Disinfo: “Rail Baltica” is a measure to build up military infrastructure in the Baltic States

Summary

The new “Rail Baltica” is a measure to build up military infrastructure in the Baltic States. By 2026, a railway track is to be built in the Baltic States on which NATO-tanks can be quickly and directly moved to the Russian border. The West is consistently expanding the military infrastructure in the Baltic States. There is no doubt that the new railway will be built for military purposes. Rail Baltica is the central element of an infrastructure network for the rapid deployment of military troops. Currently more time is needed to transport “tanks to protect against aggressive Russia”. But on the new Rail Baltica “the tanks will arrive faster” at the Russian border.  

Disproof

Conspiracy theory without any evidence. Click here for earlier disinformation reports on the matter. The "Rail Baltica" project is a key EU infrastructure project to link Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and indirectly Finland with a new European gauge fast conventional railway. The "Rail Baltica" is one of the priority projects of the European Union: Trans-European Transport Networks (TEN-T). It envisages a continuous rail link from Tallinn (Estonia) to Warsaw (Poland), going via Riga (Latvia) and Kaunas (Lithuania). The Baltic route should be completed by 2025; the link to Warsaw by 2030. Further reading http://www.railbaltica.org/about-rail-baltica/ eng.lsm.lv/article/economy/transport/forecast-36-million-to-55-million-trips-to-be-taken-on-rail-baltica-in-2026.a307686/,

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 135
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 28/01/2019
  • Language/target audience: German
  • Country: Latvia, Russia, Baltic states, Estonia, Lithuania, Poland
  • Keywords: Rail-roads, Conspiracy theory

Disclaimer

Cases in the EUvsDisinfo database focus on messages in the international information space that are identified as providing a partial, distorted, or false depiction of reality and spread key pro-Kremlin messages. This does not necessarily imply, however, that a given outlet is linked to the Kremlin or editorially pro-Kremlin, or that it has intentionally sought to disinform. EUvsDisinfo publications do not represent an official EU position, as the information and opinions expressed are based on media reporting and analysis of the East Stratcom Task Force.

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Without Russia, Ukraine would collapse economically

Ukrainian ex-minister Evgeniy Chervonenko said that Ukraine would collapse economically without Russia, and that Ukraine’s duty-free quotas to Europe stopped at the end of January 2019. “I think that today, without Russia, we would have an economic collapse”, the politician concluded. “Life shows the truth (…). January ends, and quotas to Europe end as well”.

Disproof

In 2016, the EU became Ukraine's largest trading partner, accounting for more than 40% in 2016. In 2017, the overall trade between the EU and Ukraine has increased by 24%. In 2018, the trade turnover of only agricultural goods between Ukraine and the EU increased by 11.4% and reached 9 billion USD. In 2014-2017, Ukrainian companies exported 265 new products to the EU that had not been exported before, among them are butter, poultry, lard, image projectors, snowmobiles, and washing machines. The EU is also the largest investor in Ukraine. The Ukrainian Agrarian Business Club reported that “as of January 21, Ukraine closed the quotas for duty-free export to the EU of honey, wine and apple juice, as well as the main and additional quotas for corn ... Despite the exhaustion of duty-free quotas, the export of these products will continue in the future”. In addition, the list of products for which Ukraine has duty-free quotas for export to the EU is much bigger, therefore, it cannot be argued that quotas have been closed in January. The goods that cannot be exported duty-free will be exported on a regular basis. The Ministry of Agrarian Policy and Food of Ukraine notes that, in 2018, additional trade preferences were opened in the European market for honey, grape juice, processed tomatoes, barley groats, flour and oats. The vice-president of the European Commission Valdis Dombrovskis said in an interview with “European Pravda” that “it is already noticeable that the Ukrainian economy is beginning to recover. Last year, the GDP growth rate was 2.5%, we expect acceleration to 3.5% next year”. In addition, Ukraine’s trade with other countries is also growing, new agreements are emerging. For example, the trade turnover between Ukraine and China increased by $1.1 billion compared to 2017. In early 2019, Ukraine also signed the Free Trade Agreement with Israel.The Ministry of Economic Development and Trade of Ukraine expects growth to $ 63.5 million compared to previous years thanks to the new agreement. Further debunking by StopFake.org. For more information on trade between the EU and Ukraine, see here. For other disinformation narratives on EU trade see here.

There was a coup d’etat in Ukraine in 2014

There was a coup in Ukraine in 2014.    

Disproof

Recurring Russian narrative about coup d'etat in Ukraine. The spontaneous onset of the Euromaidan protests was a reaction of numerous parts of the Ukrainian population to former President Yanukovych’s sudden departure from the Association Agreement with the European Union in November 2013. There were democratic Presidential elections held on 25 May 2014 in Ukraine. The OSCE characterised the elections as showing the "clear resolve of the authorities to hold what was a genuine election largely in line with international commitments and with a respect for fundamental freedoms." According to the OSCE, the only areas where serious restrictions were reported were those controlled by separatists, who undertook "increasing attempts to derail the process." This fact was reconfirmed by the parliamentary elections of 26 October 2014. The OSCE characterised the vote as "an amply contested election that offered votes real choice, and a general respect for fundamental freedoms".  

Lugar lab all the more suspicious as Georgia has not signed biological weapons convention

Georgia is not a signatory to the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC), an international treaty banning the production of biological weapons. This makes the operations of the Lugar lab, a reference laboratory of the Georgian National Center for Disease Control, even more suspicious.

Disproof

Recurring narrative about Lugar Laboratory. The claim that Georgia is not signatory to the BWC is just another touch to the picture which a recurring pro-Russia narrative on the Lugar lab attempts to paint. The lab has been accused of a number of heinous crimes, from experimenting with germ strains that would selectively target ethnic Russians to testing biological weapons on humans. Here is a roundup of Lugar lab-related disinformation narratives. Georgia acceded to the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on their Destruction on 22 May 1996.