Disinfo: Russian aid played key role in slowing spread of COVID-19 in Italy

Summary

At the height of the epidemic, when Italy was abandoned by its “partners” in the European Union, Russia volunteered to help the republic. As soon as possible, military doctors, medical and nursing teams, as well as equipment for diagnosis and disinfection, were transferred to the Apennine Peninsula. Despite Western attempts to discredit Russian aid, it was it that allowed Italy to overcome the peak in the spread of coronavirus infection COVID-19.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative aiming to discredit the EU response to the coronavirus pandemic.

The EU did not "abandon" Italy. The bloc is supporting the Member States in addressing the crisis, and mitigating the economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. To cushion the blow to people’s livelihoods and the economy, the European Commission has adopted a comprehensive economic response to the outbreak, applied the full flexibility of the EU fiscal rules, has revised its State Aid rules and proposed to set up a EUR 37 billion Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative to provide liquidity to small businesses and the health care sector.

Individual EU members have also provided assistance to Italy specifically, including access to a hundred intensive care beds (Austria and Germany), 500 mobile medical units (Greece), 2.5 million masks (Austria and France), 30,000 protective suits (Czechia and France), 300 ventilators (Germany), as well as 50 medical personnel (Poland, Romania, and non-member Norway).

Meanwhile, Russia's military presence in Italy has had little measurable effect on the spread of the pandemic. According to Sputnik, Russian personnel in Italy began treating patients on 6 April. By 12 April, four patients under their medical care had recovered. In total, there were 12,396 recoveries in Italy between 6 and 12 April.

The uncredited photo attached to the article has nothing to do with Russian aid to Italy. It shows a public utilities worker disinfecting St Mark's Square in Venice.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 192
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 11/04/2020
  • Language/target audience: English, French, Russian, Spanish, Castilian
  • Country: Italy, Russia
  • Keywords: coronavirus, humanitarian aid, EU disintegration, European Union, Russian superiority
  • Outlet: News-Front (Rnglish, Russian, Spanish, French)
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Unlike Russia, Western democracies provide coronavirus assistance to gain political benefits

Contrary to Russia, who is committed to helping humanity in the fight against coronavirus without seeking any political benefits, Western so-called democracies provide coronavirus assistance in order to obtain political benefits.

Disproof

No evidence given. Pro-Kremlin disinformation message aimed at discrediting Western countries and their supposed lack of solidarity. This is also consistent with the Russian narrative of a decadent West lacking traditional values.

Solidarity already has an undoubted presence in the legal framework of the EU, as well as a well-established constitutional tradition in some Member States. The EU Treaties explicitly refer to solidarity in a number of provisions, including the values  and  objectives  of  the  Union (solidarity ‘between generations’ and ‘among Member States’) and particular policies where the ‘principle’ or ‘spirit’ of solidarity is to be applied.

The establishment’s end game is to aquire power, not to save lives

The establishment NEEDS the pandemic to spread, because then they have a rationale for strict controls of public activities and movements. This is the end goal. They have no care whatsoever for public health or safety. The end game is to acquire power, not save lives.

Disproof

An unfounded conspiracy theory propagating a recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about "secret elites" controlling world leaders.

The number of people infected with COVID-19 has surpassed 1.7 million; more than 110,000 people have died as of 13 April 2020. See the latest situation report from the WHO here.

OPCW report on Ltamenah chemical attacks is misinformation

The OPCW’s Investigation and Identification Team (IIT) has released its initial report into three chemical incidents which allegedly took place in the Syrian village of Ltamenah in March 2017. The report says “there are reasonable grounds to believe” that all three attacks were perpetrated by the Syrian Air Force.

The relevant Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) requires the mandatory dispatch of experts directly to the sites of alleged incidents. However, the information gathered by the IIT mostly came from anti-government armed groups and pseudo-humanitarian NGOs affiliated with them, including the notorious White Helmets.

The report contains references to certain secret services data – apparently from the same states obsessed with a change of power in Damascus; there is no other word for it but misinformation.

The OPCW previously falsified the results of its investigation into the April 2018 chemical incident in Douma, which turned out to be a staged provocation by the White Helmets.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives attacking the independence and integrity of the OPCW; painting the White Helmets as terrorists; and absolving the Syrian regime of responsibility for chemical attacks.

The term “reasonable grounds to believe” denotes a standard of proof which has been routinely applied in several areas of international law since 2002 (see e.g. Rome Statute, Art. 58(1). The same standards is followed by the IIT (Ltamenah report pp. 14-5; notes 30-2), the OPCW Fact-Finding Mission (see e.g. the Douma report, p. 4) and a number of UN bodies. See e.g. here (pp. 37-40) and here (pp. 62-3) for the UN definition of the "reasonable grounds" standard and an overview of the requirements for achieving it.