Disinfo: MH17 was a carefully planned operation against Russia

Summary

The downing of MH17 flight was not an accident, it was a carefully considered and prepared multi-faceted domestic operation. Russia was deemed guilty by default.

Disproof

One of the multiple disinformation narratives on the downing of the MH17 denying Russia's responsibility. See here an info-graphic summarizing evolution of disinformation narratives. The Dutch-led criminal investigation by the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) has been ongoing since 2014. On 28 September 2016, the JIT announced that flight MH17 was shot down by a missile from the 9M38 series, which was launched by a BUK TELAR missile system. The system was transported from the Russian Federation to an agricultural field near the town of Pervomaiskyi in Eastern Ukraine, from where the missile was launched. After firing, the system - with 1 missing missile - went back to the Russian Federation. On the 24th of May 2018, the JIT announced its conclusion the BUK TELAR used to shoot down MH17 came from the 53rd Anti-Aircraft Missile Brigade, a unit of the Russian armed forces from Kursk in the Russian Federation. On the basis of the investigation conducted by the JIT, consisting of law enforcement agencies from Australia, Belgium, Malaysia, Ukraine and the Netherlands, the Dutch Public Persecution service will persecute Igor Vsevolodovich GIRKIN, Sergey Nikolayevich DUBINSKIY, Oleg Yuldashevich PULATOV and Leonid Volodymyrovych KHARCHENKO for causing the crash of the MH17 and murdering of 289 persons on board. The Public Prosecution Service alleges the four cooperated to obtain and deploy the BUK TELAR at the firing location with the aim of shooting down an aircraft. For that reason they can also be held jointly accountable for downing flight MH17. The European Union and NATO have called on the Russian Federation to accept its responsibility and to fully cooperate with all efforts to establish accountability. On the basis of the JIT’s conclusions, the Netherlands and Australia are convinced that Russia is responsible for the deployment of the Buk installation that was used to down MH17. The two governments are formally holding Russia accountable.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 158
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 19/07/2019
  • Outlet language(s) Russian
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: Russia
  • Keywords: MH17
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Russia finds US mercenaries in Syria

US Central Command is increasing the presence of mercenaries in Syria to make up for the withdrawal of regular troops. Only in the second half of June another 540 private military contractors arrived to the country, including commanders and instructors. The mercenaries are transported by car in groups of 12 to 16 people, and their task is mainly to form combat units loyal to Washington and protect oil and gas infrastructures.

Disproof

The deployment of US private military contractors (PMC) in this war theatre is no secret: in 2018, the Pentagon acknowledged the presence of over 5,500 PMCs in Syria and Iraq. Therefore, claiming that "Russia found them" now is a deliberate distortion of facts. No evidence is provided to support the affirmation than their number is increasing or that 540 were sent to Syria last June. Moreover, this so-called revelation coincides with reports about the presence of Russian ground troops fighting in Idlib, denied by Moscow. Mentioning PMCs' task of protecting hydrocarbon facilities is significant, since this is exactly what Russian private military contractors have been doing in Syria, and serves to fuel the recurrent Russian narrative of a US aggression to take over the resources of the country. You can see other examples of disinformation about the US presence in Syria, such as its alleged plans to divide the country, its alleged support to jihadist groups, its alleged plundering of archaeological sites, its alleged role in fake chemical attacks or its alleged deliberate targeting of civilians.

There are no Russian ground troops in Syria

The Russian army has never sent any ground troops, and hence no special units to Syria. The article by Reuters about alleged involvement of Russian ground forces and special units in the province of Idlib is an absolute lie. Only observation troops of the Russian military police are positioned in Idlib.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative claiming that Russian ground troops are not active in Syria. There is a wide spectrum of evidence disproving this claim: In 2016, Russian military intervention helped President Assad's forces regain the control of territory in Syria. The Russian military took news crews to Kawkab in Hama province to demonstrate their success. Moscow built up substantial ground forces throughout Syria.The estimates place around 4,000 troops on the ground even including several private military companies (PMC)—ENOT Corp, “Wagner” and Morgan Security Group PMC — along with Russian military police with modern weaponry. Early examples of Russian interaction with pro-government militias date back to at least August of 2015, although they are more limited. Pictures of Russian soldiers and officers interacting with the Prophet Younis Mountain Battalion, a Latakia-based pro-Assad militia, are available.

There are no Russian ground troops or special forces in Syria

News about the participation of Russian special and ground forces in the battles of Idlib is again false news. There are no Russian ground troops in Syria.

Disproof

Recurrent pro-Kremlin narrative that Russian ground troops are not active in Syria. There is a wide spectrum of sources disproving this claim.

In 2016, Russian military intervention helped President Assad's forces regain control of territory in Syria. As a result, Moscow built up substantial ground forces throughout Syria. Estimates place around 4,000 troops on the ground including private military companies such as ENOT Corp, “Wagner” and Morgan Security Group PMC. Subsequently, Russia established a permanent military presence at naval and air bases in Syria. Last year, President Putin said that Russia has no plans to pull its military out of Syria.