Tag Archives: Vladimir Putin

Putin Signs Law Banning Crypto Payments In Russia!

Putin Signs Law Banning Crypto Payments In Russia!

Russian President Vladimir Putin just signed into law a national ban on crypto payments in Russia!

Find out what’s going on, and what it means for cryptocurrencies in Russia!

 

Putin Signs Law Banning Crypto Payments In Russia!

On July 16, 2022, Russian President Vladimir Putin just signed into law a national ban on crypto payments in Russia.

This move comes after the Central Bank of Russia proposed an outright ban on using cryptocurrencies for payments or investments.

This ban does not go so far – it only bans payments using cryptocurrencies, while allowing people to continue investing in cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereal, as well as digital assets like NFTs.

The new Russian law, as translated by Google, states that :

It is prohibited to transfer or accept digital financial assets as a consideration for transferred goods, performed works, rendered services, as well as in any other way that allows one to assume payment for goods (works, services) by a digital financial asset, except as otherwise provided by federal laws.

While it prohibits individuals and companies from paying for, and receiving, cryptocurrencies for goods and services, it allows the Russian government to use cryptocurrencies.

It also does not prohibit investing in cryptocurrencies or digital assets like NFT, leaving that open for now.

Read more : Bill Gates Mocks Crypto + NFTs As Assets For Fools!

 

Partial Crypto Ban Reflects A Russia In Quandary

This partial ban on cryptocurrency reflects Russia’s precarious financial situation after invading Ukraine on February 24, 2022.

The Russian government had, prior to that, been skeptical, if not hostile, about cryptocurrency. But US and European sanctions are forcing them to hold back.

The lower house of the Federal Assembly of Russia, for example, just approved a draft bill on June 28 that would exempt cryptocurrency issuers from the Value Added Tax (VAT).

If passed by the upper house and signed into law by Putin, the lower house bill would also lower tax rates on income earned from selling cryptocurrencies – falling from 20% to just 13% for Russian companies, and 15% for foreign companies.

More recently, the Head of Russia’s Financial Policy Department even suggested that Russia could use cryptocurrencies to settle international payments.

Even Putin himself said that Russia had “certain competitive advantages” including a “surplus of electricity and well-trained personnel” to participate in crypto-mining, even though he is against using cryptocurrencies domestically.

If the Russian government chooses this path, it would be considered hypocritical in light of this ban on crypto payments in Russia. Cryptocurrencies are bad for the people, but good for the Russian government.

 

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Did Putin Force EU Countries To Pay For Gas In Rubles?!

Did Russian President Vladimir Putin force EU countries to pay for their gas in rubles?!

Take a look at the viral claim, and find out what the facts really are!

 

Claim : Putin Forced EU Countries To Pay For Gas In Rubles!

People are sharing a comic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, and a story of how he cleverly forced EU countries like Poland, Austria and Bulgaria to pay for gas in rubles.

12 hours ago: Russia shuts down the gas pipeline to Poland and Bulgaria for refusing to pay with the ruble.

10 hours ago: Poland agrees to pay the price of gas with ruble.

6 hours ago: Austria and Bulgaria agree to pay the price of gas in rubles.

5 hours ago: The European Commission licensing European countries to buy gas with ruble.

 

Truth : Putin Did NOT Force EU Countries To Pay For Gas In Rubles!

The truth is this is just more pro-Russian propaganda and FAKE NEWS, and here are the reasons why…

Fact #1 : EU Countries Have Gas Contracts With Gazprom In USD / Euros

First, we need to establish the fact that EU countries like Poland, Austria and Bulgaria have existing gas contracts with Russian energy company Gazprom.

On 23 March 2022, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the Russian central bank, government and Gasprom to demand that “unfriendly countries” must pay for their gas in rubles.

However, as those existing gas contracts are specifically stipulated to be paid in US dollars or Euros, it would be a material breach of contract.

Fact #2 : Poland Refuses To Pay For Gas In Rubles

Gazprom stopped exporting gas to Poland on 27 April 2022, after Poland refused to pay for the gas in rubles.

The Polish state gas company PGNiG, has an existing contract with Gazprom to provide 53% of its gas imports to be paid in Euros. They described the suspension of gas supply as a breach of contract, and said that they will take steps to reinstate the gas supply.

However, Poland continues to refuse to pay Gazprom in rubles.

Fact #3 : Poland Does Not Need Russian Gas

The Polish deputy foreign minister said that Poland has “taken some decisions many years ago to prepare for such a situation“, and can cope without gas from Gazprom.

Poland also formally commissioned a new gas interconnection with Lithuania on 5 May 2022, eventually providing billion cubic metres of LNG per year.

Fact #4 : Bulgaria Refuses To Pay For Gas In Rubles

Gazprom also stopped exporting gas to Bulgaria on 27 April 2022, because Bulgaria refused to pay for the gas in rubles.

Bulgarian Energy Minister Alexander Nikolov said that Gazprom will be in breach of its contract if it stops supplying gas.

However, Bulgaria continues to refuse to pay Gazprom in rubles.

Fact #5 : Bulgaria Does Not Need Russian Gas

Despite relying on Gazprom for 90% of its gas supply, Bulgaria said that it had taken steps to find alternative sources, and that no restrictions on gas consumption was currently required.

Interestingly, Bulgarian gas network operator Bulgartransgaz said that Gazprom was still supplying gas to Bulgaria…

Fact #6 : Austria Refuses To Pay For Gas In Rubles

Austria publicly denounced the fake news that they agreed to pay for Russian gas in rubles. In a Twitter post, Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer said :

Before the fake news of Russian propaganda is spread further here. Of course, OMV will continue to pay for gas delivery from Russian in euros.

Fact #7 : EC Did Not Licence Payment For Gas In Rubles

The fake news also falsely claimed that the European Commission licensed European countries to buy gas from Russia with the ruble.

There is no such “licence”.

In fact, the European Commission has specifically stated that EU companies must pay for Russian gas in euros or US dollars to avoid breaching sanctions.

Fact #8 : GazpromBank Is Converting Payments To Rubles

In an effort to comply with existing contracts, as well as Putin’s decree, Gazprom has been working with EU companies to come up with a workaround :

  • EU companies will deposit their payment in euros or US dollars at GazpromBank.
  • Gazprom agrees that payment has been legally completed.
  • GazpromBank converts the euros or dollars into rubles.
  • GazpromBank transfers the payment in rubles to Gazprom.

This workaround was considered legal by the EC, as both Gazprom and GazpromBank are currently not subject to EU sanctions.

Many pro-Russian and pro-CCP netizens are sharing this fake story on WhatsApp, Telegram, Twitter and Facebook.

Please help us FIGHT FAKE NEWS by sharing this fact check article out!

 

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Dr. Adrian Wong has been writing about tech and science since 1997, even publishing a book with Prentice Hall called Breaking Through The BIOS Barrier (ISBN 978-0131455368) while in medical school.

He continues to devote countless hours every day writing about tech, medicine and science, in his pursuit of facts in a post-truth world.

 

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Did Russia Capture US General Roger Cloutier In Azovstal?!

Did Russian forces just capture US general Roger Cloutier in the besieged Azovstal steel plant?!

Take a look at the viral claim, and find out what the facts really are!

 

Claim : Russia Captured US General Roger Cloutier In Azovstal!

People are claiming that Russia just captured US general Roger L. Cloutier at the besieged Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol, Ukraine.

