Disinfo: The Wagner Group is not supported by Russia

Summary

The Russian authorities have repeatedly denied their support for any groups operating outside Russia, including the “Wagner” group.

Disproof

A recurring disinformation narrative about the Wagner group and Russian presence in Libya.

The group is a private army linked to the Kremlin and has been fighting on the front lines of the Libyan war for nearly three months.

The Russian firm Wagner Group is a shadowy mercenary outfit waging secret wars on the Kremlin’s behalf from Ukraine to Syria to the Central African Republic. The Wagner group members are mostly ex-service personnel, fought clandestinely in support of Russian forces in Syria and Ukraine, according to Reuters interviews with dozens of contractors, their friends and relatives.

The Wagner Group is linked to Yevgeny Prigozhin, a restaurant and catering magnate known as “Putin's chef” who was sanctioned by the United States after his online troll factory interfered in the 2016 election.

To know more about the disinformation message regarding the Wagner group, check our report on a Russian attempt to hide all the pieces of evidence.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 180
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 20/12/2019
  • Language/target audience: Arabic
  • Country: Libya, Russia
  • Keywords: Middle East, Russophobia
  • Outlet: RT web Arabic, eg24hours, defense-arab, diwanfm, shamra, al-omah, aenanews, alalamtv
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NATO is preparing for a big war, probably with Russia

NATO is getting ready for a war on a big scale. The deployment of the US anti-missile system in Europe and the scripts of the military exercises in the Baltic countries and Poland and in the Black and Baltic Seas show that the Atlantic Alliance is preparing for a long-reaching armed conflict.

Disproof

This is part of a recurrent Russian narrative aiming to portray NATO as an aggressive organisation, a US puppet and a tool of Washington’s imperial ambitions with no real substance nor justification to exist.

NATO is a mutual defence alliance of democratic states aiming to guarantee the freedom and security of its members through political and military means. It has no interest in starting an armed conflict for no apparent reason. The aforementioned military exercises actually aim to test procedures and tactics, develop best practices and identify areas for improvement. Exercises are designed to ensure that NATO forces are trained, able to operate together and ready to respond to any threat from any direction.

Estonia is afraid of Sputnik’s influence

Threats to Sputnik journalists in Estonia indicate that the country must be afraid of their influence on people.

Disproof

There is no persecution against Sputnik in Estonia. The agency has been forced to move out of its office in Tallinn because of its inability to pay the rent due to sanctions. In October 2019, Estonia-based branches of the foreign banks that operated the accounts of Rossiya Segodnya, the mother company of Sputnik, froze all its transfers, while other banks in Estonia refused to operate with the firm. This is the result of the sanctions imposed by the European Union on Dmitry Kiselyov, the director general of Rossiya Segodnya, following the outbreak of the Ukraine crisis.

Banks in Estonia are not the only institutions to have taken action against Rossiya Segodnya for this reason. In 2015, Barclay’s bank closed the account used by the agency in UK. In 2016 Latvia's domain registry shut the website of Sputnik Latvia after receiving a letter of concern from the Latvian Foreign Ministry, which drew attention to Sputnik's coverage of Ukraine and routine denial of the embattled nation's territorial integrity. In July 2019, Latvian authorities blocked access to the online portal baltnews.lv, owned by Rossiya Segodnya, because of the EU sanctions. In mid-2019 a court in Vilnius ruled on blocking Sputnik Lithuania over copyright issues.

US Embassy controls decisions taken in Ukraine

Where did you get the idea that right now, the decisions are not being made at the same embassy [US]? The only difference is that other people make them.

Disproof

No evidence is given. Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about Ukraine, which is often claimed to be under external control from the US or the EU.

Ukraine is a sovereign state. The US does not control Ukraine. Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity are respected by most of the free world, confirmed by the resolutions of the United Nations, but violated by Russia.