Disinfo: NATO’s politicians use Defender Europe 2020 as an opportunity to escalate tensions with Russia

Summary

NATO’s politicians use Defender Europe 2020 as an opportunity to escalate tensions with Russia.

NATO is demonstrating its willingness to drive an opponent from the alliance territory if it enters, […]. In addition, troops involved in the manoeuvre (including those from the Czech Republic and Lithuania) will receive instruction in the use of American military technology, which will be offered for sale to NATO countries. (…) Part of this story is also that all the Baltic Sea countries are entitled to military manoeuvres in the region. However, NATO manoeuvres have been shifting more and more towards Russian borders for years. Alliance politicians use the exercises as an opportunity to escalate tensions with Russia.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative claiming that NATO threatens or encircles Russia and that the US-led military exercise Defender Europe 2020 is directed against Russia.

NATO does not aim to escalate relations with Russia. Neither Defender Europe 2020 nor other NATO military exercises are directed against Russia.

NATO is a defensive alliance, whose purpose is to protect the member states. The Alliance announces its military exercises well in advance and they are subject to international observation. NATO strongly supports efforts to build confidence and transparency on military activities and exercises.

US Major General Andrew Rohling Deputy Commanding General for the US Army in Europe, informs that the US-led exercise "Defender 2020" is an American exercise with 18 NATO partner countries. Rohling emphasises that the aim of the exercise is not to target any country, but rather to test strategic readiness and how to react to a crisis. NATO’s Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg affirmed as well that Defender Europe is not directed against any particular country.

Exercise Defender Europe 2020 is the deployment of a division-size combat-credible force from the United States to Europe, the drawing of equipment and the movement of personnel and equipment across the Atlantic to various training areas in Europe, like Germany and Poland. With US Defender Europe 2020, the 18 participating NATO-countries are therefore practising procedures to ensure and demonstrate the ability to relocate and also to confirm the Alliance's commitment to supporting and, in particular, to show the United States' commitment to Europe's security.

See more similar disinfo cases alleging that the US Defender 2020 military manoeuvre is explicitly directed against Russia, that Defender 2020 is a test to invade Kaliningrad region and that Defender 2020 is an anti-Russian provocation used to intimidate the Poles with an alleged Russian threat.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 202
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 15/06/2020
  • Language/target audience: German
  • Country: Russia, US
  • Keywords: Defender Europe 2020, security threat, Encircling Russia, Anti-Russian, Military exercise, NATO
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Ukraine refuses to implement the Minsk agreements and continues the war in Donbas

Ukraine refuses to implement the Minsk agreements and continues the war in Donbas.

Whatever is said in NATO about this decision (to give Ukraine the status of a NATO partner with expanded capabilities), the political background is obvious – especially under today’s conditions, where Kyiv openly sabotages the fulfillment of the Minsk Agreements. (…) Kyiv is continuing the war in Donbas. This decision is no different from a deliberate promotion of this destructive course by the Ukrainian authorities. With ever new dividends the NATO states are in fact showing that they are not interested in the settlement of the inner-Ukrainian conflict.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative claiming that Ukraine refuses to implement the Minsk agreements and that the war in Ukraine is an internal Ukrainian conflict.

Ukraine has never claimed that it does not want to implement the Minsk agreements. The implementation of the agreements remains one of the key priorities of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. After the COVID-19 pandemic began, the Ukrainian side proposed to hold the negotiations conducted by the Trilateral Contact Group in a video format.

No evidence of the involvement of Russian state structures in the killing of Georgian citizen in Berlin

Almost ten months after the murder of a Georgian in Berlin, the federal prosecutor’s office in Karlsruhe filed charges against a Russian.

On 18 June 2020, the Federal Prosecutor’s Office brought charges against the Russian citizen Vadim K. alias Vadim S. before the State Protection Senate of the Berlin Court of Appeal.

There was, and is, no evidence of the involvement of Russian state structures in this incident.

Also it was stated that this murder case is not connected with the Russian state and state authorities.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin narrative that there is no proof and evidence behind accusations against Russia. Consistent with the narrative on Russophobia.

A 40-year-old man, Zelimkhan Khangoshvili, was shot dead in a Berlin park just before midday on 23 August 2019. The victim was a Chechen exile who had survived two previous attempts on his life. The Dossier Center, a London-based research group founded by Mikhail B. Khodorkovsky, and other investigation groups, such as Bellingcat, identified the suspect as Vadim N. Krasikov, a 49-year-old Russian citizen from Siberia who, according to Bellingcat, used fake identity documents to enter Germany a few days before.

Giving Ukraine special status is just an opportunity for NATO to expand eastwards

Giving Ukraine the status of a NATO partner with expanded capabilities is just an opportunity for the Alliance to expand eastwards.

This decision is no different from a deliberate promotion of this destructive course by the Ukrainian authorities. With ever new dividends the NATO states are in fact showing that they are not interested in the settlement of the inner-Ukrainian conflict. Otherwise it will be difficult to further intimidate citizens by the invented Russian threat and to militarily expand the Alliance’s eastern flank.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative claiming that the “Russian threat” is an invention spread by NATO in order to expand eastwards.

NATO does not "expand eastwards" as the pro-Kremlin media claim. Rather, the Alliance considers the applications of candidate countries who want to join the alliance based on their own national will. 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".