This is sometimes mentioned as part of the Azovstal NATO headquarters story, or separately like these examples :

The rumours going around that a US Major General Roger L. Cloutier has been captured by Russian army at Azovstal in Mariupol. It would be within the Russians’ right to execute this officer as nothing more than a common criminal. Not kidding. Legally by all laws.

The Russian army captured the US Major General Roger L. Cloutier Jr., the US Africa Command HQ Chief of Staff in the besieged Ukrainian Azov camp in Mariupol. The Pentagon wanted to contact Putin.

Read more : Secret NATO Headquarters Under Azovstal Exposed?!

 

Truth : Russia Did NOT Capture US General Roger Cloutier At All!

The truth is – this is yet another example of FAKE NEWS created and shared by pro-Russia activists, as well as the Chinese 50 Cent Army (wumao, 五毛).

Fact #1 : Roger Cloutier Is A Lieutenant General

First of all, Roger L. Cloutier holds the rank of a Lieutenant General (O-9), and is a three-star general officer.

He is not a Major General (O-8), which is a two-star general officer rank.

Fact #2 : Roger Cloutier Heads NATO Allied Land Command

Secondly, Lt. General Cloutier is not the Chief of Staff for US Africa Command.

He has been the Command of the NATO Allied Land Command (LANDCOM) in Izmir, Turkey, for the last 1.5 years – since August 2020.

Fact #3 : General Cloutier Appeared On 14 April 2022

Two weeks after these claims started circulating amongst pro-Russian and pro-CCP (Chinese Communist Party) groups, Lt. General Cloutier posted a video on 14 April 2022.

It showed him greeting the commander of the NATO Multinational Corps (South East), Major General Dragoş-Dumitru Iacob at the LANDCOM headquarters.

Fact #4 : NATO Confirmed That It’s Fake News

NATO has described the viral news as “completely fake news”, and confirmed that :

LTG Cloutier has NOT been captured and is currently with his command in Izmir.

LANDCOM Deputy Public Affairs Officer, Major Brian Andries also confirmed that his boss is still very much in Turkey :

These rumors are completely false. Our commander is currently commanding NATO Allied Land Command in Izmir, Turkey, and has not been to Ukraine since the Land Staff Talks we conducted in July of 2021. While NATO nations are sending financial and military aid to Ukraine, no NATO soldiers or leaders are deployed to the country.

Fact #5 : There Are No NATO Forces In Ukraine

Allied Land Command told BBC reporter Alistair Coleman that “there are no NATO forces or leaders in Ukraine in any capacity“.

Major Brian Andries from LANDCOM also pointed out that that Cloutier was last in Ukraine in July 2021, and photos from that visit was used to “prove” the fake news :

Photos from this event have been used as proof as recent visit to Ukraine which never occurred. No NATO forces are in Ukraine, let alone a United States Army three-star general.

Variants of this FAKE NEWS are now being shared in pro-Russia and pro-CCP websites.

Please help us FIGHT FAKE NEWS by sharing this fact check article out!

 

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Dr. Adrian Wong has been writing about tech and science since 1997, even publishing a book with Prentice Hall called Breaking Through The BIOS Barrier (ISBN 978-0131455368) while in medical school.

He continues to devote countless hours every day writing about tech, medicine and science, in his pursuit of facts in a post-truth world.

 

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Secret NATO Headquarters Under Azovstal Exposed?!

Does NATO have a secret headquarters under the Azovstal plant in Ukraine, where they produce biological weapons?!

Take a look at the viral claim, and find out what the facts really are!

 

Claim : Secret NATO Headquarters Under Azovstal Exposed!

People are sharing schematics of a secret NATO headquarters under the Azovstal plant, where they claim biological weapons are being produced in Ukraine.

It was actively promoted by Russian political scientist, Sergei Markov, Russia Today, and several Italian TV channels including PiazzaPulita on La7 and Rai 1, as well as the Chinese 50 Cent Army (wumao, 五毛).

Online posts often included this long story, which is rather long, so feel free to skip to the next section for the facts.

What is the secret of Azovstal? In Mariupel there is a secret building with a depth of 30 m underground and on multiple floors.

This building is located under the Azovstal plant, which includes the secret headquarters of the North Atlantic, with the code number (pit_404). For the production of biological weapons, within a highly fortified and protected system, in which 240 foreign scientists of different nationalities are present.

 

Truth : There Is No Secret NATO Headquarters Under Azovstal!

This is yet another example of FAKE NEWS created and shared by not only pro-Russia activists, but also the Chinese 50 Cent Army (wumao, 五毛).

Here are the facts behind the two viral schematics, and why this is just fake news…

Fact #1 : Azovstal Plant Complex Was Created By Soviet Union

The massive Azovstal plant complex was created in the 1930s, as a priority construction project by the Soviet Union.

They spent 292 million rubles to create the massive steel plant complex that would be capable of producing 4 million tons of pig iron a year.

That target was partly demanded by Soviet leaders to beat the Americans whose Gary steel plant was “only” capable of smelting 3 million tons a year.

Fact #2 : Azovstal Bunkers Were Built By Soviet Union

The fake news creators used this infographic from the Daily Mail UK as “evidence” that the Azovstal tunnels were created by NATO.

Ironically, the infographic specifically pointed out that the bunkers and tunnels under the Azovstal plant complex were built by the Soviet Union, to “safeguard the steel plant’s 40,000 workers in the event of a nuclear attack”.

These bunkers and tunnels were built many decades earlier by the Soviet Union, not NATO.

Credit : Daily Mail UK

Fact #3 : No Evidence Of NATO Facility Called PIT-404

There is no evidence of any NATO facility called PIT-404 ever existed.

The fabulous fact checkers at MythDetector.ge did a great job of tracing the origin of this PIT-404 claim to an April 4, 2022 post in the Russian forum, strategium.ru.

In that post, a user called sojnyshkotanya claimed that there is a bio-laboratory under Azovstal, and mentioned PIT several times in reference to Azovstal.

sojnyshkotanya also noted that the best route for the evacuation of Western officials from that facility is from Mariupol to Samsun – a distance of 404 miles.

That was the most likely origin of the name and story of the mysterious PIT-404 underground NATO facility that produces biological weapons.

Fact #4 : PIT-404 Schematic Was From A Board Game!

The image that people are sharing as the PIT-404 NATO facility schematic was actually taken from a board game called Blackout: Journey into Darkness by Richard T. Boardwater.

This board game was pitched on Kickstarter in 2016 as a game for 1-4 people who try to survive in a post-apocalyptic world dominated by monsters, where humans now have to survive in bunkers.

You can see its bunker graphic under the Beneath The Surface section of their Kickstarter pitch), with the following description :

Beneath the crumbling cities, a vast network of subterranean pathways exists. These vast underground chambers are vital to the Brood’s survival. With these tunnels, The Brood emerged to feed on mankind after the great fall. It is these same tunnels they continue to thrive unmolested. Many of the nomadic Unification kill teams have attempted to cleanse these zones but all have been unsuccessful, for the network beneath the surface is vast.

Doesn’t sound like a NATO facility, does it?

The game ultimately didn’t achieve its fundraising goal and was not greenlit, but its bunker design has now found everlasting fame as the (non-existent) PIT-404 NATO facility in the fevered dreams of Russian and Chinese conspiracy theorists.

