Fact vs. Fiction: Russian Disinformation on Ukraine

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

U.S. Department of State: Fact Sheet: Office of the Spokesperson …. Below are examples of Russian lies about the current crisis and its causes – and the truth […]

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[U.S. Department of State] Report: RT and Sputnik’s Role in Russia’s Disinformation and Propaganda Ecosystem

File Image of Laptop Computer, Tables and Mobile Device, adapted from image at energy.gov

Russian state-funded and state-directed media outlets RT and Sputnik are critical elements in Russia’s disinformation and propaganda ecosystem […]

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Breaking the Impasse Between Russia and the West Over European Security

Map of Europe, adapted from image at loc.gov

(Russia Matters – russiamatters.org – Thomas Graham – Jan. 20, 2022) Thomas Graham, a distinguished fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, served as the senior director for Russia on the National Security Council staff during the George W. Bush administration. Last week’s intense talks between Russia and the West over European security seemed to end in failure. Moscow heard […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Ukraine Standoff Threatens to Derail Russia’s Domestic Battle Against Inflation; Even without invasion, the crisis is accentuating rising price pressures at home” – Moscow Times

Cash, Calculator, Pen

The standoff between Russia and the West over Ukraine threatens to compromise Russia’s domestic economic plans and accentuate the country’s cost of living crisis […]

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U.S., Allies Again Warn Russia Of ‘Grave Consequences’ Over Ukraine

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

The meeting of allies comes a day before Secretary of State Antony Blinken heads to Geneva for talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Baltic States Authorized to Rush U.S.-Made Weapons to Ukraine” – Moscow Times

File Photo of Soldier Firing Javelin Shoulder-Mounted Anti-Tank Missile

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Jan. 20, 2022) The United States has given the green light for Baltic nations to rush U.S.-made weapons to Ukraine, with Lithuania on Thursday saying it hoped to deter “aggressor” Russia. A State Department official in Berlin, where Secretary of State Antony Blinken is holding crisis talks on Ukraine, said Washington was “expediting authorized transfers […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Biden’s Sanctions Threats ‘Destabilizing,’ Kremlin Says” – Moscow Times

Dmitry Peskov file photo adapted from image at kremlin.ru/wikimedia commons

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Jan. 20, 2022) The Kremlin warned Thursday that U.S. President Joe Biden’s threats of sanctions if Russia invades Ukraine destabilize European security. “All these statements can contribute to the destabilization of the situation,” Interfax quoted Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov as telling reporters. “We believe that they don’t contribute in any way to […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “The guns of January; As war looms larger, what are Russia’s military options in Ukraine?” – The Economist

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

“The Kremlin’s aim would probably be to shatter Ukrainian military power and dictate terms.” “… Even with [various] advantages, Russia would struggle to occupy [Kyiv], let alone … Ukraine, … as large and populous as Afghanistan. … [O]ver 300,000 Ukrainians have gained … military experience … [M]ost have access to firearms. … [T]he Pentagon and CIA [reportedly] would both support […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia denies looking for pretext to invade Ukraine” – AP

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

According to the White House, U.S. intelligence officials believe Russia has deployed operatives to rebel-controlled eastern Ukraine to carry out acts of sabotage and blame them on Ukraine, in a ‘false-flag operation’ to create a pretext for possible invasion […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Russia Says Still Waiting on Western Response to Security Demands” – Moscow Times

Sergei Lavrov file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Jan. 18, 2022) Russia is still awaiting the U.S. and NATO’s response to its sweeping demands for a new security settlement in Europe, Russia’s top diplomat said Tuesday as tensions between Moscow and the West over Ukraine continue to mount. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said after a series of high-level talks last week that the […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Russian embassy, consulates in Ukraine operating as usual – Russian Foreign Ministry” – Interfax

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

MOSCOW. Jan 18 (Interfax) – The Russian embassy and consulates general in Ukraine are operating as usual despite the attacks of Ukrainian radicals and the provocations staged by local law enforcement officers, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said on Tuesday. “The Russian embassy and consulates general to Ukraine are working as usual. They are doing so despite the attacks […]

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RUSSIALINK: “A Week of Russia-West Diplomacy Ends in Deadlock” – Moscow Times

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

The latest round of talks concluded, there is some disagreement about whether Putin’s December threat of a “military-technical solution” to the Ukraine crisis is probable or even inevitable […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Energy Dependence Ties Europe’s Hands in U.S.-Russia Crisis” – WSJ

