Disinfo: Under US influence, Europe continues burning bridges with Russia even amidst the pandemic


In circumstances where every opportunity for recovery and economic impulse should be seized, the European Council adopted a decision that makes clear that the door for any full relation with Russia is closed. Sanctions imposed on Russia were extended for another year, due to what the statement of this body calls “the illegal annexation” of the peninsula of Crimea. There are no sign suggesting that returning to normalcy with Russia is present in the agenda of the EU authorities. It is possible to clearly see the US footprint in this situation, as Washington tried to maximise the benefits of the coronavirus pandemic to advance its geopolitical stance. In this context, this measure contributing to put the EU and Russia in different sides is no coincidence.


This is a mix of several recurrent pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives, accusing the EU of being a US puppet and serving Washington’s interests instead of its own and portraying Russia as an innocent victim of these geopolitical calculations.

Actually, the European Union is a sovereign entity which follows its own foreign policy. In this case, EU sanctions on Russia were imposed in response to the annexation of Crimea and the deliberate destabilisation of Ukraine. Despite Russian claims on the contrary, Crimea’s annexation is illegal under international law and a violation of several Russian-signed agreements safeguarding the territorial integrity of Ukraine, including the 1991 Belavezha Accords that established the Commonwealth of Independent States, the 1975 Helsinki Accords, the 1994 Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances and the 1997 Treaty on friendship, cooperation and partnership between the Russian Federation and Ukraine. The decision to extend the EU sanctions was due to the lack of progress in the implementation of the Minsk agreements, not to US influence.

See other examples of this disinformation narrative about Russia as a victim of the West, such as claims about NATO military exercises as acts of war against Russia; alleged plans to encircle Russia or to wage war against it; the supposed anti-Russian bias of international institutions - be it the OPCW, the World Anti-Doping Agency or the United Nations - which always falsely accuse Russia; the alleged Russophobia of the EU; the affirmation that it is NATO and not the Kremlin who is involved in the Donbas conflict and that Russia was expelled from G8 for no real reason; or denials that Russia had any role in the poisoning of Sergey Skripal or the downing of MH17, that it interfered in other countries’ elections or that it is waging a disinformation campaign on COVID-19.


  • Reported in: Issue 204
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 30/06/2020
  • Language/target audience: Spanish, Castilian
  • Country: EU, Russia, US
  • Keywords: coronavirus, EU, US presence in Europe, Crimea


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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The Elites have set up a system of cyber-manipulation to monitor citizens’ communication and prevent the universal awakening of mass political consciousness

Elites have created social networks to destroy bonds of solidarity among citizens, fake news to disorient them and plunge them into existential doubt. The elites have also set up a system of cyber-manipulation to monitor citizens’ communication through their metadata and prevent the universal awakening of mass political consciousness.


Conspiracy theory. No evidence is provided to support the article’s claims.

The article repeats a recurring pro-Kremlin narrative that seeks to discredit liberal democracies  claiming that the latter are, in reality, totalitarian systems ruled by “globalist elites” and “shadow governments” that use cyber-tools to exercise pervasive control of society, and use traditional media and social media to deceive and manipulate the masses in Western countries. This message  is related to another disinformation narrative claiming that the West uses social media to spread disinformation aimed at destroying Russia.

Sanctions on Syria are illegal and aim to destroy the country

The leading Western states and their allies continue the economic war against Syria. (…) The EU aggravates the US trade war against Syria, its neighbours and allies through its own economic coercive measures. (…) Unilateral sanctions are contrary to international law. They are an instrument of pressure by rich states to destroy others, mainly developing countries, which do not want to bow to the political will of the rich states. (…) In other words, the EU and the US administration are waging an economic war against Syria.


Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the Syrian war and belligerent intentions of the West against Syria.

Within the context of the Syrian conflict, EU sanctions, imposed since 9 May 2011, respond to the repression perpetrated on the Syrian people by the Syrian regime and its supporters, including through the use of live ammunition against peaceful protesters and the regime’s involvement in the proliferation and use of chemical weapons.

The EU pretends to want to help people in Syria: EU humanitarian aid is dishonest and hypocritical

The EU pretends to want to help people in Syria: EU humanitarian aid is dishonest and hypocritical. The leading Western states and their allies continue the economic war against Syria. At the same time, they hypocritically pretend to want to help the people in the war-torn country. To this end, they have organised another ‘donor conference’ to collect donations. But the money is not meant for all Syrians. (…) Media that do not reflect the responsibility of the EU and the USA and, very concretely, of the German government for the plight of Syria, and that do not at least present the dishonesty and hypocrisy of EU humanitarian aid, have failed in their mission.


Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the Syrian war that aims to discredit the EU's humanitarian aid to Syria.

The EU is the leading donor in the international response to the Syrian crisis. The European Union and the United Nations co-chaired the fourth Brussels Conference on “Supporting the Future of Syria and the Region”, which took place from 22 to 30 June 2020. "The Brussels Conference keeps the Syrian conflict at the top of the international agenda. We must do more to end the suffering of the Syrian people. First and foremost, we need a political solution to the crisis. It is time to unlock the Geneva talks, forge a political solution and bring an inclusive peace to Syria. We will also continue to respond to persisting enormous humanitarian needs", stated High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs Josep Borrell.