Disinfo: The West has undermined the OPCW for a long time

Summary

Our Western partners have undermined the reputation of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons for a long time. It has been undermined by the constant scandals surrounding the fake reports of chemical provocations in Syria.

Disproof

Recurring disinformation attacking the independence and integrity of the OPCW.

The OPCW is an independent inter-governmental organisation. In March 2019, the OPCW confirmed in its report that chlorine was used in the attack on Douma on 7 April 2018. Allegations in the pro-Kremlin media of "staged" chemical attacks are a part of the ongoing campaign by Syria and Russia to smear the White Helmets as terrorists and war criminals. However, available evidence has yet to link a single chemical attack to any other party than the Syrian regime.

According to the OPCW's director-general, the organisation has been targeted by a disinformation campaign when the organisation was being granted new powers to assign blame for chemical attacks. 18 countries issued a joint statement, which called for an end to the unacceptable Russian defamation of the OPCW.

The OPCW's supposed complicity in "suppressing" the truth is a standard talking point in pro-Kremlin reporting on Syria. See our previous debunking of this narrative here, here, here, and here.

Read previous disinformation claims alleging that the chemical attacks in Syria have been staged and filmed by the media of the Western countries; that the Navalny poisoning could be a strategy of the West to introduce anti-Russian sanctions, that Russia is accused of poisoning without proof; or that the White Helmets have close links to Al-Qaeda and falsify chemical attacks evidence.

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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Double standards around violent protests in France, Germany and Poland

There is currently in France a wave of protests against the bill on Global Security. If this happened in Russia or the Republic of Belarus, we can imagine the noise it would make. The Parisians, the French and the human rights defence organisations are concerned about it, but in the end we do not see any reaction from the international organisations. There is a double standard.

There is a difference in reactions to the opposition demonstrations in Russia on the one hand, and on the other hand, the demonstrations in Germany against the anti-Covid restriction measures, the rallies in Poland, against the hardening of the legislative arsenal against abortion, or the demonstrations of the yellow vests in France.

Disproof

Recurrent narrative about the alleged double standards from international organisations concerning Russia and Belarus.

The violence that occurred during demonstrations in France, Germany or Poland cannot be compared to the violence that led to the condemnation by the EU of violence against peaceful protesters in Belarus after the last presidential elections.

By supporting protesting Belarusians Lithuania hopes to get more money from Brussels

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania presented an initiative to provide cost-free visas for Belarusians persecuted by the political regime in the home country. Lithuania is trying to show that many Belarusians do not support Alyaksandr Lukashenka as president and hope to get more money from Brussels. This initiative is bait for people who do not think about the consequences of their activities. The Lithuanian government aspires to create anti-Lukashenka and anti-Belarusian sentiment in society. The real interest of Vilnius is financial. Lithuania, as the main manipulator in the Belarusian events, seeks to get support from Brussels.

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Lithuania actively intervening into events in Belarus since the beginning of protests against Alyaksandr Lukashenka. Vilnius supports the Belarusian opposition and urges to hold new elections in the neighbour country. Belarusian authorities say that Vilnius, Warsaw and other countries are interfering in the internal affairs of Belarus and are trying to control the opposition.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about Western attempts to organise a colour revolution in Belarus.

The claim that Lithuania is "intervening into events in Belarus” and seeking financial interests is unfounded. Lithuania is a neighbour of Belarus and it continues to support the Belarusian people. In the context of brutal persecution of protesters in Belarus, Lithuania made some steps to support civil society in the neighbour country. Earlier Lithuania opened the special “humanitarian corridor” for Belarusians and allow them to arrive under the so-called humanitarian exception. Vilnius University offered free studies and scholarship to Belarusian students. The proposal of issuing free national visas to Belarusians who are persecuted by the regime is only one more step to support people in needs.

EU initiated negotiations with Russian vaccine manufacturer

The European Union has begun negotiations with the manufacturer of Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine.

Disproof

The headline and the introductory paragraph of this story are deliberately misleading. The articles themselves say that it was the developer of the vaccine, Russia’s Gamaleya Centre, who contacted the European Medicines Agency in order to start conversations, a fact that was confirmed by the European Commission at the request of Sputnik.

On 25 November, a considerable number of pro-Kremlin Russian-speaking outlets published near-identical articles to the effect that the European Medicines Agency (EMA) had initiated negotiations with Russia's Gamaleya Institute, the manufacturer of the Sputnik V vaccine. A similar story claiming that the EU announced contacts with Russia about the Sputnik V vaccine has also been spread across different language versions of Sputnik on the same day.