There was plenty of disinformation about Ukraine again during the last week. One “documentary” about Eastern Ukraine claimed that the Russian presence in the area was fabricated by the Western media. Russian state TV show Vremya Pokazhet focused on the relationship between Russia and Ukraine, and claimed that Russia had not seized Ukrainian territory, that Russia is not fighting in Ukraine and that Russia is in fact not present in Ukraine at all (http://bit.ly/2js6I3k). Of course, these claims have all been refuted before – even by President Putin himself (http://bit.ly/1kC94ch).
In another TV show, it was explained that Russia did indeed annex Crimea, but only to save the peninsula from impending destruction (http://bit.ly/2jh7cXG). The same disinformation was aired by Czech pro-Kremlin outlet Protiproud, which re-used the unsubstantiated allegations around genocide of Russian speakers (http://bit.ly/2iDpbsQ).
As we know, the illegal annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation took place in February-March 2014, almost two months before the pro-Russian protests in Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts escalated into an armed separatist insurgency (http://bbc.in/1FfegIv). The Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court has found that the Russian Federation deployed members of its armed forces to gain control over parts of the Ukrainian territory without the consent of the Ukrainian Government (http://bit.ly/2ftv6iT).
Who cares about numbers?
This last week has seen massive disinformation directed towards the US enforcement of NATO’s eastern flank, as we have already reported (http://bit.ly/2iMmGkG). In particular, the number of tanks deployed has been grossly exaggerated (87 becoming 3600 http://bit.ly/2j7N5Lv).
The US led Operation Atlantic Resolve is depicted as NATO aggression directed at Russia (http://bit.ly/2iOTESf) – in some websites it is even suggested that the conflict with Russia is intended to start before President-elect Trump’s inauguration on Friday (http://bit.ly/2jMn1sE). This all fits with one of the most recurring narratives that pro-Kremlin disinformation uses about the West: aggressive, warmongering and encircling Russia (http://bit.ly/2i46HTd).
This was followed by other disinformation on NATO, namely a fake photo claimed to portray dead civilians after a NATO bombing in Kosovo, (http://bit.ly/2iMxnna) which was in fact depicting dead civilians in Bosnia four years prior to the NATO intervention in Kosovo (http://reut.rs/2iKN0fS). The use of fake photos is a widely used tactic in the disinformation campaigns as we have reported before http://bit.ly/2hrUtDG.
NATO/the West was also said to be behind a disinformation campaign directed at Russia – not the other way around – which included disinformation on the downing of flight MH17 (http://bit.ly/2jqgeE8). Among other things, it was claimed that no evidence has been presented that the MH17 was shot down by a BUK missile and that the contrary evidence of a Spanish air controller, “Carlos”, was never followed up. Of course, as we have reported (http://bit.ly/2jqPAZu), the criminal investigation into the downing of MH17 concluded – based on solid evidence – that the missile that shot down MH17 was fired from a Russian vehicle that crossed into Ukraine and then back to Russia again afterwards: (http://bit.ly/2d980Nz). Regarding the mysterious “Carlos”, the airport where he supposedly worked for several years has confirmed that at that time all of their air traffic controllers were Ukrainian, and that in any case they have never employed any Spaniard as an air controller or for any other task (http://bit.ly/1Vg9mEv). Sadly, the distortion of the MH17 tragedy for disinformation purposes continues unashamedly (http://bit.ly/2k3lY3N).
Disinformation cases reported in the previous week
This old disinformation has been spread via a blog and twitter. The Swedish Embassy in Russia has refuted the claims as being disinformation http://bit.ly/2jUPOHo.
According to Ukraine’s state gas company Naftogaz, Ukraine’s 2016 gas consumption decreased by 19% compared to last year and by 45% compared to 2014.Further debinking at StopFake http://bit.ly/2jQoV7x.
No evidence given. There is in fact a lot of credible evidence of a Russian presence in Donbas, for example in the findings of the International Criminal Court http://bit.ly/2ftv6iT. The "independent" journalist who made the "documentary" is employed by Russia Today (which is to 100 % funded by the Kremlin). http://bzfd.it/2jPrK93
No, the EU is not banning snowmen, nor snow or any other form of water. Concerning law-making in the EU, one can learn more here http://bit.ly/2jbviWa.
Rossiya 1 (18:05)
President-elect Trump has accepted the reports' conclusion.
