Disinfo: Vrbetice explosion is a pretext for vilifying Russia ahead of Biden-Putin Summit


In the months leading up to the meeting between Biden and Putin, the 2014 ammunitions explosion in the Czech village of Vrbetice regained traction. Despite not having any evidence, NATO and EU members have accused the Kremlin of being responsible for the explosion and have implemented sanctions against Russia. There is an alternative story, however, namely that the renewed interest in the explosion is simply an excuse for introducing sanctions against Russia and disparaging Russia prior to the meeting with Biden.


A recurrent disinformation narrative about the 2014 ammunition warehouse explosion in Vrbětice, claiming that there is no evidence of Russia’s involvement and that Russia has been falsely accused by the West for political reasons.

Contrary to the claim, there is overwhelming evidence linking Russia’s secret services to the 2014 explosion in Vrbětice, which resulted in the death of two civilians. Czech authorities have established that Anatoly Chepiga and Alexander Mishkin, the same GRU agents who in 2018 poisoned Sergei Skripal in the UK, were responsible for the explosion. The two men travelled from Moscow to Prague a few days before the explosion using the same GRU-issued passports they would later use to travel to the UK in 2018. Prior to arriving in Czechia, they had booked a business appointment at the ammunition warehouse in Vrbětice using untraceable email addresses and a different set of GRU-issued passports. Once in Czechia, they were issued with a permit authorising them to be in Vrbětice on 16 October 2014 – the same day the explosion occurred. The findings of the Czech authorities have been verified by an independent investigation conducted by Bellingcat, the Insider, Der Spiegel, and Respekt.cz.

The claim that the Czech investigation into the 2014 explosion in Vrbětice is somehow connected to the summit talks between Biden and Putin that took place in Geneva on 16 June 2021 is groundless and a false parallel. Links to Russia’s secret services were discovered long before the summit was planned. An initial investigation by Czech authorities started shortly after the explosion but proved inconclusive. However, the investigation was renewed in 2018, when the UK revealed the fake names of the two GRU operatives who poisoned Andrei Skripal. As confirmed independently by Bellingcat in 2020, the same two men, as well as several other GRU agents, entered Czechia shortly before the bomb was planted.

Read similar cases of disinformation in the database claiming that foreign secret services fabricated Russian involvement in the Vrbětice explosion, that the Czech authorities have no evidence of Russian involvement in the Vrbětice explosion, that Czechia's accusations about Kremlin involvement in the Vrbětice explosions are part of a Russophobic campaign, and that Czechia targets Russia in the Vrbetice case to distract attention from incompetence.


  • Reported in: Issue 249
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 15/06/2021
  • Article language(s) Bulgarian
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: Czech Republic, Russia, US
  • Keywords: NATO, Vrbetice explosion, Anti-Russian, Russophobia
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Disinfo: The US is funding a colour revolution in Mexico

The government of Mexico sent a diplomatic note to the United States after US agencies funded a civil organisation whose leader is the leading figure behind the electoral coalition of the opposition block. From 2018 to 2020, the organisation Mexicans against Corruption and Impunity (MCCI), founded by Mexican businessman Claudio X. González, received a total of 2.34 million dollars from US agencies such as USAID and NED, according to info available in their own database, through which the US government funds projects of development and the promotion of “democracy” abroad.

Claudio X. González is also the main orchestrator of the opposition coalition conformed by parties PRI, PAN and PRD for the midterm election of 2021 through the initiative Sí por México. The businessman has acknowledged that the main goal of this opposition alliance is to take the majority away from ruling party MORENA in the Chamber of Deputies, in order to control the budget prior to the presidential election of 2024.


The narrative about a US-funded colour revolution in Mexico, explicitly stated through the use of the OTPOR fist symbol in minute 01:30 of the video, is misleading. In early June 2021, the government of Mexican president Andrés Manuel López Obrador officially protested the funding by US agencies of Mexicans against Corruption and Impunity - one of the organisations that it has described as “opposition groups”, and called it “an act of interventionism that violates [Mexico’s] sovereignty”. This disinformation video goes a step forward by deliberately mixing some facts in order to portray the US as being involved in an attempt to influence Mexican politics.

Although it is true that MCCI received funds from USAID and the NED, this funding started in January 2018, while Andrés Manuel López Obrador didn’t win the presidential election until July of that year. This disinformation narrative omits the fact that MCCI was also very critical of corruption during the tenure of López Obrador’s predecessor Enrique Peña Nieto, and even before: while the organisation wasn’t funded until 2015, it also addressed high-profile corruption cases that took place in earlier years, such as the tenure of Felipe Calderón.

Disinfo: The coup d'état of Maidan caused a referendum that united Crimea with Russia

Crimea was attached to Russia in 2014, following a referendum. The self-proclaimed republics of Donetsk and Lugansk are controlled by rebels from eastern Ukraine who refuse to recognise the authorities resulting from the coup d'état of Maidan.


Recurrent narrative about 2014 events in Ukraine, the Euromaidan protests and the illegal annexation of Crimea.

No international body recognises the so-called referendum in Crimea, not the UN, nor the EU.

Disinfo: Western big pharma is waging a disinformation campaign against Sputnik V

A disinformation campaign against the Sputnik V vaccine was ordered by the Western pharmaceutical transnational big pharma, which include 30 of the world's leading pharmaceutical manufacturers, whose headquarters are primarily in the United States and Western European countries: Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, all of which have released their own COVID-19 vaccines.

From the beginning, there was a campaign to undermine confidence in the great achievement of Russian scientists, in the efficacy of the vaccine. There are attacks against Sputnik V mainly in the Anglo-Saxon press; it is a kind of octopus that combines the interests of the big pharma and various political actors who are opposed to Russia. The campaign aims to reduce the vaccination rate in Russia itself.

Since the end of last year, Russian authorities have repeatedly announced attempts by Western countries to discredit Sputnik V. In December, the official representative of the Russian Defence Ministry, Igor Konashenkov, said that Moscow knows in detail what funds and what resources have been launched from abroad to discredit the national vaccine in the world and in Russia. In March, a Sputnik source in the Kremlin reported that the United States and its allies, through controlled non-governmental organizations, were preparing for a large-scale disinformation campaign.


Recurring disinformation narrative about an ongoing campaign of the West to discredit the Russian Sputnik V vaccine and the promotion of the Russian Sputnik V vaccine. In this case, this disinformation message aims to cover for the exceptionally low rates of immunisation in Russia (where on early June 2021 only 9 percent of its adult population had received the vaccine despite it being free and available for all age ranges) and for lagging behind the West in its vaccination drive.

Claims about Western smear campaigns against the Russian Sputnik V vaccine are a regular occurrence in pro-Kremlin media, but they are not supported by factual evidence. Early remarks about Sputnik V was motivated by widespread concerns that the approval was premature, since, at the time, the vaccine had not even started phase III trials, nor had any results on the earlier stage trials been published. The WHO expressed concerns about the preternatural registration of vaccine. After the results of phase I and II trials were published in The Lancet in September 2020, a group of international experts analysed them and expressed concerns about statistical anomalies. The same happened after the publication of the results of phase III, whose data discrepancies were again publicly highlighted by scientists.