin narrative about a plot of mighty corporations and US operations to attack China.

The claims concerning the WHO criteria for the announcement of a pandemic and collusion with pharmaceutical companies to drive mass-scale vaccination are unfounded. There is no requirement to have at least 5% of the population infected to announce the pandemic as claimed. Epidemic experts say there are no global criteria. A pandemic is the worldwide spread of a new disease, one of the articles on WHO website says. According to another publication, a classical epidemiological definition of a pandemic says it is “an epidemic occurring worldwide, or over a very wide area, crossing international boundaries and usually affecting a large number of people."