Fact #5 : PiazzaPulita Admitted Their Mistake

On 22 April 2022, PiazzaPulita admitted that they were wrong to claim that the Blackout bunker schematic was of the Azovstal steel factory bunkers.

As far as I can tell, Sergei Markov – the Russian political scientist and former Putin advisor – has yet to admit his mistake

Fact #6 : Metabiota Is Not Owned By Hunter Biden Or Volodymyr Zelenskyy

The fake story claimed that “this headquarters is run by the Metabiota Corporation of Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, and his direct partner, Volodymyr Zelensky“. That’s utter nonsense.

Metabiota is a private company owned by 21 venture capitalist companies, one of which is Rosemont Seneca Technology Partners – a private equity firm partly owned by Hunter Biden.

So no, Metabiota is not owned by Hunter Biden. Neither is it owned by Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

The fact that the fake news creators got the name Volodymyr wrong, suggests that they are not Russian. Quite likely, this fake news was created by the Chinese 50 Cent Army (wumao, 五毛).

Fact #7 : French General Eric Vidaud Failed To Predict Russian Invasion

French General Eric Vidaud was fired at the end of March 2022 for failing to predict Russia’s invasion of Ukraine – in sharp contrast with other Western Allies.

Vidaud, who led the Directorate of Military Intelligence (DRM) was asked to step down, after an internal defence ministry investigation criticised “insufficient briefings” and “failure to master the issues”.

The fact that the fake news creators got the name Vidaud wrong, suggests that they are not Russian. Quite likely, this fake news was created by the Chinese 50 Cent Army (wumao, 五毛).

Left : Gen. Eric Vidaud | Right : Lt. Gen. Roger L. Cloutier

Fact #8 : US General Roger Cloutier Jr. Was Not Captured

US Lieutenant General Roger L. Cloutier Jr. was not shot down in his helicopter, and captured by Russian forces in Mariupol.

A NATO spokesperson, Brian Andries said that Cloutier is currently commanding NATO Allied Land Command in Izmir, Turkey and has not been to Ukraine since July 2021.

The fact that the fake news creators got the name Cloutier wrong, suggests that they are not Russian. Quite likely, this fake news was created by the Chinese 50 Cent Army (wumao, 五毛).

Variants of this FAKE NEWS are now being shared in pro-Russia and pro-CCP websites.

Please help us FIGHT FAKE NEWS by sharing this fact check article out!

 

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Support my work through a bank transfer /  PayPal / credit card!

Name : Adrian Wong
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Dr. Adrian Wong has been writing about tech and science since 1997, even publishing a book with Prentice Hall called Breaking Through The BIOS Barrier (ISBN 978-0131455368) while in medical school.

He continues to devote countless hours every day writing about tech, medicine and science, in his pursuit of facts in a post-truth world.

 

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Is Malaysia Going To Supply Russia With Semiconductors?!

Is Malaysia preparing to break Western sanctions, and supply Russia with electronics and semiconductors?!

Take a look at the viral claim, and find out what the facts really are!

 

Claim : Malaysia Preparing To Supply Russia With Semiconductors!

People are sharing a GizChina article that claims that Malaysia is preparing to supply Russia with electronics and semiconductors against Western sanctions!

Here is what the article says… It’s long so please feel free to skip to the next section for the facts…

It looks like Malaysia is prepping to supply electronics and semiconductors to Russia amid the country’s invasion of Ukraine. This piece of information has been confirmed by the Malaysian Ambassador to the Russian Federation, Bala Chandran Tharman.

 

Truth : Malaysia NOT Preparing To Supply Russia With Semiconductors!

The truth is – GizChina made up this story, and here are the reasons why…

Fact #1 : Mahathir Is No Longer Prime Minister Of Malaysia

GizChina does not seem to be aware that Dr. Mahathir Mohamad has not been the Prime Minister of Malaysia since he stepped down on 24 February 2020.

They hilariously used the photo of Dr. Mahathir with Russian President Vladimir Putin that was taken at the 33rd ASEAN Summit in Singapore, in 2018.

Mahathir wasn’t even mentioned in their article. They could have used a photo of the Malaysian Ambassador to Russia, Bala Chandran Tharman…

Please don’t tell them they thought that this was a picture of the Malaysian Ambassador to Russia with Putin…

Fact #2 : GizChina Offered No Evidence

GizChina offered ZERO evidence that Malaysia is preparing to go against Western sanctions, and supply Russia with semiconductors.

The writer, Vinay Patel, claimed that “this piece of information has been confirmed by the Malaysian ambassador to the Russian Federation, Bala Chandran Tharman“.

However, he offered no evidence to back up that claim. There was no link to any statement, or a quote of Bala Chandran confirming that Malaysia would be supplying Russia with semiconductors.

Fact #3 : Bala Chandran Did Not Say Malaysia Will Supply Russia With Semiconductors

Despite other sources claiming that Bala Chandran made that claim to RIA Novosti and Sputnik News, I could find no reference in their official websites.

The only legitimate news source I could find was a Bernama report on 23 April 2022, which stated :

In another development, Bala Chandran believes Malaysia would consider an opportunity to sell semiconductors and electronics to Russia.

“The Malaysian industry is market-oriented and I am absolutely sure that any request from the Russian party concerning such products will be considered,” the ambassador said.

He stressed that he was not aware of any current talks on the issues between the two countries.

Bala Chandran, as far as I can tell, never said that Malaysia would go against Western sanctions, and actually supply Russia with semiconductors.

He only said that “Malaysia would consider” the “opportunity to sell semiconductors and electronics to Russia“.

This is no different from a lady telling you that “she would consider” going out on a date with you. That could possibly happen, but it does NOT mean she actually agreed to go out on a date with you.

Fact #4 : Malaysia Is A Democracy With A Market Economy

Bala Chandran also pointed out that the Malaysian market is “market-oriented“. Malaysia has a market economy, and is not controlled by the government.

Malaysia is also a democratic country, not an autocratic / authoritarian state like China, where the government has massive power to control private / public enterprises.

In short, the Malaysian government cannot and does not dictate who Malaysian companies should sell to. Even if Malaysia wanted to sell semiconductors to Russia, it cannot simply order companies to do so.

Bala Chandran also clarified, he isn’t aware of any ongoing conversations at the government level. In other words, the Malaysian government itself has made no effort to sell or market semiconductors to Russia.

Fact #5 : Malaysia Does Not Own Semiconductor Companies

Malaysia has a number of homegrown semiconductor companies that provide critical support to multinational corporations like Intel, AMD, Agilent, Renata, Osram, Infineon and Broadcom.

However, they are private and public-listed companies and not owned by the Malaysian government, or beholden to it. Practically all of them have ties to Western companies that have to comply with Western sanctions against Russia.

Therefore, the Malaysian government cannot dictate who these companies should supply their products and services to. It can only say that “any request from the Russian party concerning such products will be considered“, and nothing more.

Fact #6 : Even Chinese Companies Are Avoiding Russia

Despite China coming out against economic sanctions imposed on Russia, Chinese companies are studiously avoiding breaking Western sanctions.

Even Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, explicitly said that “China is not a party to the crisis, nor does it want the sanctions to affect China.

Companies placed under US sanctions, for example, will have all of their US assets and banned from trading with US companies.

If China does not dare to break Western sanctions against Russia, do you really expect Malaysia to break them? Do you expect private and public-listed companies to break Western sanctions?

