Disinfo: The expulsion of Russian diplomats from Czechia is a smokescreen designed by the US

Summary

The expulsion of Russian diplomats from Czechia is a smokescreen designed by the US to distract attention from real events. The Czech version is not backed by evidence. First, it ordered the expulsion and then it looked for a pretext: the explosions in Vrbetice in 2014, which “coincidentally” would have been carried out by the same suspects involved in the Skripal case in the UK. It is a “miracle” that the Czech investigators could solve in less than 48 hours a case that they couldn’t crack for seven years.

Disproof

This is part of a disinformation campaign about the events surrounding the Vrbetice explosion in 2014 and the expulsion of Russian diplomats from the Czech Republic in 2021 after the involvement of Russian state actors was established by Czech authorities. This campaign follows a similar pattern to the others launched after similar incidents, such as the downing of the MH17 flight or the poisonings of Sergei Skripal and Alexei Navalny, including official denials despite compelling evidence, the spreading of multiple and often contradictory versions and the promotion of speculations about dark motives behind the accusations. Through it, these disinformation narratives aim to deflect any Russian responsibility in the incident and portray Russia as innocent of any misdeed.

The investigation by Czech authorities 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 the 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.

Prague's findings were independently corroborated by a joint investigation conducted by Bellingcat, The Insider (Russia), Der Spiegel (Germany), and Respekt.cz (Czechia).

See other examples of these disinformation narratives about Russia as a faultless victim of the West, such as allegations about the supposed anti-Russian bias of international institutions -be it the OPCW, the World Anti-Doping Agency or the United Nations- which always falsely accuse Russia; the alleged Russophobia of the EU; the affirmation that it is NATO and not the Kremlin who is involved in the Donbas conflict; denials that Russia had any role in the poisoning of Sergey Skripal or the downing of MH17; or claims that neither the US Intelligence Committee report nor the Mueller report found any evidence of Russian interference in the 2016 US elections, that there is no proof that Russia tried to influence the Brexit referendum, that “absurd” accusations against Russia are an attempt to demonise it, that for the West Russia is an enemy that must be surrounded with military bases, and that the West invented Navalny’s poisoning to uphold the myth of aggressive Russia.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 242
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 23/04/2021
  • Article language(s) Spanish
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: Russia, Czech Republic, US
  • Keywords: Vrbetice explosion, GRU, Anti-Russian, Skripal
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Disinfo: Uncle Sam turned Ukraine into his colony to use as military training ground near Russia

With the support of the United States, Ukraine can organise provocations that serve as a pretext for hostilities in the Crimea region. Uncle Sam has actually already turned Ukraine into his colony, which, if desired, can be used as a large military training ground near the Russian borders. But for now, what they do, provokes Russia.

Today, provocative actions continue in the long-suffering Donbas, but on instructions from Washington, Ukrainian militants will immediately switch to another territory.

Disproof

Recurrent disinformation narrative portraying Ukraine as a puppet state under external control. Ukraine is not a colony, it is a sovereign and independent state with a democratically-elected president and parliament. Ukraine is not controlled by any foreign government or organisation. Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity are respected by almost the whole world, including the US.

The relations between the US and Ukraine are bilateral relations between two independent countries. The USA recognised Ukraine as an independent state on 25 December 1991. US policy is centred on realising and strengthening a stable, democratic, prosperous, and free Ukraine more closely integrated into Europe and Euro-Atlantic structures.

Disinfo: Estonians no longer want to be in the EU

Estonians no longer want to be in the EU. Estonia has started collecting signatures for a petition calling for a referendum on the country leaving the EU. The initiator is the Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE).

The results of the 2003 referendum on Estonia's accession to the European Union should be annulled, because, at that time, less than half of the country's citizens supported Estonia's integration into the EU and, therefore, a new referendum must be held now.

In this referendum, people must decide whether Estonia should continue to be in the EU or restore its sovereignty to such a state as of 1 May 2004.

Because of the EU membership, Estonian people have limited right to make decisions independently.

Disproof

The article discusses a proposal created in the The Citizen Initiative Portal rahvaalgatus.ee. The portal enables everyone to write proposals, hold discussions, compose and send digitally signed collective addresses to the Estonian Parliament.

The appeal in question has received 1656 signatures and has been sent to the Parliament to process it. Given this very low number, at this point there are no plans to have a referendum in Estonia on this matter.

Disinfo: Nazi-like Ukrainian government, along with Poland and the Baltic states, threatens Belarus

Until recently, Ukrainian neo-Nazism was believed to be a threat to Russia and Russians only. However, Ukrainian Nazism goes beyond Russophobia; it started targeting Belarus. Together with Poland and the Baltic states, Ukraine has turned into the springboard of special operations aimed at the destabilisation of the political and economic situation in Belarus.

Moreover, Kyiv began competing with Warsaw and Vilnius over the status of the major promoter of the so called democratic changes in Belarus. The Nazi-like Zelenskyy's government does not care about the well-being of Belarus, it only wants to bring the country to the West. It is not accidental that Kyiv undertook a serious military escalation in Donbas at the time when a coup attempt in Belarus was taking place.

Hence, Belarus finds itself under the fire from its neighbouring countries and the collective West. Due to the fact that Ukraine has no chances for success in direct confrontation with Russia, only destabilising posts along the whole perimeter of Russian border might work.

Disproof

The disinformation message is consistent with recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives about the aggressive West and NATO, the Western attempts to instigate colour revolutions in the EU neighbourhood, and Nazi/fascist Ukraine. It also aims to blame the West and Ukraine for the recent escalation in Donbas, exempting Russia of any responsibility for its military buildup in the Ukrainian border.

There is no evidence that Western countries staged massive unprecedented protests in Belarus following the 9 August 2020 presidential elections. In fact, the Belarusian people revolted against election fraud and police violence towards thousands of rally participants. The Baltic states, Poland, and other NATO states, as well as Ukraine, respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Belarus, and did not intervene in its domestic affairs. Following the deployment of additional units of the Belarusian army on the country's border with Poland and Lithuania in late August 2020, the Polish Defence Ministry denied Belarusian authorities' allegations and reiterated in its official position that Poland has no territorial claims on any country.