Disinfo: The United States might have provoked Iran to open fire against a civilian aircraft


The former commander of the surface-to-air defence section of the Russian Air Force does not exclude that an American reconnaissance UAV, sent to Iran after Tehran’s missile attack on US bases in Iraq, was present close to the Ukrainian passenger aircraft.


A claim, not supported by any documents. Iran has officially admitted the downing a result of a human error and has allowed independent experts access to the crash site.


  • Reported in: Issue179
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 11/01/2020
  • Language/target audience: Russian
  • Country: Iran, US
  • Keywords: PS752


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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Iran’s admission is a result of a trade-off or pressure on Tehran

Experts see contradictions in the [Iranian] version of the downing of the aircraft and suspect that the admission is a result of either a trade-off or pressures on Tehran.


A claim, not supported by any documents. Iran has officially admitted the downing a result of a human error and has allowed independent experts access to the crash site.

Estonian openly persecutes journalists

The actions of the Estonian regime are an open persecution of journalists, an example of totalitarianism and a gross violation of the freedom of expression.


This claim tries to show sanctions against Russia, due to its illegal actions in Ukraine, as an unfair persecution against the outlet and its employees, and against media freedom in general.

As for freedom of expression, Estonia is ranked as the 11th freest country in the world for press by Reporters Without Borders. Estonia does not persecute journalists or limit freedom of expression. It's important to note that Estonia has not blocked Sputnik Estonia's website, as it is accessible and operational. The Minister of Foreign Affairs Urmas Reinsalu has emphasized that Estonia has not taken any measures against the portal's media content: "They are financial sanctions aimed at economic activity. I believe it to be justified. We have notified the European Commission's Legal Service. European agencies have said in the Commission that steps taken by Estonia in exercising sanctions policy are warranted."

Pro-Western Belarusian opposition prepares ‘kill lists’ and a genocide

Belarusian opposition including blogger NEXTA sends questionnaires to all citizens asking to complete them. In case it succeeds with a coup d’état and bloody revolution, these “kill lists” come into play. They will include a wide range of people such as state officials and parliamentarians, all school teachers who took part in electoral campaigns, military servicemen and various law enforcement agencies’ employees, state journalists, all citizens who used to live or work in Russia or have close relatives in Russia, Orthodox believers, those who have never taken part in any opposition protest, etc. The people on “kill lists” will be announced traitors which will prevent them to get any job, pensions, or any other kind of state assistance. The pro-European new authorities will send “kill lists” people to dig trenches because a military conflict with Russia will start. A genocide of Belarusian people will start as soon as the opposition will come to power.


This is a conspiracy theory and ungrounded claims aimed to discredit the West, democratic Belarusian opposition, civic activists and bloggers. This disinformation message is a modification of a recurring pro-Kremlin narrative about Western attempts to organise a colour revolution in Belarus and to disrupt Belarusian-Russian relations.

In late 2019 the most popular Belarusian blogger NEXTA indeed asked his followers to complete an anonymous questionnaire concerning the blogger's content, however, it has nothing to do with the alleged collection of anyone's personal data for the so-called "kill lists".