Disinfo: NATO intimidates EU residents with tales of the Russian threat, even though Russia is a peace-loving country.

Summary

NATO intimidates residents of the European Union with tales of the Russian threat. Over the past 25 years, Russia has not attacked any country, so this is another European horror story.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin narrative about peaceful Russia that contains disinformation about the war in Ukraine and war in Georgia. Since 1991 Russia was involved in several international conflicts, including intervention in neighboring states, such as Georgia in 2008 and Ukraine in 2014. Many international organizations condemned the Russian occupation of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, see e.g. the OSCE statements here and here and European Parliament's declaration. More information to Russian invasion in Georgia is provided here. It was also Russia that provoked a war in Ukraine. The Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court has stated that “the information available suggests that the situation within the territory of Crimea and Sevastopol amounts to an international armed conflict between Ukraine and the Russian Federation. This international armed conflict began at the latest on 26 February 2014 when the Russian Federation deployed members of its armed forces to gain control over parts of the Ukrainian territory without the consent of the Ukrainian Government. The European Union stated in July 2014 that "arms and fighters continue flowing into Ukraine from the Russian Federation". Russian President Vladimir Putin admitted military presence of Russia in Ukraine in 2015. In 2014 Russia also annexed a part of Ukrainian territory - Crimean peninsula. The so-called referendum on the peninsula was organised in a matter of weeks by a self-proclaimed Crimean leadership lacking democratic legitimacy and installed by armed Russian military personnel following the seizure of public buildings. The EU does not recognise it. The United Nations General Assembly Resolution No. 68/262, adopted on 27 March 2014 and supported by 100 states, clearly says that Russia's actions in Crimea as well as the referendum held in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea violate international law. Any decision relating to Ukraine's sovereignty or sovereign choices can only be taken without undue external pressure.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 155
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 21/06/2019
  • Outlet language(s) Russian
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: Moldova, Georgia, Ukraine, Russia
  • Keywords: Hybrid war, Russo-Georgian War, NATO
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British MP tells Ukraine to forget about Crimea

A British Conservative MP told Ukraine to forget about Crimea. In the future, Ukraine will have to accept the loss of the Crimean peninsula, which in 2014 joined the Russian Federation as a result of the will of the Crimean people, Richard Belfell, a member of the Conservative Party at the British Parliament, told journalists. Speaking about how it would be possible to solve once and for all the problem of Russian ownership of Crimea, the MP said that a referendum repeated under UN supervision may be a solution. Belfell said that he was there 10 or 15 years ago, when it was part of Ukraine, and almost everyone that he met there at the time complained that the peninsula belonged to Ukraine and that he didn’t think that a desire to be part of the country had ever been present in Crimea.

Disproof

These allegations are false. There is no member of the British Parliament called Richard Belfell, or any similar name. A Google search of the name produces only five results, all of them reproducing the original story in Spanish. The whole story is invented.

This is part of a recurrent Russian narrative to boost the legitimacy of the illegal seizure of Crimea by the Russian Federation. You can see other examples of disinformation on this topic, such as that the ‘reunification’ was made in compliance with international law, the alleged legality and democratic character of the referendum, that this was forced by a coup in Kiev, that it saved Crimea from becoming a US colony, the recognition of the annexation by the UN or countries like Hungary, or its final acceptance by the EU.

MH17: Political games instead of a real investigation

The Dutch-led Joint Investigation Team presents the same old accusations. The campaign is on-going, Russia and the Donetsk Peoples’ Republic were found guilty by mainstream media and Western diplomats a long time ago and the JIT is currently attempting to construct the narrative surrounding the guilty, rather than prove it. Also, is it really a coincidence that the JIT’s briefing took place on the day before Russian President Vladimir Putin’s Direct Line?

Disproof

One of the multiple disinformation narratives on the downing of the MH17 denying Russia's responsibility. 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.

USA promised Russia that there will be no NATO expansion to the East

The USA promised Russia that there will be no NATO expansion to the East. US Secretary of State, James Baker, had agreed with Gorbachev in 1990 in his negotiations on German reunification that there would be no expansion of NATO beyond the then eastern borders of the GDR. “Baker noted this oral promise in a note: “End result: Unified Ger. anchored* in a changed (polit.) NATO -* whose jurisdiction. would not move* eastwards!”

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation that NATO had promised that the Alliance would not expand to the East and that NATO is de facto aggressive. NATO allies take decisions by consensus and these are recorded. There is no record of any such decision having been taken by NATO or the US. Personal assurances from individual leaders cannot replace Alliance consensus' and do not constitute formal NATO agreements. Moreover, at the time of the alleged promise, the Warsaw Pact still existed. Its members did not agree on its dissolution until 1991. This was confirmed by Mikhail Gorbachev himself in an interview with Russia Beyond the Headlines:

"The topic of 'NATO expansion' was not discussed at all, and it wasn't brought up in those years. I say this with full responsibility. Not a single Eastern European country raised the issue, not even after the Warsaw Pact ceased to exist in 1991. Western leaders didn't bring it up either".

See more disinformation cases on NATO.