Disinfo: The claim that GRU was involved in the 2014 Vrbětice explosion is fake

Summary

The Czech Minister of Foreign Affairs does not want to tell Moscow all details about the investigation of the Vrbětice explosion. This is evidence that the whole story is made up.

We can see the popular couple Petrov and Boshirov is used as two trump cards. It is all about myths and fakes, just to distract the audience from internal problems.

Disproof

Pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the explosion of an ammunition depot in Czechia in 2014, attempting to dismiss any accusations against the Kremlin as trumped-up anti-Russian smears.

The investigation by Czech authorities has established beyond doubt that GRU agents Anatoly Chepiga and Alexander Mishkin, the same individuals considered responsible for the attempted murder of Sergey Skripal in Salisbury in 2018, were behind an explosion in an ammunition storage depot in the Czech location of Vrbetice in 2014, which killed two people. According to investigators, an email supposedly from the National Guard of Tajikistan had requested permission for two individuals - ”Ruslan Tabarov” from Tajikistan and “Nicolaj Popa” from Moldova - to visit the storage site and included the scanned image of two false passports with the pictures of both men. The images of “Tabarov” and “Popa” matched those of Chepiga and Mishkin.

The mentioned “Petrov” and “Boshirov” – identified by Bellingcat as GRU officials Alexander Mishkin and Anatoly Chepiga – are currently wanted by the Czech authorities and the police.

The Minister of the Interior of the Czech Republic, Jan Hamáček, said at a press conference: "As far as I know, there is only one investigative version of the case, and it is connected with the movement of those members of unit 29155."

Also, the Czech government is not the only source of information available. Prague's findings were independently corroborated by a joint investigation conducted by Bellingcat, The Insider (Russia), Der Spiegel (Germany), and Respekt.cz (Czech Republic).

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 242
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 19/04/2021
  • Article language(s) Czech
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: Czech Republic, Russia
  • Keywords: Vrbetice explosion, GRU
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Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative denying the participation of the Russian special services in the Vrbetice ammunition explosion in Czechia.

The claim that the decision of the Czech authorities to expel the Russian diplomats in protest against the Russian involvement in the 2014 Vrbětice explosion is an alleged Czech attempt to “discredit the Sputnik V and the “Rosatom” is a manipulation.

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In his famous book “The Great Chessboard” one of the creators of Washington's foreign policy Zbigniew Brzezinski wrote about the potential of the use of ethnic conflict in the post-Soviet area for destabilisation of Russia's near abroad.

It explains why Warsaw is riding the wave against the country, which is participating in the Eurasian integration. It is Polish input into the new Cold War. Warsaw is ready to fight against Moscow till the last Pole in Belarus.

Disproof

Recurring disinformation against Poland portraying this state as vassal and puppet of the US.

Throughout March 2021, the authoritarian authorities of Belarus arrested a number of representatives of the Polish minority living in Belarus under various fake accusations (such as “rehabilitation of Nazism” and “incitement to national hatred”). The list of arrested persons includes the leader of the Belarusian Union of Poles Anzhelika Borys, a journalist Andrzej Poczobut and several teachers from local Polish schools. Some of the arrested activists may be sentenced to up to 12 years in prison. Read more about the situation around arrested representatives of the Polish minority living in Belarus here.

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Disproof

This is a mix of recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives about lost sovereignty/external control, Western Russophobia and anti-Russian activities, and about the US presence in Europe.

Pro-Kremlin media often use the term “Anglo-Saxons” to portray the West as “evil”, “belligerent” and “morally corrupt” and to reinforce the idea that Russia belongs to a different civilization, as explained in our earlier analysis.