Threats to Kaliningrad: the US stands no chance

Summary

Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation commented the statements of the commander of the U.S. Air Forces in Europe, General Jeffrey Harrigian, about a possible attack on Kaliningrad. The ministry emphasised that this region is reliably protected from any aggressive ‘plans’ that are being developed in Europe by ‘random’ American generals. At the same time, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs flagged the statement of Harrigian as a “threat” and “irresponsible opinion”.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin narrative on Western attempts to encircle Russia and Western belligerence.

Russian media has extensively misquoted General Jeffrey Harrigian's statements given during a press briefing reported by the digital magazine Breaking Defence. During the press briefing, Gen. Harrigian outlined tactics the U.S. Air Force is developing in response to the ongoing threat of Russian anti-aircraft, anti-ship, and surface-to-surface missiles based in Kaliningrad. No U.S. or NATO plans to conquest or attack Kaliningrad were mentioned.

As of 2014, following growing tensions between Russia and NATO countries, Russia has been increasing its military presence in the Kaliningrad region. Satellite imagery reported by the Federation of American Scientists in June 2018 showed renovations of what appears to be an active nuclear weapons storage site, about 50 kilometres from the Polish border.

Read full debunk by Polygraph here.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 166
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 20/09/2019
  • Language/target audience: Russian
  • Country: Russia, The West
  • Keywords: Encircling Russia, NATO
  • Outlet: RIA Novosti
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Disproof

Conspiracy theory presented without evidence.

Pro-Kremlin media have long used the narrative about anti-government protests being funded by the US. Examples include colour revolutions in post-Soviet states, the “Arab Spring” revolts, and Ukraine's Euromaidan in 2014. Western non-governmental organisations are often targeted by pro-Kremlin disinformation as agents of this subversive and state-driven influence.

Russia is not a part of the conflict in Ukraine

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Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about Ukraine and the war in Ukraine.

There is irrefutable evidence of direct Russian military involvement in Eastern Ukraine. The EU condemns the clear violation of Ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity by acts of aggression by the Russian armed forces since February 2014.

Sanctions against Russia are unproductive

The EU sanctions have not yet produced the desired results. The Russian Foreign Ministry repeatedly stated that it was counterproductive to speak the language of sanctions with Russia.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative that Western sanctions against Russia are unproductive and unjust.

Claims that the sanctions are ineffective are not backed by evidence. In reality most research support the view that sanctions, imposed on Russia by the US and EU following the annexation of Crimea and Russian meddling in the US election, have worked as planned, noting the drag they have imposed on Russia’s general economic
development since 2014: "This adverse effect most likely operates by depressing both foreign trade
and foreign capital flows into Russia. Russia’s own counter-sanctions have also had a clear negative
effect on the welfare of the average Russian household."