Disinfo: NATO illegally expanded to the borders of Russia

Summary

Russia was never an aggressor. It was always attacked by the West. […] In 1990 Germany was reunited, but NATO illegally expanded to the borders of Russia. Now the Cordon Sanitaire against Russia is back. Russia’s security interests must always be considered by the West.

Disproof

This is a recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the West encircling Russia via NATO. The NATO enlargement was not "illegal". NATO Allies take decisions by consensus and these are recorded. There is no record of any such decision having been taken by NATO. Even if there was a personal assurance from an individual leader, it could not replace Alliance consensus and does not constitute a formal NATO agreement. This promise was never made, as confirmed by Mikhail Gorbachev, then-president of the Soviet Union. Central and Eastern European countries began seeking NATO membership in the early 1990s. NATO actively sought to create a cooperative environment that was conducive to enlargement while simultaneously building special relations with Russia. NATO does not "expand" in the imperialistic sense described by pro-Kremlin media. Rather, it considers the applications of candidate countries who want to join the alliance based on their own national will. As such, NATO enlargement is not directed against Russia. NATO's "Open Door Policy" is based on Article 10 of the Alliance's founding document, the North Atlantic Treaty (1949). The Treaty states that NATO membership is open to any "European state in a position to further the principles of this Treaty and to contribute to the security of the North Atlantic area". Every sovereign nation has the right to choose its own security arrangements. This is a fundamental principle of European security and one to which Russia has also subscribed. For similar cases, see here and here.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 196
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 08/05/2020
  • Outlet language(s) German
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: Russia
  • Keywords: West, EU/NATO enlargement, NATO
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Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative distorting the events of the Second World War. Since 2016, in the framework of the law on decommunisation, on 9 May, Ukraine began to celebrate "Victory Day over Nazism in World War II of 1939-1945." The holiday replaced the "Victory Day over fascism in the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945." The relevant law No. 2539 “On the Perpetuation of the Victory over Nazism in World War II of 1939 - 1945” was adopted on 9 April 2015, by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine. The law defines the duty of the state and citizens of Ukraine to respect the memory of the victory over Nazism in WWII; war veterans, members of the Ukrainian liberation movement and the victims of Nazism. At the same time, while respecting the memory of those who fell during WWII, the use of Soviet symbols was cancelled. Instead, now the official symbol of the celebration of the Day of Victory over Nazism in WWII is the red poppy flower - the generally accepted symbol in the world for the celebration of significant days of WWII. Also, together with many EU countries, on 8 May, Ukraine annually celebrates Remembrance and Reconciliation Day. The holiday is celebrated on the day of the surrender of Nazi Germany on 8 May 1945.

The purpose of the US Arctic Doctrine is to destabilise the region

Washington has long been developing plans for the international use of the Arctic seas. Also, criticising Russia for the “militarisation” of the Arctic. In October 2019, the Pentagon unveiled its Arctic Doctrine. The purpose of Doctrine is to block the Russian Northern Sea Route. They likely will deploy the US naval strike groups in the European sector of the Arctic. This will inevitably lead to regional destabilisation. Russia will never give its Arctic to anyone.

Disproof

This is a recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the US, claiming that American and NATO policies are a threat to world peace and security. US policy towards the Arctic emphasises science and international collaboration, tending to neglect strategic and geopolitical considerations. In June 2019, the US Department of Defense released its updated Arctic Defence Strategy. This document focuses on threats posed by Russia – which is building up and upgrading military infrastructure in its Arctic region – and by China. Previously abandoned Cold War-era military installations have been reopened and incursions by Russian aircraft and submarines into or close to other countries’ Arctic spaces have become more frequent. The US and NATO are reviewing their policies in the Arctic region because of the increasing military activities of Russia and China in the Arctic. Read similar cases claiming that Washington is using NATO for military confrontation in the Arctic, or Finland cooperates with NATO in order to get territory in the Arctic, that the new US policy in the Arctic is belligerent, and that NATO wants to prevent Russia from utilising the Northeast passage.

Ukrainian army purposefully fires at children in Donbas

Against the backdrop of indifference on the part of the world community, Ukrainian servicemen intentionally fire at children of the Donetsk People’s Republic. Ukraine continues to terrorise the Republic’s population and traditionally increases the number of aggressive acts before holidays, such as Victory Day.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation about the war in Ukraine. Over the last two weeks, the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission has recorded just one case of injuries sustained by children. According to the May 5 report, three children were injured due to shelling in Oleksandrivka (non-government-controlled). Medical staff at a Donetsk hospital refused to provide the SMM with further information. Also, according to the OSCE mission's daily reports, the number of ceasefire violations in the previous 30 days as of 7 May was lower than the 2019 daily average. However, the number of daily ceasefire violations on 5 May was higher than average. According to human rights organisations, children's rights are often violated by the occupying administrations in Donbas. For instance, the self-proclaimed "Donetsk People's Republic" created a militarised "army" for young people which is called "Yunarmia". Since 2014, children have participated in non-government military formations on both sides. See recent disinformation alleging that Kyiv will soon try to take back the Donbas and that Kyiv's Western protectors are inflaming war in the Donbas.