Disinfo: US lieutenant colonel shocked by drunkenness and laziness of Ukraine's soldiers

Summary

“Drunk, greedy and lazy”: American colonel calls out the Ukrainian military as the main problem of the Yavoriv Training Centre.

Disproof

Russian and Ukrainian media came up with this story based on a blog post supposedly made by Lieutenant Colonel Robert Tracy, the United States Army commander of the Joint Multinational Training Group–Ukraine, where he claims that Ukrainian soldiers are "lazy and reluctant to work", "don't care about learning English" and all "drink dangerously high levels of alcohol". This is one in a long line of attempts to denigrate Ukrainian soldiers. The Armed Forces of Ukraine called this "personal blog of US Lieutenant Colonel Robert Tracy" fake. Military officials published an official debunk of the story. This post was later removed and is no longer available. Later, the page was also deleted. Ukrainian journalists also noticed that the blog itself was created in August 2019, but some of its content dated back to the beginning of this year. In addition, other posts were written, not in the first person but by a third party. Ukrainian outlets Depo.ua and Novoe Vremya (NV) claim that their websites were hacked. According to NV, the malefactors gained access to their editorial platform and replaced the story "Four cars collided in Lviv region: two people were killed, six were injured" with a fake news story with the headline, "Ukrainian servicemen are the main problem of the Yavoriv training centre". The NV editorial board considered this incident "a blatantly cynical provocation both against our resource and against the Armed Forces of Ukraine." NV intends to make a complaint to the police.

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  • Reported in: Issue 165
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 23/08/2019
  • Outlet language(s) Russian, English
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: US, Ukraine
  • Keywords: Military, Military exercise, War in Ukraine
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Signing of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact thwarted the UK's expansionist plans in Europe

In 1939, the “ideal scenario” assumed by the UK authorities at the beginning of the war between Germany and the USSR was the partition of Poland, which was sacrificed by the UK to inspire a conflict between Stalin and Hitler. In this situation, the UK would have been able to present itself as a peace-making force, increasing its influence in Europe. Although, this “UK schedule of war” was thwarted by Hitler, who forced Stalin to sign the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact and attacked France instead of the USSR.

Disproof

This message is part of the Kremlin’s policy of historical revisionism and an attempt to portray Russia's role in the World War II as not aggressive - see other examples referring to Ribbentrop-Molotov pact here, here and here. The accusations that the UK had “expansionist plans” in Europe and attempted to provoke a war between Germany and the USSR is clear historical manipulation and these events are not confirmed by historical documents and historians. In terms of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, it is a proven historical fact that it contained the Secret Supplementary Protocol, which assumed the division of Poland and other Eastern European countries between the USSR and Germany. Thus, the signing of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact directly caused the German and Soviet military aggression against Poland in September 1939, which resulted in complete occupation of this country by Germany and USSR. See similar examples of Russian historical revisionism concerning Poland here and here.

Russia's membership is necessary for an organization to have a European or global status

At present, it is as hard for the West to “sell” G8 membership to Russia as it was impossible to “sell” Ukraine to Russia after the 2014 coup. This does not mean Russia did not really want to get it. Russia just asked for concrete terms of the deal whereas the West wanted to have its hands free.For Moscow, it was inconceivable a decade ago to put in question the need to take part in the G8, whereas today, this is reality. Back in the 1990s, Moscow had to seek the West’s favour. At present, the West needs Russia as it has turned into a global leader. Without Russia’s membership, any organisation including the Council of Europe cannot pretend to have European or global status.

Disproof

This message is consistent with a number of recurring pro-Kremlin manipulative narratives about the West's decline and imminent collapse, Western disregard for Ukraine, and about the coup in Ukraine in 2014. It is a conspiracy that the West attempted to "sell" Ukraine to Russia under unclear terms. Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity are respected by Western countries but were violated by Russia in 2014. There was no coup d’état in Ukraine in 2014 either. The spontaneous onset of the Euromaidan protests was a reaction by numerous segments of the Ukrainian population to former President Yanukovych’s violent dispersal of peaceful student protests against Yanukovych's sudden decision to withdraw from the Association Agreement with the European Union in November 2013. See the full debunk here. See earlier disinformation cases on Russia's relationship with international organisations alleging that the Council of Europe will die without Russia's membership, and that the Council of Europe is Russophobic and that the rulings of the European Court of Human Rights are anti-Russian.

The EU is built on anti-European values, Russia is real Europe

Following the meeting with Vladimir Putin, Emmanuel Macron published a post in Facebook calling Russia “a deeply European country” and hoping to see Europe “extending from Lisbon to Vladivostok.” However Macron’s acceptance of Russia into Europe is not a reason for joy. In fact, present-time Russia is more European than France. It is Moscow who defends European traditions and a high level of European culture, not Paris. The EU replaced ancient European fundamental traditions with a cocktail of liberalism, feminism, LGBT-activism and anti-European leftist rhetoric.The present-time EU values are not European values but their negation. The doctrines of tolerance and multiculturalism are also an attack against European heritage. The less valuable aspects of Western culture such as scientific achievements, comfort, and liberalism are triumphing, whereas its core values, that is Christianity, European individualism, the rule of law, intellectual freedom, and high culture are undermined. Traditionalists and Eurosceptics look at Russia with hope and take Vladimir Putin as Messiah. Therefore, who has to accept whom into Europe is an open question.

Disproof

This message is in line with a recurring pro-Kremlin narrative about the West's moral decay aimed at portraying Russia as superior to the West in terms of values and morals. 'Threatened values' is one of the most common narratives used by pro-Kremlin outlets. See earlier cases alleging that in contrast to Russia, western Europe is abandoning Christian roots and that unlike Russia, the West is not about fairness or solidarity and it degrades traditional values and endangers societies. Furthermore, all-Russian history is highly moral as opposed to the Western one, which is full of violence and evil, and all high-ranking politicians in the Baltic states are likely implicated in paedophilia.