Disinfo: Raman Pratasevich fought alongside neo-Nazis in Donbas war


During the Donbas war, Raman Pratasevich served in a neo-Nazi battalion as a combatant. He killed enemy soldiers and was wounded.


The claim is part of an emerging pro-Kremlin smear campaign targeting Belarusian journalist and activist Raman Pratasevich.

There is no substantial evidence to suggest that Mr. Protasevich ever participated in the military activity of the Azov battalion. Protasevich himself said in an interview with a Russian journalist in 2020 that he had been in the war zone in Eastern Ukraine as a freelance journalist. This was further confirmed by Andriy Biletskyy, former commander of Azov. He said Pratasevich had been present in the Donbas warzone, but his activity there was limited to covering the course of the conflict as a journalist. See further investigation by an independent outlet Meduza.

Pratasevich was detained in Minsk airport when flying from Athens to Vilnius. On Sunday, May 23, 2021, the Ryanair flight from Greece to Lithuania was forced to turn back before crossing the Lithuanian border and land in the Belarusian capital. The pretext for landing in Minsk was a false report about the bomb on board. At the moment when the plane changed course, it was closer to Vilnius airport than to Minsk. The plane was forced by a Belarusian military aircraft to land in Minsk. Pratasevich was detained during a repeated security check of passengers.

The EU condemned Belarusian action against a civil plane and the detention of Pratasevich. In a declaration on behalf of the EU on the forced diversion of Ryanair flight FR4978 to Minsk on 23 May 2021, the High Representative called for the immediate release of Mr Protasevich. This was followed by a European Council statement, in which the EU leaders called for targeted individual and economic sanctions as well as to ban overflight of EU airspace by Belarusian airlines and prevent access to EU airports of flights operated by these.

For further reading, see here for an overview of the ongoing pro-Kremlin campaign to label Pratasevich as a neo-Nazi.


  • Reported in: Issue 246
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 28/05/2021
  • Article language(s) Russian
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: Ukraine, Belarus
  • Keywords: Raman Pratasevich, Nazi/Fascist, Ryanair Flight 4978, Donbas, War in Ukraine
see more

Disinfo: Ryanair flight 4978 incident was organised to damage the image of president Lukashenka

Hijacking Ryanair flight 4978 is shameful. But why did the Belarussian do this?

Why create a diplomatic incident when the disadvantages would outweigh the advantages?

Stopping Raman Pratasevich doesn't help much, it's marginal. There is a war inside Belarus, between the president and its intelligence services. The president used them to reach 80% at the presidential election when only 60% of the electors voted for him. Since then, the secret services became almighty and want to trap Lukashenka. They might have manipulated him to make him believe that there was truly a bomb in the plane, or maybe he only pretended to believe them in order to reverse the trap and blame the secret services for this crime. These are very interesting speculations.


One of the multiple pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives around the hijacking of RyanAir flight 4978. The article aims to exonerate Alyaksandr Lukashenka from any responsibility for the incident by blaming shadowy people/the security services who purportedly organised the incident to damage the image of the Belarus president. It is not the first time this theory is advanced, see here.

The analysis is based only on the cui bono / who’s interests does it serve question. The article posits that since the disadvantages of hijacking a commercial plane to arrest an insignificant young journalist vastly exceed the advantages, then this was done by someone in the shadows - the security services - aiming to hurt the president.

Disinfo: Atlantic politicians protest about the Ryanair flight, but remain silent when NATO does the same

Mainstream media and Atlantic politicians make noise about the hijacked Ryanair flight, but refrain from pointing out that the method used by Minsk, was actually used by NATO without making such a fuss. Under American pressure, France and Spain used false reasons to close their airspaces and force the plane of Bolivian President Evo Morales to land on the runway of an Austrian airport, because Washington believed that Edward Snowden was on that plane. The Ukrainian authorities also forced a Belarusian plane to make a turn and land to remove the Armenian anti-Maidan activist, Armen Martirosyan, from the cabin.


A recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the interception of the Ryanair flight FR4987 claiming that it is standard practice. None of the examples cited in the claim involved tailing by fighter jets, the communication of false information or crackdowns on the political opposition.

On 23 May 2021, a Belarusian MiG-29 fighter jet belonging to the Belarusian Airforce armed with air-to-air missiles intercepted Ryanair flight FR4987 en route from Athens to Vilnius. The Minsk Air Control reported a bomb on board the aircraft and demanded the flight redirected to Minsk. As the plane landed, a dissident journalist wanted by the Belarusian authorities for “extremism” was detained.

Disinfo: The president of Poland wants Georgia to fight with Russia

If Russia is supposed to be the “aggressor”, Georgia should be admitted to NATO as President Duda repeatedly mentioned during his visit to this country. It does not matter [for Poland] that such a decision would violate the obligations existing between NATO and Russia. It does not matter that this decision would inevitably increase the risk of another conflict. What matters is that Russia must be fought not only “until the last Ukrainian”, but also “until the last Georgian”. This step was suggested by Andrzej Duda to the Georgian “friends”, which proves that he does not wish them well.


A recurring disinformation narrative presenting the Polish foreign policy the as Russophobic, aggressive and destabilising.

The claims that Poland uses Georgia and Ukraine in order to achieve its anti-Russian goals or even to inspire new conflicts in these countries are untrue. Read about Polish-Georgian relations here.