As a warning shot, Singapore electronics wholesaler Alexsong Pte Ltd. was placed under US sanctions for facilitating “transactions that helped Russia evade sanctions“.

The truth is, for most companies, the Russian market is much too small to risk losing access to Western markets, capital and technologies.

Variants of this FAKE NEWS are now being shared in pro-Russia and pro-China websites.

Please help us FIGHT FAKE NEWS by sharing this fact check article out!

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Support my work through a bank transfer /  PayPal / credit card!

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Dr. Adrian Wong has been writing about tech and science since 1997, even publishing a book with Prentice Hall called Breaking Through The BIOS Barrier (ISBN 978-0131455368) while in medical school.

He continues to devote countless hours every day writing about tech, medicine and science, in his pursuit of facts in a post-truth world.

 

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Fact Check : What China Should Worry About Russia Invading Ukraine!

People are sharing a post by Li Guangman on what China should worry about the Russia-Ukraine War.

Take a look at the viral post, and find out what the facts really are!

 

Li Guangman : What China Should Worry About Russia Invading Ukraine!

Chinese and pro-China netizens have been sharing this post by Chinese blogger Li Guangman on what lessons China should learn from the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

It’s a very long post, so feel free to skip to the next section for the facts…

Some worries brought about by the Russia-Ukraine war (says Li Guangman)

After the outbreak of the Russian-Ukrainian war, the robbery behavior in the entire Western world broke many Chinese people’s perceptions, which made me feel a strong and deep worry.

PS. I have no idea who Li Guangman is, but apparently, some Community Party folks think he’s important, and have been sharing his posts.

 

Li Guangman Is Wrong About Why China Should Worry About Russia Invading Ukraine

I have no idea if Li Guangman actually wrote that post, but one thing is for sure – it is full of misinformation.

I’m not going to focus on what lessons China should learn from the Russian invasion of Ukraine, but I will show you what can be easily and factually proven false in that viral post.

Fact #1 : Corporations Do Not Sanction Countries

Li Guangman falsely claimed (intentionally?) that Internet service providers and social media platforms announced sanctions against Russia after they invaded Ukraine.

That never happened, because corporations don’t issue sanctions. Those corporations only decided to stop working with Russia, after Western countries announced sanctions against Russia.

  • Cogent Communications, which is the second-largest Internet connectivity provider in Russia, terminated their contracts there on 4 March 2022 to comply with EU Regulation 2022/350.
  • Lumen terminated their services in Russia on 8 March 2022, to comply with sanction requirements.

Fact #2 : Corporations Chose To Stop Doing Business In Russia

Many corporations decided to stop doing business in Russia, mainly because they are public-listed companies that are answerable to their shareholders, and their customers worldwide.

For many, the limited Russian business they conduct is not worth risking their worldwide business, especially when the rest of the world is stridently against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

  • Automotive : Ford, General Motors, Toyota, Volkswagen and Nissan
  • Aviation : Boeing and Airbus
  • Finance : Visa, Mastercard, American Express, PayPal, Western Union, Moody’s, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup
  • F&B : Burger King, Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, Nestle, PepsiCo, Starbucks, Yum Brands (KFC and Pizza Hut)
  • Energy : BP, Exxon, Shell, Equinox
  • Big Tech : Airbnb, Amazon Web Services, Apple, Hitachi, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, Netflix, Nintendo, Sony, Spotify, TikTok
  • Hotels : Hyatt, Hilton, Marriott

There is also the issue of sanctions – Western sanctions may also prohibit them from selling their products and services to Russia and/or Belarus.

Fact #3 : US Did Not Launch “Disconnection Action” Against Russia

Li Guangman also falsely claimed (intentionally?) that the US launched disconnection action against Russia. That never happened.

The easiest way to do that would be to get ICANN to remove Russian domains from the Internet, which would prevent anyone from accessing any server in Russia.

However, the United States never made such a request. Only Ukraine asked ICANN to do this, but ICANN refused their request.

It is also a very silly claim to make, because it actually benefits the US and Western nations to maintain Internet connectivity to Russia, which allows them to reach out to Russian citizens with the truth.

Fact #4 : Russia Blocked Western Social Media

In fact, Li Guangman (intentionally?) left out the fact that the Russian government itself blocked or restricted access to Western social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

The truth is – it does not benefit Russia to let their citizens access uncensored information about their invasion of Ukraine. That’s why they blocked access to Western social media platforms.

This is where Russia is attempting to mimic China in its control of what information citizens can access. China is the undisputed leader in Internet censorship.

Fact #5 : Russia Prepared To Cut Itself Off The Internet

Li Guangman also (intentionally?) left out the fact that Russia was more than prepared to cut itself from the Internet.

The Russians started working on the ability to cut themselves from the Internet in the early 2010s, testing that ability in 2019 and in subsequent years.

Russian President Vladimir Putin also signed into law, a set of 2019 amendments called the Sovereign Internet Law (Закон о «суверенном интернете»), that lets the government cut Russia off the rest of the Internet.

Fact #6 : SWIFT Is Controlled By EU, Not US

SWIFT (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications) messaging network is not American, but Belgian, based in La Hulpe, Belgium.

As a cooperative society under Belgian law, SWIFT is owned by its members – financial institutions, not countries. In fact, its current chairman is Yawar Shah of Pakistan, while its CEO is Javier Pérez-Tasso of Spain.

Li Guangman (intentionally?) forgot to point out that the United States and Britain had been pushing for Russia to be banned from SWIFT, but EU nations refused earlier.

In the end, the European Union agreed to remove seven Russian banks from SWIFT, instead of the entire country.

The EU also excluded Sberbank (largest bank in Russia) and Gazprombank from the SWIFT removal, so they could still buy oil from Russia.

All proof that SWIFT is controlled by the EU, not the US.

Fact #7 : SWIFT Is Just A Messaging Service

SWIFT is a messaging system that securely transfers “messages containing the payment instructions between financial institutions involved in a transaction“.

It is not a payment system, and therefore, does not hold any funds. Neither does it perform cleaning or settlement services.

After a payment instruction has been initiated through SWIFT, the corresponding financial institutions must then “settle” the transaction through a payment system, like TARGET2 in Europe.

Fact #8 : SWIFT Removal Is Only An Inconvenience

While removal from SWIFT is a big deal, it is not the end of the world for those seven Russian banks, because it is merely a messaging system.

Banks can use alternative methods like faxes (yes, they still exist!) or alternative messaging systems like Russia’s own SPFS, China’s CIPS and India’s SFMS.

  • VEB is largely focused on domestic projects, and uses SPFS for overseas transactions
  • Sovcombank says that other sanctions already block it from making overseas payments, so the SWIFT removal has no impact
  • Promsvyazbank said that it had prepared for SWIFT removal, so it will not have a significant impact
  • VTB and Otkritie said that they would not be impacted

So Li Guangman’s claim that SWIFT removal is a weapon of war is… absurd and melodramatic.

Fact #9 : No One Ever Said Satellites Are Safe From Attacks

Li Guangman also falsely claimed (intentionally?) that Western nations had earlier claimed that “satellites are safe and will not be attacked“.

No country ever said that. In fact, the United States Space Force was formed, in part, to protect US satellite communications.

