Disinfo: PS752: The Iranian air-defence might have believed the aircraft was hijacked

Summary

The [air-defence] system operator [—] considered the plane a ‘military threat’ because it may have been hijacked for a 9/11-style attack, got under control via a cyber-attack and/or used as a cover for a pinpoint missile strike.

Disproof

Conspiracy theory about the downing of the Ukrainian flight PS 752.

Iran has recognised that its military forces unintentionally shot down the passenger jet. On January 11, the President of the Islamic Republic of Iran Hassan Rouhani wrote on Twitter: “Armed Forces’ internal investigation has concluded that regrettably, missiles fired due to human error caused the horrific crash of the Ukrainian plane & death of 176 innocent people.”

Earlier, intelligence services of Canada and the United States informed that the Ukrainian plane was shot down by a surface-to-air missile minutes after departure from the Tehran airport.

Find here the EU statement regarding the incident.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue180
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 13/01/2020
  • Language/target audience: English
  • Country: Iran
  • Keywords: Conspiracy theory, PS752

Disclaimer

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.

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British MP tells Ukraine to forget about Crimea

A British Conservative MP told Ukraine to forget about Crimea. In the future, Ukraine will have to accept the loss of the Crimean peninsula, which in 2014 joined the Russian Federation as a result of the will of the Crimean people, Richard Belfell, a member of the Conservative Party at the British Parliament, told journalists. Speaking about how it would be possible to solve once and for all the problem of Russian ownership of Crimea, the MP said that a referendum repeated under UN supervision may be a solution. Belfell said that he was there 10 or 15 years ago, when it was part of Ukraine, and almost everyone that he met there at the time complained that the peninsula belonged to Ukraine and that he didn’t think that a desire to be part of the country had ever been present in Crimea.

Disproof

These allegations are false. There is no member of the British Parliament called Richard Belfell, or any similar name. A Google search of the name produces only five results, all of them reproducing the original story in Spanish. The whole story is invented.

This is part of a recurrent Russian narrative to boost the legitimacy of the illegal seizure of Crimea by the Russian Federation. You can see other examples of disinformation on this topic, such as that the ‘reunification’ was made in compliance with international law, the alleged legality and democratic character of the referendum, that this was forced by a coup in Kiev, that it saved Crimea from becoming a US colony, the recognition of the annexation by the UN or countries like Hungary, or its final acceptance by the EU.

Lined up with the US, the EU never took independent decisions

Europeans always aligned with America and didn’t take independent decisions. But after Donald Trump came to power, it happened so that the Americans left Europe unhappy and to its own fate, and Germany had to solve important issues on its own.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the US presence in Europe, portraying Europe as a vassal of the USA and trying to undermine the sovereignty of European countries. This narrative claims that almost all European countries are no longer truly sovereign and the United States dictates policies to the EU and its member states.

In fact, the EU Member States are sovereign countries and make sovereign decisions about their own security and policies. The US is an important ally to the EU but EU policy is not determined by the US, as explained by the EU High Representative.

UK ambassador orchestrated anti-governmental demonstration in Iran

Anti-governmental demonstrations in Iran aimed at radical and violent actions. Rob Macaire, UK ambassador to Iran, orchestrated this gathering.

Disproof

This narrative falls within the broader pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative attempting to deny the existence of genuine grass-roots protests, portraying them as foreign-led efforts and fake colour revolutions.

The British Ambassador to Iran, Rob Macaire, stated that he was not taking part in any demonstrations and went to a vigil for victims of #PS752 tragedy. The UK Government condemned the arrest of Macaire as a "flagrant violation of international law". See a similar case here