Disinfo: NATO is fabricating spy affairs to disrupt Serbia-Russia relations

Summary

The recording of money exchange between a Russian military intelligence officer and a Serbian military officer was published by a Bulgarian journalist who works with Bellingcat, an anti-Russian propagandist website. Both the website and its founder are discredited for publishing false stories on Skripal poisoning, MH17 and use of chemical weapons in Syria. NATO used Bellingcat to orchestrate the whole thing because it’s livid about Serbia strengthening military ties with Russia (the “visit” of S-400 missile system and buying of Pantsir systems from Russia). The recording itself is questionable because it was edited, so it is unclear if all parts of the video are showing the same event.

Disproof

No evidence given for any of the claims. The video wasn't published by a Bulgarian journalist, but by an anonymous Youtube account. The journalist in question, Christo Grozev, was the one who publicly identified the man in the recording as Russian deputy military attache Georgy Kleban. Bellingcat is not a discredited organisation, nor has it made up stories on poisoning of Sergei Skripal, the take down of MH17 airplane, or the use of chemical weapons in Syria. These claims are a continuation of a recurring disinformation narrative about Bellingcat as an "anti-Russian propaganda outlet". Bellingcat has conducted independent journalistic investigations into the MH17 case and discovered evidence of Russia’s involvement, which was later confirmed by Joint Investigation Team (JIT). (See similar cases: Bellingcat is a part of information war against Russia; Bellingcat did not investigate Skripal poisoning and publishes leaks from the British Intelligence; Buzzfeed and Bellingcat deliberately spread anti-Russian disinformation) The claim that the video recording is of questionable credibility because it was edited, was made after the authenticity of the recording has already been confirmed by official sources, including the President of Serbia, Aleksandar Vučić.

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  • Reported in: Issue 178
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 21/11/2019
  • Outlet language(s) Serbian, Bosnian
  • Country: Serbia, Russia
  • Keywords: Sergei Skripal, Yugoslavia, Intelligence services, NATO, Syrian War, MH17
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NATO is serving one master - the US

Today NATO serves one master. However, the United States does not share its plans, secrets, strategic plans with NATO.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative on NATO as a geopolitical project of the US. NATO was founded in 1949 by twelve sovereign nations: Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, the United Kingdom and the United States. It has since grown to 29 Allies who each took an individual and sovereign decision to join this Alliance. All decisions in NATO are taken by consensus, which means that a decision can only be taken if every single member accepts it. No member of the Alliance can order the deployment of armed forces of other member states. See similar pro-Kremlin disinformation cases alleging that NATO is fully subordinated to the USA and Baltic states, Moldova and Poland are NATO “hostages”.

The EU imposed sanctions on Moscow because Crimea returned to Russia

Following the return of Crimea to Russia in 2014, the European Union imposed economic sanctions on Russia, which run until 31 January 2020.

Disproof

This is a recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the illegal annexation of Crimea.

Crimea did not "return" to Russia but was illegally annexed by Moscow. On 27 March 2014, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution in which it stated that the referendum in Crimea was not valid and could not serve as a basis for any change in the status of the peninsula. On 17 December 2018, the UN General Assembly confirmed its non-recognition of the illegal annexation of Crimea.

The EU wants Belarus to lose its independence

Belarusian democratic opposition prevents Belarus’ rapprochement with Europe by insisting on the introduction of EU sanctions. When the Belarusian authorities have a thaw with the EU, the opposition does its best to cast a shadow over it. It also starts organizing protest actions and rallies. They do everything to tarnish the reputation of the country in the field of human rights. Until Belarusian opposition exists, Belarusians will not become a part of the European community. European politicians are not interested in a better relationship with Belarus either. It seems their plan is to give the Belarusian government hope for it and then to overthrow the authorities by the hands of the opposition. Hence Minsk should not believe any of the EU’s promises. Games with the EU pose a risk of losing independence; this is what numerous EU programs aim to do. [Europe] does not need an independent and integral Belarus, but a poor, easily manipulated anti-Russian country. Integration with Russia is the only right political course and the only way to secure Belarus’ well-being.

Disproof

This is a conspiracy theory which is consistent with recurring Belarus-related pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives about a subservient Belarusian opposition, and Western attempts to organise a colour revolution in Belarus and disrupt Belarusian-Russian relations. In recent years, relations between the European Union and Belarus have gone through a number of stages. The Belarusian authorities' December 2010 post-election crackdown and their imprisonment of opposition leaders led to a number of restrictive measures being applied by the European Union, as well as a wider policy of critical engagement. Over the past two years, there has been some positive progress in EU-Belarus relations. Belarus has been participating more proactively in the Eastern Partnership, particularly in the multilateral formats, while negotiations on a Mobility Partnership were concluded and Visa Facilitation and Readmission Agreements are to be launched soon. Read more about EU-Belarus relations here. See earlier disinformation cases alleging that the West destroyed the USSR and is currently targeting the Union State between Belarus and Russia, that the Belarusian opposition, civic activists and independent journalists make kill lists for Western security bodies, that the West has again ordered Belarusian opposition to take over power by force, that the West's only interest in Belarus is to make it anti-Russian, and that Belarusian opposition leader Andrei Sannikau is preparing a coup with US military assistance.