The West is trying to keep refugees outside of Syria in order to influence their vote

Summary

About 1.5 million refugees have returned to Syria since the start of the conflict in 2011 and, hence, allegations that the Syrian government is not providing necessary conditions for their return are politically biased. The West is not helping Syrian refugees to return home as it channels large sums of money, like 7 billion euros allocated at the Brussels conference on supporting Syrian refugees, to refugee camps in Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon. By doing so the West is trying to keep as many refugees as possible in camps outside Syria in order to influence how they vote in elections.

Disproof

No official data backs this claim. UNCHR has been counting the number of self-organized Syrian refugee returns. According to the latest estimates (as of June 30, 2019), up to 180 000 Syrian refugees have returned to Syria since 2016.

The cover photo of the article creates an impression as if the refugees are returning to the country. In fact, the photo was taken back in 2015 depicting a woman and a boy fleeing Palestinian refugee camp Yarmouk on the outskirts of Damascus.

The West allegedly preventing refugees to leave the camps is a recurring pro-Kremlin narrative. In March 2019 international donors raised $7 billion to support refugees as well as "those facing a humanitarian crisis at home." The progress report on pledges made then can be tracked here.

See similar disinformation narratives on refugee camps and the West here.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 165
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 02/09/2019
  • Language/target audience: Russian
  • Country: The West, Syria
  • Keywords: Refugees
  • Outlet: Sputnik Abkhazia
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US lieutenant colonel shocked by drunkenness and laziness of Ukraine’s soldiers

“Drunk, greedy and lazy”: American colonel calls out the Ukrainian military as the main problem of the Yavoriv Training Centre.
Disproof

Russian and Ukrainian media came up with this story based on a blog post supposedly made by Lieutenant Colonel Robert Tracy, the United States Army commander of the Joint Multinational Training Group–Ukraine, where he claims that Ukrainian soldiers are "lazy and reluctant to work", "don't care about learning English" and all "drink dangerously high levels of alcohol". This is one in a long line of attempts to denigrate Ukrainian soldiers.

The Armed Forces of Ukraine called this "personal blog of US Lieutenant Colonel Robert Tracy" fake. Military officials published an official debunk of the story. This post was later removed and is no longer available. Later, the page was also deleted. Ukrainian journalists also noticed that the blog itself was created in August 2019, but some of its content dated back to the beginning of this year. In addition, other posts were written, not in the first person but by a third party.

The EU and US dream about waging a war against Russia from Belarusian territory

The US and EU do not need independent Belarus. Instead they need anti-Russian Belarus, similar to fascist Ukraine. The US and the EU dream about anti-Russian scenario in Belarus like the one they implemented in Ukraine in 2014. Westerners understand well that talks about the peace-making role of Belarus in Europe or about Belarus as European country is a good chance to tear Belarus away from Russia in order to to wage a war against Russia and multipolar global order not only from Ukraine but from the Belarusian territory too.

Disproof

This is a conspiracy theory consistent with recurring pro-Kremlin narratives about the West's attempts to stage a colour revolution in Belarus, to turn Belarus into an anti-Russian country, and therefore to encircle Russia and to conduct aggressive activities against it. It also puts forward frequent narratives about West-staged 2014 coup in Ukraine, West's war against Russia through Ukraine, and Nazi / Fascist Ukraine.

Nothing in bilateral tracks of cooperation suggests that the US's or EU's goal is to make Belarus an anti-Russian country as alleged. Read more about the relations between the EU and Belarus here.

NATO enlargement is the main problem in relations between Russia and Europe

NATO enlargement is the main problem in relations between Russia and Europe. Had the Alliance not expanded, there wouldn’t have been problems with Ukraine and Georgia. 

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about NATO encircling Russia and NATO's belligerence, as well as about Ukraine and Georgia and cooperation with NATO.

NATO is not a threat to Russia. NATO is a defensive alliance. Its essential and enduring purpose is to safeguard the freedom and security of all its members by political and military means. NATO's exercises and military deployments are not directed against Russia – nor any other country. In March 2014, in response to Russia's aggressive actions against Ukraine, NATO suspended practical cooperation with Russia.