Disinfo: Serbia left out of EU aid package

Summary

The European Union is sending aid to the [Western Balkan] region, but not to Serbia.

Disproof

While it is factually correct that Serbia will not benefit from the Macro financial assistance package to ten neighbouring countries to the EU due to its own decisions, the title gives the impression that the EU deliberately left Serbia out of the aid package. The package, worth € 3 billion, was adopted by the Commission on 22 April. More details can be found here. It also omits that Serbia already benefited from EU assistance (worth €15) with immediate support to the Western Balkans to cope with the pandemic, which was announced on 30 March.

The fact is that one of the criteria for inclusion of countries in the  aid package of 22 April was whether a country had asked the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for emergency liquidity assistance, for example in the form of a Rapid Financing Instrument (RFI). The Commission had made Serbia aware of the possibility to receive macro financial assistance under the condition of an IMF-RFI being in place. The Serbian authorities did not see a need for external financial assistance, and consequently for the EU’s micro financial assistance. While the body of the Sputnik Serbia article contains the accurate reasoning, the title is clearly misleading - and importantly, as research shows, many readers do not read beyond headlines.

This practice of misleading readers by omitting key bits of context encourages speculation that Serbia has been forgotten or punished by the EU, and may leave readers under the impression that the EU left Serbia without micro financial assistance in this critical time, while it helped other countries in the region.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 194
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 22/04/2020
  • Language/target audience: Serbian
  • Country: Serbia
  • Keywords: coronavirus, Western Balkans

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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Euromaidan was organised by the Americans

What happened, you yourself know – a coup d’etat, Maidan, which in fact was organised by the Americans.

Disproof

A recurring pro-Kremlin narrative about Ukraine's statehood which claims that the Euromaidan protests were organised by foreign forces.

The spontaneous onset of the massive Euromaidan protests was a reaction of the Ukrainian population to the sudden departure of President Yanukovych from the Association Agreement with the European Union and to the brutal dispersal of student protestors on 30 November 2013.

West-funded Belarusian opposition plans a genocide amid the coronavirus outbreak

The Belarusian authorities should impose a curfew upon opposition political parties, youth movements and independent media, to prevent them from spreading fakes and sowing panic among the population. The opposition calls people to take on squares, to be infected and die. Therefore they pursue the genocide of the Belarusian people and wish to put the blame for it on the ministry of health and the president. The opposition calls people to take part in anti-governmental protests on West’s instructions and Western money.

Disproof

Conspiracy theory and ungrounded claims aimed to discredit the West, democratic Belarusian opposition, civic activists and independent journalists. This disinformation message is a modification of recurring pro-Kremlin narrative about western attempts to organize a colour revolution in Belarus.

See earlier disinformation cases alleging that the Belarusian opposition, civic activists and independent journalists make kill lists for Western security bodies, that pro-Western Belarusian opposition prepares 'kill lists' and genocide, and that the Belarusian opposition plans genocide with coronavirus-infected, Soros-funded, test tubes, given by Pompeo.

Secret US laboratories in Ukraine might have provoked cholera, Ukraine is under external US rule

The US Embassy in Ukraine has officially recognised for the first time the presence in this country of American biological laboratories for experiments with viruses.

A three-page MPs’ request contained a request to explain the appropriateness of the presence of such laboratories. The request alleges that during the work of American laboratories in Ukraine, outbreaks of unknown and various diseases occurred from time to time, which led to deaths. Deputies of the Verkhovna Rada claim that from the laboratories periodically, for one reason or another, leaks of virus strains occurred.

11 years ago a virus of unknown origin arose in Ternopil, which caused hemorrhagic pneumonia: 450 Ukrainians died. In 2011, there was an outbreak of cholera in Ukraine – 33 people died, in 2014, 800 Ukrainians became infected with cholera. In January 2016, 20 people were hospitalised in Kharkiv. Two months later, 364 deaths were recorded in the country.

In addition, the MPs found that the embassy is trying to hide information about the work in Ukraine of two centres involved in the study of pathogens dangerous to humans, which started three years ago. The creation in Ukraine of a separate laboratory for such pathogens indicates the conduct of experiments on humans. This is prohibited in the US but allowed in Ukraine – both because of the imperfect Ukrainian legislation but also because of the external governance of Ukraine by the US parties which allows turning Ukraine in a field of biological experiments. The current government in Ukraine does not want to reveal the truth, fearing the wrath of the “Washington’s Obkom”.

Disproof

In response to claims that the US control secret laboratories in Ukraine, the US Embassy in Ukraine issued a statement, which is far from the "official recognition" of what the disinformation narrative pretends. The statement reads:

"Embassy would like to set the record straight regarding disinformation spreading in some circles in Ukraine that mirrors Russian disinformation regarding the strong U.S.-Ukrainian partnership to reduce biological threats. Here in Ukraine, the U.S. Department of Defense’s Biological Threat Reduction Program works with the Ukrainian Government to consolidate and secure pathogens and toxins of security concern in Ukrainian government facilities, while allowing for peaceful research and vaccine development. We also work with our Ukrainian partners to ensure Ukraine can detect and report outbreaks caused by dangerous pathogens before they pose security or stability threats."

The statement also reminds, that Ukraine, like other post-Soviet countries, participates in US programmes aimed to reduce biological threats. Read more about the Biological Threat Reduction Program here.

The statements that cholera or other viruses might have escaped from the "secret laboratories" does not have any supporting evidence. Illegal "experiments on humans" are prohibited by the Ukrainian criminal code. The legal clinical trials concern only newly invented drugs, they are carried out by pharmaceutical companies worldwide under the control of local and international inspections.