Disinfo: EU leadership prepares a new smear campaign against Russian vaccine

Summary

The leadership of the European Union is preparing to organize a new smear campaign against the vaccines produced in Russia, under the allegation that Moscow is provoking an anti-vaccination movement abroad.

Disproof

This claim is provided with no evidence and is consistent with claims that the EU is basing its vaccines strategy on a political rather than a scientific basis. The claim was neither counterbalanced nor critically challenged in the article.

In reality, there is no evidence of EU bias against the Russian vaccine. In Europe, the European Medicine Agency (EMA) has initiated a rolling review of the Sputnik V vaccine on 4 March 2021. The EMA applies the same regulatory approach to all vaccine applications to make sure applicants meet European requirements for safety, efficacy and quality regardless of their country of origin. What is more, EMA Executive Director Emer Cooke, said she hoped the Sputnik V vaccine would be approved.

On the other hand, Russia is only administering its own vaccines, which is causing the vaccination campaign to move rather slowly for a vaccine-producing country. Russia's heavy disinformation campaigns regarding the pandemic and vaccines might be linked to the fact that 60-70% of its population are disinclined to be vaccinated, which is one of the highest rates of vaccine hesitancy in the world.

Pro-Kremlin media often quote an article in The Lancet magazine, which showed 91.6 per cent effectiveness of Sputnik V without considerable side effects. However, there have been some doubts as to its efficacy, especially where the trial procedures are concerned (see here and here.) Recently, in the Lancet article published 12 May 2021 critical questions about the Sputnik V data for phase III clinical trial were raised.

See related disinformation cases alleging that Russian vaccine opponents are trying to eradicate trust in Sputnik V, the EMA will try to postpone the authorisation of Sputnik V, that Europe has politicised the Covid-19 vaccines from the very beginning, and that the EMA's delay in approving Sputnik V is political.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 245
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 18/05/2021
  • Article language(s) Arabic
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: EU, Russia
  • Keywords: coronavirus, Sputnik V, vaccination, Europe, Anti-Russian
see more

Disinfo: US-controlled biolabs develop biological weapons under the guise of studying dangerous infections

Scientific labs controlled by the Pentagon, located in a number of CIS countries and in Georgia, are causing Moscow serious concern. Russia fears that biological weapons are being developed in these centres under the guise of studying dangerous infections.

These labs are staffed by highly professional military microbiologists who do not study or develop anything to protect Georgian or Azerbaijani children, but instead are engaged in studying natural viral foci and exporting strains. Their task is simple, to make highly infectious strains that could easily pass for local ones.

We have been convinced that viruses are effective in terms of creating mass psychosis, destabilising the political situation, and collapsing economies; the coronavirus has caused more damage to the global economy than any war. At the same time, it is impossible to prove the artificial origin of the virus due to incomplete control over the work of biological laboratories. Observers are shown only what they “should see”. Sometimes Georgian specialists are dressed up in suits and they go to these laboratories, but they are not allowed in the most secret places and nobody knows what kind of research is being conducted there, because this is military research.

Last year Maria Zakharova, the Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson, assumed that the development of pathogens of dangerous diseases for military purposes may be carried out at the US biological laboratories, citing the Richard Lugar Center in Georgia as an example.

Disproof

Recurring disinformation alleging that the United States develops biological weapons and has secret biological laboratories around the world. Consistent with the Pro-Kremlin disinformation campaign against biological laboratories, specifically the Lugar Center in Georgia, which is a recurrent target of these disinformation narratives. The disinformation about US biolabs in CIS countries and in Georgia aiming to encircle Moscow and spread infectious diseases is a part of a years-long disinformation campaign led by the Kremlin. In fact, biological laboratories are involved in preventing the risks of complex diseases and, together with other similar projects, counteracting bioterrorism.

The article does not present any evidence that supports the claim that the US is secretly developing biological weapons in laboratories around the world, thus making unfounded accusations. Russia claims that the Richard Lugar Center for Public Health Research in Georgia, a public health facility named after US Senator Richard Lugar, is one such lab, but has never presented evidence to support its allegations. International experts visited the facility in 2018 to examine the premises, interview employees and review documents but found nothing suspicious.

Disinfo: NATO turns flourishing nations into desert, builds up presence near Belarus

Minsk may allow Russian military bases on its territory in response to the policy of some Western countries aimed at the violent change of power in Belarus. Minsk spots over 30 NATO reconnaissance flights near the Belarusian border every week. We know what NATO means by its operations for crisis settlement. We know many cases when US troops and their NATO allies have entered flourishing countries and virtually turned them into a desert, inflicting irreparable damage on them.

Disproof

This is a recurring disinformation narrative from pro-Kremlin media, claiming that NATO is an aggressive bloc, whose aim is to wreak havoc wherever it appears, and that it is particularly eager to occupy Belarus. No evidence provided to back the claims.

In reality, NATO is both a political and a military alliance. It promotes democratic values and enables its members to consult and cooperate on defence and security issues to solve problems, build trust and prevent conflict. As for Belarus, where mass protests broke out last August, NATO does not intend to send its troops there. Belarus’ self-proclaimed leader Alyaksandr Lukashenka has been ever since accusing NATO of building up its military at the western border and mounting pressure in order to destabilise the situation. NATO rejected these claims, although the Alliance is closely monitoring the situation in Belarus. Its Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that fundamental freedoms must be respected, including freedom of speech and the right to peaceful protest.

Disinfo: Through “Spring Storm” exercises in Estonia, NATO prepares an attack against Russia and Belarus

NATO “Spring Storm” military exercises in Estonia serve to elaborate the scenario of an attack against Russia. Suspicions are reinforced by the fact that UK and France transported to the Baltic country helicopters and armoured vehicles, which are used in offensive operations. Previously, Belarus’ General Staff announced works on the development of military structure in the Baltic countries and Poland. Minsk points that a bridgehead is being created in NATO’s eastern borders for an offensive against Russia and Belarus.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation about NATO, framing it as an aggressive body always plotting against Russia.

Contrary to the claim, Spring Storm 2021 is not a preparation for an attack against Russia or Belarus, but a military exercise to test the integration between NATO troops and the Estonian Defence Forces (EDF), strengthening their interoperability and responsiveness. This exercise takes place every year.