Gas Flame file photo

“Europe gets almost one-third of its natural gas from Russia, limiting its ability to penalize Moscow.” Europe’s growing dependence on Russian gas and oil is limiting [European] room to maneuver … and making [Europe] highly vulnerable … [if] escalation [occurs in the crisis with Russia]. … Western officials accuse [Russia] of withholding extra supplies in recent months to force European […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “No Ukraine breakthrough, but NATO and Russia eye more talks” – AP/ Lorne Cook

File Photo of Wendy Sherman and Sergei Ryabkov Standing In Front of U.S. and Russian Flags, adapted from image at state.gov

“The United States and NATO [at the NATO-Russia Council’s first meeting in over two years] rejected key Russian security demands for easing tensions over Ukraine but left open … the possibility of future talks with Moscow on arms control, missile deployments and ways to prevent military incidents …. That Russia’s delegation did not walk out … and remained open to […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia Suggests Military Deployment to Venezuela, Cuba if Tensions With U.S. Remain High” – WSJ

File Photo of Wendy Sherman and Sergei Ryabkov Standing In Front of U.S. and Russian Flags, adapted from image at state.gov

“Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Rybakov said Moscow couldn’t exclude sending ‘military infrastructure’ to the two countries as tensions with U.S. soar and says talks have stalled.” “… Ryabkov said Thursday that Moscow couldn’t exclude dispatching ‘military infrastructure’ to Venezuela or Cuba if tensions with Washington — which have soared in recent weeks over a huge buildup of Russian troops on […]

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State Department Press Briefing – Jan. 11, 2022 [excerpt with Victoria Nuland]

State Department Building and U.S. Flag

(U.S. Department of State Press Briefing –  excerpt with Victoria Nuland – WASHINGTON, D.C., Jan. 11, 2022) MR PRICE:  Good afternoon.  Very sorry for the delay, but as you can see, we have a special guest joining us today for the second time, at least in this current iteration.  She is no stranger to all of you.  Victoria Nuland, the Under Secretary of State […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Where Does NATO Enlargement End?” – Creators.com/ Patrick Buchanan

NATO Meeting File Photo

“… NATO … Article 5 war guarantees … oblige the United States to wage war against Russia to restore … [the] sovereignty and territorial integrity [of NATO allies] if [they are] attacked. … Why would we commit to risk war with a nuclear-armed Russia on behalf of nations no one has ever regarded as vital interests of the United States  […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Donetsk counts conflict cost as Russia, U.S. to meet” – AP

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

“While Russia and the U.S. are preparing to meet for critical strategic talks over Ukraine, residents in the rebel-controlled Ukrainian city of Donetsk claim the Ukrainian army started heavy firing on New Year’s Eve.” “… A 2015 peace agreement brokered by France and Germany ended large-scale battles, but frequent skirmishes have continued. The [OSCE] … has reported an increasing number […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “U.S. Rebuilt NATO to Face Down Russia. Putin Scrambled Those Plans” – WSJ

NATO Meeting File Photo

“Kremlin tests the alliance by undermining former Soviet republics, sowing disinformation and exploiting divisions.” “The U.S. and other NATO members have deployed thousands of troops and invested heavily in weaponry to rebuild the alliance’s front line facing Russia. Moscow has parried that strategy by opening up new fronts just beyond NATO’s reach. … Rather than confront NATO head-on … Putin […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Why The Kremlin Lies: Understanding Its Loose Relationship With the Truth” – Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Tower and Building Inside Kremlin

Russian leaders have used deception for strategic ends in ways that shed light on their geopolitical goals […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia Thinks America Is Bluffing” – Foreign Affairs

Portion of U.S. Treasury Department Building Facade, North Side, with Sculpture of Alexander Hamilton

To Deter a Ukraine Invasion, Washington’s Threats Need to Be Tougher […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Kremlin: Russia-U.S. talks inspire no significant optimism” – AP

Wendy Sherman file photo, adapted from image at state.gov

“The Kremlin said Tuesday it saw ‘no significant reason for optimism’ …. The talks aimed at defusing tensions over Ukraine took place in Geneva on Monday and offered no sign of immediate progress. Moscow went in insisting on guarantees to halt NATO’s eastward expansion and even roll back the military alliance’s deployments in Eastern Europe — demands that Washington had […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “How to Get What We Want From Putin” – Politico.com

