Disinfo: Sweden caught a buoy instead of a Russian sub

Summary

A final report has been published in Sweden on the extraordinary military operation in 2014, when an unsuccessful search for an alleged “Russian mini-submarine” took place. Swedish media reports that the document concludes that a “coded signal”, detected by the Swedish Navy, as a suspected signal from the mini-submarine, in fact emerged from a malfunctioning meteorological buoy.

Disproof

The Swedish Armed Forces detected a suspected violation of Sweden's Internal territorial waters in October 2014. A report of the incident was published in 2015, concluding that there was, beyond reasonable doubt, proof that Swedish internal territorial waters were violated. The report concludes that the combined evaluation of reports provide a very high level of confidence. They signal from the above mentioned buoy had, at the time of the report, been excluded from the analysis of the collected data. The press release (in Swedish) on the report can be found here. Here is a translation of key parts of the press release:

Of the roughly 300 reports that came in approximately 150 has been analysed in further detail of which 21 were judged to be particularly interesting. Following the analysis several of these have now received a higher classification compared to the earlier analysis. The combined evaluation based on the amount of observations in the area provide a very high level of confidence. The observation that last autumn was judged to be of the highest level of confidence has been reevaluated. Here additional information have come to light that give this particular observation another explanation, and as such it is not included in the basis for the combined evaluation. Despite this the conclusion remain that through the analysis work it is concluded beyond reasonable doubt that the Swedish internal waters have been violated.

The Swedish Armed Forces does not attribute the violation to any nation.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 169
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 16/10/2019
  • Outlet language(s) Russian
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: Sweden
  • Keywords: Military, Russophobia
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Disproof

This case is part of the Kremlin's recurring disinformation campaign about the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. Europe is not "catastrophically lacking gas" - on the contrary, there is enough natural gas supply that prices in Europe have been going down this year. This is because the continent has been flooded with liquefied natural gas (LNG) from a number of suppliers since fall 2018, including the United States. A mild winter in Asia has driven gas prices to a three-year-low level and caused LNG shipments to be redirected to Europe, pushing down the prices. As Polygraph explains, energy experts say LNG has allowed natural gas to become a global commodity that can easily move from one continent to another depending on demand, similar to the way oil is traded. Moreover, the Nord Stream 2 pipeline will not import any new Russian gas to Europe; it will simply divert Gazprom’s current transit through the Ukrainian route to Nord Stream 2. Indeed, about 40 percent of Gazprom's transmission capacity to Europe is not utilized - Gazprom's currently unused export capacity to the EU is almost 100 bcm, which contradicts the claim that constructing a new 55-bcm pipeline is necessary to increase gas imports to the EU. More background is available here. For more disinformation cases about Nord Stream 2, see here.

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Russia is strengthening its position in the world due to the sanctions campaign, which, in fact, is completely meaningless. There have been so many conversations about the threats that sanctions would bring for Russia, that they will lead to the refusal of its position in Crimea, in Donbas. But nothing has changed: Russia’s positions remained the same. And the sanctions have become some sort of atavism, with no sense. Like a bow on a cake. Nevertheless, the senselessness of sanctions and the inferiority of sanctions for the European economy provoked questions. Therefore, analysts have already started saying: either you, gentlemen of politics, get a result, or maybe you will cancel the sanctions, and Europe will breathe more freely. Europe suffers from sanctions against Russia.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative that Western sanctions against Russia are unproductive and unjust. Claims that the sanctions are ineffective are not backed by evidence. In reality, most research supports the view that sanctions, imposed on Russia by the US and EU following the annexation of Crimea and Russian meddling in the US election, have worked as planned, noting the drag they have imposed on Russia’s general economic development since 2014: "This adverse effect most likely operates by depressing both foreign trade and foreign capital flows into Russia. Russia’s own counter-sanctions have also had a clear negative effect on the welfare of the average Russian household." The false narrative about sanctions is often backed by false statistics. For example, the alleged economic growth of two percent does not withstand scrutiny. In 2018, the inflation rate went up and the rouble depreciated 20% against the dollar. The sanctions are not an "anti-Russian policy" but were introduced after Russia's illegal annexation of Crimea and the downing of the Malaysian passenger plane MH17. The latest decision on a six-month extension of EU sanctions against Russian was taken on the 12th of September 2019, lasting until March 2020. Further reading on the Russian narrative about ineffective Western sanctions has been published by StopFake. Similar cases on ineffective sanctions can be consulted here, here and here.

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Disproof

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See earlier disinformation cases alleging, that Greta Thunberg is a mouthpiece used by the lobbyists of green energy giants and that the climate mafia is exploiting Greta Thunberg to lower living standards.