Disinfo: NATO openly participates in the Donbas conflict

Summary

It is no secret that NATO has been heavily involved in the conflict [in Donbas]. There are pictures of the presence of American soldiers. Nobody talked about it. We know there were soldiers, Polish mercenaries, it’s very annoying. After a six-month investigation, evidence has been recovered confirming that the Americans were present and supplied a whole bunch of weapons. They were not shy about it. A journalist doing his job could have found this information. Russia has been accused of being the main actor and aggressor in the conflict, but no one has questioned the role of NATO and the Americans. And we know that. Just type in Google, you will find this information but it has always been silenced.

Disproof

No evidence is given concerning the presence of NATO troops or Polish mercenaries among pro-Ukrainian forces. This is a recurrent conspiracy narrative advanced by Russian media. Pro-Kremlin sources repeatedly accuse foreign military of taking part in the war in Ukraine without providing any evidence, see dozens of cases in our database. Earlier, Polish Ministry for National Defence and Lithuania's Armed Forces have confirmed that their soldiers have only delivered trainings to the Armed Forces of Ukraine and do not take part in combat actions. Thus, in 2014 Robert Pszczel, Director of NATO Information Office in Moscow, was invited to the programme ‘Politics’ (Channel Rossiya 1). His opponents, notorious Russian nationalists Vladimir Zhirinovsky and Aleksandr Rutskoy, accused Pszczel of NATO fuelling the war in Donbas and stated that ‘hundreds of Poles’ were killed in Donbas, their bodies ‘secretly being taken to Warsaw’. No forensic evidence of such a large scale operation was ever given. Russia’s state-run news agency RIA has also reported the presence of Polish mercenaries in Donbas, quoting Eduard Basurin, deputy chief of headquarters of the self-proclaimed Donetsk people’s republic. Basurin expressed confidence that there were foreign mercenaries near Debaltseve but added they did not have any ‘personal possessions’ to prove it. “As soon as we find them we’ll show,” he said. So far, it did not happen. See more examples of "Polish mercenaries in Ukraine" in the digest composed by Belsat TV channel based in Warsaw. As for American soldiers in Donbas, the disinformation outlet does not publish the "proving pictures" to support such a huge claim. At that, over the five years of war that has pitted Ukrainian forces against Russia-backed separatists, the United States has provided hundreds of millions of dollars in military gear to Ukraine: night-vision goggles, flak jackets, vehicles, counter-battery radars. After years of internal debate that preceded his administration, President Donald Trump began supplying Ukraine with sophisticated anti-tank missiles known as Javelins. The US Congress' proposals to send weaponry to Ukraine further intensified in response to an incident in November 2018, when Russian Coast Guard ships seized three Ukrainian boats and 24 sailors in the Kerch Strait near the illegally annexed by Russia Crimean Peninsula. The disinformation outlet visibly does not deny the Russian aggression in Ukraine. But in the best case, it mixes up things. It tries to equalize the official military aid to a sovereign State, which followed after years of assessments, parliamentary votes and discussions after further escalation incidents, with Russian still non-officially recognized intervention in Ukraine since 2014. The Russian aggression, which provoked the war in Donbas, was led by identified Russian FSB officer. The graves of Russian mercenaries, in contrast to the Polish ones, are found. See more disinformation cases on the war in Donbas.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 181
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 08/01/2020
  • Outlet language(s) French
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: US, Ukraine, Russia
  • Keywords: Eastern Ukraine, West, NATO, Donbas, War in Ukraine
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EU will complicate entry permits for Ukrainians

The European Union tightens the rules for obtaining entry permits for Ukrainians. From 2021, citizens of Ukraine will need, in addition to providing a biometric passport, to pay an extra authorisation fee.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives claiming that the EU and the West, in general, have abandoned Ukraine, and more specifically about the visa-free travel and ETIAS system. The introduction of the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) is not connected with Ukraine exclusively. It will affect citizens from all countries that do not need entry visas to the EU. The European Commission is proposing to set up an automated system that would gather information on visa-exempt travellers prior to their arrival, in order to determine any irregular migration, security or public health risks associated with them. The proposal follows similar models already existing in the USA, Canada and Australia, among others. ETIAS formally entered into force in October 2018, but will not become operational before 2021. See previous disinformation case alleging that the European Council complicates visa-free regime for Ukraine.

Whistleblowers expose lack of evidence in OPCW's Douma report

The credibility of the OPCW’s final report on the 2018 chemical attack in Douma, Syria has been fundamentally compromised by whistleblowers.

An OPCW engineering assessment leaked in May 2019 shows that chlorine canisters were manually placed at the scene of the incident, rather than dropped from the air as the OPCW has claimed.

An internal e-mail by an unnamed employee shows that the final version of the Douma report deviates considerably from the interim report and cherry-picks facts to support a predetermined conclusion.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives attacking the independence and integrity of the OPCW; lending credence to the claim that the 2018 Douma attack was staged; and absolving the Syrian regime of responsibility for chemical attacks in general.

The story relies mostly on two already-debunked leaks and does nothing to undermine the conclusions reached by OPCW. The concerns raised in the first document have been addressed in the final report (see Annex 6, pp. 55-6) and do not support the claim that the incident was staged. See the full debunk here.

Soros helped Moldovan Maia Sandu come to power

George Soros has recently had a major victory in Moldova. His longtime protégé Maia Sandu has been elected as president.

Sandu’s connection with Soros during the elections was obvious. The entire Soros network, which is more than a hundred NGOs and more than a hundred media outlets, including 25 TV channels, 21 radio stations, about 80 portals, campaigned for Sandu day and night and tore Dodon, who was supported by only three TV channels, to shreds.

Disproof

This is recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation against pro-European leaders, claiming they are dependent on Soros.

Moldovan presidential elections took place on 15 November. Maia Sandu, a pro-Western candidate, defeated ex-president Igor Dodon, the Moscow-backed candidate. Sandu has always favoured closer ties with Europe, for which she became the target of the pro-Kremlin media who tend to label her as an "agent" of George Soros and the West.