Map of Europe, adapted from image at loc.gov

Talks on European security underway between the U.S. and Russia will be difficult because the two countries don’t trust one another, not even a little […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Kazakh leader: Russia-led security group to pull out troops” – AP

Map of CIS Central Asia and Environs

“The president of Kazakhstan announced Tuesday that [the] Russia-led security alliance [Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), including six former Soviet states,] will start pulling out its troops [from Kazakhstan] … in two days …. Protests over soaring fuel prices erupted in the oil and gas-rich Central Asian nation of 19 million on Jan. 2 and quickly spread across the country […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Why the Russians Aren’t Coming!” – iAffairs Canada/ Egor Evsikov

Kremlin and River

“… Imagery of Russian forces assembling near the [Ukrainian] border is just one of … several indicators to consider …. Russia is … a semi-authoritarian ‘managed democracy’ …. The Russian population does not live in a constant state of war readiness. A significant state-controlled media effort would be required to prepare the population and ensure public support for the invasion […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia’s Putin Seizes on Crises to Assert Control Over Former Soviet Republics” – WSJ

Map of CIS Central Asia and Environs

“In tightening grip over neighbors, president seeks to signal that his country is a superpower to be both feared and respected.” “… The [Russian-led CSTO] venture into Kazakhstan, at the request of the country’s leader, follows nearly 15 years of Russian interventionism in Georgia, Belarus, Ukraine and elsewhere aimed at pulling [them] even closer to Russia … propping up [Kremlin-aligned] […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “U.S., Russia Hold High-Stakes Talks on Ukraine” – AFP

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

“… [H]igh-stakes negotiations come amid fears of a Russian invasion of … pro-Western … Ukraine … with Moscow demanding wide-ranging concessions from Washington and … NATO …. Monday’s [Geneva] talks … launch[ed] a week of diplomacy … after Moscow amassed tens of thousands of troops at the Ukrainian border …. RIA Novosti on Monday quoted [Sergei] Ryabkov saying he feared […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “U.S., Russia hold talks amid tensions linked to Ukraine” – AP

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

“… U.S. and Russian officials launched special talks Monday aimed at defusing tensions over a Russian military buildup on the border with Ukraine, part of a flurry of diplomatic activity in Europe …. No major breakthrough was immediately in sight. … Russia has said it wants the issue resolved this month, but NATO is wary that Putin might be looking […]

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Background Press Call by a Senior Administration Official on Russia

File Photo of White House with South Lawn and Fountain

(The White House – whitehouse.gov – Via Teleconference – 1:11 P.M. EST – Jan. 8, 2022) MODERATOR:  Hi, everyone.  Good afternoon.  And thanks for joining us on a Saturday. Today’s call will be on background, attributed to a “senior administration official,” and the contents will be embargoed upon [until] conclusion. For your information only, the speaker today is going to […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Russia rules out concessions at Ukraine talks with U.S.” – Moscow Times

Wendy Sherman file photo, adapted from image at state.gov

NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg, meeting foreign ministers of the alliance on Friday, said there remained real risks of a Russian invasion […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia and NATO: How to talk to Mr. Putin; Russia’s aggression towards Ukraine has created a chance to enhance the security of Europe” – The Economist

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

“… Perhaps [Putin] wants Ukraine to fail because, were it to become a thriving democracy, it would … rebuke … his claim that Western values are unworkable in Orthodox, Slavic Russia. He may also intend to divide and weaken NATO … [and] to create an enemy abroad … to justify repression at home …. But … Ukraine is as populous […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Biden wants to turn Ukraine into a porcupine” – Washington Post

File Photo of Soldier Firing Javelin Shoulder-Mounted Anti-Tank Missile

“…. Russia is heading to Geneva with what amounts to an ultimatum: Unless … Putin gets security guarantees from the West, he’s prepared to invade. Biden administration officials say they want a diplomatic solution, but they’ve also been delivering warnings through public and private channels that an invasion would be bloody, protracted and extremely damaging for Russia. … The Air […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “NATO weighs Russia’s security offer to end Ukraine standoff” – AP

NATO meeting file photo

“… Much contained in … documents … Moscow has made public — a draft agreement with NATO countries and the offer of a treaty between Russia and the United States — appears to be a non-starter [for NATO] …. NATO would have to agree to halt all membership plans, not just with Ukraine, and end military exercises close to Russia’s […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Keep calm and carry on; Ukrainians are peculiarly relaxed about Russia’s troop build-up; Many have grown inured to a risk they can do nothing about” – The Economist