Rossiya 1 (10:07)
The CIA report consists of two parts. The content of the second part, which presumably contains this evidence, is classified. Moreover, both President Obama and President-elect Donald Trump accept the U.S. intelligence community's conclusion that Russia engaged in cyber attacks during the US Presidential election http://reut.rs/2isf2wo.
No evidence given. No reports about this apart from pro-Kremlin outlets.
The media in Czech Republic cover deployment of NATO soldiers and military equipment to Poland and Baltic states http://bit.ly/2jsKL4y.
No evidence given. The statement comes from the second-in-command of Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) Eduard Basurin, well-known for spreading lies and disinformation.
The deployment of multinational troops in Baltic states and Poland was approved in July 2016 at the NATO summit in Warsaw. The expected size of 4000 soldiers is designed to provide security guarantees and bolster deterrence on the eastern flank.
No evidence presented for the claims. Furthermore, ISIS claimed responsibility for the New Year’s attack at Istanbul’s Reina nightclub. Recently, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus said that a intelligence organization was involved, however no Western secret services have been mentioned. An offshoot of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) claimed responsibility for the car incident in Izmir.
The photo published by Politicano was taken by a Reuters’ photograph Peter Andrews on August 28 1995 in Bosnia http://reut.rs/2iKN0fS and shows the explosion near Markale market that killed 38 people. The explosion took place in the light of the armed conflict between the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serb Republic. In 1999, the UN investigation http://bit.ly/2igDk0y revealed that the missiles were thrown from west, Lukavica, which then belonged to Bosnian Serbs. http://bit.ly/2jn7AUp
The Dutch court has not been involved in the case, nor does the Prosecutors' office plan any actions towards the journalists.http://bit.ly/2jayUrP
Rossiya 1 (1:07:19)
The annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation took place in February-March 2014, almost two months before the pro-Russian protests in Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts escalated into an armed separatist insurgency http://bbc.in/1FfegIv. // The situation in Ukraine has been under the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court preliminary examination since 25 April 2014. In their Report on Preliminary Examination Activities 2016, they state that “the information available suggests that the situation within the territory of Crimea and Sevastopol amounts to an international armed conflict between Ukraine and the Russian Federation. This international armed conflict began at the latest on 26 February when the Russian Federation deployed members of its armed forces to gain control over parts of the Ukrainian territory without the consent of the Ukrainian Government https://www.icc-cpi.int/iccdocs/otp/161114-otp-rep-PE_ENG.pdf.
The – unrepresentative - poll on the linked website measures AfD’s support currently at 2%
The European Union is the leading donor in the international response to the crisis. More than €5 billion have been mobilised for relief and recovery assistance to Syrians. More about what the EU is doing with regards to humanitarian aid to Syria here http://bit.ly/1Nunsvg.The EU fully support to the UN-led process and to the UN Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura. During the Foreign Affairs Council on 16th of January, the Ministers recalled the need to ensure full humanitarian access and protection throughout the country http://bit.ly/2jH10vq.
The Eastern Partnership Agreement concerns more than just economical gain, but the Partner countries have so far benefited from €3.2bn of EU funded programmes.http://bit.ly/2jbpYSo
The Swedish Institute of International Affairs (UI) is an independent institute and a platform for research and information on foreign affairs and international relations. The news outlet cited in Sputnik is an outlet, which is often echoing pro-Kremlin narratives. The report can be found here http://bit.ly/2imcJxy
On the contrary, Tillerson said that Russia had no right to take Crimea.Further debunking at StopFake http://bit.ly/2jWUAIL.
Czech translation of the Politikus article above.
No evidence given. The US created the Global Coalition to counter ISIL in 2014 http://bit.ly/1ziAxlq. Furthermore, Western support for the Syrian opposition's success in retaking Dabiq represented a major defeat for Daesh. In contrast, despite the constant Russian rhetoric that they are fighting Daesh, the evidence is that they have in fact done little; that Russia has fabricated some of the proof provided http://bit.ly/1YdW2QE; and that Russian air strikes have been responsible for hundreds of civilian deaths http://bit.ly/1ZoAdiR.
