Disinfo: Russophobic Lithuania plans to tear Belarus away from Russia by dragging it into the Western energy network

Summary

The statement about the ‘nuclear death risk’ for Lithuania posed by the Belarusian nuclear power plant, made by Lithuanian politician Vytautas Landsbergis, is designed to create a negative image of the Russian nuclear energy sector. It also intends to hurt Belarusian-Russian energy cooperation. Lithuania expects to tear Belarus away from Russia and integrate it into the Western electricity network. Such anti-Russian statements are very characteristic of Lithuanian politics as its state policies make Lithuania one of the most Russophobic countries.

Disproof

This message is a conspiracy consistent with recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives about the Western attempts to disrupt Belarusian-Russian relations by any means and Russophobia in the Baltic states. Lithuania opposes construction of the Astravets Nuclear power Plant (NPP) as the project does not comply with the international standards of environmental protection and nuclear safety, and is built on the site that was not duly justified over the alternative ones. On 7 June 2011, Lithuania lodged a complaint with the Implementing Committee of the Convention on Environmental Impact Assessment (the Espoo Convention) on the Astravets nuclear power plant case. In February 2019 the Meeting of the Parties of the Espoo Convention adopted the decision, which acknowledged that Belarus had failed to comply with some Convention provisions regarding site selection and encouraged Belarus and Lithuania to continue bilateral expert consultations. Lithuania has no intentions to integrate Belarus into Western electricity networks. In fact, Lithuania. Latvia and Estonia, together with Poland and the European Commission has launched the project to synchronize Baltic States' electricity grid with continental Europe, to de-synchronize from Russian and Belarusian system and increase EU energy security. See earlier disinformation cases claiming that Latvia wants to disrupt Belarusian-Russian relations with its plans to buy electricity at the Russian border and that Poland had similar intentions by not inviting Putin to the WWII commemoration ceremony. See a collection of disinformation cases concerning the construction of the Belarusian NPP here.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 163
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 26/08/2019
  • Outlet language(s) Russian
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: Belarus, Lithuania
  • Keywords: Union State of Belarus and Russia, Nuclear issues, Russophobia
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No transparency and objectivity in the media of East European NATO members, just propaganda

In East European countries, led by NATO, there will be less public information and even fewer accountable media. What Vyshinsky and Assange are going through is a warning to everyone else. No transparency required, no place for objectivity. Just propaganda. Like the 1930s in Germany, like the 50s in the Soviet Union. Journalists who report objectively are declared as ineligible in order to open up space for propaganda and placement of various half-truths. Great resources are allocated with the aim of creating the half-truth and in order to create confusion where it will become difficult to discern what is true. If that fails, influential individuals, identified as threatening, are risking charges of treason, espionage, theft of state secrets, endangering national security, “psychological torture” etc.

Disproof

No evidence given. This complete disinformation message is an attempt of whataboutism and counter-accusations as international organisations often criticise Russia for violating the right to freedom of speech and rights of journalists. The claim is the part of a bigger narrative of alleged Western attacks on Russian journalists. Similar cases can be found here, here, here and here. The freest countries in terms of press freedom are predominantly European countries, including Norway, Finland, Sweden, Netherlands, Denmark, Switzerland, Belgium, Estonia, Portugal, Germany, etc.

The US ruled Ukraine during Poroshenko's presidency

The US was ruling Ukraine during the presidency of Petro Poroshenko. Although established as an independent body, the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine was directly managed by the State Department. This body was used to pressure the Ukrainian authorities to make the necessary decisions. Also, the US aimed to weaken Russia through continuous military operations in Donbas. For the same reason, the US was interested in failing to comply with the Minsk agreements.

Disproof

No evidence provided for these claims. Recurring pro-Kremlin conspiracy about Ukraine - US Relations. This conspiracy theory is also a part of the pro-Kremlin narrative that claims everyone is against Russia. The US is not a party in the Donbas conflict or to the Minsk Agreements. There are only two parties to the Agreements, Ukraine and Russia. France, Germany, and the OSCE oversee the negotiations. See more disinformation cases about the Minsk agreements here and about Donbas here.

German observers assessed elections in Abkhazia as democratic

Observers from Germany and Austria said the Abkhazian Presidential elections were free and fair. No significant violations were observed.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin narrative attempting to portray Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent and democratic regions. See previous disinformation case that the members of the European Parliament will observe elections in Abkhazia. In fact, Russia continues illegal military presence, and increasing military exercises and infrastructure reinforcements in the Georgian regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe stated that the so-called ‘presidential elections’ in the Georgian region of Abkhazia on 25 August 2019 were not legal or legitimate. The government in Tbilisi described the "Presidential election" in Abkhazia that took place on Sunday as "another illegal action". Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili called the election "a sham". Individual observers from Germany and Austria decided themselves to arrive in Abkhazia and make public comments on the presidential elections there. Thus, these are their personal opinions, which do not reflect the official position of the German or Austrian governments. The German Embassy in Tbilisi stated that Germany supports the territorial integrity of Georgia. Only a handful of countries have recognised the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, which make up around 20 percent of Georgian territory, and Moscow’s backing of the regions has drawn broad international condemnation.