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

“… Ukraine is deeply wary of threats to its independence, so one might expect widespread alarm … [over] 100,000 or so Russian troops at the border, and … [Putin] muttering … about ‘military-technical’ action. … [But] Ukrainians have weathered eight years of war against troops backed by Russia in … Donetsk and Luhansk, which have claimed 13,000 lives. … [T]hey […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Kazakhstan protests mark end of Nazarbayev era” – Financial Times

File Photo of Hillary Rodham Clinton with Nazarbayev

“Former president’s handpicked successor takes control of security forces and turns to Russia for help.” “… protests that have shaken Kazakhstan may mark the end of [81-year-old] Nursultan Nazarbayev’s long grip on power — but do not suggest the oil-rich central Asian country will make a smooth transition from autocratic rule. Nazarbayev had ruled the country for most of Kazakhstan’s […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Ukraine Is Only One Small Part of Putin’s Plans” – New York Times

File Photo of Vladimir Putin at Podium with United Russia Logo, Gesturing

“… The immediate aim, to be sure, is to return Ukraine to Russia’s orbit. But …. Putin’s design is grand: to refashion the post-Cold War settlement, in the process guaranteeing … Russia’s personalized power system. … Today, Ukraine is the jewel to fight for. But it won’t end there: Belarus, whose embattled leader relies on Russia’s support, could be the […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: In Kazakhstan, Putin Again Seizes on Unrest to Try to Expand Influence” – New York Times

Map of CIS Central Asia and Environs

“But a series of revolts against a pro-Russian strongman could also plant the seeds of rebellion at home, analysts say.” “… The arrival in Kazakhstan of 2,500 troops from a Russian-led military alliance amid … violent protest was the fourth time in … two years … Moscow has flexed its muscle in neighboring states — Belarus, Armenia and Ukraine being […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Toast of Emerging Markets in 2021, Russia Gives Pause” – Bloomberg

Cash, Calculator, Pen

“… For all the gains [Russia’s] assets … made in the past 12 months, a military incursion into Ukraine [reportedly] would transform the narrative instantly …. Unprecedented U.S. and European sanctions would leave Russia off-limits to many investors, rendering the benefits of rising commodity prices, record international reserves and the central bank’s hawkish turn all but irrelevant. … [T]ensions with […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “China and Russia team up to establish joint moon base” – Asia Times

File Photo of Surface of Moon with Earth in Distance, adapted from NASA image

China and Russia’s plans can be seen as a response to their exclusion from the U.S. Artemis Accords […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “U.S. pushes unity on Ukraine ahead of key Russia meetings” – AP

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

Yet the severity of the response hinges largely on Germany, Europe’s biggest economy and a diplomatic heavyweight within the 27-nation EU […]

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RUSSIALINK: “For a Troubled Russian Region, Stalin is a Local Hero” – Moscow Times

File Phot of Attlee, Truman, Stalin at Potsdam, adapted from image at osti.gov

Pukhayev and other local Stalin critics are left casting around for explanations …. “Stalinism is our national Stockholm syndrome,” he said, referring to a psychological condition in which hostages develop an emotional bond with their captors […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “U.S. Catches Kremlin Insider Who May Have Secrets of 2016 Hack” – Bloomberg

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

“IT executive Vladislav Klyushin’s journey into U.S. custody is a blow to the Kremlin, say people familiar with a Russian intelligence assessment of what he may have to offer” Bloomberg reports on the extradition from Switzerland to the United States of Russian tech tycoon Vladislav Klyushin, the highest-level Kremlin insider falling into the hands of U.S. law enforcement in recent […]

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Time Horizons of Russians Short and Bases for More Optimism in Short Supply, Volkov Says

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Paul Goble – Window On Eurasia – Staunton, Dec. 29, 2021) For six reasons, Russians do not have a long time horizon when it comes to planning, Denis Volkov of the Levada Center says on the basis of his conversations with participants of focus groups. And while their optimism about the future has risen over the past year, few are […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia’s Military Buildup Near Ukraine Is an Open Secret” – WSJ

Artist's Depiction of Spy Satellite in Orbit, With Stylized Depictions of Lines of Site and Data Points, adapted from image at iarpa.gov

Satellite images, social media posts and flight-tracking data allow private analysts to track details governments once classified […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Foreign Policy Experts Map Russia’s Plans for 2022” – Moscow Times

Satellite

The Moscow Times asked 10 commentators for their predictions for the coming year […]

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