No evidence given for this often repeated and many times debunked disinformation on Ukraine. The annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation took place in February-March 2014, almost two months before the pro-Russian protests in Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts escalated into an armed separatist insurgency http://bbc.in/1FfegIv. // There were no confirmed reports prior to Russian intervention of any ethnic Russians being threatened in Ukraine. No evidence of genocide has been provided. The far-right Right Sector (often depicted as "fascists" by pro-Kremlin outlets) gained only 1.8% of the votes, far from the threshold needed to enter parliament. Ukraine's electorate clearly voted for unity and moderation, not separatism or extremism, and the composition of the parliament reflects that http://bit.ly/2dFFEdi
The European Values Think-Tank is a non-governmental policy institute defending liberal democracy http://bit.ly/2jWEAGy.The Czech Centre against Terrorism and Hybrid threats publishes statements when a potentially harmful disinformation appears: http://bit.ly/2iUrVma Setting the record straight when a disinformation, i.e. a factually wrong message, appears has nothing to do with "opinion".
The mentioned conclusions come from various credible sources, and are not originally NATO statements (although NATO agrees with the conclusions). The US intelligence agencies have concluded that Russia interfered in the US election http://nyti.ms/2iO7d5e, the International Criminal Court has concluded that Russia intervened illegaly in Ukraine http://bit.ly/2ftv6iT, Angela Merkel and German intelligence have stated that Russia's interference can threaten German elections and democracy http://bit.ly/2jPBdNu. Russia's involvement in the MH17 tragedy has been proved by the independent investigation by the JIT http://bit.ly/2d980Nz.
Atlantic Resolve is a demonstration of continued U.S. commitment to collective security through a series of actions designed to reassure NATO allies and partners of America's dedication to enduring peace and stability in the region in light of the Russian intervention in Ukraine. http://bit.ly/2jEo1Lt. This is one part of the efforts to deter Russian aggression, ensure the territorial integrity of our allies and maintain a Europe that is whole, free, prosperous, and at peace," according to US Air Force Lieutenant General Tim Ray, deputy commander of US European Command http://bit.ly/2islnrU
The Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court has stated that “the information available suggests that the situation within the territory of Crimea and Sevastopol amounts to an international armed conflict between Ukraine and the Russian Federation. This international armed conflict began at the latest on 26 February when the Russian Federation deployed members of its armed forces to gain control over parts of the Ukrainian territory without the consent of the Ukrainian Government https://www.icc-cpi.int/iccdocs/otp/161114-otp-rep-PE_ENG.pdf.
Russia violated international law as well as key principles of the European security framework in illegally annexing the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the City of Sevastopol. The European Union does not recognise and continues to strongly condemn this violation of international law, which remains a challenge to the international security order. This position is based on the UN Charter, which clearly states that the territory of a State cannot be acquired by another State resulting from the threat or use of force, as well as on the Helsinki Final Act in which the signatories declared their intention to respect the inviolability of frontiers and territorial integrity: http://bit.ly/2d9uXT9. UNGA Resolution 68/262, which condemned Russia's illegal actions in Ukraine, was supported by 100 United Nations member states. Only 10 states opposed it. http://bit.ly/1RZGnjo. President Putin himself admitted to the presence of Russian “people there, who deal with certain matters, including in the military area” [aka soldiers] in December 2015 http://bit.ly/1kC94ch and again in October 2016 http://bit.ly/2enbpt2.
No evidence presented for these claims. CNN is a core partner of the initiative to counter fake news called First Draft http://bit.ly/2jLWaNk and they have no documented history of spreading fake news.
the MH17 case were confiscated by the Dutch authorities because the West doesn’t want the truth to be told. They were ordered to “shut their mouths”.
The journalists findings were confiscated since they brought possible human remains with them. However, they have not been hindered from talking about it nor has any legal action been initiated against them. Also, although the journalists did complain about the police at the airport being "needlessly heavy-handed" they have not claimed that their freedom of speech has been impaired in any way. http://bit.ly/2jayUrP
The disinformation about the amount of tanks has been spread also in mainstream media. In stark contrast to the 3,600 tanks mentioned in the article, the actual number is 87 tanks, correctly reported by e.g Deutche Welle http://bit.ly/2islnrU. Within three days the disinformation had been repeated by a dozen websites in the United States, Canada and Europe, and shared some 40,000 times. It was translated into Norwegian; quoted, unchallenged, by Russian state news agency RIA Novosti; and spread among Russian-language websites, as shown by the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab http://bit.ly/2j7dXLE.