Disinfo: NATO’s “Sea Breeze 2019” was a total failure thanks to Russia

Summary

The “Sea Breeze 2019” military drill failed because Russia was the winning party. Russia forced Ukraine and NATO to retreat to the Black Sea, as exercises had to be changed after Russia announced the start of their own training exercise near the Crimea. Therefore, Russia expelled the Ukrainian and NATO forces.

Disproof

This is a misrepresentation of events designed to portray Russia as the superior might over NATO and part of a recurring disinformation campaign undermining NATO exercises. Exercise Sea Breeze, now in its 19th iteration, took place in the Black Sea between 1st-12th July 2019 with participation and support coming from 17 other countries to include: Bulgaria, Canada, Denmark, Estonia, France, Georgia, Greece, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Norway, Poland, Romania, Sweden, Turkey, Ukraine and the United Kingdom.

Whilst it is true that the military drills were rescheduled after the sudden closure of certain areas of the Black Sea by the Russian military as noted by Rear-Admiral Alexei Neizhpapa, Head of the exercise for Ukraine, this did not affect the execution of tasks. At no time were the exercises concluded as a complete failure. At the closing ceremony, U.S. Navy Capt. Matthew Lehman, commodore, Task Force 65 and U.S. exercise director for SB19, said that he was "proud of the work and training during the exercise, but countries must remain focused because work continues and that "I am encouraged by reports that the at-sea portion of the exercise has gone well thus far, and I am confident this will continue with the next at-sea period next week".

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 160
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 07/08/2019
  • Language/target audience: Arabic
  • Country: Russia
  • Keywords: Black Sea, Military exercise, NATO
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The responsibility for terminating the INF Treaty lies entirely with the American side

The unilateral, on a far-fetched pretext, US withdrawal from the INF Treaty and the destruction of one of the fundamental documents in the field of arms control have seriously complicated the situation in the world and created fundamental risks for everyone. The responsibility for what happened lies entirely with the American side.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative claiming that the US is entirely responsible for the demise of the INF treaty. Russia bears primary responsibility for the end of the INF Treaty, because it has produced, tested and deployed the 9M729 missile, which violates the agreement. In July 2014, the then-US President Obama officially accused Russia of testing a missile in violation of the INF Treaty, which prohibits the US or Russia from possessing, producing or test-flying ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with a range of between 500 and 5500 kilometres. In a joint statement released after the meeting held at NATO Headquarters in Brussels on Tuesday 4 and Wednesday 5 December 2018, NATO Foreign Ministers stated that “Allies have concluded that Russia has developed and fielded a missile system, the 9M729, which violates the INF Treaty and poses significant risks to Euro-Atlantic security." US and NATO have repeatedly engaged with Russia to preserve the INF treaty. For background on pro-Kremlin myths on the INF Treaty see here.

Ukraine is the project of the West

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Disproof

Recurring Kremlin disinformation narrative about Ukraine, its hyper-dependence on the West, and Ukraine as an anti-Russian project. In 1991, Ukraine gained its independence from the Soviet Union. The Declaration of State Sovereignty of Ukraine was adopted on July 16 1990, Ukraine is recognised in international law as a sovereign nation-state, with its own flag, nationality, language etc. Ukraine is a sovereign and independent state with a democratically-elected president and parliament. The EU and US support the democratic development of Ukraine in accordance with the UN Charter’s principles of non-interference into internal affairs and respect towards territorial integrity and political independence.

Relations between Ukraine and the EU are based on the Ukraine-EU Association Agreement, which recognises and reaffirms independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity and inviolability of borders. Due to all the legal instruments, like the Association Agreement, Partnership and Cooperation Agreement, Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (DCFTA), Visa liberalisation dialogue and visa-free regime, Eastern Partnership Programme etc. Ukraine stays under the EU's strong supervision and monitoring.

Chemical weapon in Russia has long since been destroyed

Russia is blamed for poisoning the Skripals with a chemical weapon that has long since been destroyed in Russia, unlike in the US.

Disproof

This is a recurrent pro-Kremlin narrative that Russia shut down all its chemical weapons programmes decades ago and that it had nothing to do with the poisoning and attempted murder of former Russian spy Sergey Skripal in Salisbury. The first claim about chemical weapons has been refuted by the UK government’s investigation into the Salisbury attack. The UK government's assessment of the attack is fully supported by leading Western states. This investigation found that Sergey and Yuliya Skripal were poisoned using a specific Novichok nerve agent. This was confirmed by an independent analysis by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. Novichok nerve agents were developed by the Soviet Union in the 1980s under a programme codenamed FOLIANT. According to the UK intelligence assessment, based on open-source analysis and intelligence information, over the past decade, Russia has produced and stockpiled small quantities of Novichok agents, long after it signed the Chemical Weapons Convention. In September 2018, the UK, the US, France, Germany and Canada issued a joint statement, saying they had “full confidence” in the UK’s assessment that the Salisbury attack used Novichok nerve agents, and that it has been carried out by Russia’s GRU agency and “almost certainly approved at a senior government level”.