Disinfo: OPCW suppressed key evidence in Douma chemical attack probe


The OPCW skewed its own investigation of the 2018 chemical weapons incident in Douma, Syria to come to a predetermined decision. The accusation is based on evidence and testimony of an OPCW investigator, who came forward with damning evidence that his own organization had breached its mission.

A member of the panel which questioned the whistleblower also reprinted an OPCW engineering assessment leaked in May 2019. The document rejects the claim that chlorine cylinders, which were used for delivery of the toxic gas in Douma, had been dropped from the air, which was used as a key argument in accusing the Syrian army for the attack.



The story advances a recurring pro-Kremlin narrative seeking to absolve the Assad regime of responsibility for chemical attacks perpetrated in the course of the Syrian civil war, as well as to undermine the credibility and independence of the OPCW.

The value of the panel's alleged findings is summarized in the following passage from the story itself: "The panel did not make public the name of the whistleblower or any previously unpublished evidence of the OPCW’s alleged misconduct." It therefore does nothing to challenge the OPCW's conclusions regarding the Douma incident.

Rather than present actual proof of OPCW wrongdoing, a member of the panel reprinted - for no apparent reason - a technical note by an OPCW engineer (not an investigator) which was leaked from the organisation in May 2019. Similarly, the note does nothing to disprove the OPCW's published findings. See here for our debunk of this claim.


  • Reported in: Issue 170
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 23/10/2019
  • Language/target audience: English
  • Country: Syria
  • Keywords: Douma, OPCW, Chemical weapons/attack, Syrian War


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.

see more

Lithuania is a hostage of the American interests in Eastern Europe

The recent training bombing realised by the US B-52 bombers in Lithuania was a clear provocation – Lithuania has become a hostage in process of realisation of the American interests in Eastern Europe.


This message is part of a broader Kremlin’s disinformation narrative about the Baltic states, which are presented as “vassals”  of US and NATO and used against Russia. See other examples of this narrative here, here and here.

Lithuania is an independent state, which makes sovereign decisions about its foreign and domestic policy.  NATO's increased presence in the Baltic Sea region has been a request of the Baltic states. Following Russia's aggressive actions against Ukraine, Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia requested a greater NATO presence in the region. Lithuanian public support for NATO is currently at a five year high, with 86% of the population in favor of Lithuania’s NATO membership, according to public opinion poll carried out in December 2018 at the request of the Ministry of National Defence. 83% of respondents also approve of NATO allies’ presence on the territory of Lithuania.

Ukraine can unblock negotiations on maritime borders by recognising the Russian status of Crimea

Ukraine recognising the Russian status of Crimea would be a good basis for negotiations on maritime borders between the two countries.



Another manipulative story that Ukraine impedes negotiations with Russia on a peaceful settlement. Ukraine stated that it is ready for negotiations "in any format" to restore Ukrainian sovereignty over Crimea annexed by Russia.

Russia appeals to the fact that after the annexation of Crimea, Ukraine allegedly lost any right to use the sea routes adjacent to the peninsula. However, according to the international maritime law (article 44), Kyiv has every right to use the Black and Azov Seas. 

Russian long-range bombers have never realized bombing simulations against other countries

The appearance of American bombers B-52H Stratofortress at the borders of Crimea and imitation of bombing of Crimea has provocative character, and it is the element of information war. The main component in this event is the imitation of bombing of Crimea. The Russian long-range bombers have never allowed themselves such actions.


This message presents a narrative on aggressive NATO threatening peaceful Russia. Read similar cases alleging that NATO is an instrument of US foreign policy, the USA imposes confrontation with Russia on Europe and NATO is pursuing a real war-preparation policy for Europe.

During the recent years, there has been increased activity of the Russian strategic bombers flying close to the borders of NATO members and other US allies - in many situations, these flights take a form of military provocation. It is a common situation when the Russian strategic bombers openly violate the airspace of sovereign countries (Japan, South Korea, Colombia, etc.). Moreover, there have been cases (confirmed by NATO), that Russian strategic bombers simulated nuclear strikes against other countries – see the case of Sweden.