Disinfo: NATO is trying to encircle Russia and has one goal - to neutralise Russia

Summary

NATO forces are trying to encircle Russia. The ring around Russia is not weakening, no. They are enlarging the contingent, increasing the number of manoeuvres and provocations near the borders. All this is accompanied by an increasing anti-Russian hysteria. With the disappearance of the Warsaw Pact and the entire Soviet bloc, no agreements were respected, NATO moved to the East. NATO has one goal – to neutralise Russia.

Disproof

This is a recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about NATO allegedly pursuing a belligerent and hostile agenda against Russia. First, NATO is not encircling Russia. Russia's land border is just over 20,000 kilometres long. Of that, less than one-sixteenth (1,215 kilometres), is shared with NATO members. Russia has land borders with 14 countries. Only five of them are NATO members. Then, NATO enlargement was not "contrary to promises". 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:

"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."

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. Furthermore, NATO does not "expand" in the imperialistic sense as 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. See more similar disinfo cases alleging that NATO promised Russia it would not expand to the East and that NATO forgot all the previously existing agreements and expanded despite promises made to Gorbachev.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 207
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 30/07/2020
  • Outlet language(s) Russian
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: Russia
  • Keywords: Anti-Russian, USSR, Encircling Russia, EU/NATO enlargement, NATO
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What YouTube and Google did to Tsargrad is a political repression

It turns out that YouTube and Google consider themselves entitled to act extraterritorially, that is, by spreading their laws on the territory of other states. Well, then Russians have to stop using it and kick them out from Russia. NewsFront, Roman Ostashko, Tsargrad, almost all Donetsk residents, even a newspaper with news from Donbas were banned. Well, this is, in fact, political repression. This is war. And we need to make big far-reaching conclusions.

Disproof

A recurring pro-Kremlin narrative about Russophobia, allegedly directed at the pro-Kremlin media. The account on Youtube of the TV channel "Tsargrad", owned by Russian businessman Konstantin Malofeev, was blocked there due to a violation of the law. Google representatives commented to RBC about it. “Google complies with all applicable sanctions and trade compliance laws. If we find that an account violates these laws, then we take appropriate action,” the company said. The lawyers of the "Tsargrad" explained the reason for the blocking by the fact that Konstantin Malofeev is on the US sanctions lists. According to the US Department of the Treasury, Malofeev is on the sanction list because "he is responsible for, complicit in, or has engaged in, actions or policies that threaten the peace, security, stability, sovereignty, or territorial integrity of Ukraine and has materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services to, or in support of, the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic." You can read similar cases claiming that "US senators and Macron accused Sputnik and RT of election interference with no evidence", "Europe's position in the situation with Sputnik Estonia - criminal silence", "Russian media are being discriminated in Baltic states", etc.

Investigations in the US media about Russia is what totalitarianism looks like

The GRU is once again in the spotlight of the American press. The Associated Press and the New York Times published articles about how Russian intelligence is conducting a campaign of misinformation about the coronavirus among Americans in order to instil in them uncertainty about the future and undermine stability. The media refer to some declassified intelligence materials and their own sources. What we see now is what totalitarianism looks like. Real and authentic. When you can declare any quantity and carry any stupidity.

Disproof

This is a recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative attempting to depict accusations of Russian meddling in Western life as factually unfounded and driven by "Russophobia". According to the New York Times, declassified U.S. intelligence accuses Moscow of pushing propaganda through alternative websites as Russia refines techniques used in 2016. United States government officials mostly described disinformation focused on the pandemic, but they also outlined ties between Russian intelligence and a think tank that had published articles on politics. From late May to early July, about 150 articles on the pandemic were published by the Russian intelligence-backed effort, American officials said. Information portal oneworld.press and news agency InfoRos, which were mentioned in the investigation, featured as well in the EU DisinfoLab OSINT Investigation. “InfoRos is evolving in a shady grey zone, where regular information activities are mixed with more controversial actions that could be quite possibly linked to the Russian state’s information operations,” the report said. The Washington Post also has previously reported that InfoRos was linked to the GRU.

EU and NATO has a primitive understanding of Crimea, engage in militarization along Russian borders

The European Union is unable to objectively assess the situation in the world, continuing to demonstrate primitive understanding of what is happening in Russia and Crimea. If anyone is engaging in deliberate militarisation, it is NATO countries, gradually and unceremoniously approaching the Russian borders.

Disproof

These are recurring pro-Kremlin propaganda narratives claiming that the West's policies are aggressive and colonial and that NATO is belligerent towards Russia and other countries. The disinformation message appeared after a the negative reaction of the European Union to the on-going militarisation of the peninsula. The EU has once again stressed that Russia's actions in relation to Crimea are a violation of international law. “The recent keel-laying ceremony of two assault ships in Kerch is yet another clear step in the ongoing militarisation of the peninsula, with a considerable negative impact on regional security in the Black Sea,” the EU said. "Another concern is the latest restrictions of the freedom of movement for Ukrainian citizens to and from the Crimean peninsula. Access to mainland Ukraine and the right to return to the place of residence has to be granted unconditionally and should not require a Russian passport," the EU said. "The European Union is unwavering in its support for Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders." The international community, including the European Union, recognises and condemns clear violations of Ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity by acts of aggression by the Russian armed forces since February 2014.