Disinfo: NATO military exercise BALTOPS is anti-Russian

Summary

BALTOPS exercise is held annually by NATO. Previously, Russia took part in exercises. Everything changed after the Ukrainian crisis in 2014. Moscow stopped participating in manoeuvres. And the very nature of the exercises became emphasized as anti-Russian. No one doubts that they are directed against Russia. NATO is increasingly justifying the holding of costly exercises by the need to combat the alleged “Russian threat.” Although Moscow has stated many times that it is not going to attack the West.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about NATO threatening or encircling Russia and the military exercise "Baltops 2020". NATO is a defensive alliance, whose purpose is to protect its member states. NATO exercises are not directed against Russia – or any other country. BALTOPS is the largest exercise series in the Baltic Sea. Participating troops come from Canada, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, the UK, and the United States. “BALTOPS provides the opportunity for NATO and partner nations to operate together, sharing best practices to improve real-world operations," said U.S. Vice Admiral Lisa Franchetti, commander, Naval Striking and Support Forces NATO and commander, U.S. 6th Fleet. NATO has reached out to Russia consistently, transparently and publicly over the past 29 years: "NATO set out to build a good relationship with Russia. We worked together on issues ranging from counter-narcotics and counter-terrorism to submarine rescue and civil emergency planning. However, in March 2014, in response to Russia's aggressive actions against Ukraine, NATO suspended practical cooperation with Russia." As reaffirmed by NATO leaders at the Brussels Summit in July 2018, "NATO does not seek confrontation and poses no threat to Russia." See other examples of disinformation about NATO in our database, such as its never-ending provocations, its attempts to block Moscow in its sphere of influence, the Alliance's permanent targeting of Russia and Belarus, its role as a US subjugation tool for other countries and its unreliability to defend its members or its plans to continue attacking other countries.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 202
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 10/06/2020
  • Language/target audience: Russian
  • Country: Russia, Baltic states
  • Keywords: security threat, Anti-Russian, Military exercise, NATO

Disclaimer

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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Ukraine will give Hungary part of Transcarpathia

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Disproof

As part of the continuation of the decentralisation reform, the Ministry of Regional Development announced projects that will renew regions in Ukraine, including Transcarpathia, and they plan to include the Vynohradiv region in the Berehove region. An updated map of Transcarpathia, presented at the ministry, shows the unification of the Berehove and Vinohradiv regions, with the centre in Berehove. This is not the creation of a “Hungarian” region that will be "surrendered to Hungary”, but instead the unification of two small regions into one, as part of the government's decentralisation reform. The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Dmitro Kuleba said the information that Ukraine is creating the Berehove district in the Transcarpathian region for the interests of Hungary is fake, saying: "No foreign country has the right to dictate to Ukraine how to organise communities, districts or regions. The Berehove region has existed happily for a long time and has the right to extend its existence. Now we are only talking about joining the Vinohradiv region within the reform. The decision to join the regions was not made by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Administrative-territorial reform is not a question of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs." The decentralisation process in Ukraine began in 2014. The reform provides for the transfer of powers and budgets from state bodies to local governments.

The organisers of “colour revolutions” in the CIS aim to destabilise the situation in Russia

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Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives about the aggressive West, Ukraine as a non-sovereign country and the so-called "colour revolutions". The disinformation message also advances pro-Kremlin narratives about the 2008 Russo-Georgian War and Kyiv's 2013-14 Euromaidan protests were backed and/or carried out by the West in order to provoke/weaken/destabilise Russia. The US and the EU did not initiate nor finance the 2013-14 Ukrainian revolution. The demonstrations which began in Kyiv in November 2013 were a result of the Ukrainian people's frustration with former President Yanukovych's last-minute U-turn when, after seven years of negotiation, he refused to sign the EU–Ukraine Association Agreement and halted progress towards Ukraine's closer relationship with the EU as a result of Russian pressure. For more cases about the Euromaidan protests, see here. Ukraine and Georgia are sovereign and independent states with democratically-elected presidents and parliaments. Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity are respected by almost the whole world. The EU and the US work closely with Ukraine. Russian officials and state media routinely predict oddly specific Western "provocations" against Russia which never come to fruition. In 2019 alone, pro-Kremlin outlets said that NATO would kill its own officers to provoke a new conflict in Ukraine; that the UK would use its chemical labs to kill Russians; that the US was planning an anti-Russian operation in the Black Sea; that Canada was also planning an anti-Russian operation in the Black Sea; that NATO would intervene in Crimea to rig the Ukrainian presidential election.

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Disproof

A spokesman for the Permanent Mission of Ukraine to the United Nations in New York, Oleg Nikolenko, pointed out that the photo actually shows eight-year-old Anastasia Lutsyshyna from the Russian city of Ussuriysk, who was killed in 2013 by a taxi driver. The photo of this girl can be found on the web since 2013. 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 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.” In July 2014, The European Union stated that "arms and fighters continue (to flow) into Ukraine from the Russian Federation". At the September 2014 NATO Summit in Wales, NATO leaders condemned Russia’s military intervention in Ukraine in the strongest terms and demanded that Russia stop and withdraw its forces from Ukraine and along the country’s border.