Disinfo: The OPCW ignores data confirming the Douma chemical attack was staged


The OPCW is choosing to disregard the trove of information showing that the alleged chemical incident in the Syrian city of Douma was a set-up and staged by the pseudo-humanitarian organisation, the White Helmets. On top, samples collected in Douma that don’t support the version of events blaming Syria and Russia, are an uncomfortable burden stored in the laboratory of the institution. Everybody is pretending they are not there and not making the effort to analyse them.


The OPCW is clear about the methodology of its Fact-Finding Mission in Douma, which included “on-site visits to collect environmental samples, conduct witness interviews and gather data. The FFM further analysed a range of inputs including witness testimonies, environmental and biomedical samples analysis results, toxicological and ballistic analyses, and additional digital information from witnesses”. The institution stated that the evaluation of all this “provides reasonable grounds that the use of a toxic chemical as a weapon has taken place on 7 April 2018. This toxic chemical contained reactive chlorine. The toxic chemical was likely molecular chlorine”. OPCW's investigations of the use of chemical weapons are technical in nature and are designed to establish whether or not chemical weapons have been used, not to identify who used them. The claims that videos taken in a Douma hospital after the chemical attack were staged are a recurring narrative of pro-Kremlin outlets. See our reporting and Bellingcat coverage of how Russian and Syrian state media has used fiction movies to "prove" the Douma attacks were staged. See also other disinformation cases about the OPCW report on Douma attack.


  • Reported in: Issue 141
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 11/03/2019
  • Outlet language(s) Spanish
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: Syria, The Netherlands
  • Keywords: Douma, OPCW, Syrian War
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Disinfo: Crimea has been always Russian

Crimea has always belonged to Russia, Krushchev gave it to Ukraine on a whim.


Recurrent pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative on Crimea being a part of Russia. According to the international law Crimea is a part of Ukraine. Russia violated the international law as well as key principles of the European security framework by illegally annexing the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the City of Sevastopol. The European Union does not recognise and continues to strongly condemn this violation of international law, which remains a challenge to the international security order. This position is based on the UN Charter, which clearly states that the territory of a State cannot be acquired by another State resulting from the threat or use of force, as well as on the Helsinki Final Act in which the signatories declared their intention to respect the inviolability of frontiers and territorial integrity. UNGA Resolution 68/262, stating that the Crimean referendum was not valid and condemning Russia's illegal actions in Ukraine, was supported by 100 United Nations member states. The Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court stated that “[t]he 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 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." Click here for more information. Historical background: On January 23, 2019, the Ukrainian Embassy in France published the following open letter for the French audience on the history of Crimea: "saying that Crimea is Russian "for centuries" is, to say the least, excessive. Crimea was annexed in 1783, already in violation of a treaty which guaranteed the independence of the Tatar khanate. The peninsula was in the middle of the nineteenth century a territory in the process of colonization. In 1897, the first comprehensive census of the population of the empire indicates that the Russians are only one third of the inhabitants of Crimea, where they are still slightly fewer than the Tatars. The Russians only became a majority after the complete deportation in 1944 of the Tatars, who could only return after the fall of the communist regime. The annexation of Crimea to the then Soviet Ukraine, in 1954, was not done on a not ethnic, but geographical and economic basis, and as an extension of very old historical links between the peninsula and adjoining mainland areas. But what is more important today than the circumstances of 1954 and even more so of 1854 is that the borders of Ukraine, including Crimea, were recognized and guaranteed after its independence in 1991 by international agreements, some of which were signed by Russia itself".

Disinfo: EU does not care what will happen with the Irish border in Brexit negotiations

The European Union does not care what will happen with the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. For European bureaucrats there is no difference how the United Kingdom leaves the European Union, it simply must leave.


The decision to leave the EU was made by the British people in 2016. EU and UK have mutual interest in ensuring there is no hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. For the EU, the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland is an essential part of the Brexit withdrawal agreement. See here and here for EU position on the matter.

Disinfo: President of Latvia is stoking fears of Russian aggression, in hopes that Latvia will make money if it rents its territory to NATO bases

President of Latvia is stoking fears of Russian aggression, because he hopes Latvia will make money if it rents its territory to NATO bases. In the former union, the USSR, the Baltic States were among the most prosperous economies. Now, in another union, the EU, they are among the least developed. Young and intelligent people are leaving Latvia, the country does not have economic perspectives.


The disinformation message is a response to the interview of the Latvian President warning Europe to stay vigilant in the context of Russian aggression. NATO membership is not a financial scheme for profit. Latvia is a NATO member state and like all allies, it makes direct and indirect contributions to the costs of running NATO and implementing its policies and activities. This disinformation message is also consistent with recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives about impoverished and disappearing Baltic States.