Disinfo: NATO troops open fire in downtown Riga scaring citizens

Summary

Latvian troops opened fire in the middle of downtown Riga scaring citizens who were not warned about a NATO exercise taking place in the city.

Disproof

This is a recurring disinformation campaign about NATO or its member states' military exercises and an attempt to discredit a NATO member-state in Eastern Europe, in this case, Latvia.

As explained by the Ministry of Defense of Latvia,

"the purpose of the “Namejs 2021” military exercise is to assess and upgrade command and control framework of the National Armed Forces (NAF), boost unit interoperability, test and improve supply systems, evaluate and enhance integration of air and ground operations, and practice and analyse tactical response to hybrid and conventional warfare".

The Ministry also published a public warning, stressing that “if you see troops and National Guard soldiers moving outside military training grounds and deployment locations, or witness deployment and positioning of special equipment or other military items anywhere in Latvia, please remain calm”.

Some inhabitants of Riga were reported scared by military action of exercises in the streets of Riga. The representative of the Ministry of Defense of Latvia made a public apology for that.

However, the claim that Latvian troops opened fire in the middle of Latvia's capital is manipulative and taken out of context so as to claim that NATO is irresponsible and does not care about the lives of the citizens in its member-states.

See other examples of similar disinformation narratives in our database, such as claims that Latvia is not a democratic state, that Latvia is the villain of a hybrid war against Russia and the Russians, that Latvia is provoking a confrontation with Moscow to get economic support from the West.

For examples of disinformation about military exercises of NATO see NATO provoking a conflict in the Black Sea; The real aim of Sea Breeze exercises was to escalate tensions with Russia.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 259
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 18/09/2021
  • Article language(s) Greek
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: Latvia
  • Keywords: NATO, Military exercise
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Disproof

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Disproof

This message is part of the Kremlin’s policy of historical revisionism. It presents Bolshevik Russia as a peaceful state and promotes the Russian imperialist idea that Belarus and Ukraine “naturally” belong to Russia. In addition, this message creates ideological reasoning for the Soviet attack on Poland in September 1939, which was secretly provided for in the infamous Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact.

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Disinfo: The foolish anti-Russian exercises scared kids in Latvia

The public anti-Russian military exercises in Latvia are foolish. Troops scared kids when storming buildings and firefighting in Riga's streets in the presence of pedestrians. But if Russia attacked Latvia, in reality the country wouldn't last even one day Daily Mail readers noted.

Disproof

This is a recurring disinformation campaign about NATO or its member states' military exercises and an attempt to discredit a NATO member-state in Eastern Europe, in this case, Latvia.

As explained by the Ministry of Defense of Latvia,