The US Space Force Vice Chief of Space Operations, General David Thompson even shared in November 2021 that :

Both China and Russia are regularly attacking US satellites with non-kinetic means, including lasers, radio frequency jammers, and cyber attacks… every single day

Li Guangman seems incredibly naive and ignorant about daily attacks on satellites, because the alternative explanation would be that he knew but intentionally chose to mislead you.

Fact #10 : Anonymous Is Not A Government Organisation

Li Guangman falsely claimed (intentionally?) that Anonymous is “some government organisations”.

  • Anonymous is a decentralised collective of anonymous hactivists… hence, its name.
  • It is not a government organisation.
  • It has previously attacked several Western governments, including the United States
  • Dozens of people associated with Anonymous cyberattacks have been arrested in the US, UK, Australia, the Netherlands, Spain, India and Turkey.

This is common knowledge, so it is peculiar that Li Guangman is so ignorant about Anonymous… or believes that people are stupid enough to believe him.

Fact #11 : Anonymous Did Not Hack Russian Space Agency

Technically, Anonymous did not hack the Russian Space Agency (Roscosmos), which was really hacked by their affiliates – NB65 and v0g3lSec.

They never shut down the Russian space control centre, or took any Russian satellite out of control. All those are lies that Li Guangman apparently concocted.

Roscosmos Chief Executive, Dmitry Rogozin also denied the claim, saying that “The information of these scammers and petty swindlers is not true. All our space activity control centers are operating normally.

So you have to ask yourself – why would Li Guangman lie about this? These are all on public record. Does he believe that you are so gullible that you would believe everything he says?

Read more : Anonymous Affiliates Are Attacking Russian Space Agency!

Fact #12 : Sanctioned Assets Were Frozen, Not Seized

Li Guangman falsely claimed (intentionally?) that the assets of Russian government and private individuals were looted (stolen) by Western banks / governments.

As part of sanctions against the Russian government, Western countries also sanctioned certain Russian individuals, including the super-rich Russian oligarchs.

However, their assets were frozen, not seized. At least, not yet.

All individuals sanctioned by the US Treasury Department, for example, will have their assets frozen. Those assets would be locked up, and cannot be sold or accessed in any way.

The owner has to get a licence from the department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control to do anything – even to just pay property taxes, or fix a leaking roof.

That’s different from the government actually seizing the frozen assets – this requires the government to first prove that they are linked to a crime. Until that happens, the assets have not been “looted”.

According to Michael Parker, head of the anti-money laundering and sanctions practice at Ferrari & Associates :

These cases need to be built, there has to be a showing of some sort of underlying theory of forfeiture, there has to be a reason that they are forfeited. The mere fact that somebody the United States has said is a target owns this asset isn’t enough to form a basis of seizure under U.S. law.

Fact #13 : Only Assets Of Sanctioned Individuals Were Frozen

Li Guangman also falsely claimed (intentionally?) that ALL assets belonging to the Russian government and private individuals were stolen by Western banks / government.

Not only were they not stolen, only assets belonging to sanctioned individuals and the Russian government were frozen. The assets of other Russian individuals were not affected.

Chinese netizens need not be overly concerned about their money stashed in Western banks.

Even if China decides to do something similarly evil like Russia, and invade another country, Western banks will only be forced to freeze the assets of those in power, like Chinese President Xi Jinping, for example.

Fact #14 : Less Than US$1 Trillion Frozen So Far

Li Guangman also falsely claimed (intentionally?) that Western countries froze US$8 trillion worth of assets.

On 5 March, UK Minister Jacob Rees-Mogg tweeted a chart that showed the value of Russian bank assets that were being sanctioned. That was actually criticised as being overly optimistic, but let’s assume it’s true.

That’s a total of £537.6 billion pounds, or US$703.7 billion. Even if you add US$15 billion of assets targeted by sanctioning seven Russian oligarchs, the total is still under US$719 billion.

So Li Guangman overstated the amount of sanctioned Russian assets by some 11X… if not more.

Fact #15 : Switzerland Only Adopts Military Neutrality

Li Guangman appears to be confused by the concept of “Swiss neutrality”, which refers to military neutrality – Switzerland will not be involved in armed or political conflicts between other states.

Switzerland, however, pursues an active foreign policy, and is frequently involved in peace-building processes globally.

Fact #16 : Switzerland Has Adopted EU Sanctions Since 1998

Li Guangman appears to be living in the past, claiming that Switzerland abandoned its neutrality to sanction Russia.

While Switzerland declined to be part of EU, it has been adopting EU-only sanctions for the past 24 years!

  • 1998 : EU sanctions against Yugoslavia
  • 2000 : EU sanctions against Myanmar
  • 2002 : EU sanctions against Zimbabwe
  • 2006 : EU sanctions against Uzbekistan and Belarus
  • 2022 : EU sanctions against Russia and Belarus

Fact #17 : Tech Companies Have To Comply With Sanctions

Li Guangman appears to be surprised that tech companies are complying with sanctions.

Of course, tech companies have to comply with sanctions. If they don’t, they would be legally liable and punished with fines and other legal actions.

In fact, Russia just announced sanctions against a wide range of American officials, including US President Joe Biden. They are expecting companies to comply with those sanctions as well.

We should also remember that China imposed sanctions of her own on US individuals and organisations, and expected companies to comply with their sanctions.

Did he expect companies to only comply with Russian and Chinese sanctions, but not those from Western countries?

Fact #18 : Russia Started The Conflict

Li Guangman claimed that Russia invading of Ukraine is “a real all-out war waged by the entire Western bloc against Russia“. What utter nonsense.

Western nations have repeatedly warned the world that Russia was planning to invade Ukraine since November 2021, even as Russia and pro-Russia forces derided them.

As early as December 2021, US President Joe Biden even threatened Russia with sweeping Western economic sanctions if it invaded Ukraine.

Russia repeatedly denied it was going to invade Ukraine, dismissing those warnings as “hysteria”. But they were lying, and ultimately invaded Ukraine on 24 February 2022.

So let me be clear to Li Guangman and his supporters – the invasion of Ukraine was a war that Russia actively chose to initiate.

This was not a war “waged by the entire Western bloc against Russia“. This was a war that Russia waged against Ukraine.

Until today, the United States and NATO have repeatedly refused to directly defend Ukraine against attacks by Russia. So to call it an “all-out war” is also ludicrous.

This fake news appears to be part of the disinformation campaign conducted by the Chinese 50 Cent Army (wumao, 五毛) to support Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

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Hollywood Celebrities Start Vax-A-Thon To Fight Antivaxxers!

Hollywood celebrities are angry at antivaxxers, and have started a Vax-A-Thon to fight back!

 

Hollywood Celebrities To Antivaxxers : Piss Off!

Hollywood celebrities aren’t the brightest bulbs in America, but even they have finally gotten angry at antivaxxers for constantly claiming that they were being killed or injured by the vaccine.

No one was spared – Betty White, Louie Anderson, Bob Saget, Taylor Hawkins, and the great Bruce Willis!

Even worse – antivaxxers went after their own, claiming that stridently antivax Meat Loaf died from his booster dose!

That led antivax Jessica Biel to tearfully plead in a recent Rolling Stone interview :

What they did to Meat Loaf was wrong. So unfair! We did so much for them and they turned on us!

I’m all natural, 100% Pure Blood detoxed a thousand times! If I die, it’s not because of the vaccine!

Read more : Did Bruce Willis Get Aphasia From COVID-19 Vaccine?!

 

Hollywood Celebrities Start Vax-A-Thon To Fight Antivaxxers!

