Disinfo: Fakes about Russia: virtual attacks on Western states, poison attacks, and intentional plane crashes

Summary

Virtual attacks on Western states, alleged poison attacks, intentionally caused airplane disasters – these are all fakes about Russia.

Just like fake news about alleged quotations of the Russian president, other fake news also develop a treacherous life of their own, be it about alleged virtual Russian attacks on Western states, alleged poison attacks or alleged intentional airplane disasters.

Disproof

A recurring pro-Kremlin narrative about Western Russophobia and belligerent agenda against Russia. Virtual Russian attacks on Western states, poison attacks and airplane disaster are not fake news about Russia.

The Russian cyberattacks, in this context, are connected with the hacking on the German Bundestag in 2015. The German domestic intelligence agency said Russia was behind a series of attacks on German state computer systems, including the German parliament in 2015. According to the reports from the German media, the federal prosecutor's office has issued an international arrest warrant against Dmitri Badin, a hacker reportedly working for the Russian military intelligence service, in relation to the cyber attack.

Concerning the poisoning accusations, in case of Yuliya and Sergey Skripal, Moscow's involvement in the poisoning has been proven via a thorough investigation. The British police have presented a solid chain of evidence on the Skripal case, with pictures, connecting the suspects to the locations in the case. Parts of the material have been released to the public. The evidence was sufficient to charge two Russian nationals, Anatoliy Chepiga and Aleksandr Mishkin with the attack on the Skripals, both Russian military intelligence operatives from the GRU, who travelled to the UK using fake names and documents.

As for Russian opposition figure Aleksey Navalny, he fell ill during a flight and was transferred to Berlin's Charité Hospital in August 2020. The German federal government said that toxicological tests provided “unequivocal evidence of a chemical nerve agent of the Novichok group” in Navalny's blood samples. The European Union condemned the poisoning of Aleksey Navalny in the strongest possible terms.

The airplane disaster here refers to the recurrent pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative on the downing of flight MH17 over Ukraine. The results of the investigation of the Joint Investigation Team are clear: flight MH17 was shot down by a missile from the 9M38 series, which was launched by the BUK TELAR system. The system was transported from the Russian Federation to an agricultural field near the city of Pervomaiskiy in Eastern Ukraine, from where the rocket was launched. After firing, the system, with one missing missile, returned to the Russian Federation. On 24 May 2018, JIT announced in its conclusion that the Buk belongs to the 53rd Anti-Aircraft Missile Brigade, a unit of the Russian armed forces in Kursk, Russian Federation. The public hearing on the incident started on 9 March 2020 in the Netherlands. Read more about the investigation here.

See related disinformation cases alleging that Russophobic Western media push narrative of Putin’s role in Navalny poisoning, about alleged missing evidence of Russian hacking of the Bundestag or of Russian poisoning of Skripal, and that The West punishes Russia for having chosen Putin as a president again.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 221
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 21/11/2020
  • Outlet language(s) German
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: UK, Germany, Ukraine, Russia
  • Keywords: Skripal, novichok, Amesbury poisoning, fake news, Cyber, Alexei Navalny, Russophobia, MH17
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The Russophobic political power in Lithuania will undermine the president

The eternal strategy of Homeland Union – Lithuanian Christians Democrats (winners of parliamentarian elections 2020 in Lithuania) is Russophobia […]

This political power is also the master of spin. I.e. they offer Gabrielius Landsbergis as a candidate for Minister of Foreign Affairs. In Lithuania’s constitution, foreign affairs are the main responsibility of the president, and the Minister of Foreign Affairs should be his right-hand man. Gabrielius Landsbergis is a grandson of Vytautas Landsbergis – a powerful politician, the first head of Lithuania after the collapse of Soviet Union. In these circumstances, the president of Lithuania Gitanas Nauseda risks to become the left-hand man of the Minister of Foreign Affairs because Gabrielius Landsbergis is just a puppet of his grandfather.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about Russophobia.

Pro-Kremlin disinformation tries to present Lithuania as a Russophobic state. See similar cases here and here. It is Lithuania's criticism of Russia's aggressive policy and illegal actions abroad (i.e. annexation of Crimea) and support of Russian and Belarusian political opposition etc. that are labelled as “Russophobia”.

Donbas rebelled because Russians in Ukraine were subjected to ethnocide

The war began when the Ukrainian bourgeoisie that rebelled against joining the Customs Union with Russia on Maidan declared the Russian citizens of Ukraine to be second-class citizens. They began suppressing them with the help of official power structures and paramilitary groups of neo-Nazi stormtroopers. That was not an informational or hybrid war, but a real one. [The war in Donbas] was a struggle of local workers against the Ukrainian nationalist oligarchy, i. e. civil war.

Whether the war will be stopped and whether the ethnocide of Russians inside Ukraine will be stopped is a matter of struggle and, as a result, the balance of power that arises as a result of it.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation campaign against Ukraine, containing multiple disinformation narratives regarding the Euromaidan, the war in Ukraine, and claiming that Ukraine is a Russophobic state.

The spontaneous onset of the Euromaidan protests was an organic reaction by numerous segments of the Ukrainian population to former President Yanukovych’s sudden departure from the promised Association Agreement with the European Union in November 2013. See the full debunk of this disinformation claim here.

Euromaidan was an illegal armed coup

Essentially, the Euromaidan was an illegal overthrow of the government, with all the consequences arising from this situation. […] The fact that Yanukovych was overthrown as a result of an armed coup was clear to everyone except the Ukrainians involved in this “event”.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative on Euromaidan depicting the 2013-14 protests in Kyiv as a coup.

There was no armed coup in Ukraine seven years ago. The demonstrations which began in Kyiv in November 2013 – called "Maidan", or "Euromaidan" – were a result of the Ukrainian people's frustration with former President Yanukovych's last minute U-turn when, after seven years of negotiation, he refused to sign the EU–Ukraine Association Agreement and halted progress towards Ukraine's closer relationship with the EU as a result of Russian pressure.