Disinfo: Lithuania-trained mercenaries preparing coup d'etat in Belarus

Summary

A new training center created in Lithuania (Pabradė) with the assistance of the U.S. military to help with organizing protests in Belarus. It is planned to finance the training of contractors using the fund created to help protesters in Belarus. A new fundraising campaign has been announced by Lithuania’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Linas Linkevičius on Twitter. The funds will be used to help injured protesters, to purchase the necessary equipment, uniforms and gear for combat training. The training of the groups will be carried out by the U.S. military instructors. The Ministry of National Defence of the Republic of Lithuania provides comprehensive logistics support for training. According to the Lithuanian Ministry of Defence, the U.S. instructors demonstrated a wide range of required skills during Exercise Griffin Strike 2020/Hunter 2020 held at the Lithuanian Armed Forces General Silvestras Žukauskas Training Area in Pabradė on August 2-14. The groups are planned to transfer to the territory of Belarus in the near future to provide assistance to the opposition supporters in order to coordinate and directly participate in the protest movement in this country.

Disproof

The story advances recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives about US presence in Europe and protests in Belarus. The article cites an April 2015 Facebook post about a US Army military showcase which happened to be held at the Pabrade Training Area. Pabrade hosts a Lithuanian military training ground, where various national and international exercise take place. The story draws a fictitious link between plans by Poland and Lithuania to offer assistance to Belarusian protesters and the supposed effort to train and arm the anti-Lukashenka opposition. It cites this report, which states that both countries are ready to provide "the victims of repressions" with medical assistance and political asylum, as well as to fund Belarus-based independent media and NGOs. Neither "uniforms and gear for combat training" nor the US military are mentioned. Lastly, the statement by the Lithuanian Defence Ministry was dedicated entirely to the aims and conduct of the Griffin Strike/Hunter 2020 manoeuvres, in which both Lithuanian and US troops participated. The press release mentions neither "US instructors" nor Belarus.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 208
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 19/08/2020
  • Outlet language(s) English
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: US, Belarus, Lithuania
  • Keywords: Military, Military exercise, Lithuanian military, US presence in Europe, Alexander Lukashenko, Foreign mercenaries, Coup
see more

Poland is behind the protests in Belarus, Lukashenka needs to make the country part of Russia

Poland conducts the protests in Belarus and legitimises a Maidan there. Although protesters were seriously suppressed, they got a moral victory since TV presenters, sport and culture figures, former policemen started supporting them. Lukashenka has the only way out of this situation. He has to quickly make Belarus part of Russia and rely on Vladimir Putin’s authority who will support the Union State creation.

Disproof

A recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about Western attempts to stage a colour revolution in Belarus and challenging the the loss of Belarus's sovereignty. Read our past analysis discussing various pro-Kremlin media allegations that Lithuania, Poland, Ukraine, Soros and other foreign actors are behind protests in Belarus. There is no proof of any Western involvement in the widespread protests in Belarus. Hundreds of thousands of Belarusians have been protesting against a massive vote-rigging and police violence since 9 August 2020. On 16 August 2020 Belarus witnessed the largest rallies in the city of Minsk and dozens smaller towns and localities in its history. On 19 August 2020 the European Council called Belarus's elections neither free nor fair, condemned the violence against peaceful protesters, called for a complete and transparent investigation into all alleged abuses, and announced its decision to impose sanctions on a substantial number of individuals responsible for violence, repression, and election fraud. Pro-Kremlin media often promote false dilemmas for Belarus's political development, painting very bleak prospects for Belarus up to the complete loss of sovereignty and independence in case it does not proceed towards a very close integration format in relations with Russia. See earlier disinformation cases alleging that Belarus faces either normal development under Russia or a forced Polonization and economic devastation, that the only possible scenario for Ukraine and Belarus to prevent their descent into Nazism is to become a Russian western federal area, and that the direction of Belarus and other post-Soviet countries' political development is either a union with Russia or unavoidable degradation.

Millions of poor Ukrainians will be left without gas in 2021

Millions of Ukrainians may be left without gas in 2021. Almost three million Ukrainian consumers who do not have a gas meter are at risk of being cut off. From 1 January 2021 in Ukraine, in accordance with the law “on ensuring commercial metering of natural gas,” disconnections to consumers may begin. First of all, the blow will fall on the most vulnerable segments of the population: pensioners and low-income citizens who do not have the financial ability to pay for the installation of a gas meter.

Disproof

This is a scare-story which manipulates the truth. The law "On ensuring commercial metering of natural gas" was adopted by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine back in 2017, and the document does comes into force in January 2021. Thus, the Ukrainian government gave Ukrainians and gas companies four years to prepare for the implementation of the law. Ukrainian gas companies and operators of gas distribution networks constantly warn their customers about the possibility of disconnecting from the gas supply if meters do not appear in their apartments and houses before the specified time. Moreover, the law states that the consumer does not need to pay for the installation of gas meters in apartments, for Ukrainians this service is free - all costs are borne by the state. In addition, if the consumer does not have a meter installed by January, they will not be immediately disconnected from the gas supply. First, such a consumer will be transferred to a different gas tariff, which is higher than the existing rate for the population. Only after such measures can the consumer can be disconnected from the gas network. Read similar case claims that In Ukraine, pensioners freeze without Russian gas.

Despite support of Western curators, the Belarusian Maidan stalled, just like Hitler after Smolensk

Maidans are planned well in advance, their participants get to know the strategy many months before the action. Western curators actively pushed Maidan for escalation. The Belarusian opposition did not have enough resources and had to take a pause. Now, just as Hitler after the Smolensk battle, the opposition goes through restructuring and preparation for the second stage of Blitzkrieg. It remains to be seen if the Belarusian Maidan was prepared as a Blitzkrieg or has an alternative plan for a protracted war against Belarusian regime.

Disproof

This publication promotes recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about Western attempts to stage a colour revolution in Belarus and builds an absurd comparison of protests in Belarus with Hitler's actions against the USSR. The accusation of Nazism/ Fascism and building a link to Nazi Germany is one of recurring techniques of pro-Kremlin outlets, read our past analysis Nazi east, Nazi west, Nazi over the cuckoo's nest. There is absolutely no proof of any Western involvement in the widespread protests in Belarus. Hundreds of thousands of Belarusians have been protesting against a massive vote-rigging and police violence since 9 August 2020. On 16 August 2020 Belarus witnessed the largest rallies in the city of Minsk and dozens smaller towns and localities in its history. On 19 August 2020 the European Council called Belarus's elections neither free nor fair, condemned the violence against peaceful protesters, called for a complete and transparent investigation into all alleged abuses, and announced its decision to impose sanctions on a substantial number of individuals responsible for violence, repression, and election fraud. See earlier disinformation cases claiming that Hitler's Nazi officials are not less Belarusian heroes than Kalinowski, that West has approved a new ‘Barbarossa’ plan to attack Russia, that West always dreams of splitting Russia and about waging a war against Russia from Belarusian territory.