When antivaxxers started going after Bruce Willis, something broke. Not a dam. Maybe the rose-tinted glasses they have been wearing in the past two years.

So they got together for some mimosas and decided to do something about it – A Vax-A-Thon, with a twist.

For every $1000 donation to the FDA, you will get an autographed card of your favourite pharmaceutical executive. Pfizer’s Albert Bourla was reportedly 2:1 as popular as Moderna’s Stéphane Bancel. But Johnson & Johnson will give out cards signed by Ye, since they have no one famous on their team.

But here’s the kicker – if you can cough up a cool $1 million, you can get your favourite Hollywood celebrity to either receive or consume an ENTIRE COVID-19 vaccine vial of your choice!

Deadpool actor Ryan Reynolds and beloved country songstress Dolly Parton were amongst the first celebrities to get a full vial “the traditional way” this morning, and say that they have never felt better in their lives!

Actress Gwyneth Paltrow declined to get the shot in her Pure Blood body, but will prepare and drink a delicious Moderna sorbet (recipe to be shared on Goop) on YouTube Live next week.

Jim Carrey reportedly wanted to reprise his 1997 “man kiss” of Alicia Silverstone with Paltrow on her YouTube Live stream, and slurp the Moderna sorbet from her mouth.

That Paltrow-Carrey livestream will certainly be interesting… if it happens! Brad Falchuk allegedly told Carrey to keep his super-big mouth out of his wife’s mouth.

Nicki Minaj, unfortunately, is not in the list of participating celebrities. Her spokesperson, however, issued a statement saying that she would be open to getting the full vial if Pfizer comes out with a version that gives her nails like Wolverine.

Oddball celebrity Steven Seagal asked to participate, but wished to gift the vial to his good friend, Vladimir Putin, who is forced to sit at really long tables because he was only vaccinated with Sputnik V. No word yet on whether his request was taken seriously, or laughed out of Tinseltown…

But if you are a Putin fan and want to keep him alive for another invasion of Georgia or the Baltic states, make sure you have $1 million handy!

 

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Ukrainian Crisis Actor Caught Smoking While Acting Dead?!

Was a Ukrainian crisis actor caught smoking a cigarette while pretending to be dead?!

Take a look at the viral video, and find out what the facts really are!

 

Claim : Ukrainian Crisis Actor Caught Smoking While Acting Dead!

People are sharing a video on Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp, claiming to show a Ukrainian crisis actor caught smoking a cigarette while pretending to be dead!

The video is often accompanied by comments like these :

Look at the fake body count in Ukraine. One of the bodies is still having his last Cigarette lol

Dead Ukrainians still can smoke, low class western media 👎🙈🐷

Miracles in #Ukraine never cease!!! The supposed pile of dead bodies of civilians after an alleged Russian attack. But look one the dead has not managed to kick his smoking habit even in the afterlife

 

Truth : “Dead” Actor Was Smoking On Russian Rap Video Set!

This is yet another example of anti-Ukrainian fake news, designed to disparage claims of atrocities in Ukraine, and here are the reasons why…

Fact #1 : Video Was Posted A Year Ago

The video was posted on TikTok a year ago – on 28 March 2021. That was long before Russia invaded Ukraine on 24 February 2022.

Fact #2 : It Was A Russian Video

If you look carefully at the video, you can see that it was posted by @vasyaivanovdesign.

That’s the TikTok account of Vasya Ivanov (Вася Иванов), a Russian art director and production designer based in Moscow.

Vasya Ivanov

Fact #3 : It Was A Behind The Scenes Video

The video is actually a “behind the scenes” video that Vasya Ivanov shot on the set of Никогда-нибудь (Never Ever), a song by Russian rapper, Хаски (Husky).

We know this because he posted it on his TikTok account, with the description (in Russian, with the English translation) :

Съемки клипа Хаски – Никогда-нибудь #Хаски #рэперхаски #бекстейдж #какснимали #съемки #backstage #рекомендации #хочуврек #рек #хаски

Filming a Husky clip – Never ever #Husky #rapperhusky #backstage #how to shoot #shooting #backstage #recommendations #hochuvrek #rek #husky

Ivanov also shared two “behind the scenes” video clips showing the “Making of Husky – Never ever“, including how they pulled the body bags up the side of the building (here and here).

Fact #4 : Husky Video Was Released In 2020

The Husky music video was released on 26 September 2020 – almost 1.5 years before Russia invaded Ukraine.

Vasya Ivanov was credited as the set designer, while the director of photography was Kirill Groshev (Кирилл Грошев), and the director was Evgeny Bakirov (Евгений Бакиров).

At 2:24 of the music video, you can see the black body bags being lowered from the white building, which are then carried away by the orange truck.

Vladimir Putin (left) with Husky (right)

Fact #5 : Similar Crisis Actor Video Was Posted Earlier

There appears to be a trend of posting videos claiming to prove that the Ukrainians are hiring crisis actors to pretend to be dead bodies.

Just a week earlier, a video claiming to show a “dead” Ukrainian crisis actor waking up on live TV went viral.

The truth is – people are being killed in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and these fake videos are abhorrent attempts to cover that up.

Read more : Was “Dead” Ukrainian Crisis Actor Caught Waking Up On TV?!

This is ultimately a Russian “behind the scenes” video that was intentionally used to mislead you into believing that the Ukrainians are lying about people dying in Putin’s “special military operation”.

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He continues to devote countless hours every day writing about tech, medicine and science, in his pursuit of facts in a post-truth world.

 

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Did Putin Just Threaten To Release 9/11 Satellite Evidence?!

Did Russian President Vladimir Putin just threaten to release secret satellite evidence of US government’s involvement in the 9/11 attacks?!

Take a look at the viral claim, and find out what the facts really are!

 

Claim : Putin Just Threatened To Release 9/11 Satellite Evidence!

People are sharing links to a Pravda news report that Russian President Vladimir Putin just threatened to release secret satellite evidence of US government involvement in the 9/11 attacks!

Apparently, this threat was in retaliation for US sanctions against Russia for the invasion of Ukraine, Putin is apparently striking back.

It’s a long article, so please skip to the next section for the facts…

Putin is going to hit once, but he’s going to hit hard. Russia is preparing the release of evidence of the involvement of the US government and intelligence services in the September 11 attacks. The list of evidence includes satellite images.

 

Truth : Putin Did Not Threaten To Release 9/11 Satellite Evidence!

This is yet another example of pro-Russia FAKE NEWS that are spamming social media, as well as WhatsApp and Telegram groups. Here are the reasons why…

Fact #1 : This Was From February 2015

This article was actually posted in February 2015. This was specifically mentioned in all the 2015 examples :

VT Editor’s note:  Russian satellite evidence proving the controlled demolition of the World Trade Center using “special weapons” was reviewed by a VT editor while in Moscow.

The article below was forwarded to us for publication in the US and translated from Russian. It is 3 days old, published on February 7, 2015.

The fake news creator removed that section, to mislead you into thinking that this was a new threat by Putin in 2022.

Fact #2 : There Is No Such Pravda Article

There is no evidence that Pravda actually published such an article on 7 February 2015.

On that day, Pravda published four articles, none of which referred to Putin, or satellite imagery, or the 9/11 attacks.

