Disinfo: The US imposed sanctions on Russia because it is afraid of its military might

Summary

One expert explained the real reason of US sanctions against Russia. Washington is trying to press Moscow through them because it is afraid of an armed conflict with Russia. The US can smash others in every area, except in the military field. They won’t enter in a war, they are scared.

Disproof

This is a recurrent pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative aiming to portray international sanctions as anti-Russian. 

There is a reason for every US and EU round of sanctions on Russia. The US imposed them for the first time in March 2014 as a response to Russia’s illegal annexation of Ukraine. After that, it established fresh rounds due to Russia’s election interference, malicious cyber activities, human rights abuses, use of a chemical weapon, weapons proliferation, illicit trade with North Korea and support to Syria and Venezuela.

Since March 2014, the EU has progressively imposed restrictive measures against Russia. The measures were adopted in response to the illegal annexation of Crimea and the deliberate destabilisation of Ukraine.

See related examples of disinformation messages claiming that US sanctions contribute to coronavirus pandemic; that the EU is suffering from sanctions against Russia; that sanctions against Russia are ineffective.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 199
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 30/05/2020
  • Language/target audience: Spanish, Castilian
  • Country: Russia, US
  • Keywords: Military, Anti-Russian, Russian superiority, Sanctions
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By claiming that there are Russian warplanes in Libya, AFRICOM is waging a psy-op on US public

US African Command (AFRICOM), in charge of hunting terrorists in Africa, seems more interested instead in waging psychological operations aimed at the US public, the Pentagon and the White House. AFRICOM recently focused its efforts in using friendly journalists, media leaks and statements in social media to lobby Washington for more power, influence and money, publishing a series of tweets accusing Russia of sending warplanes to Libya. Its commander general Charles Townsend said that “they had seen how Russia flew fourth-generation warplanes to Libya”, but no evidence was offered. Russian officials have dismissed this claim as ridiculous. Among explosive tweets, anonymous insinuations to friendly conservative reporters and leaks to liberals, the image that is emerging is one of AFRICOM carrying out a psychological (psychopathic) operation, a propaganda war against US public.

Disproof

The deployment of Russian warplanes in Libya has been confirmed by multiple sources. According to Bloomberg news agency, their presence was first reported by Fathi Bashagha, the security chief in Tripoli, who said at least six MiG 29s and two Sukhoi 24s had flown into the east from the Russian-controlled Hmeimim Air Base in Syria, escorted by two Su-35 Russian air force jets. This was later confirmed by satellite images (see here and here), by images of the aircraft taken by the US Air Force, and indirectly by Saqr al-Jaroushi, the head of the air force of Russia’s backed Libyan National Army (LNA), who on May 20 boasted that his forces were about to launch “the largest aerial campaign in Libyan history”.

Further information on the deployment of the aircraft emerged afterwards. This is happening after the Russia-backed LNA was forced to retreat from the airbase of al-Watiyah and Wagner fighters were allegedly expelled from a location in southern Tripoli in the previous days, which points to a Russian escalation in support of LNA through an increase of air power to compensate those losses.

US military planners recommend an amplified psychological war against China

US war planners are suggesting that the US should widely expand its own psychological operations against Beijing. A new report by the Financial Times details how high officials in Washington are developing strategies for a new Cold War with China. Military analyst David Maxwell called for a generalised cultural warfare that would include the Pentagon commissioning novels aiming to demonise China and demoralise its citizens, arguing that Washington should bomb the Chinese with stories of wartime deaths of their only children and, therefore, their bloodlines.

Disproof

This is a deliberate distortion of an article published in the British newspaper Financial Times, which actually reported on a recent Special Operations Industry Conference and not on US officials “developing strategies for a new Cold War with China”. According to the article, most speakers warned that the US is ill-equipped to deal with cyber and hybrid warfare with China and Russia. While some of them talked about psy-ops, they mentioned them strictly in defensive terms, mostly as Western vulnerabilities, but none proposed psychological warfare against China.

This is part of a recurrent Kremlin-led narrative to portray the US as an aggressive and destabilising power. You can see other examples of disinformation about US plans and actions worldwide, such as its attempts to cause a massive African migration wave to Europe, its experiments on people in Georgia, its promotion of jihadist terrorism and colour revolutions, its preparations for war with Russia and China or its alleged responsibility in the China coronavirus outbreak.

By praising the Forest Brothers, NATO equated itself to the Nazi regime

In the attempt to equate the role played by the Soviet Union and the Third Reich in World War II, some end up equalling themselves to the Nazi regime. For example, when in 2017 NATO made a video praising the Forest Brothers, an anti-Soviet armed group in the Baltics, obfuscating the fact that they collaborated with the Nazi regime and its extermination machinery.

Disproof

Prominent pro-Kremlin narrative about the Forest Brothers and armed anti-Soviet resistance in Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia to discredit the independence struggle of the Baltic States and whitewash the history of Soviet occupation and Stalin's crimes - a growing trend of historical revisionism. For background on earlier disinformation attempts see our article here.

The Forest Brothers were Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian partisans who fought against Soviet rule during the Soviet invasion and occupation during and after World War II. It is for this reason that NATO released a tribute video to this group in 2017. Read our reporting here.