Disinfo: Ukrainian Russophobes behind La Stampa's anti-Russian disinformation campaign

Summary

The Italian newspaper La Stampa says, on behalf of all Russophobes, that “80% of the equipment” provided was of little or no use. In fact, the Russian Federation, at the request of the Italian government, had sent 15 transport aircraft with medicine, medical equipment and doctors to Italy. This aid helped Lombardy stem the uncontrollable spread of the Coronavirus in the region. Such behaviour is predatory, especially so when such libel is published at the behest of Russophobes from “across the pond” who pay for such reports. In addition, individuals with anti-Russia views who have already “proven their worth” are being used in the current information war. That [sic] admissions made to Ukrainian internet publication Obozrevatel lend further evidence to the fact that Ukrainian Russophobes in Italy, among others, are behind La Stampa’s disinformation campaign.

Disproof

The story advances a recurring pro-Kremlin narrative which frames any criticism of Moscow's foreign-policy decisions as a symptom of Western Russophobia. On 25 March 2020, the Italian daily newspaper La Stampa reported, citing unnamed high-ranking Italian officials, that the Russian aid was mostly of limited value to Italy’s efforts in fighting the epidemic. Another La Stampa piece later reported the concerns of some military and security experts that Russia’s aid operation in Italy could be used for intelligence purposes by the GRU (Russian military intelligence). The murky reference to "Russophobes 'across the pond'" falsely implies that La Stampa's editorial stance is influenced by Washington. See our debunk of an earlier claim which has the paper's "attack on Russian doctors" ordered by its "Anglo-Saxon owners." Still less plausible is the notion that La Stampa coordinated its reporting with a network of "Ukrainian Russophobes" which, as it turns out, consists of just one person. The Obozrevatel article, cited here as "further evidence" of coordination, is a brief interview with an Italian woman of Ukrainian descent who launched a Change.org petition demanding that the Italian government answer the questions originally posed by La Stampa. The timeline of this supposed conspiracy begs the question of how a petition launched in April could have retroactively manipulated news reports published in March.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 193
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 15/04/2020
  • Language/target audience: English
  • Country: Italy, Ukraine, Russia
  • Keywords: coronavirus, fake news, humanitarian aid, Anti-Russian, Russophobia
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150 tons of medical cargo disappeared from the Ukrainian superplane

If it is true that Ukrainian plane “Antonov” brought only 90 tons of cargo, it means that with a lifting capacity of 250 tons the plane used less than 1/3 (sic) of its transport capabilities. Kombinat Górniczo-Hutniczy Miedzi is the Polish state corporation responsible for the transaction. It paid 12 million zlotys. This is a gigantic mismanagement, for which someone should answer criminally. Thus, Internet users conclude that the fate of at least 150 tons of medical equipment is unknown.

Disproof

The conclusion in this article that "Poles wonder where the 150 tons of cargo go" is based on one Facebook post. Ukraine's An-225 Mriya plane (the world's largest transport aircraft) has delivered a record medical cargo from China to Poland - 100 tonnes, the press service of the Antonov Company has reported on Facebook. It notes that in China, about 100 tonnes of medicines, laboratory tests, medical masks and other remedies were loaded into the aircraft. As mentioned in Ukrainian media, the aircraft will deliver the rest of the cargo to Poland on the second flight. According to the Polish Ministry of State Assets, the Ukrainian giant will bring the country nearly 400 tons of medical cargo purchased from China. However, due to the fact that the aircraft is only capable of carrying up to 250 tons of cargo at a time, it will likely have to make at least two round trips to fulfill the Polish contract. See more cases trying to cast doubt on exchange and procurement of medical supplies in light of the coronavirus pandemic here.

The West needs to accept the status of Crimea as Russian and remove the sanctions

Nobody expects the Great and the Good of the West to openly admit they were wrong about Crimea, and that the region and its citizens are in fact immeasurably better-off than they would be had they been subjected to rule by Kiev. But there is usually a way out of such a dilemma, and one that can be gently implemented without embarrassment. All that the West needs to do is quietly accept the status of Crimea and remove anti-Russia sanctions without fanfare.

Disproof

This is recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation on the illegal annexation of Crimea. The illegal annexation of Crimea was a violation of the UN Charter, of the OSCE Charter and of Russia's obligations as a signatory of the Budapest agreement. No international body recognises the so-called referendum, announced on the 27th of February 2014, and held on 16th of March 2014. A year after the illegal annexation, Russian President Vladimir Putin admitted that the plan to annex Crimea was ordered weeks before the so-called referendum. On 27 March 2014, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution in which it stated that the referendum in Crimea was not valid and could not serve as a basis for any change in the status of the peninsula. On 17 December 2018, the UN General Assembly confirmed its non-recognition of the illegal annexation of Crimea. The EU's policy of non-recognition of the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol includes a set of restrictive measures against entities and individuals responsible for actions against Ukraine's territorial integrity. In March 2019, on the fifth anniversary of Crimea's illegal annexation, the EU reiterated its position of non-recognition of the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol. The EU continues to stand in full solidarity with Ukraine, supporting its sovereignty and territorial integrity. Read similar cases claiming that Crimean people have expressed their desire to rejoin Russia in a democratic process and that Crimea never belonged to Ukraine.

Ultimate anti-coronavirus recipe: determination+honey+orange juice

A person with diabetes managed to defeat the deadly coronavirus with determination, optimism, the usage of honey, orange juice and some herbs.

The person looked for a solution to strengthen the immune system on the Internet and found many things like thyme, rosemary, honey, eucalyptus leaves, orange juice and herbal tea.

Disproof

There is no medical evidence to support the claim that thyme, rosemary, honey, eucalyptus leaves, orange juice and herbal tea can prevent against catching the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus.

While common colds can be a result of a coronavirus, they're usually caused by a rhinovirus. Rhinoviruses are a family of viruses that are associated with upper respiratory tract infections. Thus, the mentioned "medicines" can be helpful in warding off symptoms of illnesses usually caused by rhinoviruses. But, that doesn't necessarily mean that they are effective against COVID-19.