Disinfo: The West continues to accuse Russia of “massing troops” near the Ukrainian border

Summary

The West continues to accuse Russia of "amassing troops" near the Ukrainian border and claims that Moscow intends to "invade" its neighbour. Russia has repeatedly stressed that the claims of “invasion” are provocations.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the war in Ukraine and the escalation at the Ukraine-Russia border.

The war in Ukraine is a well-documented act of aggression by Russian armed forces, ongoing since February 2014.

Russia’s most recent military build-up at the Ukrainian border also includes preparations for military drills in Belarus, to be conducted just 18 km from the Ukrainian border. As of mid-February Russia has positioned about 130,000 troops, equipped with everything from tanks and artillery to ammunition and air power, close to Ukraine's border.

On 21 February 2022, in violation of international law, President Putin recognised the independence of two breakaway regions of Ukraine and ordered Russian forces to perform so-called 'peacekeeping' functions. In fact, this is another invasion of Ukraine.

Several countries, including the EU, are expected to introduce sanctions against Russia in response to the move.

Read more about the most prominent pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives surrounding the current Russia-Ukraine conflict in our recent analyses here and here.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 272
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 12/02/2022
  • Article language(s) Italian
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: Ukraine, Russia
  • Keywords: West, War in Ukraine, security threat

Belarus

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NATO membership is the main security threat for Poland

Poland may face the risk of war with Russia only in one case – if this war starts between NATO and Russia. That is why the period before Poland joined NATO in 1999 was the only safe time for Poland. It does not have any serious conflicts with Russia, but Poland may be drawn into a war in the interests of America. NATO does not provide Poland with any real security – Poland no longer decides about its relations with its neighbours. If NATO starts an attack, Poland will get hit.

As a NATO member, Poland took part in various American adventures in the most exotic places. Even the weapons of the Polish Army are not defencive, but prepared for military actions in deserts and mountains, where the Americans wage their imperial wars.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about NATO and the US military presence in Europe - it claims that NATO membership is the main security threat for Poland.

NATO is a defensive alliance whose primary aims are to maintain peace and safeguard the independence, security and territorial integrity of its members. NATO is not interested in a conflict with Russia and has, in fact, tried to establish several cooperation mechanisms with this country, which Russia has successively thwarted.

NATO funded research on how to hack our brains

NATO recently funded a study on the so-called cognitive warfare, whose purpose is to hack the brain to turn itr into a propaganda weapon, targeting your mind. Their goal is not only to change what we think, but how we think and how we receive and process the information, how we act. According to the author, the main focus is not enemy soldiers and top officials, bu the entirety of the human population of a nation. Any user of modern information technologies is a potential target. The idea of turning citizens into weapons for NATO’s interests is present throughout all the document.

Disproof

Manipulation: the claim is a gross distortion of the original document. First, it is merely a theoretical essay on the concept of cognitive warfare. Second, the document clearly states that “the views and opinions expressed strictly reflect the discussions held on the Innovation Hub forums” but not those of NATO’s Allied Command Transformation, the sponsor of the study, or its member nations (page 3). Third, the study approach is defensive, as it states that “NATO’s adversaries are already investing heavily in these new technologies” (p. 4), with specific mentions of China and Russia (p. 26, pp. 38-42). The author concludes that “NATO needs to anticipate advances in these technologies by raising the awareness of the true potential of CW [cognitive warfare]” (p. 4), as “failing to thwart the cognitive efforts of NATO’s opponents would condemn Western liberal societies to lose the next war without a fight” (p. 36). Contrary to the claim of this disinformation story, in no way does the study suggest that NATO may be interested in “turning citizens into weapons for its interests”. Disinformation narratives against NATO are a recurring feature of pro-Kremlin outlets.

See other examples of similar disinformation narratives in our database, such as baseless allegations about NATO's obsolescencecannibalistic characterfascistic tendencies and links to white supremacist ideology, claims that NATO became a US armed wing ensuring control of energy resources, or the affirmation that NATO's anti-Russian stance is the only unifying force among its members.

The Baltic states are the anti-Russian vanguard of the West

The Baltic states are the vanguard of the anti-Russian movement in the West. They rewrite their common history with Russia. Especially the history of WWII. They are accusing the Soviet Union of “occupation”, using the term “Soviet occupation”. The Baltic states regularly violate human rights too.

Disproof

The narrative is presenting traditional cliches of Kremlin disinformation about the Baltic states. Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia are accused of historical revisionism, Russophobia and violation of human rights.

The circumstances of the Soviet occupation of the Baltic states in 1940 are well-known today. On 23 August 1939, the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany signed a non-aggression (Molotov-Ribbentrop) pact whose secret protocols divided the territories belonging to Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Finland, and Romania into Soviet and Nazi spheres of influence. The Baltic States were not the beneficiaries of the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact. Like other countries mentioned in the pact, they lost their independence and territories.

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