Disinfo: EU is punishing Russia with baseless sanctions

Summary

What was the basis for [the European Union’s] decision to extend of sanctions? No court decision was issued; not documented evidence of Russia’s involvement has been produced. The matter is repeated with the poisoning incident of the opposition candidate Alexei Navalny. They are trying to punish Russia at any cost with these decisions.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives about the poisoning of the Skripals in Salisbury and Navalny’s poisoning and also a pro-Kremlin approach portraying every measure taken against Russia's hostile actions as Russophobia.

On the Skripal case

The British Police have presented a solid chain of evidence, with pictures, connecting the suspects to the locations in the case. Parts of the material have been released to the public. The evidence was sufficient to charge two Russian nationals, Anatoliy Chepiga and Aleksandr Mishkin with the attack on the Skripals, both Russian military intelligence operatives from the GRU, who travelled to the UK using fake names and documents.

The OPCW’s independent expert laboratories confirmed the UK’s identification of the Russian produced Novichok nerve agent.

On the Navalny case

Russian opposition figure Alexei Navalny fell ill during a flight and was transferred to Berlin's Charite Hospital. The German federal government said that toxicological tests provided “unequivocal evidence of a chemical nerve agent of the Novichok group” in Navalny's blood samples. The European Union condemned the poisoning of Alexei Navalny in the strongest possible terms and on Thursday 15th October, agreed sanctions against six people believed to have been involved in the “assassination attempt” against Putin’s most vocal critic as well as the Russian State Research Institute of Organic Chemistry and Technology, which it believes developed the chemical used to poison Navalny.

Russian Novichok

According to the UK intelligence assessment, based on open-source analysis and intelligence information, in the past decade, Russia has produced and stockpiled small quantities of Novichok agents, long after it signed the Chemical Weapons Convention.

Actually, Novichok was developed in Russia in the 1970s and 1980s in a covert programme codenamed Foliant that was revealed by defectors, and no country outside of Russia is known to have developed the substance. See reports here and here.

Leonid Rink, identified as one of the scientists who developed Novichok, was cited frequently in Russian media during the 2018 Salisbury poisonings, admitted to working on the development of the chemical agent in the Soviet era.

Read similar disinformation cases alleging that the Navalny poisoning could be a strategy of the West to introduce anti-Russian sanctions, that there is no evidence of Navalny poisoning and that another reason would be found for sanctions if there had been no Navalny, in addition to other cases alleging that there was no evidence of Russia's involvement in the poisoning of Skripals and that Russia is accused of poisoning without proof

publication/media

View more
  • Reported in: Issue 216
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 12/10/2020
  • Language/target audience: Arabic
  • Country: UK, Russia, Germany
  • Keywords: Skripal, novichok, Sergei Skripal, EU, Chemical weapons/attack, Alexei Navalny, European Union, Anti-Russian, Russophobia, Sanctions

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.

see more

European Council wants to starve the Syrian people

[The extension of sanctions] is a continuation of the anti-Syrian campaign that the European Council has resorted to since the beginning of the terrorist war on Syria, using the Syrian chemical file as an excuse to continue spreading lies about Syria.

[The extension] falls within the framework of … starving the Syrian people and undermining their steadfastness.

Disproof

A recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about sanctions against the Syrian regime trying to portray them as illegal and targeting the Syrian population.

The EU sanctions do not target the Syrian population but individuals and entities who are involved with a political regime that has committed war crimes, avoiding negative impacts on the population. See EEAS video here for further details.

Syria does not possess any chemical weapons 

[Syria] does not possess any chemical weapons, as part of fulfilling its obligations with the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative absolving the Syrian regime of responsibility for chemical attacks in general.

The declared Syrian chemical weapon stockpile was reported to be completely destroyed in 2014. However, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) weapons inspectors could only authenticate that declared chemical weapons had been destroyed, even though there were suspicions in the West that Syria had hidden as much as 10% of its stockpile.

The coup in 2013-2014 is the root cause of the war and other problems in Ukraine

Ukrainian politicians still do not want to admit that the unconstitutional seizure of power in Kyiv was the root cause of the upheavals in the country.

Instead, the so-called “Maidan victors” decided to use force to suppress the dissenters in various regions of Ukraine. They imposed an almost complete ban on the Russian language, initiated lustration, the liquidation of parties and NGOs, the closure of oppositional media, and the lifting of restrictions on the propaganda of neo-Nazi ideology. And the Western mediators – France, Germany, and Poland, who acted as guarantors of the agreement of February 21, 2014 – in fact, withdrew from fulfilling the promises.

Almost seven years later, Kyiv is still afraid to face the truth and admit guilt for the tragic consequences of the bloody coup. They prefer to hide their fear behind anti-Russian and Russophobic rhetoric.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation campaign against Ukraine, containing multiple disinformation narratives regarding the Euromaidan, the war in Ukraine and Ukrainian statehood.

There was no coup in Ukraine seven years ago. The demonstrations which began in Kyiv in November 2013 – called "Maidan", or "Euromaidan" –  were a result of the Ukrainian people's frustration with former President Yanukovych's last-minute U-turn when, after seven years of negotiation, he refused to sign the EU–Ukraine Association Agreement and halted progress towards Ukraine's closer relationship with the EU.