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Six Kremlin Foreign Policy Boasts and Why They’re Wrong

Six Kremlin Foreign Policy Boasts and Why They’re Wrong
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Six Kremlin Foreign Policy Boasts and Why They’re Wrong video by Nik Yarst.

Russian Foreign Ministry

Russian Foreign Ministry

We fact check six false or misleading claims by made by the Russian Foreign Ministry in its annual review of the Kremlin’s policy initiatives.

False or misleading
The Russian Foreign Ministry put a misleading gloss on the Kremlin’s 2019 policy initiatives.

Claim No.1, on global cybersecurity:

“In 2019, we vigorously promoted on international platforms Russian approaches to international information security.”

This is misleading: Russian state actors have been proven to be actively involved in cyberwarfare, including malicious cyberattacks, hacking of foreign states and entities, as well as running disinformation campaigns.

The targets have included:

Disinformation campaigns:

Claim No. 2, on Syria:

“We are convinced that there is no alternative to mobilizing assistance for the voluntary, dignified and safe return of Syrian refugees and IDPs (internally displaced persons) to their original places of residence.”

This is misleading: Russia and the Assad regime are accused of forcibly relocating refugees and internally displaced people to Syrian government-controlled territories, after which they are subjected to forced enlistment in the army or imprisonment.

Claim No. 3, on Libya:

"Russia has always adhered to balanced approaches, has not been biased in favor of one or another participant in the internal Libyan processes with a view to receiving special dividends and preferences, and has maintained equal relations with all the country's influential socio-political forces."

This is false: Russia’s material and military support for Libyan warlord Khalifa Haftar has been well documented.

Claim No. 4, on the INF Treaty:

“On August 2, the United States unilaterally withdrew from the INF Treaty, resulting in its termination. The most outrageous thing is that they justify this by referring to Russia's alleged ‘violation’ of the treaty. The United States has not produced a single piece of evidence of the charges they are throwing out against us, because there is no such evidence and cannot be such evidence.”

This is false: The U.S. provided detailed evidence of Russia’s violations of the INF Treaty, the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, which was signed by the United States and the Soviet Union in 1987 and banned all of the two nations’ land-based intermediate and medium range missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads.

Claim No. 5, on Latin America:

“The Russian approach to interaction with Latin Americans is extremely logical: Do not put anyone against anyone, do not create dividing lines and artificial barriers, do not divide partners into ‘ours and others’, and strengthen cooperation on a de-ideologized, pragmatic basis with mutual respect and consideration of interests.”

This is false: Russia has been picking sides and supporting regimes from Cuba to Venezuela, Colombia and Bolivia, as well as increasing its military presence on the South American continent.

Claim No. 6, on the U.S.:

“The Foreign Ministry also continues to take all possible measures to return six objects of Russian state property in the United States, which, despite [having] immunity, were illegally seized by the American authorities in 2016-2018. These are the suburban recreation centers of the (Russian) Embassy in Washington and permanent mission to the U.N. in New York, the trade mission’s Washington mansion, two buildings of the Consulate General in San Francisco and the residence of the Consul General in Seattle.”

This is false: Russia has gravely violated diplomatic protocol by using its diplomatic properties to conduct intelligence activities prohibited by the Vienna convention, including interfering in the U.S. 2016 elections.