Disinfo: Sputnik V criticism is pure politics

Summary

Criticism of the Russian Coronavirus vaccine Sputnik V is of purely political nature and is not related to either health or medicine.

Disproof

This is part of a pro-Kremlin disinformation campaign on the Russian coronavirus vaccine Sputnik V, which was met with skepticism and criticism, even by Russian specialists.

Reservations about the Russian Sputnik V vaccine are caused by the fact that Russia didn’t complete the large trials which WHO insists that a vaccine must undergo involving thorough testing to examine the vaccine’s safety and efficacy before it is released. Rolling out an inadequately vetted vaccine could endanger the people receiving it.

In fact, there is evidence that Russia has at all times perceived the development of a coronavirus vaccine mainly in terms of geopolitical and economic gain.

See other examples in our database, such as claims that the UK launched a smear campaign against it; that the WHO confirmed that the Sputnik V was on Phase 3 of clinical testing; that the WHO and Microsoft sabotaged the Russian vaccine; that Europe is turning to Russia due to its desperate need for a vaccine; or that the West criticises the Sputnik V because it can’t accept Russia’s primacy and because its pharmaceutical companies will lose billions of dollars.

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EU sanctions in Navalny affair are illegal

Moscow will respond in kind to the European Union sanctions in the case of Alexei Navalny, and these measures could affect bilateral relations with Germany and France. These are unilateral, illegal measures, like previous sanctions and the UN Security Council is the only body that can impose sanctions.

Disproof

This is a Kremlin narrative which disputes the capacity of the European Union (EU) to impose sanctions against Russia, insisting that the United Nations Security Council is the only relevant international actor to do so. However, the EU has the competence to do so independently of the UN. The EU applies sanctions not only to implement UN Security Council Resolutions but also to further the objectives of the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP), namely a) promoting international peace and security, b) preventing conflicts, c) supporting democracy, the rule of law and human rights and d) defending the principles of international law, as the EU did in the case of the illegal annexation of Crimea. The "Navalny affair" falls in the context of applying restrictive measures (sanctions) to support democracy, rule of law and human rights. It is by now well documented that prominent Russian opposition figure Alexei Navalny fell ill during a flight from Siberia to Moscow on the 20th of August. Initially hospitalised in Omsk, at the request of his family he was transferred to Charité hospital in Berlin. Clinical findings at the Charité hospital indicated that Navalny was poisoned with a substance from the group of cholinesterase inhibitors. Subsequent toxicological tests provided unequivocal evidence of a chemical nerve agent of the Novichok group in the blood samples of Alexei Navalny. France and Sweden confirmed that the cause of his illness was Novichok, a Russian nerve agent. Samples taken from Navalny had also been sent for testing to the Organisation for the Prevention of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in The Hague.

Reunification with Russia paved the way for Tatar’s language in Crimea

The Crimean Tatar people did not acquire their official language, which they were deprived of during the Ukrainian era, not until after the reunification of Crimea with Russia, and they obtained legal possession of mosques, which was opposed by Kyiv, and they obtained protection from the hostile extremist sects that fought them for many years and were liberated of stirring up hostility with the rest of the population of the peninsula, which was fueled by the Ukrainian capital.

Disproof

Pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about Crimea and its illegal annexation. Crimea was annexed by Russia following an illegitimate referendum on March 16 2014, following the deployment of “little green men” across the peninsula beginning in February 2014. Read more about Crimea's annexation here. The status of 16 Crimean-Tatar language schools has been altered since the annexation. Seven preserved instruction in Crimean-Tatar, while five have been transformed to instil instruction in Russian. Four have been designated schools that offer a “general education.” Practically all Ukrainian TV-channels have been switched off and replaced by Russian state-controlled broadcasting. The EU has also reaffirmed its deep concern at the deterioration of the human rights situation in the Crimean peninsula, including the denial of freedom of expression, freedom of peaceful assembly, freedom of religion and belief, and the persecution of persons belonging to minorities, in particular the Crimean Tatars. Human rights defenders recorded in just one year, hundreds of illegal searches, detentions and arrests and dozens of cases for political reasons were recorded in Crimea. 70% of all Crimean prisoners for political reasons are Crimean Tatars. According to Freedom House, Russia used coercion to increase the participation of Crimeans in Russian elections; the Crimean Tatars are being repressed and the Mejlis - an organisation representing the Crimean Tatars - was banned; the Russian FSB use intimidation and harassment to eliminate opposition to Russian occupation; a forced Russification is ongoing (including making anything connected to Ukraine a taboo), and rights to freedom of association are severely restricted. The UN continues to document violations of international human rights and humanitarian law perpetrated by the Russian Federation, as the occupying Power, including deportations of protected persons, forced conscription and restrictions on freedom of expression. Read similar cases claiming that Crimean Tatars in Simferopol enjoy the freedom of speech and that leader of the Crimean Tatars Mustafa Dzhemilev is a terrorist, or that historical Crimean Russian land returned, that over 95% of Crimea voted to be part of Russia and that Crimea never belonged to Ukraine.

There is a civil war in Ukraine

Yanukovych was forced to flee, a civil war began, a referendum was held to separate Crimea from Ukraine and annex it to Russia – misleadingly called the “annexation of Crimea” by the mainstream and Western politics.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation about the war in Ukraine. In the article, the RT-German repeats many well-known pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives: there is a civil war in Ukraine; Russia is not part of the war in Ukraine; that in the case of MH17, the JIT does not take into account Russia's contributions. All these narratives have been refuted several times as disinformation. Russia provoked the war in Ukraine, and it is therefore not a civil war.

The Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court stated that "the information available suggests that the situation within the territory of Crimea and Sevastopol amounts to an international armed conflict between Ukraine and the Russian Federation." This international armed conflict began at the latest on 26 February 2014 when the Russian Federation deployed members of its armed forces to gain control over parts of the Ukrainian territory without the consent of the Ukrainian Government. The European Union stated in July 2014 that "arms and fighters continue flowing into Ukraine from the Russian Federation". At the NATO Summit in Wales in September 2014, NATO leaders condemned in the strongest terms Russia’s military intervention in Ukraine and demanded Russia to stop and withdraw its forces from Ukraine and from the country’s border. NATO leaders also demanded Russia to comply with international law and its international obligations and responsibilities; end its illegitimate occupation of Crimea; refrain from aggressive actions against Ukraine; halt the flow of weapons, equipment, people and money across the border to the separatists; and stop fomenting tension along and across the Ukrainian border. According to the US Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA), Russian special forces and troops operated to mobilise, lead, equip, and support separatist militias in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine from spring 2014 to the present, although their presence was denied by Moscow. Russian President Vladimir Putin admitted Russia's military presence in Ukraine in 2015. This claim appeared in the same article as claims that Russia is not a conflict party in Ukraine and JIT ignores Russian contributions in MH17 case.