  • The crisis will retrain office workers
    Кризис переучит офисный планктон
  • 10 best gifts for Valentine’s Day
    10 лучших подарков на День святого Валентина
  • Sofa troops of Ukraine raised the white flag
    Диванные войска Украины подняли белый флаг
  • February 8: The verdict of Giordano Bruno, the fatal duel and how the war ended
    8 февраля: Приговор Джордано Бруно, роковая дуэль и как войну замолчали

If you go through the Pravda archives, three days before and after 7 February, you will only find a single article on the September 11 attacks :

  • Obama blackmails Congress with new 9/11
    Обама шантажирует конгресс новым 11 сентября

Fact #3 : Russia Did Not Release Any Evidence Of 9/11 Conspiracy

It may seem silly to you now, but it has to be said – Russia never released any evidence of any conspiracy by the US government in the September 11 attacks.

No satellite imagery… no documents… no evidence in any form or manner, since this claim was made in 2015 – seven years ago!

Fact #4 : Russian Satellites Were Terrible In 2001

It would also be quite a feat for Russia to provide “conclusive satellite imagery” as the fake story alleges, as Russian electro-optical satellites were not quite “state-of-the-art” back in 2001.

At that time, they used the Yantar-4KS1M (Neman / Неман) satellite, which had a resolution of just under a meter using the Zhemchug-18 camera.

These satellites have a limited lifespan of just 26 to 32 weeks, and used film which could be returned using two small canisters mid-mission, and a larger reentry module at the end.

Russia only had one in operation at that time – Cosmos 2377, which was launched on 29 May 2001, and landed on 10 October 2001.

Cosmos 2377 could plausibly have taken photos of the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City, but the images would only be as good as the Maxar IKONOS commercial imaging satellite.

Fact #5 : There Are Many Satellite Images Of 9/11 Attack

Frankly, there is no need for the Russians to share their satellite photos anyway, because there are many publicly-available satellite photos on the September 11 attacks.

The private satellite imaging company, Maxar, for example, shared this high-resolution photo of ground zero at the World Trade Center on 15 September, 2001.

Taken by IKONOS, which had a resolution of 0.82 to 1 metre, it gives you a good idea of the image quality and resolution that are already available for free to the public.

So it begs the question – do the Russians really have better images than that?

Fact #6 : Satellites Have Limitations

Despite being extremely useful, imaging satellites not magical instruments. They have limitations in what they can and cannot do.

For example, they have to generally stay in a pre-determined orbit, and “fly through” an area – leaving large gaps during which there is no coverage.

They also cannot look inside or under solid objects – planes, buildings, trees; and their view can be obscured by smoke and clouds, unless they have multi-spectral ability.

You can see how the smoke obscures the picture in this Maxar image taken of the Manhattan financial district on September 11, 2001.

It is therefore highly improbable that any satellite image from way up high would have captured “incriminating evidence” of the US government’s involvement in the September 11 attacks.

Fact #7 : 9/11 Attack Was Committed By Al Qaeda

In the past 20 years, the many conspiracy theories have all been repeatedly looked into and debunked.

We now know, with absolute certainty, that the September 11 attacks were conceived by Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, approved by Osama bin Laden, and carried out by nineteen Al Qaeda terrorists.

There was no US government involvement in the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.

Osama bin Laden himself claimed responsibility for the 9/11 attacks on several occasions. You don’t need a satellite to know that.

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He continues to devote countless hours every day writing about tech, medicine and science, in his pursuit of facts in a post-truth world.

 

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Did Putin Humiliate Japan With His American Dog?!

Did Russian President Vladimir Putin just humiliate a Japanese delegation, by suggesting that Japan is like his American dog?!

Take a look at the viral claim, and find out what the facts really are!

 

Claim : Putin Humiliated Japan With His American Dog!

People are sharing a video clip of Russian President Vladimir Putin humiliating a Japanese delegation with his American dog, with messages like these :

☝️draw your own conclusion…

Russian President Vladimir Putin conveyed with his body language and type of diplomacy to the visiting Japanese delegation that the present day Japan is like an American training dog. And this is how he gets food from his owner.

He has given message for all those who are going with USA. The humiliation can be clearly seen on the faces of the Japanese delegation. 🤔

Putin greeted the Japanese delegation with his dog and said to the Japanese delegation, “How can I negotiate with people who follow the United States like my dog?”

 

Truth : Putin Did NOT Humiliated Japan With His American Dog!

This is yet another example of pro-Russian and anti-Japanese fake news by the Chinese wumao (50 Cent Army), and here are the reasons why…

Fact #1 : This Incident Took Place On 15 December 2016

This incident did not happen recently, but on 15 December 2016 – more than 5 years ago!

Fact #2 : They Were Japanese Journalists

The two men were not Japanese diplomats, as the fake story claimed. They were Japanese journalists from Nippon TV and the Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper.

They were there to interview Putin, ahead of his official trip to Japan to meet with Japanese President Shinzo Abe in 2016.

Fact #3 : They Asked To See Putin’s Dog

Putin did not bring his dog to show the Japanese delegation that “present day Japan is like an American training dog”.

They actually asked to see his dog. Start watching at 2:33 in this RT video clip :

Putin : I was told that you wanted to see my dog, Yume. You can see that she is in great shape.

Journalist : Thank you very much. The dog is very cheerful indeed.

Fact #4 : Yume Is An Akita Gifted By Japan

Yume is an Akita that Japan gifted to Putin four years earlier, in gratitude for Russia’s help during the massive 2011 earthquake and tsunami disaster.

That was why the Japanese journalists asked to see Yume. And that was why Putin showed Yume performing a series of tricks.

Putin certainly did not bring his dog to insinuate that “present day Japan is like an American training dog“.

Fact #5 : Akita Is A Japanese Dog Breed

Just to be clear – Yume is a Japanese Akita (or Akita-inu) from the Akita Prefecture, not an American training dog as the fake story claimed.

The Japanese journalist actually mentioned this at 3:02 in the video clip above :

This dog is an Akita from Akita Prefecture, and we are glad to see Yume happy and cheerful.

Even though there is an American Akita strain, the Akita originates from the mountainous regions of northern Japan.

Fact #6 : They Were Caught Off-Guard

The Japanese journalists were not humiliated, just caught off-guard.

Even though they asked to see Yume, they did not expect Putin to bring her to the interview.

This was actually mentioned at 3:14 in the video clip above :

Journalist : We were bit surprised and afraid (shocked) that the beginning of the meeting would be like this.

Putin : You were right to take caution. Yume is a no-nonsense dog. There are many people here, with camcorders running, lights shining and cameras clicking. She is being a guard dog.

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He continues to devote countless hours every day writing about tech, medicine and science, in his pursuit of facts in a post-truth world.

 

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Did NATO Promise Russia Not To Expand A Single Inch East?

Did NATO break their promise to Russia, never to expand a single inch east?

Take a look at the claim, and find out what the facts really are!

 

Claim : NATO Promised Not To Expand A Single Inch East!

Did NATO promise Russia not to expand a single inch east, into former Warsaw Pact countries like Poland, or former Soviet Union countries like Ukraine?

Did NATO break that promise?

That is what Russian President Vladimir Putin has been claiming since 2007, and is the basis for why he chose to attack Ukraine.

People have also been sharing a video of Putin making those claims, to justify the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

 

Truth : NATO Never Promised Not To Expand A Single Inch East!

This is an old Vladimir Putin fabrication that he keeps repeating to justify his military actions, even though it is complete nonsense and has been debunked many times.

