Disinfo: NATO uses false “Russian threat” as pretext to expand its presence near Russian borders


NATO is aware that Moscow has no intention of attacking anyone, but is exploiting a non-existent “Russian threat” in order to increase NATO’s presence close to Russia’s borders.


Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative claiming that the “Russian threat” is a false idea created and spread by NATO and the US to encircle and weaken Russia.

Russia’s annexation of Crimea and destabilization of eastern Ukraine is the source of NATO's concerns about the challenge Russia poses to the post-Cold War security order in Europe.

For similar cases, see here and here.


  • Reported in: Issue156
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 28/06/2019
  • Language/target audience: Italian
  • Country: Russia, Baltic states, Lithuania, Poland
  • Keywords: security threat, Eastern Ukraine, EU/NATO enlargement, Encircling Russia, Anti-Russian, Hybrid war, Russophobia, NATO


Cases in the EUvsDisinfo database focus on messages in the international information space that are identified as providing a partial, distorted, or false depiction of reality and spread key pro-Kremlin messages. This does not necessarily imply, however, that a given outlet is linked to the Kremlin or editorially pro-Kremlin, or that it has intentionally sought to disinform. EUvsDisinfo publications do not represent an official EU position, as the information and opinions expressed are based on media reporting and analysis of the East Stratcom Task Force.

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Ukrainian sailors arrested by Russia because three Ukrainian Navy vessels violated the Russian-Ukrainian border

Twenty-four Ukrainian sailors were arrested by Russia in November 2018 because three Ukrainian Navy vessels violated the Russian-Ukrainian border when seeking to transit the Kerch Strait.


Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation about the November 2018 Kerch incident. Russia has seized Ukrainian vessels and their crews and fired shots at them, wounding several Ukrainian servicemen. The EU has urged Russia to release the captured crew.

The Kerch Strait and the Sea of Azov, as addressed by the 2003 bilateral agreement between Ukraine and Russia are defined as internal waters of both Russia and Ukraine. The agreement gives both parties the power to inspect suspicious vessels. Furthermore, both the 2003 bilateral agreement and UN Convention on the Law of the Sea provide for the freedom of navigation. See a similar case here.

Belarusian opposition preparing a coup with US military assistance

Belarusian opposition leader Andrei Sannikau works for the CIA and RAND to destabilise Belarus with a “European Belarus” civic campaign. During his recent visit to the RAND Corporation, Sannikau spoke about the need to stage a coup in Belarus with US military assistance. The US actors ordered Sannikau to ignite a war in Belarus similar to the war in Donbas. The US sees Belarus as a springboard for military actions against Russia and is ready to pay well for it.

Andrei Sannikau made a promise to the US to organise this springboard on the condition that the US military would support a coup in Belarus. Sannikau is getting ready for the 2020 presidential campaign under the secret name “It is time to change peaceful times”.


This is a collection of conspiracies and ungrounded claims aimed to discredit the US and the West, Andrei Sannikau, and the democratic Belarusian opposition. This disinformation message is a modification of a recurring pro-Kremlin narrative about Western attempts to organise a colour revolution in Belarus and to disrupt Belarusian-Russian relations.

Andrei Sannikau is a Belarusian politician and activist. He was a candidate at the 2010 presidential election in Belarus and had the second highest percentage of the popular votes after incumbent Alyaksandr Lukashenka. On 14 May 2011, he was sentenced to five years' imprisonment on charges of organising mass disturbances. He was released and pardoned by Lukashenka on 14 April 2012. Amnesty International labelled him a prisoner of conscience and called for his immediate release.

It will take a millennium for Lithuania to rebuild its railways

Lithuania considers its railway a tool of Russian and Belarusian soft power and a Soviet legacy. It voices the need to rebuild the railway network according to European standards. This will require around 900-950 annual Lithuanian’ budgets, meaning that Lithuania will be ready to undertake this task by the end of this millennium.


Lithuania is a part of the Rail Baltica project which aims to link Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland with a new European gauge fast conventional railway.

It is is one of the priority projects of the European Union: Trans-European Transport Networks (TEN-T), for greater connectivity in the EU, improved movement of passengers and freight, which will also contribute to the deepening of the EU Single market. The project envisages a continuous rail link from Tallinn (Estonia) to Warsaw (Poland), going via Riga (Latvia) and Kaunas (Lithuania). The Baltic route should be completed by 2025; the link to Warsaw-2030.