Disinfo: Ukrainian secret services might have planned terrorist attacks in Belarus

Summary

[The detention of Russian citizens in Belarus] was a huge operation, which was planned for at least half a year. I doubt that Ukrainian secret services were capable of organizing it themselves. Given the earlier phone call records between Biden and Poroshenko, the American masters are well aware of all operations planned by their Ukrainian puppets. The operation was blessed by the Americans, but the execution was purely Ukrainian. […] I cannot exclude that as a part of this operation, one or several terrorist attacks on the territory of Belarus were planned by the Ukrainian saboteurs. And Russians citizens would have been blamed for it.

Disproof

Conspiracy theory advancing recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives about Ukrainian statehood, Joe Biden and alleged Western attempts to drive a wedge between Russia and Belarus. The disinformation message refers to the detention of 33 Russian citizens by the Belarusian authorities, who are alleged to be members of Wagner group, a private Russian military company. Ukraine has requested the extradition of a number of detainees over suspicions that they have participated in hostilities in East Ukraine. There is no reliable evidence to suggest that Ukrainian secret services were planning terror acts on the Belarusian soil, acted under the command of the United States or were involved in the detention of the members of the Russian private military company Wagner in Minsk. The disinformation claim in the TV broadcast is based the “investigation” originally published by the Komsomolskaya Pravda, which alleges the Ukrainian involvement in the affair based entirely on the manner in which the plane tickets were acquired. The claims of the Komsomolskaya Pravda have been debunked by the Russian investigative journalism site The Insider. See related disinformation cases alleging that the West is manipulating Ukrainian secret service to pit Russians, Belarusians and Ukrainians against each other; arrest of Russian ‘mercenaries’ in Belarus was a Ukrainian provocation. Updated on 21 August 2020: clarified language in the third paragraph of the debunk.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 207
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 07/08/2020
  • Outlet language(s) Russian
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: Belarus, Ukraine
  • Keywords: Joe Biden, Ukrainian statehood, Secret services
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Ukraine may use Belarus elections as a pretext for intensifying hostilities in Donbas

In the context of possible aggravation of the situation in Belarus, when, after the elections and Lukashenko’s probable victory, the Belarusian opposition will try to start street protests, Ukraine may try to use this situation to intensify hostilities in Donbas and solve its problems. The elections in Belarus create a convenient situation, not only to dig a rusty nail in the Russian-Belarusian problems but also to use these problems and possible protests in Minsk as a cover-up for military operations in Donbas.

Disproof

Conspiracy theory advancing a recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the war in Ukraine claiming that the Ukrainian side violates the ceasefire agreement in Donbas. As for the elections in Belarus, the EU stated that they were neither free nor fair. The full and comprehensive ceasefire agreement was established in Donbas on July 27, 2020. The new agreement was certified in the Trilateral Contact Group in Minsk as part of the implementation of the Minsk agreements. According to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the truce is the most important point of the agreements reached at the Normandy summit in Paris. The implementation of these agreements is a guarantee of a gradual movement towards peace in Donbas. The effectiveness of the ceasefire is confirmed by the level of tension on the front line, which significantly eased in the past two weeks. Volodymyr Zelenskyy emphasised that Ukraine is doing its best to maintain the ceasefire and save the lives of servicemen. Since the beginning of the ceasefire, the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission recorded 251 violations, which is much lower than before the ceasefire came into force. On average there were 700-800 violations a day in 2019. On 5 August, the Mission recorded no violations for the first time. See earlier disinformation narratives stating that the government in Kyiv is sabotaging the peace in Donbas, that the Ukrainian side does not abide by the Minsk agreements or that only Ukraine violates the ceasefire regime in Donbas.

The EU provides practically no assistance to Ukraine

From the first day of Ukraine gaining independence, the West continued to view Ukraine as part of the former Soviet Union, which explains the openly predatory and colonial policy towards the country on the part of Europe. The European Union provides practically no assistance to Ukraine.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about abandoned Ukraine. Ukraine is a sovereign country and priority partner for the European Union. In total, since 2014, the EU and European financial institutions have allocated a package of over €15 billion in grants and loans to support the reform process in Ukraine. Within the framework of the association agreement, a free trade zone was created between Ukraine and the EU. In 2019, trade between Ukraine and the EU reached €44.6 billion. Since 2014, more than €205 million has been invested in the transport sector. The EU is also providing €53 million to support the modernisation of secondary education and vocational education. Since 2014, over €40 million has been allocated to support civil society in Ukraine. The U-LEAD with Europe program is supporting the decentralisation reform that enhances the transparency and accountability of local and regional governments and their ability to deliver better services. The total amount is €130 million. The EU continues to support anti-corruption organisations in Ukraine. A total of €30 million has been allocated for the fight against corruption. Ukraine has been allocated an individual assistance package during the COVID-19 pandemic in the amount of over €190 million. The EU, along with its member states, is the largest donor of humanitarian aid for eastern Ukraine. The people most affected by the conflict received €141.8 million in financial assistance. The €50 million EU Support to the East of Ukraine program supports reforms in conflict-affected areas of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions. Additional support (€6 million) has also been earmarked for mine clearance and psychological assistance programs. European financial institutions are also targeting conflict-affected areas; the European Investment Bank has allocated a package of €200 million for the early restoration of damaged infrastructure.

RT France is a French channel

RT France is a French channel, composed of French journalists. It has signed an agreement with the French media authority, has a code of ethics, journalists’ unions and an ethics’ committee. Twitter doesn’t care about all this and labels its account “State-affiliated media, Russia”.

Disproof

Recurrent disinformation message about the French branch of RT. RT France cannot be considered as a French channel as it was created and continues to be financed and editorially controlled by Russian state. Read more here. Unlike other branches the logo of RT in French is not labelled "RT in French" but "RT France". Any connection to Russia is not very noticeable from this name as in French RT also means Radio-Télévision. In August 2020, the social network Twitter decided to label RT 's account with "State-affiliated media, Russia" because of Russian funding and the lack of editorial independence. To read similar stories: RT France is a French press group, Sputnik and RT situation in France is extremely difficult and French authorities called to boycott those media, Latvian authorities blinded by Russophobia: there is no link between Dmitry Kiselyov and RT.