Fact #1 : Warsaw Pact + Soviet Union Dissolved In 1991

For context, I need to point out that both the Warsaw Pact military alliance, and the Soviet Union, were dissolved way back in 1991.

From 1989 to 1991, Communist governments in Eastern Europe were falling like ninepins, getting overthrown by public discontent.

On 25 February 1991, the remaining Warsaw Pact countries met in Hungary and agreed to disband the military alliance.

The Warsaw Pact alliance was formally dissolved on 1 July 1991 by Czechoslovak President Václav Havel in Prague.

That was followed by the dissolution of the Soviet Union (USSR) on 8 December 1991, when the presidents of Russia, Ukraine and Belarus signed the Belavezha Accords.

Fact #2 : Vladimir Putin First Made That Claim In 2007

The dissolution of both Warsaw Pact and the Soviet Union happened in 1991, but Russian President Vladimir Putin only started making this claim in 2007.

In his February 2007 speech to the 43rd Munich Security Conference, he claimed that the West violated their “guarantees” :

And we have the right to ask: against whom is this [NATO] expansion intended? And what happened to the assurances our Western partners made after the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact?

… I would like to quote the speech of NATO General Secretary Mr. Woerner in Brussels on 17 May 1990. He said at the time that: ‘the fact that we are ready not to place a NATO army outside of German territory gives the Soviet Union a firm security guarantee.” Where are these guarantees?

Fact #3 : Annexation Of Crimea Was Based On That Claim

Putin then used the same false claim to justify Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea :

… they [Western leaders] have lied to us many times, made decisions behind our backs, placed before us an accomplished fact.

This happened with NATO’s expansion to the east, as well as the deployment of military infrastructure at our borders.

Fact #4 : NATO Never Promised Not To Expand Eastwards

Now that you have some context, here’s the clincher – NATO never promised Russia, or the former Soviet Union, not to expand eastwards.

Despite Putin’s claims, no Western leader ever made such guarantees to either Russia, or the former Soviet Union.

Fact #5 : NATO Only Agreed To Restrictions On Former GDR

In 1990, six countries – East and West Germany, the United States, the Soviet Union, Britain and France – held discussions on the reunification of Germany.

The Germans, Americans, British and French agreed that there would be “no deployment of non-German NATO forces on the territory of the former GDR (East Germany)“.

That agreement was incorporated in Article 5 of the Treaty on the Final Settlement with Respect to Germany, that was signed on 12 September 1990 by the six countries :

  1. Until Soviet forces had completed their withdrawal from the former GDR, only German territorial defense units not integrated into NATO would be deployed in that territory.
  2. There would be no increase in the numbers of troops or equipment of U.S., British and French forces stationed in Berlin.
  3. Once Soviet forces had withdrawn, German forces assigned to NATO could be deployed in the former GDR, but foreign forces and nuclear weapons systems would not be deployed there.

Fact #6 : USSR Did Not Raise Question Of NATO Expansion

The Soviet Union did not raise any questions about the potential expansion of NATO to the east, because no one at that time thought that was a serious possibility.

Fact #7 : Gorbachev Confirmed NATO Kept Its Promise

Mikhail Gorbachev, the General Secretary of the Soviet Union at that time, confirmed in a 2014 interview that NATO expansion was never discussed, or brought up in those years.

He also stressed that any promise not to “move one inch further east” was made in reference to the former German Democratic Republic (East Germany), and that promise was kept.

RBTH : One of the key issues that has arisen in connection with the events in Ukraine is NATO expansion into the East. Do you get the feeling that your Western partners lied to you when they were developing their future plans in Eastern Europe? Why didn’t you insist that the promises made to you – particularly U.S. Secretary of State James Baker’s promise that NATO would not expand into the East – be legally encoded? I will quote Baker: “NATO will not move one inch further east.”

Gorbachev : The topic of “NATO expansion” was not discussed at all, and it wasn’t brought up in those years. I say this with full responsibility. Not a single Eastern European country raised the issue, not even after the Warsaw Pact ceased to exist in 1991. Western leaders didn’t bring it up, either.

Another issue we brought up was discussed: making sure that NATO’s military structures would not advance and that additional armed forces from the alliance would not be deployed on the territory of the then-GDR after German reunification. Baker’s statement, mentioned in your question, was made in that context. Kohl and [German Vice Chancellor Hans-Dietrich] Genscher talked about it.

It has been observed all these years. So don’t portray Gorbachev and the then-Soviet authorities as naïve people who were wrapped around the West’s finger. If there was naïveté, it was later, when the issue arose. Russia at first did not object.

Mikhail Gorbachev (left) with Helmut Kohl (right)

Fact #8 : Boris Yeltsin Was Not Against NATO Expansion

The first President of the Russian Federation, Boris Yeltsin, was quite clear that NATO’s expansion was not a security threat to Russia.

In August 1993, he told Polish President Lech Wałęsa that :

Russia does not oppose Poland’s membership in NATO and does not perceive its membership in NATO as a threat to Russia.

Then in September 1993, he wrote a letter to then US President Bill Clinton, stating that :

Any possible integration of east European countries into NATO will not automatically lead to the alliance somehow turning against Russia.

Boris Yeltsin (left) and Bill Clinton (right)

Fact #9 : Those Countries Chose To Join NATO

Those former Warsaw Pact and Soviet Union countries chose to join NATO, instead of the Russian-led CTSO (Collective Security Treaty Organisation).

They were not coerced into joining NATO, and the move was widely popular with their citizens.

  • Macedonia : 94% voters supported joining NATO
  • Hungary : 85% voters supported joining NATO
  • Georgia : 77% voters supported joining NATO
  • Slovenia : 66% voters supported joining NATO

Fact #10 : Russian Aggression Increased Support For NATO

Russian aggression in recent years have had the counterproductive effect of increasing support for NATO in once-neutral countries.

For example, Finland has assiduously tried to remain neutral, but as Russia ratcheted up threats on Ukraine, Prime Minister Sanna Marin said that there is a real possibility Finland will join NATO.

Sweden also saw a surge in support for NATO membership, after Russian annexation of Crimea, and the threats against Ukraine.

Finland Minister for Foreign Affairs Pekka Haavisto (left), NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg (middle), Sweden Minister of Foreign Affairs Ann Linde (right)

Fact #11 : Vladimir Putin Once Wanted Russia To Join NATO

Interestingly, both Mikhail Gorbachev and Vladimir Putin floated the idea of Russian joining NATO.

While negotiating the reunification of Germany in 1990, Gorbachev told US Secretary of State James Baker :

You say that NATO is not directed against us, that it is simply a security structure that is adapting to new realities … therefore, we propose to join NATO.”

Vladimir Putin himself publicly revealed on Russian television, that he floated the possibility of Russia joining NATO, when US President Bill Clinton visited Moscow in 2000 – watch 2:24 of this video.

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen from 2009 to 2014 also confirmed that Putin made many statements suggesting that he was favourable to the idea of Russian joining NATO, to which he said :

Once Russia can show it is upholding democracy and human rights, NATO can seriously consider its membership.

 

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Dr. Adrian Wong has been writing about tech and science since 1997, even publishing a book with Prentice Hall called Breaking Through The BIOS Barrier (ISBN 978-0131455368) while in medical school.

He continues to devote countless hours every day writing about tech, medicine and science, in his pursuit of facts in a post-truth world.

 

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