Disinfo: White Helmets and terrorists are preparing a new front against Russia

Summary

White Helmets and terrorists are preparing chemical weapons and a new front against Russia. They also continue to stage videos about attacks in Syria. White Helmets’ videos present too many coincidences to be real.

Disproof

No evidence given. Recurring pro-Kremlin conspiracy theory painting the White Helmets as terrorists. The White Helmets are a staple topic of pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives on the Syrian civil war, having already been accused of numerous other provocations and war crimes including organ trafficking; aiding terrorist organizations; staging and/or perpetrating chemical attacks, sometimes with the help of Western intelligence agencies. A majority of these claims are unburdened by evidence and often rely on meaningless formulations such as "according to information provided by X," "there are reasons to assume," and so forth. See here on the importance of White Helmets in Russian and Syrian disinformation. The White Helmets, also known as Syria Civil Defence, are a Syrian volunteer organisation dedicated to saving, protecting and helping civilians during the Syrian conflict. In 2018 some 800 White Helmets and their families were rescued from Syria as they were at imminent risk following the escalation of violence in south west Syria.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 172
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 06/11/2019
  • Outlet language(s) Russian
  • Country: Syria, US, Russia
  • Keywords: White Helmets, Anti-Russian, Chemical weapons/attack
see more

Naftogaz of Ukraine blackmails Russia

Instead of meeting Russian Gazprom and starting constructive negotiations, Ukraine’s Naftogaz allegedly continues to blackmail Russia. The parties cannot agree on the details of a new contract for the transit of gas from Russia to the European Union through the Ukrainian gas transportation system due to the destabilising position of Ukraine.

Disproof

The ten-year contract for gas transit from Russia to the European Union through the territory of Ukraine expires on 31 December. The latest round of trilateral negotiations ended in Brussels on 28 October. The European side, represented by the Vice President of the European Commission Maroš Šefčovič, expressed disappointment with the results of the consultations. The European Union and Ukraine have a similar position on the issue of a contract with Russia. At the meeting, EU representatives proposed clear requirements on the procedure for signing a business agreement with the prescribed deadlines. The Ukrainian side is ready to sign a new contract on 17 December. But despite the expiring contract, Gazprom has not yet submitted a single official written proposal to Ukraine to resolve the situation, Naftogaz reported. Moreover, it is the Russian side that appears to be resorting to “gas blackmail”. The Kremlin requires Ukraine to abandon the Stockholm arbitration decision, according to which a Russian company owes Naftogaz almost $ 2.6 billion for neglecting the terms of a previous contract for the transit of resources through the Ukrainian gas transportation system. Ukraine cannot agree to these conditions. Gas disputes between Russia and Ukraine are one of Russia's favourite fields for spreading fakes. Read similar cases in which it is stated that Ukraine plans to disrupt gas transit to the EU and that Kyiv will not sign a new contract. Further debunking by StopFake.

In Ukraine, one can be imprisoned for the emblem of the USSR, but do not touch the Nazis

In Ukraine, double standards apply: the Ukrainian police can imprison a person for carrying the emblem of the USSR, but does not touch people who demonstrate Nazi symbols.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin narrative about the Nazis in Ukraine. In Ukraine in 2015, the law on decommunisation, initiated by the Cabinet of Ministers, entered into force. The document recognises the communist and Nazi totalitarian regimes in Ukraine as criminal and pursuing a policy of state terror. The new law amended the Criminal Code of Ukraine. According to article 436-1, a person propagating Nazi or communist symbols faces up to five years in prison.

The incident in the Kerch strait was a crime of the Ukrainian military

Ukraine will get back its ships detained in Crimea, but only after recognising their provocation in the Kerch Strait. The Russian side considers the incident in the strait as a crime of the Ukrainian military.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation about the Kerch incident. On the 25th of November 2018, border patrol boats belonging to Russia’s FSB security service seized two small Ukrainian armoured artillery vessels and a tug boat and their crews after shooting at them, wounding several Ukrainian servicemen and arresting 24 members. Russia stated they were in Russian waters. However, according to the bilateral agreement between Ukraine and Russia, the Kerch Strait and the Sea of Azov are the internal waters of both Russia and Ukraine. The agreement gives both parties the power to inspect suspicious vessels. Furthermore, both the 2003 bilateral agreement and UN Convention on the Law of the Sea provide for freedom of navigation. For further reporting see Bellingcat, DFRLab and Polygraph.