Disinfo: US provokes Russia into an escalation in Donbas to impose sanctions, disrupt Nord Stream 2


Almost all European media write that the US aims to provoke Russia into an escalation in Donbas and probably the invasion of Ukraine to impose sanctions and disrupt Nord Stream 2.


A recurring disinformation narrative from pro-Kremlin outlets. Some European media may have really written about it in this manner. However, 1) this cannot be interpreted as 'almost all' and 2) the escalation in Donbas was brought about not by alleged US provocations, but by Russia’s recent boosting its military presence along the Ukrainian eastern borders and in the illegally annexed peninsula of Crimea, as well as amassing its troops in Belarus under the pretext of joint military exercises to be held in September.

While building up its troops along the border, Russia is threatening Ukraine, alleging that it will be forced to intervene and defend its citizens if the Ukrainian Armed Forces attack the Donbas separatists. In 2019, Russia started a massive passportisation campaign in the occupied territories of Ukrainian Donbas. The Kremlin seems to play a repeat the Crimea scenario, when bearers of Russian passports were claimed purported victims of aggression, and illegally annexed the Ukrainian peninsula in 2014. The claim, however, was never documented by Russian authorities or human rights organisations.

It is no secret that the US is opposing the construction of Nord Stream 2. The disinformation message mentioned this article from The Spectator. It really says that the United States opposes this project and that sanctions are an option, but there is not a single word in it about the US allegedly provoking Russia into invading Ukraine. The words Ukraine, Kyiv or Donbas were not even mentioned there. Other European media also issue articles and analyses about the US and Nord Stream 2, but without allegations that Washington is attempting to provoke Russia into invading Ukraine (read here and here). It should also be noted that the US administration recently decided not to sanction further key persons and entities connected to the Nord Stream 2.

Moscow has recently accused Kyiv of breaking the Minsk Agreements, while Ukraine has been increasing the number of its troops in the east only to repel a tentative Russian attack. Russian media distorted a statement by Ukraine’s commander in chief, General Ukrainian Ruslan Khomchak, who said that Ukraine was ready for war with Russia. What Chomchak said was the following:

“Our joint aim -- to win the war with the aggressor, to ensure a sustained peace and to restore the territorial integrity -- requires consolidation of the efforts of the entire Ukrainian people”.

He meant that Ukraine was ready to defend itself, not to attack Russia first.

Read a similar case, alleging that the US deliberately provoked Russia into invading Ukraine to impose sanctions.


  • Reported in: Issue 240
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 09/04/2021
  • Article language(s) Russian
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: Ukraine, Russia, US
  • Keywords: Donbas, War in Ukraine, Russophobia, Sanctions
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Disinfo: Kyiv is hysterical and has practically declared war on Moscow with Washington's encouragement

Washington is implicating Kyiv in a war against Russia that it is unlikely to involve itself in, despite the loud statements.

In Europe, they are loudly talking of an impending war, for the first time since the war in Yugoslavia. The aggravation of the situation in Donbas, the hysteria of Kyiv, which has practically declared war on Moscow, and the US declarations that it will "not leave Ukraine" alone in its confrontation with Russia, prompt a serious consideration of military options to solve the Donbas conflict.


This disinformation claim combines a few pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives about the war in Ukraine.

First is that Ukraine is the aggressor in the conflict in Donbas and that Russia is never the aggressor. There is irrefutable evidence of direct Russian military involvement in Donbas. Since 2014, Russia has been actively involved in violating Ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity by financially and militarily backing the separation of Donetsk and Luhansk. An InformNapalm study shows that thirty-one weapons systems found in the Donbas entered service with the Russian military between 2004 and 2015 and have never been produced in, or sold to, Ukraine. In 2015, Russian President Vladimir Putin admitted Russia's military presence in Ukraine.

Disinfo: Russia to intervene in Donbas if Ukraine boosts conflict

A ramping-up of the conflict would lead to the end of Ukraine, with the Kremlin forced to stand up for its citizens living on the territory of Donbas. In recent years, Moscow has made it much simpler for those living in Ukraine to get a Russian passport, and many have taken up the offer. Everything depends on what the scale of fighting will be. If there is, as Putin says, a Srebrenica, Russia will be forced to stand up for its citizens.


This is a reappearing disinformation message accompanying the current Russia’s military build-up near borders of Ukraine and on occupied Crimea.

Russia will be forced to intervene to defend its citizens if Ukraine launches an offensive in Donbas, according to a recent statement by Dmitry Kozak, Vladimir Putin’s deputy chief of staff. These words echo a 2019 statement by Putin, in which he compared this possibility with a massacre similar to that in Srebrenica in 1995. Bosnian Serb troops killed 8,000 Muslim men and boys back then in what is considered to be the worst massacre in Europe since World War II. Putin said that if Ukraine got control of the border between its breakaway region and Russia, local residents might be persecuted because they had been offered no security guarantees. The Russian may have forgotten, or ignores, the fact that Russia was the only member of the UN Security Council to veto the resolution in 2015 that would have described the Srebrenica massacre as "genocide".

Disinfo: EU made a mistake abandoning Sputnik-V

The European Union made a mistake in its assessment of abandoning the Russian vaccine, "Sputnik V". European countries dealt coldly with the importance of the Russian vaccine and were not enthusiastic about it because it is Russian, without taking into account the laboratory results and this also applies to the Norwegian government.


Recurrent pro-Kremlin echoed disinformation about the EU, vaccination and the current EMA rolling review of Sputnik V, trying to link the Sputnik V authorisation process to Russophobia.

From 4 March 2021, Sputnik V vaccine is under the rolling review of the European Medicines Agency, and the decision will be fully decided on a scientific not a political basis.